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We will be in Vancouver in July before our NCL Alaska cruise to Seward.  There are accommodations through NCL near the airport that are very reasonable compared with the prices I am seeing in the downtown area.  What is the cost to get downtown and what are the options?  Also, what is there that are must sees in Vancouver?  

 

Thanks for any information you can give us.  

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53 minutes ago, Dar & Bob said:

We will be in Vancouver in July before our NCL Alaska cruise to Seward.  There are accommodations through NCL near the airport that are very reasonable compared with the prices I am seeing in the downtown area.  What is the cost to get downtown and what are the options?  Also, what is there that are must sees in Vancouver?  

 

Thanks for any information you can give us.  

 

Without knowing exactly which hotels you're comparing, it's hard to talk about that.  I'm surprised there's big enough differences  to make staying in Richmond worthwhile

 

As for transportation, the subway, specifically the Skytrain Canada line (all of the subway/elevated rail system is called Skytrain) runs between Richmond/Airport to downtown which makes connecting the two pretty easy.  C$3 - 4.25/ea (depends on time of day/day of week)

 

Richmond (especially the area near the airport) is the modern Chinatown of Vancouver, with malls/restaurants catering to the Chinese community.  Places like Aberdeen Mall will convince you that you've left North America.

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Agree with Scott that SkyTrain should be your only sensible option for travel to downtown, therefore only 'bargain' Richmond hotels near a station should be considered - as soon as you move from transit to a taxi, you're looking at $80+ round trip to airport hotels... so the odds of you saving enough compared to a similar-standard downtown hotel drop precipitously!

 

Cruiseline hotel pricing is weird though - by booking blocks of rooms long in advance they sometimes do offer much better pricing than independent bookings, and the pricing per person method means solo travelers very likely do save cash (but them the couples have to subsidize all those solos...); always try a comparison booking through Expedia etc. as things like included transfers can make cruise hotels a total ripoff in Vancouver, where distances are short and prices are discounted (4CAD = 3USD pretty consistently).

 

As to 'must see' attractions, there's no such thing anywhere. Unless you're here for a week or more you're choosing a small number from a vast array of options - so what YOU will enjoy most depends entirely on your own tastes and budget. Not knowing you, the only relevant advice is to look at large-volume datasets like TripAdvisor rankings. Read through the top ten things to do, see which sound more like the kind of things you enjoy, focus on those - where sites like CC are useful is when you have a list of things you want to do, but a local's perspective could help with choosing which to combine most efficiently into a single day, optimal times of day to go to or avoid certain areas due to local rush hour patterns etc. and maybe dining options - us local foodie types probably know places that have not made mainstream lists yet despite being excellent.

 

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Would agree with the comments on transportation.  And even though ride hailing with Lyft and Uber should be established by then I can't see it being that much cheaper than a taxi to make it a clear winner of the Skytrain.

 

I would also agree to start with googling top 10 lists and identifying what's of interest.  I think you'll find a lot of the sites/attractions in and around the downtown core which you can make a circuit of and consider if you want to make the effort to go the ones outside the downtown core, though a few might be along the way if you end up staying by the airport.

 

The weather also gets fairly sunny and dry in July with a lot of festivals and events every weekend.  If you indicate what days you'll be in town, we can identify those too.

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On our first visit to beautiful Vancouver we took a tour of the city to get an idea of what we would like to see more of. Our favourite areas were Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park and our most favourite was Granville Market. The aquarium is also wonderful.

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21 hours ago, scottbee said:

 

Without knowing exactly which hotels you're comparing, it's hard to talk about that.  I'm surprised there's big enough differences  to make staying in Richmond worthwhile

 

As for transportation, the subway, specifically the Skytrain Canada line (all of the subway/elevated rail system is called Skytrain) runs between Richmond/Airport to downtown which makes connecting the two pretty easy.  C$3 - 4.25/ea (depends on time of day/day of week)

 

Richmond (especially the area near the airport) is the modern Chinatown of Vancouver, with malls/restaurants catering to the Chinese community.  Places like Aberdeen Mall will convince you that you've left North America.

NCL has a rate for two nights of $360 USD including transfers from the airport and to the pier.  The Holiday Inn downtown was $300 before tax per night.  Total for two nights is close to $700.  I am thinking we could do some fun things for that difference.  We get in late the first night (9:30 pm) so the hotel is just for sleeping the first night and then we have the next day to explore.  

 

Thanks for the information about the Skytrain that may work since I think the hotel has shuttles to the airport.  Hoping to have a fun day in Vancouver.

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17 hours ago, martincath said:

 

Cruiseline hotel pricing is weird though - by booking blocks of rooms long in advance they sometimes do offer much better pricing than independent bookings, and the pricing per person method means solo travelers very likely do save cash (but them the couples have to subsidize all those solos...); always try a comparison booking through Expedia etc. as things like included transfers can make cruise hotels a total ripoff in Vancouver, where distances are short and prices are discounted (4CAD = 3USD pretty consistently).

