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They do have it down better now - when they use the upstairs halls, they do cruise line steps first, then hold people until they can make it through security without much queuing.

 

CBP preclearance is still awful, but they've expanded the waiting areas into the space where cruise line activity used to happen.

 

If you have NEXUS, SENTRI or Global Entry, *bring the card*, as it can speed your CBP examination. You'll usually be directed to one of the middle agents.

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We boarded the Island at Canada Place on 8/3, and it was the quickest embark we've ever had. From stepping off the bus to entering our cabin couldn't have been 30 minutes (and our bags were already there). We had priority boarding, but the regular lines seemed short. I think we were the only ship.

Edited by bigchid
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We boarded the Island on 8/3, and it was the quickest embark we've ever had. From stepping off the bus to entering our cabin couldn't have been 30 minutes (and our bags were already there). We had priority boarding, but the regular lines seemed short. I think we were the only ship.

 

 

What time?

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I was going to start a new thread (I still might...) but here is the schedule for Canada Place for the rest of the season - hopefully it will help those who wonder how many ships are in on their day. :)

 

http://www.portvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Cruise-Schedule-2016-April-27-F.pdf <--Click here, 2016 Canada Place cruise ship schedule

 

.

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In May with new hires, CBP getting up to speed manpower wise and with 3 ships along side it can be pretty crazy at Canada Place. However for the remainder of the Alaska season things move pretty smoothly. When we get into mid-September with repositionings and again 3 ships tied up, it can be busy but it's not nearly as bad as May.

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  • 8 months later...

Thoughts...

  • it depends on your PAT time.
  • avoiding 11:30 to 1:30pm... that's when most people arrive and US customs get backlogged.
  • some love to show up around 2pm.... but you miss out on the welcome lunch.... that you paid for.

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The thing to remember is that - compared to all US ports - there's an extra step involving the US CBP folks who work here and prescreen you for entry into the US (airport and train station all year round, seasonal cruises where the next port is American - i.e. virtually every Alaska & Hawaii cruise, and most of the Coastals too). So there's an extra bottleneck in addition to the usual Security and Cruiseline Check-in.

 

All-in-all, if you arrive early (10am) you'll hang around for an hour or so before boarding begins, then probably get through each queue fast - say 75-90mins from turning up to being on board. If you show up as late as possible - but at least 90mins pre-departure - there's no waiting at all and progress through the queues is also very rapid. Show up anywhere 11am to 2pm, and the max queue time depends on several factors - predominantly how many other pax, guesstimated down to a simpler 'how many ships that day?' which you can see on the schedule linked above.

 

One ship? No problem - queues move fairly fast. Two ships? CBP starts to be a bit of a bottleneck, and other queues also get longer, but as long as you beat the peak noon-1pm it'll probably not be too bad. Three ships? Long, long queues right through until at least 2pm. The crux is that CBP only have so many stations to process the pax so as soon as they hit capacity all the earlier queues simply stop moving (CBP have a modest number of seats in their area, and they really do not like to see more people sent in that there's room for).

 

I'm now an avowed Late Arriver - there's nothing so mellow as arriving after a great massage from your regular RMT in the morning at a fraction of the price of onboard, with no hard sell of weird goop for your skin/hair/karma; a really good lunch on land that's so much better than anything you'll see at even the real dining room let alone the buffet; and the quiet joy of dropping your bag and walking through every queue without even stopping except to actually talk to the CBP agent and check-in staff. You can replicate the very last part of that by being the first person to show up in the morning - but you also have to add on at least an hour or more (it takes a along time to Zero out three ships...) before you get to actually start moving through the queues.

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Thanks for all the feedback.

 

I sail May 6 so it looks like there will be 3 ships in port! UGH.

That's not just a three-shipper - it's the first three-shipper of the season. The absolute worst possible day of each year at Canada Place - some new port staff, new CBP, possibly new & different procedures from prior years even for the experienced folks... ghastly. I'd aim for as close to 3pm as you can tolerate!

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guesstimated down to a simpler 'how many ships that day?' which you can see on the schedule linked above.

 

One ship? No problem - queues move fairly fast. Two ships? CBP starts to be a bit of a bottleneck, and other queues also get longer, but as long as you beat the peak noon-1pm it'll probably not be too bad. Three ships? Long, long queues right through until at least 2pm. The crux is that CBP only have so many stations to process the pax so as soon as they hit capacity all the earlier queues simply stop moving (CBP have a modest number of seats in their area, and they really do not like to see more people sent in that there's room for).

 

 

Do all passengers go through the same queues (check in, screening, CBP and whatever else) and then split up to board the different ships or does each ship have its own queues from beginning to end?

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That's not just a three-shipper - it's the first three-shipper of the season. The absolute worst possible day of each year at Canada Place - some new port staff, new CBP, possibly new & different procedures from prior years even for the experienced folks... ghastly. I'd aim for as close to 3pm as you can tolerate!

 

Hopefully they get some practice the day before when there are 2 ships.

Ruby Princess and NCL Jewell

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Here is what Canada Place looks like when arriving to embark.

 

IMG_3320.jpg

 

Bus and taxi dropoff area.

 

IMG_3321.jpg

 

Porters are available to take bags.

 

IMG_3322.jpg

 

entering the cruise terminal. you go upstairs Check in with the cruise line, then head back down here to go through Security.

 

IMG_3323.jpg

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