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Bus transfer from port to Vancouver airport


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I was reading a trip report from someone disembarking in Seattle at the end of June.  She mentioned that the bus transfer was a total mess.  No HAL employees directing people to the buses, the buses not marked, etc.  She said everyone was just standing their with their luggage, including those people who were first to disembark an hour prior to her disembarking time.  Lucky for her, someone had directed her to a bus and she got to the airport (Seattle).  She was also told that those still waiting for a bus had a long wait since the next one coming was at least an hour later.

 

That got me wondering.  Has anyone used this service in Vancouver this year, and if so, have you had any problems?  I believe we get into port around 7am and figure we would be off the ship around 8am.  Our flight is at 12:30.  I'm just wondering if we should cancel this service and take a taxi or Lyft to make sure we have enough time to get on our flight.  Any comments, recommendations would be appreciated.

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Haven't taken it, but frankly I'm surprised the cruise lines are even offering a shuttle for a 12:30pm flight this year given all the hassles at YVR! That was the usual cut-off in TheBeforeTimes - in fact some lines even had a cut-off of 1pm for flights on busier days with more ships as it was not unheard of for folks with flight at 12:30 to not make it to the gate in time! Since YVR remains understaffed across the board, I had expected the earliest flight cut-off to be 1pm or even later this year!

 

Between the pfaffing around and the frankly ridiculous cost I've always strongly recommended against cruiseline transfers - one person used to be charged more than the price of an entire cab to themselves (CAD$35ish on the meter), now we have Uber/Lyft to compare as well plus prices for transfers seem to have been jacked up even more than they use to be, it's even worse in term of value and it's never been great from a quality of service perspective.

 

If you are able to self-disembark (carrying all your own bags) then whether you take a cab, Uber/Lyft, or SkyTrain you'll easily get to YVR in time - the single biggest issue is always the other disembarking pax, especially on 3+ ship days. Even if you cannot handle bags yourself, doing everything you can to be in the first available disembarkation slot will help a lot - given how few people read CC so don't get this kind of info, an awful lot of people are happy to take later disembark slots that fit better with the shuttle transfer times so they can have a more leisurely final morning as they assume that 'if the line offers me timeslot X for my bus, it must be fine!'

 

The crux is that you need to beat the first cruise shuttles to YVR (as you allude to above, the first bus generally doesn't even go until 9am arriving YVR no earlier than 9:30am) - if you manage that, then even on those super-busy days you avoid the literal busloads of pax all arriving to check-in as big groups. Arrive at 8:30am and it's very likely even now that you will be checked-in, through Security, through pre-clearance and at your gate within an hour or so - arrive as part of those busloads and it could double or triple the time every queue takes!

 

Oh, and while it's not relevant to how you get there, if you have Global Entry or NEXUS bring the card - these will both get you into the shorter Security queue as well as CBP pre-clearance, but you do have to show the physical card to CATSA as they don't scan passports at Security. If it's busy you can save serious time with GE. TSA Precheck is worthless though - no TSA here!

 

TL;DR - if you are physically able, take your own bags off. If not, get the earliest slot. Cheaper, faster, and better is a really hard combo to beat - and arranging your own transport really does check off all those boxes!

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Good point about beating the cruise buses to the airport, regardless of the city!  We have seen the checkin and security lines go from almost nothing to packed in a matter of minutes as those bus loads of people pile in.

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23 hours ago, martincath said:

Haven't taken it, but frankly I'm surprised the cruise lines are even offering a shuttle for a 12:30pm flight this year given all the hassles at YVR! That was the usual cut-off in TheBeforeTimes - in fact some lines even had a cut-off of 1pm for flights on busier days with more ships as it was not unheard of for folks with flight at 12:30 to not make it to the gate in time! Since YVR remains understaffed across the board, I had expected the earliest flight cut-off to be 1pm or even later this year!

 

Between the pfaffing around and the frankly ridiculous cost I've always strongly recommended against cruiseline transfers - one person used to be charged more than the price of an entire cab to themselves (CAD$35ish on the meter), now we have Uber/Lyft to compare as well plus prices for transfers seem to have been jacked up even more than they use to be, it's even worse in term of value and it's never been great from a quality of service perspective.

 

If you are able to self-disembark (carrying all your own bags) then whether you take a cab, Uber/Lyft, or SkyTrain you'll easily get to YVR in time - the single biggest issue is always the other disembarking pax, especially on 3+ ship days. Even if you cannot handle bags yourself, doing everything you can to be in the first available disembarkation slot will help a lot - given how few people read CC so don't get this kind of info, an awful lot of people are happy to take later disembark slots that fit better with the shuttle transfer times so they can have a more leisurely final morning as they assume that 'if the line offers me timeslot X for my bus, it must be fine!'