 

 

 

It amazed me that for two nights in a hotel we are being charged $360 for the two of us at the Holiday Inn at the airport.  I priced out the HI in downtown and with taxes etc. it was over $700 for the two nights.  Taking into consideration I don't know exactly what we want to see yet,  there could be transportation costs there. 

 

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22 hours ago, scottbee said:

 

Without knowing exactly which hotels you're comparing, it's hard to talk about that.  I'm surprised there's big enough differences  to make staying in Richmond worthwhile

 

Richmond (especially the area near the airport) is the modern Chinatown of Vancouver, with malls/restaurants catering to the Chinese community.  Places like Aberdeen Mall will convince you that you've left North America.

Great description of the Richmond area.  We stayed at the Marriott near the airport (Hyatt and Hilton as I recall shared the same airport shuttle bus with us) and it was a nice property.  We walked over to the nearby Mall and were quite surprised - were certainly were out of place there, but felt safe and welcomed - very interesting to be sure.

 

And yes, the hotel rates were about half of what we would have paid at a downtown location.  We took the Skytrain (3-4 block walk from the hotel) to the pier the next morning.

 

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56 minutes ago, lstrong said:

We have a 6am flight out of Vancouver the day after our cruise. What time do we need to be at airport?  Thanks

 

4:30a-440a.

 

Assuming you're flying to the United States, which means US pre-clearance.  The US CBP facility doesn't open until 430a (official) which means they don't start clearing people until 440a at the earliest

 

 

 

 

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On 1/9/2020 at 7:21 AM, Dar & Bob said:

We will be in Vancouver in July before our NCL Alaska cruise to Seward.  There are accommodations through NCL near the airport that are very reasonable compared with the prices I am seeing in the downtown area.  What is the cost to get downtown and what are the options?  Also, what is there that are must sees in Vancouver?  

 

Thanks for any information you can give us.  

 

if you can share exact dates, I'm sure people could be more helpful.  Rarely are cruiseline hotel/transfer packages worth it.  For example most cruise lines charge U$30-40/ea for YVR airport->Canada transfers, where the subway (which runs from the airport to 3 blocks from Canada Place) costs 1/10th of that.

 

Another place for look for hotels is the happy medium of the  'city hall' (Cambie @ Broadway) area of Vancouver, just south of downtown.  it's on the subway line between airport and Canada Place, offers a lot of interesting food options, and is very well connected for transportation.

 

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2 hours ago, scottbee said:

 

if you can share exact dates, I'm sure people could be more helpful.  Rarely are cruiseline hotel/transfer packages worth it.  For example most cruise lines charge U$30-40/ea for YVR airport->Canada transfers, where the subway (which runs from the airport to 3 blocks from Canada Place) costs 1/10th of that.

 

Another place for look for hotels is the happy medium of the  'city hall' (Cambie @ Broadway) area of Vancouver, just south of downtown.  it's on the subway line between airport and Canada Place, offers a lot of interesting food options, and is very well connected for transportation.

 

We arrive at about 9:30 on July 4th and then cruise on the 6th of July.  As I said I was surprised that for the price it included the transfer to the pier.  I am finding a difference of about $300 in the rate they are giving us to booking a similar accommodation in the city.  We would only pay $360 USD for the Holiday Inn at the airport including the transfers.  

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40 minutes ago, Dar & Bob said:

We arrive at about 9:30 on July 4th and then cruise on the 6th of July.  As I said I was surprised that for the price it included the transfer to the pier.  I am finding a difference of about $300 in the rate they are giving us to booking a similar accommodation in the city.  We would only pay $360 USD for the Holiday Inn at the airport including the transfers.  

 

Yeah, you've hit one of the busiest weekends of the year, with Americans taking their long weekend to visit Vancouver.

 

The HI isn't really near too much assuming we're talking the one at the corner of Cambie and Shell rd.

 

However, the transit connection isn't too bad, there's a bus #410 from out front to Brighouse station on the Canada Line, and that will get you downtown,, or to the airport,  or or  Bus/Skytrain(subway/elevated rail) tickets are integrated, and if you have a tap compatible credit card (look for the wireless logo - I'm not talking chip, but tap), you just tap it on the bus and tap in/out at the fare barriers for the skytrain.  That bus runs every 8-12 minutes, it's one I actually ride now and then, and it's often enough I don't even bother trying to schedule it.

 

If you don't have transfers FROM the airport when you arrive; taxi is flat rate to Richmond, and I think C$20 (taxis take credit cards as well no addl fee).

 

if you're looking to save more money, doing your own transfers is also worth looking into,.

$20 flat rate taxi airport -> hotel

$4.25/ea bus+skytrain to downtown/cruise terminal

 

If your credit card does not support tap, I would recommend getting Compass cards, check the translink website for more details; but the one for sure place that sells them is the 7-11 at the airport (located one level below DOMESTIC baggage claim).  If you're arriving internationally.  Exit the building, turn right and enter the next door on your right from teh street.  Maybe 100yards (or 90m for us Canadians)

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dar & Bob said:

We arrive at about 9:30 on July 4th and then cruise on the 6th of July.  As I said I was surprised that for the price it included the transfer to the pier.  I am finding a difference of about $300 in the rate they are giving us to booking a similar accommodation in the city.  We would only pay $360 USD for the Holiday Inn at the airport including the transfers.  

