Jump to content
kentuckytravelgirl

What is the best way to get to Vancouver from Seattle for Alaska Cruise

Recommended Posts

Thinking of booking a cruise out of Vancouver to Alaska.  We usually fly SWA and would like to use our points to make this flight.  Should we fly from KY to Seattle and rent a car, take a train, a bus or book another flight from Seattle to Vancouver?  Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My preference would be to fly. About a one hour flight. The price does vary from $100 to $300 each way.

The train gives you a relaxing journey through some amazing scenery. 

 

Price out your options and see want works best for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cascades route does pass through some amazing scenery, that you won't see anywhere but from the train. However, it IS Amtrak. Keep that in mind and plan accordingly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, wwcruisers said:

The Cascades route does pass through some amazing scenery, that you won't see anywhere but from the train. However, it IS Amtrak. Keep that in mind and plan accordingly.

 

AmTrak on BNSF rail track.   Latter is prone to mud slides at more than a few places along the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used Quick Shuttle numerous times, and have always been satisfied with their service.  It's time for pick up and drop off of cruise passengers at Canada Place.  You can book online with them.

 

Roz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kentuckytravelgirl said:

We don't have any dealings with AMTRAC in Kentucky.  Is it not reliable?  The train ride sounds like something we would enjoy.

Cascades is basically unlike any other Amtrak service, except maybe the Acela up in the northeast - completely different carriages and much better reliability than the typical Amtrak route. While there are issues with freight-prioritization like all other passenger trains, the mudslides have a) hugely reduced in frequency as the parts of the track that were bad for this have been improved steadily over the years, and b) are even less common in cruise season as the weather is statistically much dryer by the time May rolls around - unless you're taking one of the earliest possible cruises (Princess seems to have bumped their cruise season well into April these days) it's pointless worrying about mudslides - except those from Mississippi served in a glass;-)

 

The morning train is also VERY reliable - the train itself sits in Seattle overnight, so it leaves on time almost all the time. Such a short ride also means that there's not much scope for delays from freight - the official on-time stats look worse than the real impact though, as such a short trip means Amtrak have to list the train as Late if it slips just 10mins beyond the scheduled time and a single bridge or signal problem or freight train delay and the train becomes officially late! If they still used the old 30/90 standard, the Cascades morning train would be running at something like 98% On Time - and even for a same day cruise you have at least three hours of padding to get to the dock...

 

The evening train comes from Eugene though, more than doubling the distance traveled, so there's that much more time for problems with signals and freight trains - unfortunately that's the one we are always on as it's the one that comes through Portland, but even then we've seen it being tight to the schedule ~2/3rds of the time the rest of the time it can end up out of the 'pocket' between freight trains and slips further and further behind. Basically it's either within a half-hour of it's scheduled 11pm arrival in Vancouver, or it's 2+ hours late (which can mean no SkyTrain running, so more of a wait in the taxi queue even for folks traveling light).

 

Personally we thoroughly enjoy taking Amtrak, and the main reasons we don't ride it every time between our homes is that it's useful having the car in Portland for shopping and the train schedule means an extra day off work for the missus unless we go down and come back on a weekend (we have to take the morning train down and the evening train back, as only one a day does the VAC-PDX route rather than stopping at SEA). It is by far the most civilized way to make the trip (someone else drives, the views are nice, you can get up and walk around whenever you want, the toilets are HUGE compared to planes and buses, the onboard food is pretty reasonably priced and more than tolerable quality, and there's even a passable selection of local booze) and hands-down the least annoying way to cross the border - northbound you literally do not even STOP at the border, just roll right on through to Vancouver where you are processed by CBSA on arrival. Cars and buses have queues that can vary from a few minutes to three hours plus, at the airport you can still take an hour these days even with kiosks if you land at the same time as some of the big widebodies from Asia, whereas the officers processing the train have only one job and there's literally nobody else going through except you & your fellow train pax!

 

To compare with the alternatives - if you just want to be on the road as fast as possible, renting a car at SEA is likely quickest as you can book it for whenever your plane arrives and, as long as you don't hit a really bad queue at the border, you'll get to Vancouver quicker than any other way (including flying most likely, as while the time in the air is short you have the whole '2 hours+ preflight' for int'l departures as well as Canadian immigration then getting from airport to downtown).

 

Easiest is probably QuickShuttle, as they go from SEA airport (but they do gouge you for that convenience - it's cheaper for couples to take a cab downtown, ride Bolt to Vancouver, then another cab from the bus station to the pier - and Bolt has newer, nicer buses).

 

Nicest though definitely has to be Amtrak - the only real downside with the train is very limited choice of times - one each, morning and evening, so the odds of your flight fitting tightly around Amtrak is slim - but if you plan a day or more in Seattle before coming up, the train for me is the best option as well as one of the cheapest (even with a cab to downtown, and another in Vancouver to the pier or a hotel, you're looking at ~US$120 or less all-in for two people from Seatac to wherever you want in downtown Vancouver).

 

Best - well, that's up to what YOU think!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all, especially MartinCath for the information!  I feel so much better about having booked this cruise.  I was afraid it was going to cost me an arm and a leg to get from Seattle to Vancouver!  Looking forward to spending some time before and after the cruise in both cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We live in the Seattle area.

Daughter and her family and group of friends all missed their Vancouver cruise due to an Amtrak delay. Stuck on the train for 3 hours and Amtrak would not let them off.

Personally, I’d fly from SEA to Vancouver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick Shuttle goes right from Seattle airport to Vancouver. At least from here way less expensive than flying to Vancouver, shuttle drops you off right at port

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

Why not fly directly to Vancouver.

