Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
RoperDK

Vancouver departure questions

Recommended Posts

On the Royal Princess (Saturday arrival).  Flight is at 1:20 to the US.  I have difficulty walking long distances.  Was planning on taking the Princess transfer because they pick up and load luggage for you.  Does Princess have an early transfer for early flights?  There is no way for me to handle luggage and take public transportation.  I will get wheelchair assist for debarkation at the port.  Is this flight doable?  Is there wheelchair assist at Vancouver?  Any other suggestions for me and our group of 4 adults?  Thanks!     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 1:20 departure is quite doable, and is not considered an "early" flight.

 

Princess will help you along the way....with your bags and getting you off the ship, and on to your bus. All cruise lines do this. Your airline and the airport will be the one that helps you at the airport. There will be wheelchair assists at Vancouver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

August, 2019, I required wheelchair assistance at disembarkation in Vancouver and wheelchair assistance at Vancouver's airport.  (I was sailing on Coral Princess.)

 

Everything worked smoothly.  Disembarking the ship with a crew members help, I was taken to the Princess transfer bus to the airport.  At the airport, a Princess ground staff member was there to assist me.  Had to step on an escalator to get from ground level to the baggage claim/check-in area.  Another Princess ground staff member met at that location, put me in a wheelchair while she collected my luggage and took me to check-in.  After check-in, I had a short wait until another staff member took me through security and got me to my gate.  From there, I was on my own, although I was permitted to board the aircraft at first call.  

 

Had wheelchair assist request at MSP and at my final destination, DAY.  All were provided and the staff members were waiting for me at the end of the jetway.  (Airline was Delta.)

 

At DAY, even though it was close to Midnight, the Delta staff member stayed with me until the van from the parking company where I parked the car arrived and took care of the luggage.

 

After embarking the ship, I would check with the Front Desk, as you have time to do so, to ensure that your travel plans have been properly recorded by your ship.  A call to your airline before departure would also help to assure you that "all is good".

 

Worry not RoperDK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

A 1:20 departure is quite doable, and is not considered an "early" flight.

 

Princess will help you along the way....with your bags and getting you off the ship, and on to your bus. All cruise lines do this. Your airline and the airport will be the one that helps you at the airport. There will be wheelchair assists at Vancouver.

 

40 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

August, 2019, I required wheelchair assistance at disembarkation in Vancouver and wheelchair assistance at Vancouver's airport.  (I was sailing on Coral Princess.)

 

Everything worked smoothly.  Disembarking the ship with a crew members help, I was taken to the Princess transfer bus to the airport.  At the airport, a Princess ground staff member was there to assist me.  Had to step on an escalator to get from ground level to the baggage claim/check-in area.  Another Princess ground staff member met at that location, put me in a wheelchair while she collected my luggage and took me to check-in.  After check-in, I had a short wait until another staff member took me through security and got me to my gate.  From there, I was on my own, although I was permitted to board the aircraft at first call.  

 

Had wheelchair assist request at MSP and at my final destination, DAY.  All were provided and the staff members were waiting for me at the end of the jetway.  (Airline was Delta.)

 

At DAY, even though it was close to Midnight, the Delta staff member stayed with me until the van from the parking company where I parked the car arrived and took care of the luggage.

 

After embarking the ship, I would check with the Front Desk, as you have time to do so, to ensure that your travel plans have been properly recorded by your ship.  A call to your airline before departure would also help to assure you that "all is good".

 

Worry not RoperDK.

 

Thank you both so much. I have never flown needing wheelchair assistance and it seems so overwhelming to me. Glad to hear that both the cruise line and the airports went out of their way to help.

 

 

Share this post


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

 

 

Thank you both so much. I have never flown needing wheelchair assistance and it seems so overwhelming to me. Glad to hear that both the cruise line and the airports went out of their way to help.

 

 

 

This was my first trip that I needed such assistance.  I ain't as young as I used to be.

