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Alaska cruise into Vancouver

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Posted (edited)

Hello.  So this isn't really so much about cruising but more for assistance after we disembark in Vancouver (next year obviously).  So I guess we dock around 7:30ish  (Coral Princess).....  I'd like to take a taxi to a hotel that is very close to the airport because I will book an early morning flight out (the next day).  However, since I will have the full day in Vancouver, I'd like the hotel to have a shuttle or something to downtown (assuming that's where we should be exploring that day).  The reason why I want to go to the hotel first (even if I can't check in) is so that they can hold all of our luggage while we tour during the day.


What hotels do any of you recommend for this?  I'm thinking the Fairmount might be a good choice, albeit it's going to be very pricey and I'd like to avoid that.  


Looking forward to your advice?


Thanks so much!

Edited by MudderBear

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Posted (edited)

This isn't Princess-specific; West Coast Departures would be the most relevant board to use. But the answer is actually really easy - change your hotel plans, because what you want is a) impossible to provide as there are zero airport hotels with shuttles to anywhere but the airport itself, and b) inefficient compared to using a downtown hotel. If you're even entertaining the Fairmont, your budget must be decent - there are PLENTY of downtown hotels that are significantly cheaper than the Fairmont at the airport. All of them will let you check-in early, and if your room isn't ready hold your bags for you.


Even if Covid season cripples local hotel chains such that there are mass closures and much higher prices due to lack of available rooms next year, so you end up with only an airport hotel within your budget, it's still best not to go to the airport after disembarking. The very best possible case is still over an hour of wasted time getting there and back - and more likely 90-120mins by the time you factor in using hotel shuttle to SkyTrain as there aren't many hotels close enough to SkyTrain to walk quickly there. That's a big chunk of your waking hours for a single night stay before an early flight - and if you won't do transit, the cost of a cab/Uber to downtown and back means you could actually stay downtown by spending more on the hotel!


Instead, store bags at the pier - the PP hotel charges only $5 a bag for the day, and you don't have to be a resident. Official pier storage is now $12 per bag, unless you take a tour with WestCoast who run it - then they cut the price in half, but that's still pricier than the PP!


As to your early flight - traffic is nonexistent before morning rush, so a cab from ANY downtown hotel to YVR will be around 30mins. Unless you time the shuttle perfectly, it could actually take you longer than this to get to YVR from an airport hotel! None of them have more than 1 bus, so if you just miss one it won't be back for at least 20-30mins, and depending how early you want to go they may only do one shuttle per hour, or even none at all. The Fairmont is the only walkable hotel (it's part of the terminal building), there's one other hotel on Sea Island, all the others need to use a bridge and often a quite roundabout route even if they are within just a mile or two as the crow flies - drive time is therefore 10+ minutes for even the close ones, and some supposedly-airport-hotels can be further away than the downtown ones (which are all 10miles or less driving distance).


Besides - the earliest flights to the US allow you to cut the pre-flight arrival time significantly. It's pointless showing up before 5am, even if your flight is say 6:30am - the 'three hours before your flight' recommendation is worthless when CBP do not open prescreening until 4:30am. The first 30mins is needed to clear all the first-time visitors who do not use CC or similar advice services and turned up at 3 or 4am for an early flight and are now standing in a line waiting for CBP... by 5am the queue is gone, and until the first batch of cruise buses arrive about 9:30am the queue simply never gets bad. Roll in at 5am, and you'll probably be at your gate with a Timmies within 30mins... the only time to be any earlier than this is if you need to check bags for a 6am flight - you need to drop a full hour before, so you should pad that by maybe 15mins and aim for a 4:45am arrival time (i.e. leave downtown at 4:15am).

Edited by martincath

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Martincath.  Wow, I couldn't have anticipated a better response.  Thank you so much for this information.  Just hope I remember it next year LOL!


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No airport hotels offer a downtown shuttle unfortunately, BUT you can choose a hotel along the Sky Train route and take that. We stayed at the River Rock Resort one time. It’s close to the airport and right on the Sky Train path. You just hop on that, and it’s 20 minutes to downtown. 

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Posted (edited)

If you do decide to stay near the airport, we stayed at the Radisson Vancouver Airport when we returned from our Sept./Oct. Alaska cruise in 2019.  We were pleased with the hotel and it was easy walking distance to the Sky Train.  Their free airport shuttle took us to the airport very early the next morning with no problems.


We had stayed a few days in Vancouver before the cruise, so when we returned, we chose to just ride the Sky Train to see the gorgeous scenery...not everyone's cup of tea to just ride, but we had a great time.  We did make a few interesting stops too.


Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen.

Edited by mbglib

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