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Fly to Seattle, cruise from Vancouver? Advice, please.

Fly to Seattle, cruise from Vancouver? Advice, please.

Apr 19th, 2001, 05:05 PM
  #1  
Bblue
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Fly to Seattle, cruise from Vancouver? Advice, please.

Has anyone ever flown into Seattle, WA and traveled by land (bus-car-train)/ferry/whatever to Vancouver, BC to board a cruise to Alaska?
If so, what was the best mode of transportation? Are the prices for transportation and hotel in the Seattle or Vancouver area going to make the difference in flight prices from the East Coast negligible?
We're looking at the Norwegian Wind for a cruise from Vancouver up the inside passage. Older messages indicated problems about a year ago. Have they been solved on this ship?
Thanks for your help.
 
Apr 20th, 2001, 04:45 AM
  #2  
Charlie
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Hi Bblue, we are flying into Seattle next month for a cruise out of Vancouver and have arranged ground transit to Vancouver round trip.There is a daily shuttle that picks up cruise passengers at various Seattle hotels or the airport and drives them to the ship(approx.3 .5 hour ride).The cost is $70PP round trip.We are using FF miles for our air from the east coast and the flight schedule best suited for our needs require us to fly in the night before so we are staying at a hotel near the airport.Our ship sails at 4:45 so we are being picked up by the shuttle at 11 AM for our transfer,that gives us a chance to sleep in a little and adjust ourselves to the time change.The following website will give you info about shuttle service between Seattle and Vancouver......
www.portvancouver.com
PS. the $70 PP round trip rate is about standard so its probably not worth shopping around.E-mail if I can help with other info,have a nice trip!!!!
 
Apr 20th, 2001, 08:32 PM
  #3  
Blamemame
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Hi Bblue,

We did the cruise from Vancouver to Alaska two years ago. We flew to Seattle and caught a quickshuttle bus from the airport to Vancouver. The ride was about three to three and half hours. I don't remember the price but it was very competitive. Amtrak also does a trip from Seattle to Vancouver that I understand is very scenic and very reasonable. Much cheaper than the quick shuttle, but it doesn't run but once a day. Check it out on the amtrak.com site. We went up the day before the cruise and stayed at the Crown Plaza in Vancouver. Enjoyed our stay there. There is also a very reasonable quaint hotel in Vancouver called the Sylvia Hotel which has the best rates in town and is across from Stanley Bay. Beautiful view and very large rooms. They stay booked so check it out early.
 
Apr 22nd, 2001, 02:15 PM
  #4  
David
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Why pay $70 per person for a shuttle when you can rent a car for probably $50 with drop off in Vancouver and do the drive yourself in around 2-1/2 hours. It is a very easy drive. All you have to do is take I-5 and it takes you all the way to Vancouver.
In terms of hotel prices, in Vancouver you'll pay around the same rate as in Seattle, yet you'll be paying in Canadian dollars. A $150 Canadian hotel room is only $100 US, and you can probably do better than that.
 
Apr 22nd, 2001, 03:25 PM
  #5  
Charlie
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Hey Dave the $70 shuttle is round trip to the ship.Where is the car drop off in Vancouver?I wonder how much it would cost to the cruise terminal from the car drop and if it would be another $50 rental back to Seattle??
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 04:53 AM
  #6  
Bblue
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Hi Charlie,
I checked into the portvancouver.com website you suggested, but I couldn't find the shuttle service info you suggested. Under which category is it found?
Can you tell me the names of some of the Seattle hotels that connect via shuttle to the Vancouver ship terminals?
Amtrak costs $22 each way, but there is only one train a day.
Thanks for your help.
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 07:56 AM
  #7  
Charlie
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Hi Bblue,we booked our shuttle ride to Vancouver thru Gray Line of Vancouver,we are staying the night and being picked up at a Sea Tac area hotel.Here is the website for Gray Line,I suggest that you give them a call with your itinerary and see what they can do for you.Hope this helps,good luck.

