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cruiseforus

Help with time of a flight after Alaska Cruise

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We just booked a flight out of Vancouver for next June after our Cruise on the Serenade of the Seas. We booked an 11:30 AM flight going to Seattle. How is the time. Do you think it’s ok?  We booked it today but now I’m having second thoughts. It will be a Sunday morning but I’m not sure about traffic and how far the airport is from the cruise terminal.  Anyone come off a cruise ship in Vancouver with a late morning flight? Do you think we are ok?  I can cancel within 24 hours so any information will be great. 

Thanks.  

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I'd change it for multiple reasons, as there are many factors outside your control plus you're missing out on time spent in one the finest cities on the planet!

 

Logistically, no cruiseline will ever book a flight or transfer for a disembarking passenger that early in Vancouver - this alone shows you that it's not just possible to miss it, but that it would happen often enough the lines would lose money despite the incredibly overpriced local transfer cost. Some will allow noon, others won't take any booking for before 12:30pm. So unless you are confident arranging your own transfer independently, change the flight right now.

 

Assuming that your party is all mobile enough and packs light enough to self-disembark (you will not be allowed to use escalators at Canada Place unless you have one hand completely empty to hold the side - staff enforce this!) and use transit however an 11:30am flight is minimal risk. If you have Global Entry or NEXUS, it's even lower risk. The biggest problem is two things you have zero control over though - how many other ships that day, and do they 'open their doors' before your ship does?

 

A 3 or 4 ship day can easily see 10,000 pax getting off within a short space of time - there are not enough cabs in the city, and Canada Place has such a bottleneck for vehicles anyway, that unless you are among the first batch of people off ALL the ships that day the cab queue quickly climbs to north of an hour. Even booking a limo has no guarantees - they have to wait offsite, so only when you and your stuff is ready is the limo stand allowed to call your driver - who then has to join the queue to get inside, taking anything from <10mins to as much as 30mins. Transit OTOH is very consistent - SkyTrain to the airport runs about every 10mins even Sunday mornings, and on busy cruise days they do jack up the frequency to compensate (peak is a train every 3 mins, every second train going to YVR).

 

It takes <10mins to walk to the station, if you have a credit card with a NFC chip you don't even have to waste time buying a ticket - just tap the fare gate and walk through, do it again when you leave and your card is auto-billed the correct fare (CAD$4). The ride is 26mins, and unless someone stands in a door holding it open that ride length is always 26mins as the trains are driverless so they are extremely consistent. So if you walk off early, see cabs waiting with not many people, joining the cab queue will be fastest way to go - drive time ballpark 30-35mins. Wait more than 10mins for a cab though, and transit wins.

 

Result is that if you are in that first batch of folks you will be off the ship before 8am, whether you cab or SkyTrain you will be at the airport well before 9am, and fly through the bag drop/security/immigration queues to reach the gate within an hour at most of arrival so you'll have an hour before boarding starts to go grab a Timmies. OTOH if you are delayed waiting for your cab because you need help getting bags off the ship, you will instead be in bigger and bigger queues at EVERY stage of the process. Security at YVR can be a nightmare - unlike check-in which is spread over many airline areas, once you head to Security you have merge with every other person going to the US. Immigration is much better these days - the kiosks which any US/Canadian citizen can use are plentiful and easy to use, so now Security is the major bottleneck.

 

YVR officially recommends 3 hours preflight - on busy cruise days, if you arrive after 9:30am, you can definitely need to use that whole 3 hours and since your flight is at 11:30am that means you could be in trouble.

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We've done it... but need to have everything go right from self debark to taxi... should be less of a problem on Sunday.  We have an 11:25a flight from Seattle next year on a Friday morning and are hoping we are just as fortunate then!  Being retired and not having a crisis if we have to go to plan B makes it worth the risk.

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5 minutes ago, twincheryl said:

We've done it... but need to have everything go right from self debark to taxi... should be less of a problem on Sunday.  We have an 11:25a flight from Seattle next year on a Friday morning and are hoping we are just as fortunate then!  Being retired and not having a crisis if we have to go to plan B makes it worth the risk.

Our flight is from Vancouver going to Seattle then onto JFK later in the afternoon.  We will definitely do walk off and will take a taxi to the airport.  We have never been to Vancouver airport before so we don’t know what to expect. 

 

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We needed to make the same decision...we opted to stay an extra day in Vancouver and snag a non-stop to Newark the following morning.

