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Choosing between two Excursions in Vancouver

Which tour is better?  

2 members have voted

  1. 1. Which tour is better?

    • Go ahead and switch to the Alternate Tour
      2
    • Wait! Switch back to the Original Tour
      0


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We've booked one post-cruise tour but we are going to switch to an alternate tour in an hour or so when the tour operator opens. However, we would still appreciate insights into the differences between the two tours - especially what we might be missing by switching. (We could switch back, at least for a while.)

 

I don't understand why I would have chosen the tour we chose originally, so I can only assume that the other tour was simply not offered. However, maybe I've forgotten something about the original tour?

 

Original Tour:

  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk
  • Grouse Mountain Skyride, Refuge for Endangered Wildlife

Alternate Tour:

  • Stanley Park, totem poles, Prospect Point Lookout
  • Drive by English Bay
  • Gastown
  • Chinatown
  • Robson Street
  • Canada Place and Vancouver Harbor
  • Granville Island
  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk

Incidentally, this is on the day we disembark from our cruise, and we have a red-eye flight home that evening from YVR, if that matters.

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We've booked one post-cruise tour but we are going to switch to an alternate tour in an hour or so when the tour operator opens. However, we would still appreciate insights into the differences between the two tours - especially what we might be missing by switching. (We could switch back, at least for a while.)

 

I don't understand why I would have chosen the tour we chose originally, so I can only assume that the other tour was simply not offered. However, maybe I've forgotten something about the original tour?

 

Original Tour:

  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk
  • Grouse Mountain Skyride, Refuge for Endangered Wildlife

Alternate Tour:

  • Stanley Park, totem poles, Prospect Point Lookout
  • Drive by English Bay
  • Gastown
  • Chinatown
  • Robson Street
  • Canada Place and Vancouver Harbor
  • Granville Island
  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk

Incidentally, this is on the day we disembark from our cruise, and we have a red-eye flight home that evening from YVR, if that matters.

 

 

 

If this is your first (and possibly only) visit to Vancouver, choose the second, alternate tour. It offers a lot more. Vancouver is a wonderful city. Have a great time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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We've booked one post-cruise tour but we are going to switch to an alternate tour in an hour or so when the tour operator opens. However, we would still appreciate insights into the differences between the two tours - especially what we might be missing by switching. (We could switch back, at least for a while.)

 

I don't understand why I would have chosen the tour we chose originally, so I can only assume that the other tour was simply not offered. However, maybe I've forgotten something about the original tour?

 

Original Tour:

 

  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk
  • Grouse Mountain Skyride, Refuge for Endangered Wildlife

Alternate Tour:

  • Stanley Park, totem poles, Prospect Point Lookout
  • Drive by English Bay
  • Gastown
  • Chinatown
  • Robson Street
  • Canada Place and Vancouver Harbor
  • Granville Island
  • Drive over Lions Gate Bridge
  • Capilano Fish Hatchery
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge, Treetops Adventure, Cliffwalk

Incidentally, this is on the day we disembark from our cruise, and we have a red-eye flight home that evening from YVR, if that matters.

 

Second tour . You'll see more of Vancouver. If its cloudy or rainy , Grouse mountain will be a waste of time.

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While an individual visit to Grouse, the hatchery, and Cap definite has it's attractions even the best of the pre-packaged tours of these sites sucks due to simply not spending anywhere near enough time on-site (e.g. LandSea or Westcoast local companies' full versions, 5+ hours, not a cut-down version sold through the cruiselines which sucks even harder)

 

Cap is a poor-value location IMO - same price as Grouse but for less than half the potential entertainment time - but even it requires a couple of hours on-site to actually do all of the activities, take photos, etc. Grouse you can fill 4 hours easily between the various specific-timed animal shows, movie, lumberjacks plus the 'do whenever' bears, wolves, walking trails etc.

 

The hatchery - if you've never visited such a place before - is genuinely educational and interesting even if you're not super into the biology of salmon, but is hands-down the weakest of the three North Shore sites listed.

 

Drive time to all three of these from downtown and back is about 50-75 mins in total (they're all on the same road so travel between them is just a few minutes on the bus), then add another 30mins if you're also being dropped at the airport. So deduct 90mins from the official tour length, and that's how long you actually get to spend at all the sites. Best guess is an hour or so at Cap, a little less at the hatchery, 2 hours at Grouse - totally inadequate for all except perhaps the Hatchery.

