Getting from SeaTac airport to vancouver

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#1
Rochester, New York
882 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
We are taking a Disney cruise in late August 2011. We looked up the flights and it is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper to fly into SeaTac instead of directly to Vancouver.

Our first thought was to rent a car and drive, but no one seems to want to rent a one-way to Vancouver…

We are now looking at the train and the bus service. Any thought on one over the other?
#2
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,687 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I am very surprised about the car rental...one ways with a drop are done hundreds of times a day between the two cities...Enterprise may be the exception.

The other alternative besides the car and train is Quick Coach. www.quickcoach.com/
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#3
Colorado, USA
442 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I took the Quick Coach a couple of weeks ago and man, that was one looooong ride (SeaTac to Hyatt on Burrard). If I do it again I will take the train. The wi-fi promised on the bus was spotty, at best, could have been that particular coach. If I had heard about the smell from the onboard restroom before I had bought and paid for our tickets, I would have thought twice. When we stopped for passengers and especially at the border, the smell was horrible! When they shut down the engine, and therefore the air conditioning, it was really uncomfortable. The outside temps were in the low 70s.

Learned a lesson on that one...
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#4
Redmond WA
8,272 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by hexdragon
We are taking a Disney cruise in late August 2011. We looked up the flights and it is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper to fly into SeaTac instead of directly to Vancouver.

Our first thought was to rent a car and drive, but no one seems to want to rent a one-way to Vancouver…

We are now looking at the train and the bus service. Any thought on one over the other?
There have been lots of trip reports over the summer from people who rented one-way. It's often tricky to pickup in one country and return in another but obviously some of the rental agencies have worked it out. Budget has a location next to Canada Place; give them a call and speak to someone, or call any of the larger companies.
The Amtrak schedule can be a little misleading. If you look closely, most of the trips are by bus. According to past reports the train is scenic and no customs delays. The hwy drive isn't bad though. Maybe the schedule will dictate your choice.
#5
5,606 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Originally posted by hexdragon
We are taking a Disney cruise in late August 2011. We looked up the flights and it is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper to fly into SeaTac instead of directly to Vancouver.

Our first thought was to rent a car and drive, but no one seems to want to rent a one-way to Vancouver…
How very strange.
I wonder if you happened to pick a date where they were all sold out in advance because of some special event.
What date do you want?

I just plugged in a random date in August and Alamo, Hertz, Avis, National and Budget were all showing one-way rentals from SeaTac to Vancouver in the $150 - $180 range (total including tax in $US).

The last time we were at SeaTac airport, we just walked down the row of rental car counters comparing prices and they all had cars available to drive to Vancouver, at prices lower than what I just saw online.
#6
5,361 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have done this various ways.

We rented a car in Seattle, left it in the cruise terminal for the week, picked it up and drove back to Seattle. This worked very well, but obviously only if you are on a round trip cruise. The wait at the border can be as much as two hours.

Our daughter and SIL once took the train. They reported it is a nice scenic ride. However they are young, fit, and traveling light, and could wallop their own luggage. Frankly for me it would not work.

All in all, really the simplest and easiest thing to do it to just take the ship's transfers from SEA. These should be readily available and your TA can book it for you. You just get off the plane and take your bags over to their assembly point and they take care of the rest.

Have a GREAT cruise!
#7
156 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Disney leaves Vancouver at 3 PM, so you'll probably need to be there no later than 1 PM.

By next year, there will only be one daily Cascades Amtrak train (#510) between Seattle and Vancouver. The good news is that it is scheduled to arrive at 11:40 AM, so you should have plenty of time to get to the port.

You will still definitely need a hotel room the night before since the train leaves around 7 AM. Hotels are pretty pricey near the station ($179+++) a little better near the airport (a couple of 1-stars for $45+).

Once you get to Vancouver, it's not far to the cruise terminals. A LOT closer than the airport is.

Just some facts to help you out with your decision making...

Good luck, and enjoy!
#8
Iowa
608 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Did this trip ealier this year. Here is what we did and I think it worked well. Booked a hotel near the airport that offered a shuttle. Luckily this hotel was within walking distance of the link light rail so we rode that to the chinatown station and walked over to the Amtrak. Train to VanCouver. Beautiful pleasant ride. Went by very fast, and you can move around. Large seats, lunch car, etc. Walked out of station in VanCouver and crossed a very small park to their sky train and for $1.50 rode that to the end. Stepped out of station and was staring down the ship at Canada Place. Obviously taxi's work for getting to and from the Amtrak but we were looking to save money. You have to account for the added cost of hotel, transfers and train and see if it is still cheaper than flying into VanCouver.

The Wonder is a BEAUTIFUL ship and I would love to be on her again. Alaska is absolutely amazing also. You will have a GREAT time.
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#9
Southern Plains
2,079 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We've taken the train a couple of times. Almost like a bonus excursion, and a cheap one at that. Scenery is amazing especially if sitting on the left-hand side of the train. Back to Seattle, we rented a car one-way in Vancouver (no problem and no drop fee, either, then anyway) once and took a bus once. Car-rental gets my vote hands down!

In Vancouver, if luggage isn't too much to handle, the Skytrain is a very inexpensive option for getting from depot to ship. Otherwise, taxi's can be had for next to nothing... it's not a long drive from depot to port.
#10
Rochester, New York
882 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Well we are going a day or two early to do some sightseeing in Vancouver, so timing will not be a problem. The luggage however will be. We have two women with "Princess Vesper" sized hair dryers (Spaceballs reference for those who didn't get the joke)

Maybe our organizer looked at only one rental place... I'll discuss it with him.
#11
1,189 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I looked in to one way car rentals and it can be done. Check around and you will find companies do rent one way, you may need to try different locations as there are often more than one pick up and drop off locations in Seattle and Vancouver. Also, look at the price, is it $200 each or total? If total for a few of you it may not be worth it to drive back to Seattle. Quick coach is around $50 each one way and a car rental when I priced it was around $100 plus gas for one day and one way.

Jen in SoCal

Originally posted by hexdragon
We are taking a Disney cruise in late August 2011. We looked up the flights and it is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper to fly into SeaTac instead of directly to Vancouver.

Our first thought was to rent a car and drive, but no one seems to want to rent a one-way to Vancouver…

We are now looking at the train and the bus service. Any thought on one over the other?