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Seattle, to Victoria, to Vancouver - Transportation, lodging and excursion

Seattle, to Victoria, to Vancouver - Transportation, lodging and excursion

Old Mar 24th, 2009, 06:03 PM
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Seattle, to Victoria, to Vancouver - Transportation, lodging and excursion

We arrive Seattle Aug 28 in afternoon. Our cruise departs for Alaska Sept 2 out of Vancouver, returning Sept 9 - and we depart home out of Seattle Sept 10 (HAL cruise Vancouver round trip).
Would like to go to Victoria from SEA for a couple of days - we have Friday - Wednesday morning before we leave on cruise.
How long in Victoria do you recommend?
We have some Starwood points we can use for 2 nights at Bear Mountain in Victoria and would need to move to another lodging as they are booked out Sunday and Monday.
We enjoy scenery, walking, the gardens and anything outdoors - and city walks too.
We'd like to be in Vancouver the night before our cruise departure and again, have Starwood points we can use.
!. Transportation: SEA to Victoria? Victoria to Vancouver? Vancouver to SEA? Car rental is cheaper to have the entire trip from SEA to SEA (around 500) than to do a drop off in Vancouver and then get another rental back (over 700). We are open to using all public transportation too.
2. Lodging in Victoria? Places to see or visit?
3. Lodging in Vancouver near easy enough to get to pier?
4. Things to see/do in Vancouver for a day or two?
5. We may stay in SEA the night after our cruise to be close to airport. If we stay downtown, what transportation is available to airport?

My husband and I are celebrating our 60th birthdays, we love to be outdoors, we love to be active but have the balance of sitting and enjoying the beauty or sipping good coffee.
I have my heart set on Victoria because of the gardens and the tea. We'd love some good eating places tips too.
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Old Mar 24th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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mid-town Seattle to the airport all day long, is a trip you can make on local bus #194.

Details: http://transit.metrokc.gov/

I guess if this was me, I would avoid renting a car for the overall trip. I'd take the ferry to Victoria from Seattle on the morning after your arrival. Then find a way to take the bus/ferry from Victoria to Vancouver a couple of days later.

IF you have never before been to Vancouver, you would probably do best to spend a couple of days in Victoria and then most of a couple more in Vancouver.

If inclined to make side trips, perhaps a strategic 24-hour car rental would be best - if you time it right it can coincide with arrival or departure in order so that you can move your bags easily by car (to bus/ferry departure point).

Last I knew (a year or two ago) there is a BUS service from VANCOUVER, Canada to (Seattle's) Sea Tac airport that runs daily. See if you can find it and maybe use that for your return trip. (perhaps it won't work in terms of timing, given your tight return schedule)

Are you speaking of potentially renting a car for the entire trip, and merely parking it in Vancouver area for a wasted week of your journey??? (I'm not sure where I would park, although there are surely options up there somewhere)

You may find yourselves restricted by the tight scheduling on the way home.

Hope this helps a little bit.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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I was able to change our flight arrival in SEA to arrive at 10:30 AM so we will be able to go to Victoria that day. Sounds like I can take public transportation to the Clipper. I appreciate your comment that made me realize I needed to arrive earlier that day!
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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You'll need/want a car to get from the harbour in Victoria (where the Clipper arrives) out to Bear Mountain since you'd be a little isolated out there otherwise (unless they have a shuttle maybe?). I think 2 nights in the Victoria area is plenty--I'd err towards spending more time in Vancouver, personally. You can drop off the car back in Victoria and take the PCL coach (bus) to Vancouver. Budget has a location right near the bus terminal in Victoria so that's easy.

The Westin Grand or the Sheraton Wall Centre are good Starwood choices in Vancouver.

You can take the train to Seattle the evening of Sept 9 and depending on what time your flight is, either stay downtown or at the airport that night.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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If we don't use Bear Mountain, what is your recommendation for lodging? Would you still suggest a car?
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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(deep sigh)

It's just that... you're only talking about a maximum of five nights in Canada on that swing before your cruise.

If you travel all that way on the first day, nobody in your party will be much good on the first night.

Not that I've been to Victoria during the past 20 years, but I'm sure it gets better every year. With that in mind, I can't see passing up central Victoria in favor of an outlying area.

I suggest planning to room in the center, touristy part of Victoria at night, and then doing a day trip to desired outlying locations with a 24-hour car rental timed strategically.

I tried to see if your past posts would reveal from where you are traveling, but no luck.

IF you have never been to Vancouver, it is certainly worth 2 of your 5 nights, and perhaps more worthy of the 3rd night than is Victoria.

With just 2 or 3 nights in each spot, being at the center of everything is most ideal. Victoria IS a touristy city, and there are plenty of things to see and do in a small area.

Vancouver is much bigger and quite awesome all around, yet the downtown area is somewhat compact given water all around. It is a great city for walking.

IF you are coming from so far away that you can't reasonably expect to ever visit Vancouver again then it really makes sense to give Vancouver all you can.

