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masterdrago

Travel from Canada Pir to Seattle Tacoma Airport

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We will be traveling from the Canada Place Pier Vancouver to Tacoma Airport Seattle next May. Our ship (Radiance of the Seas) arrives 7am so we are considering taking the 6pm Amtrak Cascades train. Does anyone know if we can or have checked their bags early at the Pacific Central Station so that we may look around Vancouver without carrying our checked luggage?

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You can store at the pier or ask the Pan Pacific Hotel (part of Canada Place) to store for COST.

 

Update : no luggage storage at Pacific Station anymore.

Edited by Kamloops50

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Thanks. Sent an email to Amtrak but no reply yet. Looking at their web pages makes me think they will take the luggage early and store. There are a number of places to explore for a few hours in Vancouver just west and north of the Pacific Central Station (Amtrak).

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^They won't. Amtrak do not own or operate the station, VIA rail does - Amtrak staff are only on-site part-time and they have no access to the regular VIA storage room, luggage trolleys etc. Hours for luggage storage are based around the timing of the VIA trains, which are rather irregular and vary by season - full station info, including that info and contact phone numbers, is found here. While you will be able to check your bags well before the train leaves, you can't drop them off at 8am so you do need to find somewhere else to stash them while touring.

 

I agree with K50 that the simplest thing is to leave them at the pier, either with CDS inside or the Pan Pacific hotel (cheaper, at $5 per bag vs. $8). If you are taking the HOHO, transit, or just walking around the pier is close enough to the station that it's not very inconvenient at all to return then jump in a cab - and without the disembarking cruise hordes to worry about, you'll be able to get in a cab within seconds or at worst a couple of minutes if you have to ask the PP doorman to call one! Should be about $12 to Pacific Central.

 

You are supposed to be at the station a full hour before you travel - for US immigration preclearance. If you're traveling Business Class or have NEXUS/Global Entry you can certainly reduce that without a problem, but you may not want to - seats are allocated first-come, first-served so if you want the more desirable water side (right hand seats) you need to beat at least half of your fellow passengers to the station! Also note than Bus Class is 2+1 seating, and I can't recall offhand whether the paired seats are on the water side every time or not - if they are and you're a couple, you'd need to sit in solo seats in-front/behind each other.

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This is on the web page for Amtrak departing Pacific Central Station...

At-Station Baggage Services

 

Need help with your baggage or somewhere to store it while you explore the city? Amtrak offers temporary storage and baggage assistance at most staffed stations.

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And on the page you noted, I see this....

Baggage

 

Baggage storage only for ViaRail and Amtrak passengers on day of travel. Fee $6 per bag.

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^

I agree with K50 that the simplest thing is to leave them at the pier, either with CDS inside or the Pan Pacific hotel (cheaper, at $5 per bag vs. $8).

Not familiar with NASA acronyms. Can you explain? CDS and HOHO

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I just got an email reply back from the Pan Pacific Hotel at the Canada Place Pier. They said they can certainly store our luggage for $6/bag. This will work most conveniently for us as it will give us several hours to tour Vancouver. We had originally planned to spend more time in this city but some of the things we want to see will be unavailable then. Thanks all who replied.

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I just got an email reply back from the Pan Pacific Hotel at the Canada Place Pier. They said they can certainly store our luggage for $6/bag. This will work most conveniently for us as it will give us several hours to tour Vancouver. We had originally planned to spend more time in this city but some of the things we want to see will be unavailable then. Thanks all who replied.

 

What isn't open in May? Most tourist [laces are usually in late April for the cruise ship season.

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Butchart Gardens. Called them and May is their transition month from winter to spring. So nothing to see. We were really hoping to spend the day there. I'm sure we will find other things to tour for a number of hours since we have decided to not overnight there. There are some things in Seattle we will also tour since we will overnight there. Will then fly nonstop Seattle to Houston. We will save some big $$$ in airfare, not having to upgrade our passport, and other expenses.

Also just got off the phone with Amtrak and they DO store luggage for same price at the Pacific Central Station as the Pan Pacific Hotel. Just an FYI for anyone looking.

Edited by masterdrago

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Not familiar with NASA acronyms. Can you explain? CDS and HOHO

 

HOHO stands for Hop On Hop Off. Think those tourist "trolleys" in a city. They allow people to hop on or off a numerous stops.

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Not familiar with NASA acronyms. Can you explain? CDS and HOHO

 

This is on the web page for Amtrak departing Pacific Central Station...

At-Station Baggage Services

Need help with your baggage or somewhere to store it while you explore the city? Amtrak offers temporary storage and baggage assistance at most staffed stations. And on the page you noted, I see this....

Baggage

Baggage storage only for ViaRail and Amtrak passengers on day of travel. Fee $6 per bag.

 

Butchart Gardens. Called them and May is their transition month from winter to spring. So nothing to see.

CDS are the company who run storage at the pier; HOHO someone already confirmed. Note that Amtrak state MOST manned stations, not all, and not specific to this station - it's their general boiler-plate statement. I'll reiterate that this is not an Amtrak station - it's a VIA station that Amtrak rent limited facilities and timeslots from (they are one of several - Greyhound, Cantrail, Bolt all use the station facilities too).