Notice the OP said she wanted to fly Southwest with points. Southwest does not go to Vancouver, but does fly into SEATAC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Splinter said:

Notice the OP said she wanted to fly Southwest with points. Southwest does not go to Vancouver, but does fly into SEATAC.

Okay,  is there no partner lines.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

Okay,  is there no partner lines.

 

Nope. Southwest is rather independent and does not belong to any alliance. It's the cattle call airline of the US - no assigned seats (ever), boarding by specific number on boarding pass (Lord help you if you are B23 and try to board before B22) and no frills. But hey, fares can be cheap, two checked bags included and even lowest fare is applicable to future travel within a year with no change fee. It's a personal choice thing ... I choose to avoid SW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So can't they just fly to Seattle on their points and then onto Vancouver with a differing line?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

So can't they just fly to Seattle on their points and then onto Vancouver with a differing line?

Yes Mic, they could - which is no doubt why they specifically mentioned that as one of the options!!!! It's even been recommended by at least one person actually answering OP already... is your curiosity fully satisfied now? 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. I suppose it is.

 

Hang on, now I am wondering what cabin class they actually booked on the cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

Yes. I suppose it is.

 

Hang on, now I am wondering what cabin class they actually booked on the cruise.

 

Why does that matter?

 

And despite what Dog Lover said, SW is a viable option, especially for those of us who don't live in a major hub city.  I've done the Seattle to Vancouver or Vancouver to Seattle run on Quick Shuttle so I could fly SW.  Flying from Nashville to Vancouver is very expensive and there are few flights. Southwest is my "go to" airline. I don't care if someone thinks I'm low class for doing that.

 

Roz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Roz said:

 

Why does that matter?

 

And despite what Dog Lover said, SW is a viable option, especially for those of us who don't live in a major hub city.  I've done the Seattle to Vancouver or Vancouver to Seattle run on Quick Shuttle so I could fly SW.  Flying from Nashville to Vancouver is very expensive and there are few flights. Southwest is my "go to" airline. I don't care if someone thinks I'm low class for doing that.

 

Roz

 

I don't recall stating that someone is low class for flying Southwest. It's just a matter choice. I have flown Southwest on short hops when necessary but I personally don't like the experience. It is what it is ... a low cost carrier. The fact that Southwest doesn't belong to any airline alliance is factual, not judgemental.

 

Southwest is heads and tails above low, low, low cost carriers such as Allegiant or Spirit, but to each his/her own.

 

I totally agree with you that Nashville is a challenge since it's not a major hub of any airline. Great city, btw, although it's changed dramatically since I went to college there in the 80's. I liked the old vibe better, but again, personal preference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Roz said:

 

Why does that matter?

Roz

It doesn't but curiosity being as it is …..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So martincath, (and thank you so much for your good advice last years as we disembarked in Vancouver following our Princess Glaciers cruise), it sounds as if you would absolutely recommend that morning train for a local Seattle resident taking the northbound Glaciers cruise.  Reason I ask is that our son now lives in Seattle (Queen Anne) and could easily leave his home early in the morning on the cruise day, catch the train at King St. station, and make a Princess northbound with time to spare if I'm hearing you correctly.  Does Amtrak come into Vancouver somewhere near the central city and the cruiseport that I'm familiar with from my disembarkation last May?  Thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jsglow said:

So martincath, (and thank you so much for your good advice last years as we disembarked in Vancouver following our Princess Glaciers cruise), it sounds as if you would absolutely recommend that morning train for a local Seattle resident taking the northbound Glaciers cruise.  Reason I ask is that our son now lives in Seattle (Queen Anne) and could easily leave his home early in the morning on the cruise day, catch the train at King St. station, and make a Princess northbound with time to spare if I'm hearing you correctly.  Does Amtrak come into Vancouver somewhere near the central city and the cruiseport that I'm familiar with from my disembarkation last May?  Thanks. 

Glad to help last time around, and again now! Personally I'd always suggest traveling the day before, but the morning train day of is very low risk. I've heard of only two occasions when it was delayed enough unexpectedly en route that anyone missed a ship - one of them reported above! Since any station en route can be reached by buses, and Amtrak does have a good sized fleet of those already plus contracts with other local firms to charter, whenever there's been a problem with the track it usually doesn't take long to get buses dispatched to start ferrying people around. Super rare issues that block the train from moving and prevent it getting to a station happen but frankly it's more likely that some debacle happens with a flight to delay it by 3-4 hours than a train!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, jsglow said:

...Does Amtrak come into Vancouver somewhere near the central city and the cruiseport that I'm familiar with from my disembarkation last May?  Thanks. 

Sorry for the double reply - a friend came round for dinner early so I just hit Submit on what I had typed, didn't get around to a complete answer...

 

Yes, the train comes into downtown Vancouver - Pacific Central Station to be exact, just south of Chinatown and a couple of blocks east of the Seawall at the Science World end of False Creek (if you wandered around/HOHOed the big glass 'golfball' sort of like a mini-EPCOT should ring a bell). So in terms of getting to the pier if arriving Day Of, hop in a cab (they know the train schedule, there will be a lineup) and pay $12-15 to get to Canada Place.

 

Unless your son works into the evening, he could also take the evening train the night before (departs Seattle 7pm, but checking in an hour before is needed to get the best chance of a water-side seat - and checking a bag cuts off 45mins before departure IIRC).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
      • Win a 7-Night Romantic Danube Luxury River Cruise with AmaWaterways
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×