Vancouver help after Alaska cruise

Nov 3rd, 2002, 08:24 AM
  #1  
Linda
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Vancouver help after Alaska cruise

I'm quickly turning into a "cruise-message-board-addict". The information is phenomenal and I thank you all.

First cruise in 20 years and it's to Alaska on the Dawn on July 7, 2003. Flying into Fairbanks on June 28 for a nine day independent sightseeing affair, which includes Denali AND Homer. Six of us including 80 and 85 year old parents (very mobile and very healthy ..lucky me) and they're giving me carte blanche on the planning ..YIKES!

Here's the question: We arrive in Vancouver at 7:30 AM and our flight back to Michigan doesn't leave until 9 PM. What to do with those 10 hours? what about all the luggage? Should I book a room at Canada Place for the day or Fairmont at the airport? It would seem we would need a place to rest or freshen up before the flight home. AND what about a day tour of the city?

Not sure i did a very good job booking this flight home, but the fare was $451 flying into Fairbanks and returning from Vancouver. Pretty good, huh?
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 08:53 AM
  #2  
zoomer
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For six of you that IS excellent.
Pretty good job, so far, Linda!!
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 10:02 AM
  #3  
John B
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Hi Linda!
We booked a room at the Fairmont Vancouver airport for our last night after a cruise tour to Alaska and it was the nicest hotel we stayed at. The elevators from the hotel go right to the ticket counters of the airlines, so you couldn't have an easier way to check in. Check out the AAA rates if you're a member, and you can get a nice corner suite that looks out over the airport and mountains in the background, for alittle more than $125.00 CAN dollars. The rooms are beautiful and super deluxe, with large marble baths and jacuzzi tubs. By the way, we also stayed at the Pan Pacific at Canada Place, which was also beautiful, however it was about double the price and not as luxurious. It was very easy boarding our cruise ship from there though, since they will check your bags from the hotel directly to your cruise ship. A car rental at the airport would also be easy for a day excursion of the area, and you can walk back to hotel after you check you car back in. Have fun!!!
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 11:46 AM
  #4  
Anthony
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The most cost-effective solution would be to book a hotel in downtown Vancouver using Priceline.com.

I did the same this summer, in July, for a post-cruise stay also, for an unbelieveable price of US$45/nt and got the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel. It was 5 mins from the ship pier via taxi, costing only about US$5 for the cab. The other hotels that comes up often is either the Hyatt or the Renaaissance, both which are very close to the ship pier; all three can come up for bids between US$40-$45/nt. It would make more sense to get a hotel in town, since if you got a place at the airport, you would be back-tracking in-town to sight-see. You can then take a cab to the airport in the evening.
Checkout www.biddingfortravel.com for advice on how to bid on priceline. This is an independent bulletin board, and it has great info on Priceline bidding. You will see all the great results of people's winning bids for Vancouver hotels.
Believe me, there is NO cheaper way than through Priceline!
 
Nov 3rd, 2002, 03:26 PM
  #5  
April
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With the time remaining between waiting to get off the ship and waiting at the airport, I would probably focus on Stanley Park, Robson Street and Granville Island. You can take a little ferry taxi to Granville Island.
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 03:21 AM
  #6  
Mary
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The Fairmont Harbor Centre, right across the street from Pan Pacific Canada Place, is a great hotel and cheaper than Canada Place!
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 04:50 AM
  #7  
rita
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Mary, the name of the hotel you refer to is the Fairmont "Waterfront" not Harbour Centre.
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 05:09 AM
  #8  
rita
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Actually, I guess I should be a bit more helpful. If I had that length of time in Vancouver here is what I would do.

First I would book a room at the Fairmont Airport. John is right, it is a first class hotel.

Next I would rent a car from one of the rental companies downtown. Tell them that you want to return it at the Airport.

I would get in my rental car and head to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. Then, for a spectacular view of Vancouver (assuming it is a sunny day!!) I would take the gondola ride up Grouse Mountain. That finishes you for North Van.

Drive back over the Lion's Gate Bridge into Stanley Park and walk around a bit. Then head into downtown down Denman Street. Park your car in a place you can leave it for a while (i.e. a lot, NOT a meter) and go to the Raincity Grill for lunch (best to make reservations). Have a wonderful westcoat style meal, BC wine and enjoy the view of the water.

