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Southbound Alaska Cruise - Xsfer to Vancouver Aiport Bypassing Customs & Immegration?

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Is it possible on a southbound Alaska cruise to purchase a Princess operated transfer from the port of Vancouver to the Vancouver airport that bypasses customs and immigration? (In other words, is there the option for 2018 of going directly from the ship to the US side of the YVR airport and thus not technically enter Canada at the pier and then reenter the USA at the airport?)

 

Granted, I have anything against visiting Canada, but given the option of going through customs and immigration twice in one day, or not at all, I would likely choose not at all.

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No. The bus/transfer is not "clean" or secure( old phrase "in transit") so you need to do Canadian Immigration and Customs as you depart the ship, and clear US Immigration and Customs at the airport.

 

Just the way it is.

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They used to do this - it has been called multiple things but the last name they used was "US Direct". I haven't read any account of it being done this year.

 

It was a great program when they did it.

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No Longer available. Stopped after 911.

 

It started after 9-11.

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I assume it is Direct to Bus transfer to Vancouver? Red 1, 2 and 3.

Yep, that's it. All Direct to Bus passengers (including our Seatac group) filled out the Canadian customs form a couple days ahead of time. Then we were given cards that said "Direct to Bus". Each of the groups met in the same location for disembarkation and traded in our Direct to Bus cards for stickers to wear. Then were escorted off group by group, bypassing Customs at the terminal and bypassing luggage collection.

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Despite much misinformation about this type of 'sealed transfer' service - which has run on and off, sometimes advertised and sometimes not, sometimes restricted to just a short list of approved cruiselines and airlines, other times open, and sometimes available to and from SEA but not YVR (or vice versa) - you simply cannot depend on it being present for any given cruise unfortunately.

 

I wish I knew exactly what the criteria were for it running or not - best guess is how many folks on cruise X have signed up for same day cruiseline air out of YVR and SEA - so all I can suggest is assuming that you will make your own arrangements for transfers, and will go through all the rigamarole of both Canadian and US immigration/customs at pier & airport respectively so ensure you book your flight late enough to get there. Then if you do see the service advertised on board, great, sign up for it - but for Bob's sake never assume it will be available so you can book a really early flight home, that's a recipe for disaster.

 

Don't prebook cruise transfers because they're simply horrible value here - where distance is small, English is spoken, US credit cards and even cash dollars are readily accepted, and multiple transportation methods are available which are all generally both faster and cheaper than cruise transfers. There's really only one sane reason to pay for a cruise transfer - if they actually are offering a 'sealed bus' for you.

 

The convenience of avoiding two sets of C&I is definitely worth the extra $15-20pp if all you are doing is heading to the airport rather than staying on in Vancouver - but unless they're able to offer that in advance, which I have never seen on any line except for the 2013 cruise season when YVR were openly advertising the service themselves (and restricting it to qualifying cruiselines and airlines only).

 

But of course the BEST thing to do is avoid worrying about the whole concept and add extra time in Vancouver;-)

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Direct to bus service was available for our 2015, 2016, and 2017 southbound Alaska cruises on the Star that ended in Vancouver. It was quite easy as we were simply escorted off the ship to the bus bypassing the insanity in the hall with the luggage. The offer was made by Princess on the disembarkation form and we received the luggage tags which directed Princess to transfer our luggage directly to the airport where we found it in a marked area near the ticketing windows. Very easy end to a cruise and well worth the cost of the transfer.

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Yep, that's it. All Direct to Bus passengers (including our Seatac group) filled out the Canadian customs form a couple days ahead of time. Then we were given cards that said "Direct to Bus". Each of the groups met in the same location for disembarkation and traded in our Direct to Bus cards for stickers to wear. Then were escorted off group by group, bypassing Customs at the terminal and bypassing luggage collection.

 

Direct to bus service was available for our 2015, 2016, and 2017 southbound Alaska cruises on the Star that ended in Vancouver. It was quite easy as we were simply escorted off the ship to the bus bypassing the insanity in the hall with the luggage. The offer was made by Princess on the disembarkation form and we received the luggage tags which directed Princess to transfer our luggage directly to the airport where we found it in a marked area near the ticketing windows. Very easy end to a cruise and well worth the cost of the transfer.

 

"USA Direct" meant that you left the ship still being in the USA and reached the airport and could bypass USA immigration/customs there.

 

Are you saying that "direct-to-bus" also allowed you to bypass USA immigration/customs at YVR?

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"USA Direct" meant that you left the ship still being in the USA and reached the airport and could bypass USA immigration/customs there.

 

Are you saying that "direct-to-bus" also allowed you to bypass USA immigration/customs at YVR?

It's bypassing Canadian customs in the cruise terminal. Still have to go through US customs.

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Just off the Star Princess that docked in Vancouver coming in from Alaska.

 

A few days before the end of the Cruise we received letter with an attached customs card. Both of us had to read and sign the letter and then fill out the card that was then taken to the Passenger Services Desk.

 

We were then issued Red 5 luggage tags and another letter that we had to take with us the morning of departure. We met in the Vista lounge, turned in the letter, our name was checked off a list by a crew member, and was given a red sticker to display on our shirts.

 

When our number was called we left the lounge, walked a special route with guards at the turns that led to the bus out side, by passing any check points in the terminal. Then rode the bus to the airport. Our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal at the airport.

 

Very easy.

 

Bob

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Is it possible on a southbound Alaska cruise to purchase a Princess operated transfer from the port of Vancouver to the Vancouver airport that bypasses customs and immigration? (In other words, is there the option for 2018 of going directly from the ship to the US side of the YVR airport and thus not technically enter Canada at the pier and then reenter the USA at the airport?)

 

Granted, I have anything against visiting Canada, but given the option of going through customs and immigration twice in one day, or not at all, I would likely choose not at all.

 

Next time go northbound.

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