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Shippy

For those heading to Alaska....

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  Currently on the Mariner. We left Anchorage on July 3rd. 

    Luckily, we read about the weather....hottest summer ever. Our first 3 ports...Juneau, Icy Point & Skagway were very hot, over 80 degrees. Most people knew to bring shorts and tank tops. Beautiful but sad as we have been here before when warm but this is a bit much, combined with the smoke from the current fires. One tour operator of a bear watching tour told me she cut her tour short because she did not like the ‘look’ a bear was giving her. Seems the combination of heat and smoke has some of the animals acting strangely.

   We had been to Icy Point before and never had to deal with bugs. This time we were on a tour in an open air vehicle and were constantly fighting of large horse flys that bit. The tour lady said it was because of the heat they were having this problem.

  As we have been coming south, you no longer notice any smoke and it is cooler.

   Otherwise...has been a fabulous cruise. We are in Victoria tomorrow for our last port.

 

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Thank you, Shippy, for posting this information.  We are on the Mariner in late August, Seward to Vancouver.  I have been wondering about the impact of the heat and the fires - makes me feel especially sad for the animals.

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Shippy,

 

It was a great cruise!  Very warm.  Your advice to track the weather a couple of weeks out is excellent.  That way you will have an idea of the trends.

 

Were you caught in the United fiasco at the airport?

 

Martha

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OMG......Vancouver airport...

   It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to get though security.....and we had first class tickets !

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Shippy said:

OMG......Vancouver airport...

   It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to get though security.....and we had first class tickets !

 

First class doesn't get you any priority screening for flights to the USA at YVR.  If you have Global Entry or Nexus, and you have the physical GE or Nexus card, you can use the special line the gives you priority screening and a direct channel to the immigration kiosks.  TSA Pre-Check is NOT in place, as the screening is done by CATSA, not United States TSA.

 

Now Pre-Check may be printed on your boarding pass, but that is just a standard airline output and does not grant privileges at Canadian airports.

Edited by FlyerTalker

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1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

First class doesn't get you any priority screening for flights to the USA at YVR.  If you have Global Entry or Nexus, and you have the physical GE or Nexus card, you can use the special line the gives you priority screening and a direct channel to the immigration kiosks.  TSA Pre-Check is NOT in place, as the screening is done by CATSA, not United States TSA.

 

Now Pre-Check may be printed on your boarding pass, but that is just a standard airline output and does not grant privileges at Canadian airports.

 

  We knew our TSA precheck was no good there.

But, we did get priority to pass 2 of the very long lines because we had first class tickets.

The one were you go to get the tags for your bags. Probably 20 people ahead of us. The coach line was actually out the door on the sidewalk !

  Then the REALLY long line to where you take your luggage to the conveyor belt. Must have been a hundred people in that line & they let us pass right to the front.

 

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You have to have the actual GE card.  Thank heavens I had ours.  Had never had to show it before.

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Just want to verify what FlyerTalker posted.  We go through the airport in Vancouver several times a year and therefore have the Nexus card (that has GE embedded into the card).  This is a huge time saver for us as YVR is a very busy airport.  

 

Also want to mention that the heatwave is apparently over.  The high in Juneau today was 63 degrees and that will be the high for the week.  There will be showers on and off between now and Friday.

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4 hours ago, RachelG said:

You have to have the actual GE card.  Thank heavens I had ours.  Had never had to show it before.

 

That's because for most uses (kiosk) it's embedded in your passport data.  Or it generates a Pre-Check notation on your boarding pass.  That works for security in the USA, but not elsewhere.

 

The GE card (or Nexus) is the only way that Canadian officials know that you have GE and can use the expedited security and GE kiosks.  They can't tell from your passport alone.  Or boarding pass.

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Posted (edited)

What is GE? global entry, right?

Edited by rcandkc

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OK, I will share my horror story from Saturday at YVR.

 

Got in line about 9:30.  Got to the second set of blue ropes at about 10, then realized since my flight wasn't until 1:59, they wouldn't take my bags that early, so got out of line to sit for awhile and wait.  At 10:30 decided I better go get in line again.  Unfortunately things had gotten much worse, and the line to check in reached the end of the building!  Things kept getting worse through bag check (only one conveyer belt working), through security, into customs, finally getting to the gate at 1:45.  Every time I thought we were through with the lines we got put into another one for the next phase!

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1 hour ago, 2012_Alaska_bound said:

OK, I will share my horror story from Saturday at YVR.

 

Got in line about 9:30.  Got to the second set of blue ropes at about 10, then realized since my flight wasn't until 1:59, they wouldn't take my bags that early, so got out of line to sit for awhile and wait.  At 10:30 decided I better go get in line again.  Unfortunately things had gotten much worse, and the line to check in reached the end of the building!  Things kept getting worse through bag check (only one conveyer belt working), through security, into customs, finally getting to the gate at 1:45.  Every time I thought we were through with the lines we got put into another one for the next phase!

