Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
princess_mom

Vancouver to Seattle travel

Recommended Posts

Hi all - I see this topic discussed often but need more advice to make a decision. We are arriving in Vancouver on the NCL Jewel, Aug 26, 8am. We (3 of us) need to get to Seattle that day. We are overnighting in Seattle and have plans to see as much as possible in the time we will have there. After researching travel options, I was going to use BoltBus - it is only $18pp and has great reviews. It leaves Vancouver 11:30am which would work for us, arrives Seattle 3:30pm which is ok but earlier would be better.

Amtrak has a thruway bus for $40pp which leaves Vancouver 9am, arrives Seattle 12:45, which would be great but dont think we could get off the ship and get to the station by 9am. Has anyone ever done that?

Third option is QuikShuttle, which is $43pp I think - its a little hard to understand their fare schedule. They have a 9am from Canada Place Pier which might work since we are right there and that gets to downtown Seattle at 1pm. If we miss the 9am, there is a 10am from the pier but it has many stops and doesn't arrive to downtown Seattle until 2:35pm, still earlier than BoltBus.

Thoughts from the experts? Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you've covered it yourselves pretty well already! Making it in time for a 9am Amtrak would be very feasible - it's a <15 minute cab ride even in traffic - BUT the cost per person makes it as bad or worse value than QuickShuttle. Amtrak buses, if it's one of their own rather than a charter from someone else, are also the absolute worst in the region (they make Greyhound look good!). Bolt have the nicest buses though, and their entire fleet is WiFi equipped - QuickShuttle has added real WiFi but not to all buses (some still have their weaselicious Y-Fi movies onboard, to enable them to say "yes we have <a thing that sounds like WiFi> to folks who call and enquire!). So if you feel that an extra 2-3 hours in Seattle is better than the same in Vancouver, and worth paying $25 pp extra for, definitely do QuickShuttle not Amtrak (and it is $43 to downtown Seattle).

 

Alternative to all of the above, but especially if you do decide you're willing to pay the $43pp, is to rent a car instead. Faster (no stops unless you want to make them - well, don't run the border obviously, but aside from that no stops!) and you can get on the road earlier (it's trivial to be off the ship and on the sidewalk by 8am if you self-disembark). No need to schlep bags at the border - all buses you have to assume that you will be personally moving your bags from the sidewalk inside for scanning, then back to the bus again, as drivers are only required to do the actual load/unload part. Choice of route to minimise border wait time - all buses use the same crossing, and while it does have a dedicated bus lane that's short so any delay for cars also delays you once it hits more than about 30 mins. And cost-wise if you shop around you can usually find cars for under $100, so it'll end up being cheaper even when you factor in a few gallons of gas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@martincath thanks so much for the advice. I tried to look for one-way car rentals and lowest price I'm finding is $200US and the only places that have availability are the airports. I don't really want to go near an airport when I dont have to 🙂 . I'll keep an eye out for any deals that come up, I do get emails from all the major rental companies. I guess for the one-ways it just depends on if they need cars moved from one location to another. 

I think I will rule out the Amtrak bus, too stressful. 

So still deciding between Quikshuttle and Bolt, Boltbus is the better deal and it would give us a few hours in Vancouver. Might as well enjoy our last morning on the ship and save a few bucks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, princess_mom said:

@martincath thanks so much for the advice. I tried to look for one-way car rentals and lowest price I'm finding is $200US and the only places that have availability are the airports. ...

No worries. With the car rentals you really need to check comparison sites that allow multiple locations and companies at once (Kayak works nicely) and keep checking rates. Add-on transport to the airport is very cheap here (SkyTrain is <$2 on weekends for Seniors, no more than $4.20 for anyone, anytime to get out to YVR) but if you also need to drop at SEA and then get back downtown the time certainly starts adding up even if it ain't many dollars. Sometimes it's nice to just sit down and let someone else do the driving too 😉

 

The most relaxing way to get there would be the train - which would give you most of the day in Vancouver and still get you to Seattle that evening - and at $34pp (with discounts for Seniors & kids) I find the value even better than Bolt due to the huge lack of hassle with immigration (preclear before boarding, just like at the airport, except it's literally just the folks on your train being processed) and nicer views than I5. If you have a downtown Seattle hotel, you could be tucked up in bed well before 11pm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bolt bus is owned by Greyhound lines, I thought that was kind of interesting. Last year I needed to get back to Sea-Tac airport from a cruise that ended in Vancouver B.C. I looked at the train, I looked at the Bolt bus which left from the train station and I looked at the Quick Shuttle. Quick Shuttle was the only transportation that went directly to Sea-Tac airport and picked up at Canada Place (Cruise terminal). It was an OK experience, the bus was OK, and we got back to Sea-Tac so it was all good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note Bolt Bus drops you on the sidewalk a couple of blocks from the International District light rail station in Seattle, so you'll have to wrangle your luggage to the station and down to the platform, then of course from the airport station to the terminal (under cover, around 10-15 minutes walk.)