 

My concern with the second tour is again total time spent - this looks like the bog-standard '3 hours on a bus' city tour plus Cap & the hatchery. Unless it is AT LEAST 7 hours long, you are still being stiffed in time on-site - and with a red eye flight it would be trivial to do the North Shore by yourself using the free shuttles to Cap and/or Grouse (the hatchery is easily walkable from Cap).

 

Personally I'd do the HOHO for the city tour part in the morning (cheaper and more flexible than the coach tours), then take a shuttle to Cap or Grouse in the afternoon, then have dinner downtown, then head to YVR - having sent my bags ahead using CDS at the pier. Total spend for 2 people approx CAD$250 including SkyTrain ticket.

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Unless it is AT LEAST 7 hours long, you are still being stiffed in time on-site
My bad. It was silly to leave out such a vital detail. The original tour was 6 1/2 hours. The alternate tour is 7 hours. Whew!

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My bad. It was silly to leave out such a vital detail. The original tour was 6 1/2 hours. The alternate tour is 7 hours. Whew!

I'd still do it independently myself, for maximum flexibility, but this should at least give you enough time to feel you weren't totally screwed out of your Cap entrance fee... I'd wager that you will have a lunch break on Granville Island - do get food here, even if you're not hungry pick up sandwiches or similar, as the only dining at Cap is distinctly underwhelming.

 

You should also ensure you have books/fully-charged phones to entertain yourselves at YVR, as you will likely be dropped off before you can check your luggage in (max 4 hours pre-flight, sometimes less depending on airline). If you do have more than a couple of hours to kill at YVR, make sure you check out the public art before security - we have a very attractive airport. Security and immigration queues should be relatively short by the time you arrive so doing stuff before security is risk-free; even if you're nervous travelers there's no need to go through until 2 hours before your flight.

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I'd still do it independently myself
We'll stick with the packaged tour, but thanks for the insight into how long it needs to be to not be stiffed in time on-site.

 

I'd wager that you will have a lunch break on Granville Island - do get food here, even if you're not hungry pick up sandwiches or similar, as the only dining at Cap is distinctly underwhelming.
Great to know. Thanks again.

 

You should also ensure you have books/fully-charged phones to entertain yourselves at YVR, as you will likely be dropped off before you can check your luggage in (max 4 hours pre-flight, sometimes less depending on airline).
What we would really like to do is have a really nice meal at the hotel. We've gotten various feedback vis a vis whether that would be doable given our luggage situation. Is 4 hours is enough time to check luggage, walk from the US terminal to the hotel, have dinner, get back, get through security and immigration - and will they let us do that, i.e., check luggage, then go to the hotel, etc.?

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What we would really like to do is have a really nice meal at the hotel. We've gotten various feedback vis a vis whether that would be doable given our luggage situation. Is 4 hours is enough time to check luggage, walk from the US terminal to the hotel, have dinner, get back, get through security and immigration - and will they let us do that, i.e., check luggage, then go to the hotel, etc.?

Ah, now I recall your previous posts - due to how US immigration operates on-site, I honestly have no idea if you are allowed to drop bags at check-in then go for a meal. Even if you CAN do it, I wouldn't like to risk it just in case CBP decide you are an unusual enough traveler to be worth flagging for secondary inspection (any behaviour outside the norm, and checking bags then leaving the airport is definitely Not Normal - they can't tell where you went even though the hotel is next-door and attached!)

 

You can definitely take your bags with you to eat at the hotel (Fairmont is a full-service fancy hotel, they will be able to hold your bags while you dine), then go through check-in, security, immigration. As long as you give yourselves two hours for that, should be plenty even on a 3-shipper - many pax are just racing to the airport for flights late morning/early afternoon so that's when the queues get ridiculous.

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We'll stick with the packaged tour, but thanks for the insight into how long it needs to be to not be stiffed in time on-site.

 

 

 

Great to know. Thanks again.