Downtown Victoria lodging would allow you to make a go of it all without a car unless you feel a strong urge for a particular side trip.

You'll figure it out.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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I agree totally with NWWanderer regarding Bear Mountain. It is a long way out of town and there really isn't anything around except the golf course and Costco! I would definitely stay downtown and you won't need a car. There are lots of lovely hotels - the Magnolia, Laurel Point, Grand Pacific, Ocean Pointe to name a few. They are all close to the Clipper dock (within walking distance except the Ocean Pointe ) I would go on Priceline and choose the downtown area and choose 4 star rating and you will get any one of them.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Sounds like excellent advise! We will stay 2 nights in Victoria and 2 in Vancouver then.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Er, well, y'gotta stay another night somewhere.

nights of:

28th
29th
30th
31st
1st

(cruise on the day of the 2nd)
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Yes, as noted, you won't need a car if you stay in downtown Victoria. However, depending on how much time you have there (since you do have an extra night to play with, it looks like) and your tolerance for public transportation, you might want to rent one for a day (or part of a day) to get out to Butchart Gardens (rather than take the bus) and/or spend some time in Sooke.

However I would spend the extra night in Vancouver.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Sounds like Vancouver is definitely worth adding some time. A thought - what if we take transportation from SEA to Vancouver FIRST, then rent a car and do our city enjoying, then take our rental via ferry to Victoria for a full day and come back to Vancouver the night before our cruise departure? Having never been, I am hopeful you can tell me if the beauty of trip and the length of trip is a go or a no!

One factor for the Victoria portion of trip coming FIRST is that we have Starwood points that would give us a room at Westin Bear Mountain for a mere 60 US dollars for the 28th and 29th. We would need a car if we did that and could rent on the island for that time.

Then we could go to Vancouver to see the sights there and rent there if needed to drive up to Grouse Mt. as someone suggested in other post I read to see sunset over Vancouver.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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No, I'd stick with your first plan--less back and forth and less hassle IMO. A day trip from Vancouver to Victoria takes about 3 hours in each direction.

Whether you stay at the Westin for Victoria to save $$ is really a judgment call.
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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Thanks NWWanderer - your opinion helped,
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Old Mar 26th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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... not that the ferry trip from SEATTLE to Victoria won't take "3 hours" as well.

(contemplating: )

Fly into Seattle on afternoon of August 28.

I don't know the train schedules... can you still depart for Vancouver via train in the evening? and what about the Sea-Tac-TO-VANCOUVER, CANADA BUS service? might it be of any help to you that way??

IF you arrived in Vancouver on the night of the 28th... and awoke there on the 29th... you might rent a car for 48 hours for your side trip to Victoria (be sure to have all CAR reservations for the ferry firmly squared away well before that).

SO SAY that from noon-ish on the 29th til noon-ish on the 31st you are on a short trip to Victoria (for 2 nights).

That would put you back in Vancouver on the night of the 1st, ready for your cruise on the 2nd.

Your options are many but making sure you don't have the burden of a one-way car rental, OR having to keep the car in your name (and parked, uselessly, in Canada) during your entire cruise, is a wise move.

In brief, train or bus UP from Seattle to Vancouver and train or bus BACK to Seattle lets you rent the car only for the short window when you would find it most convenient, while in Canada.

Lots to consider.
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Old Mar 27th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Now that you have all that transportation settled, why don't you change your airline reservation and fly directly into Vancouver. You'll save a bunch of time, avoid the backup at the border, not have to worry about making all those connections. Sure it will cost more, but how much is the time and aggravation worth? Save a few dollars and have your flight delayed and you miss the train and now what?
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Old Mar 27th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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A triangular trip--Seattle to Victoria on the Clipper, PCL Victoria to Vancouver, bus or train (but preferably train--more scenic/less border hassle) Vancouver to Seattle after the cruise, makes the most sense logistically IMO. Rent a car for a day in Victoria and/or Vancouver as needed.
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Old Mar 27th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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I like the last suggestions by rm_mn and NWWanderer. With a car in Victoria you could more easily get to the White Heather Tea Room in Oak Bay and take in the scenic waterfront drive. As much as I love Butchart's - and I really do! - I don't care much for their afternoon tea. Then, too, you may want to have tea at the Empress, which is ridiculously expensive but you pay for the atmosphere.
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Old Mar 27th, 2009, 04:42 PM
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rm_rm, our tickets are only good in US so that is not an option (they were free United tickets for being willing to be bumped twice). But thanks - it was a good idea. April, I really like the tea room idea as tea is huge for me - I have a "properly-brewed-tea attitude having been raised by my British dad.
Also thanks to NorthwestMale and NWWanderer for your input. I will have to do some research on the details of each and decide.
I love having the "Foder Folk" being such a great source of information, opinions, and experience.
Now - what about Vancouver ideas for what is a must see or do?
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Old Mar 28th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver? Is this anywhere near the departure for cruise to Alaska?
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Old Mar 28th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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It's not far but is in a fabulous location. I've never stayed there but have always wanted to.
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