 

The crux is that you need to beat the first cruise shuttles to YVR (as you allude to above, the first bus generally doesn't even go until 9am arriving YVR no earlier than 9:30am) - if you manage that, then even on those super-busy days you avoid the literal busloads of pax all arriving to check-in as big groups. Arrive at 8:30am and it's very likely even now that you will be checked-in, through Security, through pre-clearance and at your gate within an hour or so - arrive as part of those busloads and it could double or triple the time every queue takes!

 

Oh, and while it's not relevant to how you get there, if you have Global Entry or NEXUS bring the card - these will both get you into the shorter Security queue as well as CBP pre-clearance, but you do have to show the physical card to CATSA as they don't scan passports at Security. If it's busy you can save serious time with GE. TSA Precheck is worthless though - no TSA here!

 

TL;DR - if you are physically able, take your own bags off. If not, get the earliest slot. Cheaper, faster, and better is a really hard combo to beat - and arranging your own transport really does check off all those boxes!

Don't know what cruise line OP is sailing with (sounds like HAL) but Princess' official policy for Vancouver flight time out is 4 hours after docking. This policy is on their brochure which was published way before announcements of YVR staffing shortage.

 

Most of the Princess ships are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver at 7:30 AM so in theory they are allowing any flights after 12 noon.

 

We booked our air with Princess for next month's sailing ending in Vancouver.  Originally the flight is with WestJet departing at 7 PM but last month WestJet canceled that flight and they threw us into the 12:35 flight so we'll be scrambling to make it to the airport along with OP and many others.

 

This is one rare incident where you hope your flight is delayed for an hour....

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On 7/25/2022 at 11:49 AM, harryfat1 said:

Don't know what cruise line OP is sailing with (sounds like HAL) but Princess' official policy for Vancouver flight time out is 4 hours after docking. This policy is on their brochure which was published way before announcements of YVR staffing shortage.

 

Most of the Princess ships are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver at 7:30 AM so in theory they are allowing any flights after 12 noon.

 

We booked our air with Princess for next month's sailing ending in Vancouver.  Originally the flight is with WestJet departing at 7 PM but last month WestJet canceled that flight and they threw us into the 12:35 flight so we'll be scrambling to make it to the airport along with OP and many others.

 

This is one rare incident where you hope your flight is delayed for an hour....

Definitely a good time for a late flight, yes!

 

Princess, HAL, or whatever other line: 4 hours after arrival definitely seems earlier than they arranged shuttles in TheBeforeTimes... Noon was the earliest slot I recall, 12:30pm was common, even 1pm at times. Maybe the brochure for this year assumed that low booking numbers would continue so they thought they could avoid the worst of the bottlenecks? Whatever the reasoning, it was not very sensible - long before the staffing issues came to light it was well-known that Covid testing had to be done for US-bound flights which was adding a whole new bottleneck to the process.

 

At least that step is no longer required, so folks with borderline-makeable flights have one less thing to overcome.

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We disembarked  in Vancouver last week. Left ship @ 9:00 & took a cab to the airport.  The cab line is run smoothly & without difficulty. We were @ airport in plenty of time & actually had to wait before we could check in for our flight- which was at 2 pm. You cannot check in for a flight @ Vancouver till 3 hours before scheduled flight time.  

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Thanks all.  Thinking we will either take a cab/Lyft or take the SkyTrain.  Not going to cancel that end of the trip since we are using it when we arrive in Anchorage (Airport to hotel).  Don't want to get them confused and they end up cancelling both ends.

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We were among the first ones off the Millennium last Friday at 7:45.  We were in one of the first black top cabs ( and ripped off for $50CAD, but that’s another story) and arrived at YVR just before 8:30 for a 1:30 flight.  I had global entry, but my daughter did not, and I checked our luggage while she went ahead to security. Since we were at the airport so early, we had no problems and were both at the gate by 9:15.
 Then it all fell apart as our 58 minute flight to Seattle didn’t take off until 5:46.  Yes, 9 hours In the Vancouver airport waiting for them to fix a door and then waiting for a flight attendant.  The best laid plans….

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11 hours ago, Cambria2 said:

We disembarked  in Vancouver last week. Left ship @ 9:00 & took a cab to the airport.  The cab line is run smoothly & without difficulty. We were @ airport in plenty of time & actually had to wait before we could check in for our flight- which was at 2 pm. You cannot check in for a flight @ Vancouver till 3 hours before scheduled flight time.  

Maybe because we were flying first class on Delta, but we checked in a little after 8:30 for a 1:30 flight.  No questions asked.

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Another thought is to spend a day or two in Vancouver.  We just did that after our Alaskan cruise and loved Vancouver.  It is a very friendly, clean city with excellent bus/train service for $11 CAD per day.  We are so happy we added those 2 days.

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