 

google_place_photo?photoreference=CmRaAA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we have needed to get to Seattle from Vancouver, we take the short flight. Very easy and quick.😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2019 at 10:00 AM, Gardyloo said:

Note Bolt Bus drops you on the sidewalk a couple of blocks from the International District light rail station in Seattle, so you'll have to wrangle your luggage to the station and down to the platform, then of course from the airport station to the terminal (under cover, around 10-15 minutes walk.)

 

 

@Gardyloo question about the drop-off location - we will need to get to the Crowne Plaza on 6th Ave from the bus drop-off with luggage. I guess Uber is the best option? It would be hard to get our luggage down to the platform and on the train. We'll have alot due to spending 10 days in Alaska.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2019 at 9:33 AM, Husky61 said:

When we have needed to get to Seattle from Vancouver, we take the short flight. Very easy and quick.😄

Just did this.  While the flight was shirt, security and customs were a zoo! Staff yelling from the time I entered until I got to Customs.  You also have to walk a LONG way to get to the terminal (Air Canada) and then use steps to get on the plane.  I would go for bus, train, or car before I did that again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted this over on the HAL board when I got back from Seattle last week:

 

"The conventional wisdom on this board is to book HAL's transfer from Vancouver (Canada Place) to SeaTac, rather than use a private transfer such as Quick Shuttle.  I've used Quick Shuttle numerous times and have been pleased with their price and service.  I decided to give HAL's transfer a try after my recent Alaskan cruise, and was dissatisfied with several aspects of the service.  This information may prove helpful to those on future cruises ending in Vancouver.

 

1.  We had to retrieve our own bags in the terminal and schlep them to the bus (I use the term "bus" loosely; I'll explain below).  My understanding was that our tagged bags would be taken directly to the bus.  We were directed into the wrong line and then had to backtrack.  Canada Place in general is a mess.  I was an in transit passenger the week before and no one seemed to know what to so with us, but I digress.  That will be a separate post. 

 

2.  There were 13 of us, but the "bus" (actually a 12-passenger van) could only hold 11 of us + the driver.  I don't know what they did with the other 2 passengers.  We were supposed to be transported in a motor coach, which is what Quick Shuttle uses.  The van was very crowded and uncomfortable.  

 

3.  According to proponents of HAL's service in this forum, the bus was supposed to be sealed to make the border crossing easier and quicker.  We spent 50-55 min. at the border, and had to schlep our bags out of the van and into the inspection station.  It would have taken longer had our driver not interceded on our behalf and explained that we were all US citizens.  We were able to get in a separate line from the 5-6 buses and vans already there and being processed.  I've spent as much time or less (mostly less) at the border on Quick Shuttle.  

 

4.  The price of HAL's transfer was $69 vs. $59 for Quick Shuttle.  And as a senior I can get a $4 discount.  So $55 vs. $69." 

 

Roz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/17/2019 at 5:41 PM, CynCyn said:

Just did this.  While the flight was shirt, security and customs were a zoo! Staff yelling from the time I entered until I got to Customs.  You also have to walk a LONG way to get to the terminal (Air Canada) and then use steps to get on the plane.  I would go for bus, train, or car before I did that again!

Interesting!  We live in Washington and have taken that flight several times and never encountered what you did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Husky61 said:

Interesting!  We live in Washington and have taken that flight several times and never encountered what you did.

Which airline do you use?

Share this post


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

Which airline do you use?

Alaska/Horizon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’re (U.S. citizens) flying Alaska Air from Seattle to YVR tomorrow evening.  How much time would allow to get through immigration and collect our luggage? Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By far the biggest factor is how many others are also arriving about the same time as your flight... you might be able to waltz through in a matter of moments, or it could take an hour.

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
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • 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
×
×
  • Create New...