 

My first realization was from my flight from DAY to MSP.  Delta changed their DAY gates and I walked to my "former" gate area and had to find my way to the new gate area which was at the furthest gate it could have possibly been.  I was worn out, but I made it.  Arriving at MSP, I thought my gate for the Vancouver flight was close to my arriving gate; a friendly cart attendant told me, "hop in, it's farther than you think".  It was.  Arriving at Vancouver, soon after leaving the plane, I could see that the "journey" to C&I and baggage claim was more than I could endure, I was able to hop aboard another Delta cart which got me through C&I, baggage claim, and to the exit where the HAL shore staff member hailed a taxi and sent me on my way to the Pan Pacific. 

 

It was an unsettling experience at first.  Not easy to recognize, "one is not as young as one once was".  But, I accepted that I needed to contact my travel agent and make more accommodating arrangements for when I returned home.  I did and my trip ended well! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

This was my first trip that I needed such assistance.  I ain't as young as I used to be.

 

My first realization was from my flight from DAY to MSP.  Delta changed their DAY gates and I walked to my "former" gate area and had to find my way to the new gate area which was at the furthest gate it could have possibly been.  I was worn out, but I made it.  Arriving at MSP, I thought my gate for the Vancouver flight was close to my arriving gate; a friendly cart attendant told me, "hop in, it's farther than you think".  It was.  Arriving at Vancouver, soon after leaving the plane, I could see that the "journey" to C&I and baggage claim was more than I could endure, I was able to hop aboard another Delta cart which got me through C&I, baggage claim, and to the exit where the HAL shore staff member hailed a taxi and sent me on my way to the Pan Pacific. 

 

It was an unsettling experience at first.  Not easy to recognize, "one is not as young as one once was".  But, I accepted that I needed to contact my travel agent and make more accommodating arrangements for when I returned home.  I did and my trip ended well! 

 

My problem is my right knee.  It is fine, until it isn't.  I'm sure you understand that.  Lately, walking through endless airports, on and off ships, and trekking around ports is just too much.  I would rather "save" my knee for exploration than to waste it on the getting there and back mileage.  Can you tell me about Vancouver C&I?  I don't have a clear picture in my mind.  In the old days you had to collect your luggage and proceed through customs.  Do you still do that or do you clear another way?  How would you do wheelchair assist and handle your luggage, too?  Thanks in advance!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, RoperDK said:

My problem is my right knee.  It is fine, until it isn't.  I'm sure you understand that. 

 

Left knee and hip are my problems. And. I surely do understand it!

 

19 hours ago, RoperDK said:

Can you tell me about Vancouver C&I?  I don't have a clear picture in my mind.  In the old days you had to collect your luggage and proceed through customs.  Do you still do that or do you clear another way?  How would you do wheelchair assist and handle your luggage, too? 

 

Are you asking about arriving at Vancouver?  Are you asking about leaving Vancouver?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

re you asking about arriving at Vancouver?  Are you asking about leaving Vancouver?

Well, actually both.  I just can't get the picture of luggage and customs.  Years ago when I was in the military and traveled to Germany, we had to collect all of our luggage and drag it around before and during customs checks. I can't picture how wheelchair assist works with that. In other words, does luggage drop of and pick up work like a US airport with a luggage less customs check in between? Thanks!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since RKAC has actually made use of the wheelchair assists, they may have more specifics - but to put your mind at rest the Porters and Pushers who will be moving you & your bags around are allowed to go back & forth between secure and open areas at the port and the airport. So while you will do Immigration checks before seeing your luggage (both on arrival pre-cruise at YVR, and again on arrival post-cruise at Canada Place, since I see from elsewhere you are doing a B2B) you will have your luggage with you when you do Customs.

 

There's really just one exception to that - which you didn't ask specifically about but is worth pointing out - which is when you get Prescreened by US CBP before flying home. Even if you've done Prescreening in Canada, Ireland etc. before there have been a few changes in the last handful of years - kiosks make things much faster in general, and your bags get dropped before you see CBP instead of having to drag them through. A photo is taken of your bag as it is dropped on the conveyor - which is linked to your boarding pass.

 

When you go through CBP you'll see screens displaying the bag photos - you may get some manual involvement from CBP (asking you questions in-person rather than just taking the print-out from the kiosk) and if so almost certainly the first thing they'll ask is (while pointing at screen) "Is this your bag?"