http://www.graylineofseattle.com/airport.cfm

http://www.graylineofseattle.com/motorcoach.cfm
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 09:00 AM
  #8  
David
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Hey Charlie,
It took me about 15 seconds to go to Alamo's website and find that you can rent a four door compact car from the airport in seattle and drop it off in Vancouver for $29. If you want to splurge, a full size is $33. The drop off in Vancouver is downtown. It is very close to the Terminal (maybe $5 Canadian taxi), but I'm sure if you ask real nice Alamo will drive you to the terminal since they drive people to their hotels. The date I used to get the rate was pickup May 26 and drop off May 27th. On the return, I used a date of June 3, returning it later that day in Seattle. The rate for the compact car from Vancouver to Seattle is $42 Canadian (approx $28 US). On top of the monetary savings, you can avoid the "Quick" shuttle, which isn't quick at all. It takes more than an hour longer than it would to drive. Also, you can avoid waiting in line at the border while the 50 passengers on the bus are lined up and each questioned. If you drive through yourself, the questioning takes max 30 seconds.
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 12:13 PM
  #9  
Charlie
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Hey Dave.....
Makes sense to me.
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 12:34 PM
  #10  
Bblue
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Hey Dave,
I went to the Alamo website and the best price that was posted for an economy car was $53.98. (It was for an August date.) Is the price difference that extensive between May and August? Or did you click something I didn't?
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 01:47 PM
  #11  
John
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I think renting the car is the way to go, (and it permits some collateral touring in Washington State, thanks, visitors...) but please don't assume the border will be a snap. The last four times we've crossed (all in the last several months) the average wait (northbound) has been around an hour, the longest (southbound) over 2 (it's worse in mid-summer.) Crossing at Blaine or the so-called "truck" crossing (bus, too) a little to the east makes no difference.
Bblue, how much more would the air tix cost direct to YVR? Would you be overnighting in SEA or following a 6+ hour transcontinental flight with a 4 hour car ride to Vancouver?
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 04:29 PM
  #12  
Bblue
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Hi John,
The total cost difference for a family of 4 from the East Coast into Seattle vs Vancouver is $860. Worth the drive time, plus we planned on viewing some sites along the way too. Anything you'd suggest as a "must see?"
 
Apr 23rd, 2001, 08:34 PM
  #13  
John
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Gosh, a $215 per person differential is enormous - I just checked Expedia and from NYC (for example) to Vancouver and return in August was about $30 more per person than to Seattle on the same days, but I'll take your word for it.

If you have some extra time, a route to Vancouver from Seattle either (a) via the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island (then ferry over to Vancouver city on the mainland) or (b) east across the Cascades to the Grand Coulee country, then north and back into Vancouver from central BC would be a great couple of days. The direct route up I-5 (then BC 99) from Seattle to Vancouver is an easy freeway drive, but certainly not the most scenic 3 or 4 hours you'll spend on the road.
 
Apr 24th, 2001, 03:19 AM
  #14  
Bblue
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Hi John,
We aren't flying from NYC; that's probably why the price differential is so high.
I'll look into your suggestions regarding the route. Maybe time will allow it in one direction, but will the kids be bored with just "scenery"? Any kid friendly suggestions in Seattle or Vancouver you would recommend? (ages 10-14 boys) Are sports games in season then?
thanks.
 
Apr 24th, 2001, 07:30 AM
  #15  
David
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Hello Bblue.
Rental charges are different for each day depending on their projected demand I guess. I would try a few different rental companies and try both returning it the same day and returning it the next day to see if the rate changes. All the major rental companies have locations in downtown Vancouver. Downtown Vancouver is very compact, so any downtown location will be in fairly close proximity to the terminal and downtown hotels.

As for the border, there is a trick to making your wait considerable shorter. When traveling southbound, use the truck crossing. It allows both cars and trucks. It is easy to find, just follow the signs from the main highway as you head south. When you get to the border, if there is a line-up (and there isn't always one), drive up the shoulder lane and turn into the duty free store. When you exit the parking lot from the duty free store, you are max 10 minutes in line from the border. In order to exit the duty free store back into the line at that point, you will have needed to buy something and show your receipt. I usually buy a $1 bottle of water.

I haven't encountered a long lineup northbound in a few years, but I think that you can do the same thing at the truck crossing northbound as well.
 
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