Cascades train Seattle to Vancouver night before cruise.

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#1
Seattle, Washington
443 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Just wondering if I could get a consensus from some that have taken the Amtrak Cascades train to Vancouver from Seattle the night before the cruise. We will be going on the Celebrity Solstice from Vancouver to Hawaii in September

My wife and I both have to work up until we leave and we have flights already booked back from Hawaii to Seattle (where we live). Our plan all along has been to take the train up the night before (leaves 6:50PM arrives 10:50PM). We figured this was reasonably safe considering we are still arriving the night before our cruise leaves.

So recently, my wife was talking to someone she works with that suggested this was a bad idea and that the train get's delayed all of the time and that it's super risky to take the train up the night before. She personally apparently missed a cruise once under the same scenario. I am wondering if this is at all probable or if my wife's co-worker was just really really unlucky. We do have the option of taking one way flight from Seattle to Vancouver the night before but it's much more expensive (about $200 per person vs. $35 per person including bag fees). I'd really rather save the $300+ to spend on the trip. I was also kinda looking forward to the train ride.

Can anyone speak from personal (or second hand) experience about this plan? Should we just suck it up and fly there the night before instead? As always thanks in advance for advice or suggestions.
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-Brandon
#2
canada
238 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I think the train to vancouver from seattle not being available is quite rare.it could be late but very seldom is cancelled.
The option is always to rent a car from seattle if the train is not available. It is only a 4 hour drive, It is a very enjoyable and the light is available late in the evening.

i suggest Go for it
#3
cruising.cockroach {at} gmail hotmail and yahoo
1,615 Posts
Joined May 2012
Maybe the co-worker was on the morning train that got delayed. What may stall the train is mud slides north of Seattle. In such case, you're put on busses.

Sure, go ahead and make a train reservation but also have a backup rental car reservation if it has been raining heavily before the departure date (disadvantage is that you may have to rent at SEA and pay all the wonderful taxes and fees). If taking the train, make a note of bail out points where you can get yourself to Vancouver.

I've driven quite a few times from SEA to the border in just over 2 hours. Perfectly legal time and speeds as I-5 is quiet that time of night (arrive in SEA after 9p). I think after 8p is a safe time.

There is also the choice of bussing: Quick Shuttle and Bolt Bus.
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#4
YVR & PDX
3,901 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Northbound that's the only train we've taken for years (since it takes us from our Portland pad back to Vancouver). Does it run late? Yes - sometimes very late (we've arrived at 2am before). But it always arrives, or Amtrak put on buses. The mudslides are very much a thing of the past - now extremely unusual instead of a fairly regular Springtime occurrence after many upgrades of track and hillsides above it in the vulnerable areas.

Delays are overwhelmingly due to both rail companies who own the tracks the Cascades runs on through OR and WA illegally prioritizing freight - there simply isn't the manpower or political will to force railways to obey the rules that passenger trains are supposed to get priority. If there's a freakish occurrence that stops the train entirely, Amtrak will swap you to buses - you will get here, it's as simple as that.

I can only recall one mention of a train so late it made people to miss a cruise - and that was a morning-of departure early last year when something went wrong en route and the train was not able to get to a station to unload pax onto buses for a long time IIRC. Night before you may suffer limited sleep - worst case I've heard of was a 7 hour delay, barely in time to turn it around to head back south, but that would still have gotten you here 10 hours before any cruise ship was scheduled to leave...
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#5
Vancouver, BC
8,051 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Take the train - it is a nice relaxing ride with minimal custom / border hassels....
Yes it may run a bit late but not usually anything to upset you about - especially as you are coming in the night before your cruise...
Enjoy
#7
Virginia
68 Posts
Joined Dec 2015
We took the train on July 11 and would do it again. We were about 30 minutes late... but no big deal. It was very relaxing to eat the gourmet sandwiches we brought and drink some wine while enjoying the view. And as I learned from cc, get to the station early so you can request a seat on the left of the train.
#8
California
197 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
We've done it once and will be doing it again in September for our Transpacific cruise. We were about 15 minutes late the first time, Was grateful to have US Customs come aboard and do the immigration check compared to the line for cars and buses we could see,
We've also done southbound and been very close to on time.
#9
14 Posts
Joined May 2013
I think the evening train would be fine. If you are late, you will still arrive before the cruise departs.