 

If they have a problem with your declaration/you are randomly selected for a bag search, the bags get diverted until checked. If all is well, they are released for loading onto the plane without you ever seeing them until you get to your destination. It's a pretty slick operation, vastly more efficient than getting screened at your first US airport.

 

Of course, in a post-Covid world there's likely going to be some extra step involving temp checks/screening for a negative Covid test/proof of vaccination etc. etc. slotted in to the existing customs/immigration/security shenanigans too, but they won't be unique to wheelchair transfer pax (I have no doubt that Porter & Pushers will need to add some sort of regular Covid testing/proof of vaccination to their required security clearance checks...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RoperDK, martincath's post lays things out well as I remember them.

 

Arriving at YVR and secured a wheelchair assist, I went through Customs and Immigration before baggage claim.  The "Pusher" got a Porter to help with the luggage and they stayed with me until I got to the HAL ground staff member who took over from there.  

 

Departing from YVR, the transfer bus from the pier unloaded the luggage went up a flight to a holding area while I went up an escalator where a Princess agent was waiting for me with the wheelchair.  She found my luggage with some help from me, took the luggage across the area to Delta check-in.  Then, I remember going through security and on to the gate.  No Customs and Immigration because, I guess, my transfer bus was a direct, non-stop from Canada Place.  My memory is foggy on this.  There may have been a stop en route to the gate for clearance by U.S. Immigration and Customs.  If there was, it was nothing more than a formality and certainly didn't register much in my recollections.  

 

33 minutes ago, martincath said:

If they have a problem with your declaration/you are randomly selected for a bag search, the bags get diverted until checked.

 

I do remember seeing this area, but it was during my arrival at YVR from the U. S. and not upon leaving Canada.  

 

As martincath said, in this "new post-Covid world (if such arrives)", who knows what the procedures for cruise guests will be.  I think the operative thoughts ought to be:  Be Flexible; Be adaptable; Go with the flow. 

 

Have we helped you RoperDK?  Or, have we confused you?  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

... No Customs and Immigration because, I guess, my transfer bus was a direct, non-stop from Canada Place.  My memory is foggy on this.  There may have been a stop en route to the gate for clearance by U.S. Immigration and Customs.  If there was, it was nothing more than a formality and certainly didn't register much in my recollections.

You might well have skipped some steps RKAC - there have been 'sealed bus' transfers offered in the past, where legally-speaking you remain under US jurisdiction from the ship to the airport and therefore bypass both Canadian and US immigration requirements at pier and airport. Your body may have physically been in Canada, but your 'legal existence' traveled on a magic bus made of Apple Pie flying the Stars & Stripes ;-)

 

Availability has always been spotty, sometimes just some lines offer them and there's been no announcement by YVR/Canada Place on their availability for years - such a deal requires cooperation between CBSA, CBP, cruise line, port authority and airport authority (and indirectly costs Vancouver tourist income, as folks doing them cannot take tours or go shopping, they literally get a bus ride with no stops straight to the airport). Some of them even go all the way to the border without stopping, for transferring pax to SEA. It's wise to never expect such treatment, instead assume you will have to jump through every hoop and then you might be pleasantly surprised!

Share this post


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

You might well have skipped some steps RKAC - there have been 'sealed bus' transfers offered in the past, where legally-speaking you remain under US jurisdiction from the ship to the airport and therefore bypass both Canadian and US immigration requirements at pier and airport. Your body may have physically been in Canada, but your 'legal existence' traveled on a magic bus made of Apple Pie flying the Stars & Stripes 😉

 

I do think that is what happened. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you rkacruiser and martincath!  Yes, it is clearer to me. So, not a typical within the US flight situation, but doable with porters and pushers.  I actually was transferred on a "sealed" bus from our last Alaska cruise.  We were flying out of Seattle and disembarked in Vancouver. Left our bags outside our cabin the night before debarkation and never saw them again until the Seattle airport.  I don't remember going through clearance at Vancouver.  We boarded the bus and at the border a customs agent boarded the bus and did a check of our passports.  The luggage storage area had a "seal" on it so we didn't have to remove luggage. It was a smooth operation.  I guess I will have to have a lot of handy tip money for all of the people who will assist me along the way.  So nice to still be able to travel, even with a disability. Thanks so much for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, RoperDK said:

I guess I will have to have a lot of handy tip money for all of the people who will assist me along the way. 

