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Vancouver or Seattle recommendations...?


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Posted (edited)

Looking at a family & friends group booking for approx 30 people to Alaska next summer 2022.

Pricing for departure port Seattle is approx $150 - $300 pp higher than Vancouver, but airfare to Seattle is approx $100 - $150 cheaper than Vancouver.  We're flying in from 4 different states.  Want to spend 2 - 3 extra nights in Seattle.

So if we book out of Vancouver is there a best/lowest price mode of transport to/from Seattle to Vancouver for us 30 (train, bus, ferry, taxi, Uber, air, etc...?).

Or does RCCL has package air & transport avail for the 2 cities?

Thanks,

Edited by NavyCruiser
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7 minutes ago, NavyCruiser said:

So if we book out of Vancouver is there a best/lowest price mode of transport to/from Seattle to Vancouver for us 30 (train, bus, ferry, taxi, Uber, air, etc...?).

 

https://www.quickcoach.com/

https://www.boltbus.com/

 

8 minutes ago, NavyCruiser said:

Or does RCCL has package air & transport avail for the 2 cities?

Thanks,

 

No.

 

9 minutes ago, NavyCruiser said:

Want to spend 2 - 3 extra nights in Seattle.

 

Consider 2-3 nights in Vancouver, voted one of the top cities in the world to live in and travel to over the last couple of decades. United flies direct from IAH.

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For most Alaska cruises it means more Alaska time by leaving from Vancouver instead of Seattle, since leaving Seattle means a Canadian stop.  We also prefer to hang out in Vancouver rather than Seattle. 

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A big difference is the cruises out of Vancouver require a passport while you don't need one for a Seattle sailing. 

 

Honestly for only $100 savings in airfare I'd fly to Vancouver. It's around 3 hours driving and the line at the boarder might add time on to that. So $100 saves you at least 6 hours of time and then you'd have to subtract the cost of transportation from Seattle to Vancouver and back making the savings even less. 

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Posted (edited)

Seattle has a lot of round trip cruises where it seems the ones out of Vancouver are North bound one week and South bound the other week.  If you want to see the interior of Alaska, I'd vote for one way.  Heck, even going North bound and then taking the train from Seward to Anchorage is an amazing trip.

 

We did the train from Seattle to Vancouver - got delayed due to an "incident" on the South bound train that was North of us.  Had to wait until that was clear before we could continue; delayed our arrival in Vancouver.  It is now on our list of places to return to visit as even in our quick stop, it looks too good not to go back and explore.

 

Also - train tickets were really cheap.  Like $70 total for the two of us.

Edited by Rewind
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Posted (edited)

Agree with PP ... spend your extra days in Vancouver.

 

As for transporting 30 people,  I think a good option would be 4 or 5 rental cars/minivans.... gives you  flexibilty with your schedule when you're herding a crowd.  

But if you don't want to drive, I think the shuttles are going to run about $60pp each way.  You might want to check SeattleExpress and Shuttle Express to see what they would charge for a private bus rental.   Bolt Bus and Greyhound might be the cheaper options, but also factor in that the depots aren't in the most convenient location so you'll need taxis to get to/from which might be a pain with 30 pax.

Amtrak Cascades train is a scenic relaxing option but not cheap.

But for a large group, it would be worth your time to pay the extra airfare and fly into YVR.

 

You might want to look at the WEST COAST DEPARTURES forum to see what info is there regarding transportation.

Edited by mapleleaves
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2 minutes ago, mapleleaves said:

I think a good option would be 4 or 5 rental cars/minivans.... gives you  flexibilty with your schedule when you're herding a crowd.  

 

I don't know about on the west coast, but I've looked on the east cost and one-way rentals that end in another country are expensive. Flights to Buffalo were a lot cheaper than to Toronto, but the cost for two one-way rentals that ended in a different country ate up all the savings and then some. I would have saved a little bit of money with a bus across the boarder but it added hours of travel time. 

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So $68 round trip? So to save $32 you have to add 8 hours of travel time? 

 

I'm price sensitive but I gotta be savings more than $32 to add 8 hours of non-needed travel time. 

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To be fair - we did fly in to Seattle as we were visiting friends first before our Vancouver departure.  If you don't want that stop, flying to Vancouver direct is a much better option.

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Sailing from Vancouver - inside passage with calm sea and beautiful scenery.

 

Sailing from Seattle - rougher sea, nothing to see but miles of Pacific ocean.

 

Your choice.

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3 hours ago, Hoopster95 said:

 

https://www.quickcoach.com/

https://www.boltbus.com/

 

 

No.

 

 

Consider 2-3 nights in Vancouver, voted one of the top cities in the world to live in and travel to over the last couple of decades. United flies direct from IAH.

I concur.  Vancouver is an amazing city that will enhance your vacation time so much.  From Whistler to English Bay and Stanley Park to Gas town to Lynn Canyon you will have an amazing time.

 

Also I've used the Bolt Bus and it is great.  Currently unbookable because of border restrictions at the moment but that will be changing soon and you should be able to see cost and timings.  With a group of 30 I'd call for pricing I'm sure you could work out an arrangement.

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There's also a discussion on which ship.  We were going to do R/T out of Vancouver on the Serenade.  Compared to the Ovation/Quantum out of Seattle, if we had kids, we'd do the bigger ship all the time.

 

Anyways, we took the train between the two, it was like $42/way when we did it (2018).  We could do non stop flying from most cities that are nonstop to Seattle from Vancouver.  

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3 hours ago, mapleleaves said:

 

As for transporting 30 people,  I think a good option would be 4 or 5 rental cars/minivans.... gives you  flexibilty with your schedule when you're herding a crowd. 

The drop fee premium for most rental car companies would be awful for a cross border drop.

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5 hours ago, NavyCruiser said:

Looking at a family & friends group booking for approx 30 people to Alaska next summer 2022.

If you really want to enjoy the beauty of sailing the inside passage with endless sea life, then you need to leave from Vancouver. Cruises from Seattle end up in the open ocean on your first and last day. We spend hours each day and evening while underway watching whales, dolphin, and other sea life. Magical. 

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1 hour ago, Tree_skier said:

The drop fee premium for most rental car companies would be awful for a cross border drop.

 

Never assume.   Car rental rates/fes can change from day to day, depending on supply and demand.  There are 3 or 4 companies with booths at Canada Place and at both Seattle piers.  I've seen the drop fee as low as $75 or as high as $375. 

The OP asked for options .... it's on them to follow up and determine the various costs since they have the specific dates.

But the best option is to fly in/out Vancouver. 

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22 hours ago, Tree_skier said:

The drop fee premium for most rental car companies would be awful for a cross border drop.

 

In the past Avis was zero dropoff going north, around $100 going south.  We normally fly into Seattle, drive north (including one time via Blackball ferry to Victoria and BC ferry a few days later) and take a shuttle heading south.

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Vancouver is a beautiful city - one of the most scenic in North America.  Once you arrive and settle into your hotel you can easily travel around on their SkyTrain system.  My vote would be to fly directly into Vancouver, BC and enjoy a world class city.  Just make sure everyone has a current passport (and make sure it doesn't expire 6 months before the end of your cruise/flight home).

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