I do not advise taking the train the morning of the cruise. On Saturday, June 17, 2017 there was an engine problem on the Northbound train in the morning. The train did not arrive in Vancouver until after 3pm. Amtrak was not able to find busses- they tried but all of the busses were already booked. There were people on that train bound for the Princess cruise that left that afternoon at 4. Nobody I talked to seemed to know if they made it or not.

We took the morning Cascades on Sunday, June 18, 2017. According to the conductors, half the people on that train were catching cruises that afternoon (I think this may have been an exaggeration, but who knows?) While our train was fine, the Southbound that was supposed to leave Vancouver had engine problems and was stuck on our platform. We ended up sitting on the tracks waiting for over 2 hours for it to leave so we could pull in. When it finally passed us, it was empty. (I'm assuming they found busses for the passengers going South, because they would have been REALLY late.) Our train didn't arrive in the station until after 2pm and we really had to hustle to make our 4pm departure. We made it, but the amount of stress was not worth it. We would have been better off to rent a car, since coming in the night before was not an option for us.

According to fellow train passengers... If you miss boarding the boat in Vancouver, you cannot catch up to the cruise at another port, because you will have missed your international stop. Also, when you are on the train and it gets stuck, there is no option to get off and get a rental car. Once you cross the boarder, you have to stay on the train until you get to immigration.
#10
San Francisco Bay Area
1,757 Posts
Joined May 2001
Originally posted by boom_boom
We've done it once and will be doing it again in September for our Transpacific cruise. We were about 15 minutes late the first time, Was grateful to have US Customs come aboard and do the immigration check compared to the line for cars and buses we could see,
We've also done southbound and been very close to on time.
We're also taking the train from Seattle to Vancouver in September prior to the transpacific. Extra cautious, we're headed up two days before the beginning of the cruise and will use the extra time to explore Vancouver a bit.

Betsy and Mark
#11
La
3,266 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
How much is the train about and how far does it leave from the airport? Son and I will be going to whistler in April. Just starting my planning...

Appreciate any info-- will probably fly into vancouver but looking at seattle options too...
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#12
YVR & PDX
3,901 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by spleenstomper
How much is the train about and how far does it leave from the airport? Son and I will be going to whistler in April. Just starting my planning...

Appreciate any info-- will probably fly into vancouver but looking at seattle options too...
April, with minimal cruisers, means Saver tickets will remain available until close to departure date so $32pp. Both stations, Seattle & Vancouver, are downtown rather than near the airport. Budget $30 for a fixed-rate car service from SEA, or $3pp if you are traveling light enough you can handle your bags on LINK light rail which is conveniently located a block away.
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#13
La
3,266 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by martincath
April, with minimal cruisers, means Saver tickets will remain available until close to departure date so $32pp. Both stations, Seattle & Vancouver, are downtown rather than near the airport. Budget $30 for a fixed-rate car service from SEA, or $3pp if you are traveling light enough you can handle your bags on LINK light rail which is conveniently located a block away.
Thank you for the information. It is helpful.
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7/25/15 Elation 5 night Mexico
6/24/12 Conquest 7 night Roatan, Belize and Cozumel
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12/8/2008 Fantasy 5 night Mexico
6/4/2007 NCLA Pride of Hawaii 7 night
#14
Arkansas, USA
290 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
If I take the Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle, is their a Light Link Rail somewhere close that could take me to the airport? I'm sure the info is somewhere on here, but can't find it....Thanks in advance!!!
#15
YVR & PDX
3,901 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by cruis'n sus'n
If I take the Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle, is their a Light Link Rail somewhere close that could take me to the airport? I'm sure the info is somewhere on here, but can't find it....Thanks in advance!!!
Yes - very close! If you check on your Google, Bing etc. preferred map provider and look at King Street Station in Seattle you'll see that LINK can be accessed just a block away at the International District/Chinatown station. Depending how you exit Amtrak, you might have at most a 2.5 block walk up to Jackson, along to 5th, then to the station entrance (it's underground, but there are ticket machines at street level). Since both daily train arrive at non-rush hour times, noonish and super-late-o'clock, you should be able to take your bags without difficulty even though there are a few prior stops on LINK.
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