 

That would be very appropriate and appreciated by these folks. 

 

Disembarking Coral Princess, the Steward who was my "Pusher" got me all the way to the transfer bus.  (I was surprised that he was permitted to leave the ship.)  After I got out of the chair, he immediately started to leave so quickly that I had to hurry to get some money out to tip him.  He clearly did not expect to receive any  gratuity.  But, he deserved it. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/29/2020 at 3:19 PM, RoperDK said:

On the Royal Princess (Saturday arrival).  Flight is at 1:20 to the US.  I have difficulty walking long distances.  Was planning on taking the Princess transfer because they pick up and load luggage for you.  Does Princess have an early transfer for early flights?  There is no way for me to handle luggage and take public transportation.  I will get wheelchair assist for debarkation at the port.  Is this flight doable?  Is there wheelchair assist at Vancouver?  Any other suggestions for me and our group of 4 adults?  Thanks!     

You are right that your best bet is the Princess transfer - if you take a taxi or private transfer you would have to get yourself and luggage to the check in counter where you can then request wheelchair assistance from your airline. Be prepared for a wait for the assistance in the airport - we had to wait 45 minutes (but that is a factor of how busy they are and probably does not always take that long).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2020 at 4:07 PM, DUTRAVEL said:

Be prepared for a wait for the assistance in the airport - we had to wait 45 minutes (but that is a factor of how busy they are and probably does not always take that long).

 

With my very limited experience requesting assistance at the airport, if the airline knows in advance that passengers need that help, agents will be at the head of the jetway when the flight arrives, ready and waiting for guests with wheelchairs or a cart.  At one airport, (MSP?), agents and wheelchairs were on the jetway waiting for passengers to leave the plane.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

With my very limited experience requesting assistance at the airport, if the airline knows in advance that passengers need that help, agents will be at the head of the jetway when the flight arrives, ready and waiting for guests with wheelchairs or a cart.  At one airport, (MSP?), agents and wheelchairs were on the jetway waiting for passengers to leave the plane.  

I am only speaking about arriving at YVR by ground transportation to take a flight (which is what the OP asked about).

 

Its a different process when you arrive at an airport on the aircraft - even if the assistance is not on the jetway when your aircraft lands the flight crew can call for assistance (and they are motivated to do so since they cannot leave until there is some one there to assist you). When you arrive at an airport by ground transportation - the airline has no way of knowing you have arrived until you go inside to the check in counter. Just trying to alert the OP that here could be a wait for wheelchair assistance in that scenario.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DUTRAVEL said:

I am only speaking about arriving at YVR by ground transportation to take a flight (which is what the OP asked about).

 

Its a different process when you arrive at an airport on the aircraft - even if the assistance is not on the jetway when your aircraft lands the flight crew can call for assistance (and they are motivated to do so since they cannot leave until there is some one there to assist you). When you arrive at an airport by ground transportation - the airline has no way of knowing you have arrived until you go inside to the check in counter. Just trying to alert the OP that here could be a wait for wheelchair assistance in that scenario.

 

You make a good point.  There may be a way to insure assistance is available as soon as one arrives at the airport by ground transportation.  

 

An experience that I had leaving from Washington's Union Station knowing in advance that I would need Red Cap assistance.  I obtained the Station's Red Cap's Office phone number.  I was instructed to call the Office shortly before arrival at Union Station to request a Red Cap's service.  While the "pick-up" of me was not flawless because of the size of the station, it happened.  The OP might want to speak with their airline to see what they might offer with regard to this arrival situation. 

 

I do know that even at my mid-size airport, when Sky Caps are on duty, if I needed wheelchair assistance, the gentlemen could provide such.  At least, to the airline's check-in counter.   

 

 

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
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • 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...