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Help with Seattle/Vancouver Planning(dreaming)!


tjatczak
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I know I can count on these boards for help and many suggestions. 

We are looking at Vancouver to LA re-positioning Cruise NEXT year (October 2020). I know we can't book air yet, but I have several questions as it appears flights to Seattle will be cheaper. Cruise departs from Vancouver on Monday and we are looking at coming in on Saturday. If we fly into Seattle and stay there Saturday and Sunday what is the best/easiest way to get to Vancouver? Is there a limo or shuttle service or would it be best to go by train or??? I know this is probably asked a lot, but I could not find any answers. Any other information is welcome. THANKS in advance for your help.

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37 minutes ago, tjatczak said:

I know I can count on these boards for help and many suggestions. 

We are looking at Vancouver to LA re-positioning Cruise NEXT year (October 2020). I know we can't book air yet, but I have several questions as it appears flights to Seattle will be cheaper. Cruise departs from Vancouver on Monday and we are looking at coming in on Saturday. If we fly into Seattle and stay there Saturday and Sunday what is the best/easiest way to get to Vancouver? Is there a limo or shuttle service or would it be best to go by train or??? I know this is probably asked a lot, but I could not find any answers. Any other information is welcome. THANKS in advance for your help.

 

There are a lot of options.

Firstly, a Limo is probably out of the question. It's longer than you might expect (150 miles); I would guess $400 as a starting price for a limo.
Train: Amtrak run twice daily service from Seattle to Vancouver (make sure you select Vancouver BC - Pacific Station, and not Vancouver WA)

Quick Shuttle Coach (runs from airport, and cruise terminals to Vancouver cruise terminal); fairly pricey, but takes you straight to the ship

Bolt Bus; the cheapest option if you can snag some of the $10 tickets.

Air:  Horizon(Alaska), Air Canada Express(Air Canada) & Compass (Delta) all fly SEA-YVR - but it's not cheap.

 

 


 

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Ditto, what Scott said for your options.  

 

My preferences in order and reasons:

  1. Amtrak:  relaxing, comfortable ride, can get up and stretch your legs. Not too expensive. Only a short cab ride to the port in Vancouver.
  2. Quick Shuttle: Takes you directly to the port.  
  3. Bolt Bus:  Inexpensive. As with Amtrak, need a cab from station to Canada Place pier. 

Not recommended:

  1. Limo/private car service: Only if you have money to burn 
  2. Air:  Expensive, plus you have all the inconveniences of air travel.
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In cost terms, flying from Nashville (looks like that's your closest major airport) to Seattle this October costs around $100 - $110 per person one way, while flying from BNA to Vancouver costs around $140.  Of course next year's prices aren't available yet, but I'd expect the same sort of difference will apply.

 

Counting ground transportation costs (bus, train, or rental car) as well as taxis between the Seattle airport and train station or bus stops if applicable, the total travel cost is going to be considerably higher with the Seattle plan, and will involve a lot more hassle.  

 

Now of course if you want to spend some time in our fair city before the cruise, fine, but if it was me I'd look at all the costs (including probably an extra hotel night due to flight or train times) and I expect you'll find it's cheaper just to fly to YVR at the beginning.

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I'd be inclined to look at GL's point first - sounds like you were not looking into touring Seattle until you started thinking about flight prices, so why not figure out the comparative total cost and time to get to Vancouver either via Seattle or just coming straight here first & foremost? This does mean waiting until flight prices actually become available if you want to work with firm numbers, but realistically you don't have very long to wait before you'll start seeing flights for next October.

 

If it turns out that you would save enough cash by flying to Seattle to be worth the extra time you'll spend, the only methods not already covered above are a one-way rental car (even with 2 people this can be cheaper than Quickshuttle, if you are a group of 3+ it's even more likely to be the cheapest option) which is the most flexible - rent it whenever you want, drive whichever route you want - and a cruiseline transfer if your line is offering one for this cruise (you'd have to get back to Seatac on the day of your cruise, but after that you'd have a less-annoying bus ride than any other option as there's no need for any stops except at the border). Well, there's also the really-silly 'take the Clipper to Victoria then another ferry from there to Vancouver' which would be extremely ka-ching as well as very time-inefficient.

 

But even if you do decide to fly to SEA instead of YVR, why not come up here that day instead of right before your cruise? Our hotels are about as pricey as Seattle's, but they're priced in CAD so barring a significant change in comparative $ value you can expect a substantial ~25% discount on everything. You would also remove the stress of a long cross-border trip on the day you are supposed to embark on your cruise. Plus, Seattle's very nice but we're way, way nicer! 😉

 

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Generally when we have either embarked or disembarked in Vancouver we fly either into or out of Vancouver.  But once we did take the Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver just because we never had done it.  We did the early morning run in their business class.  The trip was rather scenic, and we throughly enjoyed ourselves.  But once was enough.

 

 

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Considering you only need a one way tix, it's not that much of a diff to save yourself the time and hassle of going directly to YVR. 

 

For ours, it was maybe less than a $10 difference for our dates. Just watch the flights and book as soon as you see a good price (anything under $80 for a ns is great, imo).

 

It's also a bit cheaper if you book your hotel at the same time if you're using one of the big booking sites like expedia or orbitz. 

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If you are considering the bus or train, the train is much easier at the border. The train stops, Customs officers board the train, check your passport and the train moves on. If you take a bus you have to get off at the boarder, unload all luggage, walk your luggage through customs, wait until the bus and all other passengers have been cleared and re-board the bus. Could also be subject to wait if there are several buses waiting.

 

I am curious what date you are leaving in October. Our Thanksgiving is October 12 next year which can affect waiting times at the border.

 

Cheers

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For us, flying into YVR was easy (from Louisville) on Delta.  Routing was SDF>ATL>YVR.

One member of our party flew into SEA and took the Super Shuttle....the advertised 4 hour trip took him 8 hours (mostly after dark) due to traffic, a wreck and border delays.  

 

Edited by thinfool
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Thoughts...

  • If you have a year to plan and cost is a factor... consider booking the Vancouver YWCA for a room for savings
  • Being at the YWCA...
    • it means you can be right at the cruise terminal for the 10am opening to avoid the heavy noon crowds.
    • the 10am check-in allows you time for a nice bonus embarkation lunch
  • If your October cruise happens on the long weekend... be prepared for border delays.  Weekends can have longer border waits.
  • Vancouver is a great bonus port to explore for a few days or so
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Thanks for all the suggestions. The specific reason we were looking at Seattle arrival is because of Southwest flights and miles/points. We will be sailing on October 12, 2020, so we plan to arrive on Saturday, October 10. Because of the suggestions (and the Holiday weekend) we will probably now fly into Vancouver and spend the weekend there. Looks like our only visit to Seattle will be during the cruise. This could all change once the flight booking information is available.

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The Amtrak train called the Pacific Cascades is lovely and affordable, business class upgrade is super cheap. The only possible issue is the trains don't run often but if it works with your schedule it's the most civilized option in my opinion

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