 

 

 

What we would really like to do is have a really nice meal at the hotel. We've gotten various feedback vis a vis whether that would be doable given our luggage situation. Is 4 hours is enough time to check luggage, walk from the US terminal to the hotel, have dinner, get back, get through security and immigration - and will they let us do that, i.e., check luggage, then go to the hotel, etc.?

 

 

 

If your luggage is being transported from the cruise terminal to the airport do not claim it until you have had dinner and returned to the airport, ready to go through immigration and security. If you have your luggage with you, keep it with you at dinner. (It’s awkward, I know). I believe you need to check your luggage at the same time you go through US customs & security. And once you’ve gone through customs and security there’s no reentry into Canada and dining away from the airport. Be sure to get to the airport at least 2 1/2 hours before your flight time to do the immigration, baggage check and security. Four hours is not necessary.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If your luggage is being transported from the cruise terminal to the airport do not claim it until you have had dinner and returned to the airport, ready to go through immigration and security.
Our luggage will be with us on the city tour, in the hold of the tour bus.

 

If you have your luggage with you, keep it with you at dinner. (It’s awkward, I know).
This is my preference. If we can get it from the tour bus to baggage check-in, then we can get it from the hotel restaurant to baggage check-in, and I know bell services would prefer to get tipped for watching our luggage, but I don't like the idea of being separated from our luggage so soon before we have to catch our flight.

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Our luggage will be with us on the city tour, in the hold of the tour bus.

 

 

 

This is my preference. If we can get it from the tour bus to baggage check-in, then we can get it from the hotel restaurant to baggage check-in, and I know bell services would prefer to get tipped for watching our luggage, but I don't like the idea of being separated from our luggage so soon before we have to catch our flight.

 

 

 

If you are dining at one of the airport hotels (shuttle bus or short taxi ride to get there) the hotel can hold your luggage in the check room while you dine in the restaurant.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If you are dining at one of the airport hotels (shuttle bus or short taxi ride to get there)
We're talking about the hotel that is right there attached to the terminal, right by the US concourses.

 

the hotel can hold your luggage in the check room while you dine in the restaurant.
No thanks. To be honest, I don't trust the check room to be timely enough in response to my retrieval request to chance it right before a flight home. Also, I take seriously the question asked as to whether my luggage has been out of my control during the last few hours, and really see no benefit to me to allow that to happen. I'll keep my luggage with me and if that's not good enough then I'll eat elsewhere, whichever they prefer.

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We're talking about the hotel that is right there attached to the terminal, right by the US concourses.

 

No thanks. To be honest, I don't trust the check room to be timely enough in response to my retrieval request to chance it right before a flight home. Also, I take seriously the question asked as to whether my luggage has been out of my control during the last few hours, and really see no benefit to me to allow that to happen. I'll keep my luggage with me and if that's not good enough then I'll eat elsewhere, whichever they prefer.

 

You could check in for your flight and clear security . Then have a meal in the gate area.

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That's something that I've looked into. Do you have any specific recommendations? Everything there seemed pretty mediocre. This is the end of really great vacation for a very important Milestone. We were hoping to get something a little bit better than Burger King. Even Tim Hortons appears to only have one vegetarian entree on its menu and it's a grilled cheese. Bleh.

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

Edited by bUU

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That's something that I've looked into. Do you have any specific recommendations? Everything there seemed pretty mediocre. This is the end of really great vacation for a very important Milestone. We were hoping to get something a little bit better then McDonalds.

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

Their no MacDonalds behind security at YVR. A couple of decent restaurants denied security. They both are sit down type.

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Yes I remembered after I posted that it was a Burger King, not a McDonald's.

 

Globe@YVR looks promising but it is before security. Still it seems really well situated for us to have dinner and then check in for our flight.

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

Edited by bUU

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Yes I remembered after I posted that it was a Burger King, not a McDonald's.

 

Globe@YVR looks promising but it is before security. Still it seems really well situated for us to have dinner and then check in for our flight.

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

 

 

 

Global @ YVR looks like a very nice place to eat. It’s quite expensive. I wanted to go but my wife did not want to spend so much. My view was - “What the heck” you’re still on vacation until you actually get home.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Yes and this is a very special milestone vacation and this is the last meal before heading home.

 

This message may have been drafted using voice recognition. Please forgive any typos.

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