Next walk along the harbour and catch one of the little foot ferries across to Granville Island (see, you're working off the wine and lunch!!). Check out the great art and craft stores and look in envy at the local selection of produce and flowers. Take the foot ferry back and head to your car. If time permits the south end of Denman Street offers some nice shopping (not as good as Robson Street though).

Get in your car, head across the Burrard Street Bridge to West Broadway. Take a right and look for the signs to UBC. This is a wonderful drive out along English Bay -- stop for a walk and a different view of Vancouver and the Harbour. Your next stop is the Anthropology Museum at UBC (rated one of the best in the world for westcoast artifacts).

From UBC it if a nice drive along SW Marine to the Arthur Lange Bridge and the Airport. Drop the rental car at the airport and walk over to the Fairmont. Check in to your wonderful room and then decide whether you want to eat in the restaurant downstairs (which is quite good) or enjoy a soak in the bathtub and room service.

There you are . . . my suggestion for a whirlwind trip of Vancouver. Now if you want to shop . . . . that is a different itinerary.
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 06:31 AM
  #9  
Sara
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WOW--a very ambitious itinerary, Rita. I enjoyed reading it. I'm not sure an 85 yr. old that has gotten up at 5:30am or so after a busy cruise, could handle such a trip though. WIth 6 six people and luggage, that is a lot to organize, especially for the END of a great cruise.
Good luck, Linda. Only you know their stamina.
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 07:37 AM
  #10  
Anthony
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I would agree that Rita's itineary is WAY to ambitious given who we are giving advice to - PLEASE REMEMBER - there are 6 people, including 80 -yr olds - you Cannot fit 6 people into one car, so the suggestion to rent a car is STUPID, especially for a day trip. Additionally, since there is no plan to stay overnight, and maybe just a short rest/nap, booking a top rate hotel would be a waste of money. The purpose in getting a room for the day would be to have a place to store the luggage, and a place to refresh and relax if needed. Again, for the original poster's group, a hotel downtown would make most sense. If you use Priceline, and spend about $45/rm, you can get 2 rooms, and have plenty of space for luggage and a place to rest, if needed.
Again, I DID THIS EXACT THING IN JULY; and I stayed overnight, leaving the next day. Believe me, you will be tired after getting off the ship!
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 05:18 PM
  #11  
rita
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Gee Anthony . . . the next time you post a question and wonder why you do not get a detailed answer perhaps it is because posters like you get your knickers in a knot and flame a poster for taking the time to post something more informative than "check out Priceline.com". The sheer informational value of your post makes me wonder if you work for Priceline.

If all Linda wishes to do in Vancouver is shop then I agree, getting off the ship at the pier and dumping the luggage at a downtown hotel is a wise choice. But I assumed she would like to show her group some of the amazing sights in Vancouver and I put together an itinerary that my 85 year-old Grandmother could do (actually it doesn't involve that much walking Sara and all on a flat paved surface).

Yes my itinerary does involve renting a car, a suggestion I hesitate to call "stupid" (as you have) because of the practical nature of having your own vehicle in Vancouver. Car could mean van, and with the size of Linda's group that is obviously a wise choice. Many of the sites in Vancouver are spread out and having your own transportation means that you can do them at your own pace. It also means that you can stop (when the older folks are getting tired) and take a rest. It also means that you will not have to pay $40 per taxi for a trip to the airport.

As for renting two rooms downtown at a rate of $45 per . . . the last time I stayed at the Fairmont Airport the price for a room was $125 Cdn. Not a huge difference for a deluxe room as oppossed to a questionable room downtown.

And lastly Anthony . . . I'm glad you "DID EXACTLY THIS IN JUNE" but you have made assumptions that Linda would like to do as you did. I offered my post as "an idea of my perfect day in Vancouver". I offered it as a tourist who travels often to Vancouver and has experienced all the suggestions I've made and feel others would get as much enjoyment out of them as I did. I offered it as an alternative to the luggage dumping scenario you posted. And I also offered it because none of the six posters before me offered Linda any detailed itinerary suggestions. I did not "flame" your post, nor call your "stay at a downtown hotel" idea STUPID. The concept of this board is to offer up suggestions to questions asked. Linda asked a question . . . I gave an answer.

