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We will be sailing out of Vancouver on a pacific coastal to Los Angeles.  I recently saw something on cruise critic that said you are taken to a room

and then have to wait in some area before we proceed to passport security.  Can someone explain the procedure to me.  We are staying at the 

hotel in the airport and then going to the cruise terminal the next day.  We are not traveling as any group but have made our own arrangements.  It sounds

like this maybe more than we want to do as my husband has some health issues and will require a wheel chair on arrival. Any information would be 


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Posted (edited)

I’m not at all sure what you are worried about. Are you talking about Canadian customs at the airport or US customs at the cruise terminal?  Canadian customs at the airport are friendly and efficient.


At the cruise port You will be pre clearing US customs and immigration.   The procedure is no different than clearing customs at an airport. You shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever.  Especially if your husband is in a wheelchair.  Ask your cruise company what help they can provide.  Normally they have a representative at the airport.  The size of your ship, other ships in port are factors.  Don’t show up too too early or at the last minute. You will be fine.

Edited by Earl Rosebery

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I am asking about arrival at Vancouver airport. I read that after arriving in Vancouver you are escorted to a waiting room where you wait until you met with Canadian customs. I was concerned with the  length of time and this procedure. We have always just gone on our own to customs and to get our luggage. We are overnighting at the Fairmont in the airport and going to the pier the next day. We are saying on NCL Joy which I think is the only ship on port that day.

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Posted (edited)

You've been  misinformed, or are confusing reports of US Preclearance at the pier with what happens at the airport. Like any foreign country, when flying in from the US you will make your way to Immigration screening as soon as you are off the plane. Depending which gate that might involve a long walk, so ensure that you request in advance a wheelchair or buggy transfer - if you are driven around on a golf buggy I guess you could see that as being 'escorted' but it's not to a waiting room, it's to a huge room with many queues to do your immigration right away, no staging area first like at the pier.


Once you get to the big CBSA room, you can join any queue except the ones that specify Canadian Citizens or NEXUS (unless you have a NEXUS membership of course). The wait time is VERY random! If just your plane arrived in the last 20mins, you might walk right up to a kiosk - if three widebodies all touched down about the same time you could be waiting almost an hour to get to the front of the queue.


If you are being escorted, they might drive you over to a dedicated Accessible line which should be shorter and only used by folks in wheelchairs etc., but that seems to depend how busy the room is (I don't always recall seeing any kind of dedciated queue for folks with mobility issues). We have Kiosks to process you, as well as manned desks - the kiosks are usually faster and they are very simple to use; they do Customs declaration as well as your immigration so you don't need to fill out a form manually if you use a kiosk.


Once you are allowed entry to Canada, you then go collect your baggage and hand over your Customs form (unless you declared something illegal/license requiring, it's usually just 'hand it over and keep walking') then head on out to the welcome lounge. Many leaflets for tourist sites, green vested volunteers to answer questions, lots of folks waiting to meet their relatives, some huge statues to make for easy 'meet me at the big statues grampa!' meetups, that sort of thing. Signs on the ceiling point the way to SkyTrain, taxis, limos, etc. but since you're in the Fairmont you hang a left and just keep walking to the hotel entrance which is inside the same building.


Next morning, you can walk back through the airport to the Taxi rank - it will cost $35 exactly (CAD) and you can pay with Visa/MasterCard, or US cash at a poor exchange rate.

Edited by martincath

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Thank you Martincath, that is exactly what I needed to know....that is what I thought should happen.  I just wanted to make sure I can make it as easy for us as possible...we will definitely get a wheelchair....thank you

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