 

Yikes, that's insane!  Did they let you onto your flight okay?

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Now I realize how accidentally lucky I was last year to take the cruise from Vancouver.

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The whole city of Vancouver is crazy during the summer but the area near the port is over the top nuts.  We live 50 miles from Vancouver (in Washington state)  and usually fly out of YVR (Vancouver Airport) but we avoid it like the plague in the summer.  But, once kids are back in school, we're back in Vancouver (in fact, we leave for Alaska on another cruise line the day after Labor Day)

 

We have been to Alaska five times and have never experienced biting bugs but I've heard that they are present during some months of the year.  

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20 hours ago, califsealion said:

 

Yikes, that's insane!  Did they let you onto your flight okay?

 

Yes, I got to the gate as the pre-boards were boarding, so no problem getting on.  We ended up landing at SFO a couple of minutes early, so no connection problems.  Rest of the trip was peaceful.

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Heading to Alaska on July 31st.  First time Alaska cruiser.  I am a little worried about the float plane crashes.  We are booked for several excursions on the planes and after seeing that they had several crashes I am feeling reluctant.  Did the authorities make any changes to make those flights safer?  Thanks, K

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So should Global Entry help us to enter Canada when flying in to Vancouver? Last August, it took us over 2 hours to get to a kiosk to enter our info, then about 30 minutes more to find our luggage, and another 30 to get to an immigration official. She looked at our info, asked us if we were on a cruise, and wished us Bon Voyage. We took a taxi to the Pan Pacific hotel for our overnight. It's at the cruise port and will transfer your bags to the ship. Boarding from there was very easy even though we needed to go through US C&I to board the ship.

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1 hour ago, SWFLAOK said:

So should Global Entry help us to enter Canada when flying in to Vancouver?

 

No.  Global Entry functions for immigration purposes when entering the USA, not entering Canada.  Nexus, on the other hand, functions for immigration going in both directions.  And Pre-Check does neither.

 

 

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6 hours ago, SWFLAOK said:

So should Global Entry help us to enter Canada when flying in to Vancouver? ...

As FT says, no good at airport coming into Canada... but it IS good at the pier if you're heading to Alaska! Virtually all ships are precleared, as you experienced before, but you may not have been aware there's a NEXUS/GE line as you are 'entering' the USA at the pier. Just take your physical card with you, as you may have to show it to be allowed into the shorter line (and at YVR heading back to the US, you always have to show the card).

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I am confused.  I’ve been to Alaska twice. I don’t remember any pier clearance except the bag screening. 

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16 hours ago, martincath said:

As FT says, no good at airport coming into Canada... but it IS good at the pier if you're heading to Alaska! Virtually all ships are precleared, as you experienced before, but you may not have been aware there's a NEXUS/GE line as you are 'entering' the USA at the pier. Just take your physical card with you, as you may have to show it to be allowed into the shorter line (and at YVR heading back to the US, you always have to show the card).

Thanks, that clarifies it for me. We weren't sure what to do going through US C&I to get on the ship in the Vancouver port since we had no idea that would occur. We arrived early and probably stood in line 5 minutes longer than we needed to if we had found the correct line, but when we showed our cards to the agent, we were waved right through.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, rcandkc said:

I am confused.  I’ve been to Alaska twice. I don’t remember any pier clearance except the bag screening. 

Where did you get on the ship? If it was Canada, then you had to go through US C&I if you were boarding a Regent cruise. Prior to 9/11, it may have been different.

Edited by SWFLAOK

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No, more recent.  We boarded in Vancouver.  Just not a big issue and no huge line or global entry machines.  Also, I was confused also thinking post meant a pier in Alaska.  Our cruises have been late August so maybe that is the difference. 

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10 hours ago, rcandkc said:

No, more recent.  We boarded in Vancouver.  Just not a big issue and no huge line or global entry machines.  Also, I was confused also thinking post meant a pier in Alaska.  Our cruises have been late August so maybe that is the difference. 

My reply was specific to the poster it was in response to (i.e. I meant someone boarding at Vancouver to go to a US port next, the most common situation for an AK cruise itinerary from here). The month makes no difference for prescreening, but the itinerary does - it happens on all cruises except those which visit another Canadian port, rather than a US one, immediately after Vancouver (preclearance legislation requires that the pax head to the US within hours, so it cannot be done unless the cruise goes directly to a US port after leaving Vancouver). It's usually the worst bottleneck during boarding, but still more efficient that having your ship cleared on arrival at e.g. Ketchikan would be!

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Currently on the Mariner.  Cool  and drizzly days for most of the last 8 days of our cruise.  Today in Wrangell was beautiful with abundant sunshine.  Layers are definitely the the way to dress.  The ship is in great shape.  Food is wonderful to outstanding.  Travel shipmates are fun and challenging in competitive events. Wrangell and Icy Strait Point our favorites so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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