Now I believe you owe me an apology.
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 09:36 PM
  #12  
Paul Therault
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Actually Rita, you did not address Linda at all. You just described what you liked to do and it was detailed and interesting.

Good job!

Paul
 
Nov 4th, 2002, 11:44 PM
  #13  
April
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A list of suggestions doesn't mean a person has to do them all. Actually, I think Rita makes some fine points. Some of my favourite parts of Vancouver are out of the downtown core. With just part of a day, I'm not sure what I would do. I find driving a hassle in the downtown core and for that reason we like to stay at the Lord Stanley by Stanley Park. If you rent a van, go from there for a drive around the park, then go over the Lion's Gate Bridge and drive up to the British Properties. The view is spectacular. With any spare time, you're in the right area to grab the chair lift up Grouse Mountain. The folks at your hotel will be more than happy to give you adequate directions (but get a good map). Coming back from there you can dismiss the van and walk up Robson and take in all kinds of shops and restaurants. Or hop a cab to the little ferry that goes to Granville Island. It's a shame though you couldn't stay over one night.
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 07:50 AM
  #14  
John B
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Great job on your posting Rita!! I wish I had read something as detailed before I planned my Vancouver stay! Anthony obviously has never heard of mini vans...and Priceline is NOT the only way to go. Also, to call someone else's suggestions STUPID...all I can say is STUPID IS, WHAT STUPID DOES!!

Linda, whatever your plans include...Vancouver is a beautiful city and you'll have a great time exploring whatever you have time for. Have a great time!!
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 08:36 AM
  #15  
Anthony
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What everone seems to forget is that there is not JUST 6 people, but also LUGGAGE! Assuming a minimun of 3 bags each person( I travel light, and had 2 carry-on sized bags and a backpack), that's 18 pieces of LUGGAGE. A mini van cannot fit 6 people & 18 pieces of luggage. The next alternative would be getting 2 cars, minivans, whatever. That complicates matters further. You need 2 drivers, and you have to have people follow each other. Even if you were to say you would park one car with luggage in a lot and then use a mini-van to sitesee, that's STILL complicated.
That's why the smartest thing is to take cabs from the pier to a downtown hotel, leave the bags in the room/s, then go siteseeing; whether that means walking, or bus, tram, limo, tourbus. When the party gets tired, they can go to the hotel, relax, freshen up, then have a nice dinner downtown. Then they can retrieve their luggage and take cabs to the airport and check-in for their flight.

What many of you don't realize is that when you travel with a group, as opposed to 2 people, the logistics of everything changes.
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #16  
April
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Is three suitcases per person considered "light?" My husband and I only used two small suitcases (one was a carry-on size) and one garment bag - three bags between the two of us.
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 11:03 AM
  #17  
Anthony
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Aapril:
Yes, 2 carry-on size and a backpack is considered light for a 1 week cruise. In fact, before 9/11, I never checked my bags, just carry-on. And on our two cruises this year, we carried on our luggaage onto the ship ourselves, which most people DON'T do.
n addition, Linda is going to be away over 14 nights. I've just read a post where a women brought something like 12 pairs of shoes - 7 pairs of dress shoes to match her evening outfits, and 5 pairs of casual shoes. Haven't you every noticed all the luggage people bring?
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 11:24 AM
  #18  
Anthony
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FWIW:
I find it odd that this is the only online travel bulletinboard that seems to have so many Priceline haters. When someone writes about the great values from Priceline, and how to get them, then that person is automatically a 'shill' who works for Priceline. Yet, you can have someone make a passioned response about a Fairmont Airport Hotel, and she is NOT considered a 'shill' for Fairmont hotels. Where's the logic in that?
 
Nov 5th, 2002, 11:27 AM
  #19  
John
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Forgive me if someone has already covered this option - take cabs or one of the cruise line vans from the ship to the airport and either check your bags (if they'll let you) or use the left luggage facility (around C$3-$5 per day per bag), then rent a minivan from one of the airport providers for a day of touring. That way you can return the van to the airport before your flight and not have to worry about bags, multiple vehicles, and all that for the day.

As far as touring is concerned, play it by ear based on your energy level, the weather, or how much money you have left over after you've bought your oosiks and all. Granville Island is a good idea, although it can be quite intense on summer weekends. Don't wipe yourselves out before what sounds like a red-eye return flight.
 

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