With that much of a saving, and that particular airport hotels location, I would actually consider taking a cab directly to your sightseeing if you avoid morning rush hour. It's right next to 99 so it's a faster drive to downtown than most of the other airport hotels, no need to circle around to get over one of the very limited bridges. Especially if you were considering any of the big attractions south of the core, like Queen Elizabeth Park (you can walk around here as soon as the sun's up, no gates to worry about) or UBC campus (Museum of Anthropology, Beatty Museum, Nitobe Garden, Botanic Garden & Treewalk are ticketed, but the Rose Garden and extensive forests aren't) a cab would be very convenient.

 

Scott's given you everything you need to know about using Transit to get downtown, but between waiting a bit for a bus, then a bit more for SkyTrain, depending where you were heading and how close that site is to a station you may feel that even $40 for a cab is worth the time saving compared to a long hotel shuttle or connecting transit bus ride on top of SkyTrain even to downtown core attractions.

 

If you are sticking to transit though I'd first check the hotel shuttle situation if it's available soon, and if so ask to be dropped at Bridgeport Station - from here the frequency of trains is double any of the more distant stations as the two branch lines merge so any wait for a train is half as long as at Aberdeen or Brighouse. The 410 bus also stops at Aberdeen Station, which is on the same line as Brighouse so you'd want to get off here if you had Compass and were minimising costs - continuing to Brighouse wastes time on the bus and also brigns the risk of missing a train you could have boarded at Aberdeen so further delays.

 

But for only a few bucks extra you could hop in a cab from your hotel if you just missed the hotel shuttle and don't want to wait for 30+ mins for it to loop to the airport and back - it's barely a mile and a half to Brighouse so should cost well <$10 on the meter and saves you a bit of time compared to bussing as well as cutting train frequency. With just one day to see Vancouver, a 30+min commute each way, every little bit of time saved becomes valuable! If you don't get a Compass Card, you'd have to pay $3pp on the bus and then pay again for SkyTrain, as bus tickets do not transfer to any other mode of transport - so a cab to Bridgeport becomes even better value in comparison.

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3 minutes ago, martincath said:

With that much of a saving, and that particular airport hotels location, I would actually consider taking a cab directly to your sightseeing if you avoid morning rush hour. It's right next to 99 so it's a faster drive to downtown than most of the other airport hotels, no need to circle around to get over one of the very limited bridges. Especially if you were considering any of the big attractions south of the core, like Queen Elizabeth Park (you can walk around here as soon as the sun's up, no gates to worry about) or UBC campus (Museum of Anthropology, Beatty Museum, Nitobe Garden, Botanic Garden & Treewalk are ticketed, but the Rose Garden and extensive forests aren't) a cab would be very convenient.

 

Scott's given you everything you need to know about using Transit to get downtown, but between waiting a bit for a bus, then a bit more for SkyTrain, depending where you were heading and how close that site is to a station you may feel that even $40 for a cab is worth the time saving compared to a long hotel shuttle or connecting transit bus ride on top of SkyTrain even to downtown core attractions.

 

If you are sticking to transit though I'd first check the hotel shuttle situation if it's available soon, and if so ask to be dropped at Bridgeport Station - from here the frequency of trains is double any of the more distant stations as the two branch lines merge so any wait for a train is half as long as at Aberdeen or Brighouse. The 410 bus also stops at Aberdeen Station, which is on the same line as Brighouse so you'd want to get off here if you had Compass and were minimising costs - continuing to Brighouse wastes time on the bus and also brigns the risk of missing a train you could have boarded at Aberdeen so further delays.

 

But for only a few bucks extra you could hop in a cab from your hotel if you just missed the hotel shuttle and don't want to wait for 30+ mins for it to loop to the airport and back - it's barely a mile and a half to Brighouse so should cost well <$10 on the meter and saves you a bit of time compared to bussing as well as cutting train frequency. With just one day to see Vancouver, a 30+min commute each way, every little bit of time saved becomes valuable! If you don't get a Compass Card, you'd have to pay $3pp on the bus and then pay again for SkyTrain, as bus tickets do not transfer to any other mode of transport - so a cab to Bridgeport becomes even better value in comparison.

Thanks to both you and Scottbee for the information.  The hotel does have a shuttle from the airport so no cost there and then NCL does the transfer to the pier.  This just sounded pretty cost efficient since we want to do some more costly things on the cruise like a flight tour.  Seeing Vancouver is a bonus and we just want to see a few sites, if we really like it, we would come back for a visit while maybe doing a vacation of the Northwest.  I am copying off these responses for our trip notes. 

 

Thanks again!

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