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Vancouver BC flights after cruise???

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Hi all...


We live in Washington state, but looking at a cruise to Alaska via Vancouver.  Any experience from flying out of Vancouver after the ship docks??  Is an 11:30 flight to Seattle a stretch????  Trying to avoid the train to Seattle and timing would work for a flight home on the 11:30 flight out of Vancouver.  


Thank you all in advance!!!

Michelle O

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The 11:30 am flight would work although it is not in the comfort zone (1:00pm or later).

You have discounted the train option - but there are Amtrak motor coaches (buses) that substitute

and then there are the NCL charter shuttles to SEA-TAC airport as well as other private shuttle services.


Yes the Amtrak Cascades train is the way to go but it does not connect leaves way before the ship docks.

Taking a shuttle service direct from the port to Seattle airport or the city itself actually is not all that bad.


Time going from ship to airport and catching a puddle jumper airplane to fly the short distance between

Vancouver and Seattle arriving maybe a hour before the chartered shuttle service bus arrives - is it worth

all that hassle.


In the rough - you leave the ship go to the airport for a 11:30 flight arriving SEA airport around 12:30


Charter bus leaves pier area 9:00 for about a 4 hour trip arriving around 1:00 (Customs only possible

hang-up at border crossing)


Plus or minus an hour here or there and fare of transportation - its a toss up.


Your call - READERS any more comments ?   

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A flight at 11:30 may be tight. The airport is opposite end of the city. You need to go through the city to get to it. The there is check in and then security and....the dreaded customs. My experience with customs in Vancouver has not been good. They are very slow.

My suggestion is a later flight or other options described above.

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If you're self-disembarking, a flight at 11:30am is trivially-easy to get to. The problems happen when you have hordes of other cruisers also heading to YVR - they take all the cabs (limited number available, at least 90min round trip back to the pier), then clog up the check-in/bag drop line, Security line, and immigration/customs line for folks flying to the US. But if you are among the first folks off the ship you beat all those other annoying cruisers (i.e. self-disembark, or MAYBE in the very first group of 'someone takes our bags off for us' people - but then you add the small extra risk of your bag being mislaid as well as the delay in finding it).


Travel time to YVR whether by cab or SkyTrain is about 30-35mins end to end (plus cab queue wait time - if there are more than a few folks ahead of you, it is faster taking transit). While YVR does recommend arriving 3 hours pre-flight for US-bound flights that's only ever needed in the absolute worst-case scenario (3 or 4 ships in port, you get off at 9am so most of the others beat you to all the lineups). Even 2 hours is usually an hour more than needed - but much better to hustle and then chill at your gate with some Timmies than to dilly-dally and risk missing the flight.


While it's easily possible, it's not what I recommend though - stay in Vancouver as long as you can! With such a short flight, and many of them each day, you could overnight and take a super-early flight next morning and still make it to work in time as long as you're not connecting to some horribly-underserved small airport elsewhere in WA.

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Thank you all for the wonderful information!!!  My 1st cruise was booked through Vancouver and then we switched to Seattle.  Mom was nervous about making connections, etc.  My problem is dealing with limited vacation time, so trying to plan as little time off from work as possible and the cruise I was looking into leaves on a Monday.  Think with my schedule, we should stick with Seattle.  Again, Thank you for the great info!!!  I appreciate any experiences you all can offer!!!!

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One other suggestion, which I should have thought to mention above already - have you considered driving? Two one-way rentals probably won't be cheaper than parking your own car locally for a week (secure airport parking ruins about $15 daily, transport between pier and airport would be about $75 total for both legs + tip in a cab or <$14pp by SkyTrain; parking at the pier is ~$25/day; even a Park & cruise package in a suburban hotels will almost certainly cost less than 2 flights).


If you're from somewhere around Seattle, especially north of it, it may actually be faster to drive by the time you factor in all the 'be at the airport early/queue up at immigration' time (driving across you can choose multiple border checkpoints and also choose your time so you can usually avoid much more than 20min delay without hassle). Even if you're coming from Spokane or the Tri-cities it's easily drivable same-day by just one person with a lot of flexibility for you (if you are worried about making the ship Day Of, start the night before and stay in a cheap hotel with free parking close to the border or just do a Park & Cruise hotel).

Edited by martincath

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