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When we completed our cruise on Radiance, I think we booked a 4pm flight and took the after-cruise excursion, which worked out great.  We disembarked, cleared customs, picked up luggage, and boarded bus.  We got our Vancouver and then was dropped off at airport.  

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1 hour ago, cruiseforus said:

Do you think it’s ok?

Yes. No issues at the airport other than clearing US customs/immigration there. 

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Thanks everyone. We will be ready and walk off as soon as they let us and take a cab to the Airport. Now just one more question. Are there cabs at the airport or do we have to book one ahead of time. 

 

Thanks again for all all your help. 

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Being a resident of Vancouver - just a heads up that cabs will be busy with a ship disembarking and we don’t even have Uber here yet 🤦🏻‍♀️.   Sky train has a station right at CANADA Place and it’s super close.  Super cheap. And takes the same amount of time as driving.  I only mention it in the event there is a long line for cabs.  But make sure you get on the train going to the airport and Not the Richmond terminus.   

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23 hours ago, cruiseforus said:

Thanks everyone. We will be ready and walk off as soon as they let us and take a cab to the Airport. Now just one more question. Are there cabs at the airport or do we have to book one ahead of time. 

 

Thanks again for all all your help. 

If this is a RT cruise, so you need a cab inbound from YVR too, then no you cannot book cabs in advance at YVR - they operate on a walk-up basis only as there's nowhere for them to lurk waiting to collect booked passengers. Even limos are best used this way - there's another separate walkup queue for them. Limos will take a booking, but you are met at luggage claim, walked to the curb, then hang around for at least 5 minutes waiting for your driver to go get the car... and the compulsory 'meet & greet' fee almost doubles the limo fare ($50 on top of <$60 to downtown hotels, ~$70 to the pier).

 

If you meant at the pier to get to the airport, again no cab bookings allowed and again limos can be booked but are even less efficient than at YVR as the bottleneck to get the car to you is worse - you can wait up to 30mins for your limo to get to you, though it's probably closer to 10mins on average.

 

So check how long the cab queue looks - but be aware that even if you self-disembark another ship, or two, or three, could have let THEIR self-disembarkers off before you! The cab queue could already be 30+ mins if that's the case - so unless you can see it is moving enough people every minute that you will be at the front in 15 mins or less, walk to SkyTrain instead as all the folks who beat you to the cabs will also beat you to YVR otherwise!!!

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As mentioned, the issue is customs. 

You could literally have multiple thousands of people processing through customs. (at the airport) 

If there are any issues and thousands of people are slowed down - therein lies the potential risk. 

 

You are probably okay with an 1130 flight, but you should walk your luggage off of the ship at the earliest time and take a cab to the airport. 

 

Keep in mind that you have to clear customs as you are leaving the ship also. 

Usually smooth, but if there happens to be an issue - therein lies the risk. 

 

What type of issues have I seen on the ship with customs? 

Some questionable passengers and customs was not going to allow anyone off of the ship until the issue was resolved.

Another time there were people (can't remember if they were passengers or cruise employees) who were caught with drugs and it slowed down the disembarkation. 

 

No relaxing for you on disembarkation morning. 

Get up early and prepare to hustle. 

You are not all clear until you get through customs at the airport.  

 

 

 

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On 9/23/2019 at 4:04 PM, Djsmrs said:

Being a resident of Vancouver - just a heads up that cabs will be busy with a ship disembarking and we don’t even have Uber here yet 🤦🏻‍♀️.   Sky train has a station right at CANADA Place and it’s super close.  Super cheap. And takes the same amount of time as driving.  I only mention it in the event there is a long line for cabs.  But make sure you get on the train going to the airport and Not the Richmond terminus.   

 

Yes, we agree with Djsmrs.  It was easy and simple to use the skytrain to and from the airport (YVR).

The Waterfront Station is only a few minutes walk to the cruise terminal, Canada Place.

(Note: I wouldn't suggest it if you have mobility problems or have way too many luggages.)

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Also note that the cab space inside Canada Place is tiny with a difficult process to get the cabs in and out.  Other cabs pick up in front of Canada Place or across the street at the Fairmont Hotel.

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3 hours ago, LeeW said:

Also note that the cab space inside Canada Place is tiny with a difficult process to get the cabs in and out.  Other cabs pick up in front of Canada Place or across the street at the Fairmont Hotel.

Simple to catch a cab down at the corner, the drop off is in front of Canada Place; trying to catch one that did a drop off can be difficult.

image.png.5c77b996729f1cef78408cf966608921.png

 

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