 

Right now they are still in peak train season so VIA storage is open every day, but that's not the case for most of the year - if you'd checked that page last May it would have said either mornings or afternoons only, alternating between the two based on which VIA services were running. Sorry, I try to mention that folks should check the info near their date of travel but didn't in my reply to you yesterday. Just look at the weirdly-out-of-sequence days of the week - this is because in low season the schedules are different on Mon/Wed/Sat than on Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun, so when the schedule alters they just have to alter the times. If it was a permanent change, they'd format it as '6am to 5:30pm daily' instead of that very strange sequence of days.

 

We live just a couple of minutes walk away so I have never had to make use of storage at Pac Central - perhaps Amtrak have changed how they operate here in Vancouver and have negotiated for some extra space to store bags themselves, but since it's not exactly a big money-spinner I think it's more likely that the Amtrak phone rep was just confirming the fact that there is storage available at the station - their phone minions seem to be generally more accurate than cruiseline reps, but not by much. The fact that the Amtrak page does not actually specify they operate storage here and does not give hours, whereas the VIA page specifically mentions same-day Amtrak pax can also store bags, strongly suggests that they farm out storage to VIA - if you look at, say, Seattle King Street Station's Amtrak page you will see the very specific wording that 'checked baggage is available during station hours', i.e. you can check a bag any time on the day you're traveling (without a fee!) as it's an actual Amtrak station and their staff are there all day handling bags. That's not the case in Vancouver...

 

I would keep it simple and stick to using the Pan Pacific - or call Amtrak back and ask for confirmation of the hours that storage is available on your exact travel date and also whether it's Amtrak staff or VIA you need to speak to in order to store bags. Best guess is that it remains VIA staff handling the storage of all bags - and like I said, their hours change seasonally. The phone numbers on the page I linked will connect you to VIA staff at the station who should be able to confirm the baggage situation - if you get conflicting info, VIA are correct, it's their station;-)

 

I'd love to be wrong on this, as an all-day every-day bag storage at Pac Central would be a qualitative improvement; being able to check your bags in all day would too; it would definitely add flexibility for 'one day' tourists like yourself and other folks post-cruise.

 

As to Butchart, I don't know who you talked to there but you were fed 100% utter bull pucky. May is one of the BEST months for all the gardens in this region - Spring has long sprung, not that there is generally much in the way of serious winter cold to impact plants, but even in a harsh winter April sees the last of the frost. May is far more likely to see highs in the 70s than lows under 40F. There's a huge tulip festival just over the border in the Skagit Valley every April, and Butchart has an even milder climate than there thanks to the sheltered location inside the old quarry - their Spring season begins April 1st, when they put their prices up to the second-highest level of the year precisely because there's dang near as many plants in flower as in summer.

 

While personally I think it's foolish to spend so much travel time getting there from Vancouver when you could see plenty of beautiful gardens right here in the city cheaper and faster, I would never deny that it's a beautifully-maintained garden that is worth seeing any day of the year if you're on the Island already. Sounds like you had been considering an overnight in Victoria - the most sensible way to see Butchart from Vancouver IMO - but then decided to stay in Seattle instead.

 

Just so you know, there are daily ferries from downtown Victoria to downtown Seattle which accept passport cards and Enhanced Driving Licences as ID - your comment about upgrading your passports suggests you currently have only the card rather than the book, so would not be able to fly internationally. Taking the Clipper sidesteps that problem! Personally I'd rather have a day in Seattle than Victoria, but if you have Butchart on your bucket list then heading over to Victoria by ferry, floatplane, chopper, whalewatching vessel or luxury catamaran cruise after your cruise then taking the Clipper next day to Seattle for a flight back home is quite workable without any upgrade to passports required.

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Thanks so much for the nice diatribe there Martincath. "100% utter bull pucky"! I just have to say, I love that ;=} We are still in the advanced planning stage of the end of our May '19 16 day trip to Alaska. It will be Joy's first time in Alaska. I hiked out of Anchorage 2 weeks with a tight group of amateur astronomers in Aug. '95. I now get to go back on a DIY land tour and post cruise Seward-Vancouver. Joy prefers time in Seattle while I've heard and read so much about Vancouver that I was considering it. I'll want to explore the HOHO thing more. Although it might be much more convenient to just schedule a coach pick up at Canada Place Pier that goes directly to Seattle Tacoma, no luggage risk, but no time in Vancouver. Early on we decided to not spend the $$ to upgrade from the card and spend a small amount of time in either Victoria, Vancouver, or Seattle with cheaper flight to boot from Seattle. Less flying for "white knuckle" Joy but yet I got her to book two Beaver and Otter flightseeing tours while in Alaska.

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No worries - since there's no swearing allowed here, it gets boring just *****ing out curse words so I like to throw in the occasional old-school pretend-swears;-)

 

Hopefully your missus will find floatplanes as pleasant as mine did - she used to be a very nervous flyer, caused me serious bruising with panicked hand-holding even on the big wide body jets, so I was really surprised she wanted to take a floatplane trip first time we visited Vancouver many years ago. It was smooth as silk, minimal waves and a skilled pilot made for the least-bumpy takeoff or landing either of us had ever had in a fixed-wing - and since that trip she'll even fly by herself no problem, it totally cured her! I hate to think what would have happened if it had been a bouncy ride though - if that first tiny plane trip doesn't go well for your DW, you might have to eat the cost of the other two trips!!!

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