Vancouver OR Victoria (and Seattle)

Old Jul 19th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Vancouver OR Victoria (and Seattle)

Help needed to decide what to do with three and a bit days.
Arrive in Vancouver at 0750 on Friday 30th September on the "Canadian" and have to depart Seattle airport at 1425 on Monday 3rd October.
Is it possible to stay one day and night in Vancouver, spend the next two in Victoria and get a ferry to Seattle on the morning of the day we fly out?
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 08:15 AM
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Although it should be possible to get a ferry to Seattle on Monday morning, it will probably be a work day (long lines) and I just wouldn't cut it so close (not looking at the schedule). I suggest the following:

Friday + night in Vancouver, BC
Saturday + night + Sunday in Victoria
Sunday evening + Monday morning in Seattle

With plane leaving at 2:25pm, your check-out time should coincide with going to the airport late enough to miss the morning rush hour.

If you wanted to spend more time in Victoria, you could just spend the day in Vancouver and go to Victoria Friday evening.

The Victoria Clipper is probably your best bet for Victoria to Seattle. Here are the ferry sites to check the schedules (and rates) for yourself:

http://www.bcferries.com
http://www.victoriaclipper.com
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 08:30 AM
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>>>Is it possible to stay one day and night in Vancouver, spend the next two in Victoria and get a ferry to Seattle on the morning of the day we fly out?<<<

Is it possible? Yes. Is it advisable? No, not in my opinion.

It takes 3 days to do any kind of justice to Vancouver, in my opinion. Victoria is a charming little city, and the ferry journey through the Southern Gulf Islands is pretty. However, I do not believe it is worth it -- either in terms of cost or time -- if you have not availed yourself of what Vancouver has to offer.

Vancouver's geography means that the place lends itself to being divided into 3 chunks each occupying a day.

Day 1 - centrally located attractions such as Stanley Park, Granville Island Market, Robson Street, Yaletown (all accessible on foot or by public transportation)

Day 2 - North Shore attractions, including Lynn Canyon and Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, and a drive as far up Howe Sound as time will permit (most of this is accessible by public transportation, but a car would provide greater freedom for touring up Howe Sound)

Day 3 - attractions to the south of downtown, principally the fabulous Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Queen Elizabeth Park, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and a walk or drive along the English Bay seashore (I personally have done this by car, but I understand it's all accessible by public transportation)

To get from Vancouver to Sea-Tac Airport, your best bet may be the shuttle bus services that I have not used myself but that frequently are mentioned on the travel discussion boards.

There seems to be more than one of them, and they seem to offer similar services. Quick Shuttle seems to be fairly representative. You would need to leave downtown Vancouver at about 6.15 a.m. on the Monday, and that would get you to Sea-Tac Airport at 11.25 a.m. The next departure, at 8.45 a.m. probably would be too late for you, as it would get you to Sea-Tac at 1.55 p.m. or 13:55.

Quick Shuttle's fare is 41 USD per person.

Amtrak operates a train service from Vancouver to Seattle, but I don't think it would work for your purposes. There are only 4 departures from Vancouver per day. They leave at 8.45 a.m., 12.30 p.m., 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. The 8.45 a.m. train gets into Seattle at 12.30 p.m. At that point you still would need to make your way from the Amtrak Station in downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac Airport.

For what the information is worth, the train fare is 25 USD per person.

However, as DB has indicated, you could make your way to Seattle on Sunday evening. In that case Amtrak probably would work fine.

However, if you really want to adhere to your original idea of spending 2 days in Victoria, this is how you could do it.

On Friday 30th you could do the Vancouver activities that I listed under "Day 1."

On Saturday morning you could catch the Pacific Coach Lines bus, as DB mentioned. It would take you from downtown Vancouver to the mainland ferry terminal at Tsawwassen. It would drive you onto the ferry for the 1-1/2 hour crossing. When the ferry docked at Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, the Pacific Coach Lines bus would drive you to downtown Victoria. The entire exercise would take about 3-1/2 hours.

The Pacific Coach Lines fare from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria is 33.50 CAD per person.

You could spend Saturday afternoon visiting the Butchart Gardens. Then you could spend Sunday exploring downtown Victoria on foot. The Royal BC Museum deserves special mention.

I have never caught a ferry from Victoria to Seattle. However, I've read about it on the travel discussion boards. According to the web site of the passenger-only Victoria Clipper there are two sailings every morning. One departs Victoria at 7.30 a.m. and reaches Seattle at 10.30 a.m. The other departs Victoria at 8.45 a.m. and reaches Seattle at 11.00 a.m.

If I'm reading the web site correctly, the earlier Victoria Clipper voyage costs 72 USD per person, and the later voyage costs 81 USD per person.

The Victoria Clipper's web site gives instructions for getting from Sea-Tac Airport to Pier 69, from which the ferry sets out for Victoria. I assume you would simply reverse the instructions for getting from Pier 69 to Sea-Tac Airport.

The web site claims that a taxi ride costs in the order of 32 USD.

You could get from Pier 69 to the airport by public transportation. That would involve catching a trolley and then switching to a bus. The entire trolley / bus journey would take about an hour and would cost 1.50 USD per person.

I believe that would get you to Sea-Tac in time to check in for your flight. However, that assumes that everything goes according to plan. There would be no room for error. Again, I like DB's idea of transferring to Seattle on the Sunday night.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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I took the Victoria Clipper between Seattle and Victoria about 3 years ago. It was a pleasant trip, but was depended a great deal on the weather. The captain said shortly after we left that we would arrive at least 90 mins. late because the water was rough and we couldn't travel at the regular speed.

On the return to Seattle, I went by seaplane. It leaves from Victoria Harbor across from the Empress Hotel and lands in Lake Union in Seattle. During the half-hour trip, we saw whales and a close-up view of downtown Seattle. Check their site: Kenmoreair.com. I just don't recommend this for skittish fliers because it's a 7-passenger plane.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Something to note about Kenmore Air is that the luggage limit is 24 pounds per passenger (pounds, not kilograms). This may be a difficult limit for an international traveller to meet.

The reason I was curious about the luggage limit was that I previously had noticed a 25 lb luggage limit on the web site of Harbour Air, which flies seaplanes between Vancouver and Victoria. I looked for a luggage limit on Kenmore Air's web site, and didn't find one. So I phoned 1-800-543-9595, which is toll free for me in North America but which probably is not accessible to macca in Australia (a location that is apparent from the e-mail address in the online signature). The person who answered the phone told me the luggage limit was 24 lbs.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Valuable comments! Thanks.
Having given some thought to the "few" days we have it would appear that we might be best to follow Judy_in_Calgary's suggestion and stay in one place [Vancouver].
I have read posts on Buchan Hotel and that looks like a good place to stay. Any comments on either Maple House B&B OR Johnston Heritage House B&B as alternatives. They look PK on their website.
And thanks Judy for the proposed itinerery suggestion.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 08:53 PM
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I am glad you have decided to take Judy's advice. We did 3 days in Vancover and one day and night in Victoria. Victoria was charming but Vancover was so wonderful, it is a worthwhile tradeoff. Make sure you go to the open air market. Also, while I know you are looking for a B & B, you might want to check out the lovely Grandville Island Hotel, ask for a room with a water view. Note, Grandville Island is an urban island, quite delightful.It is near the fresh air market.
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