Last week I spoke to some regular guests of mine who had just returned from a back to back Alaska sailing with Princess Cruises. They had a wonderful time and loved the experience of Alaska. Prior to joining the cruise, they did have a couple of nights booked in Vancouver so they could explore this city too.
Like most guests, they were due to fly home on the same day that they disembarked from the ship and like most flights back towards Europe they had a long wait from disembarkation early in the morning to their flight with a late departure time. Originally, they booked a sightseeing excursion and drop off to the airport with Princess, so that they were occupied during the day rather than sitting at the airport with nothing to do or no-where to go. Unfortunately, this excursion and transfer were cancelled and there was no other suitable alternative. They were advised of the situation a few weeks before departure so had time to check and see what other options they could do rather than just going straight from the airport to the port.
When they called me to see how I could help, there wasn’t much I could do, but we did do some research together and thankfully it paid off. With a bit of google research, we found the perfect solution and a very cost-effective one too.
When Robert and Lucy disembarked the ship, they walked to a luggage facility within Canada Place (the iconic waterfront building that houses not just cruise ships but hotels too!) and was able to leave their luggage for approx $10 for the day. This enabled them to enjoy the last day sightseeing at their own convenience in Vancouver without the hassle of carrying their luggage around. Vancouver downtown is very close to the port and within walking distance. In fact, they actually walked to the port from their hotel on the day of the first cruise departure, Princess had earlier in the morning collected their luggage for them to take to the port and because it was such a beautiful day they took advantage of the short 10-minute walk rather than the coach transfer included.
Anyway, back to their last day… After several hours and a bite to eat, they headed back to the port and retrieved their luggage and took the short walk across to the Waterfront Train Station directly outside Canada Place. Here they purchased a rail ticket for the direct service to Vancouver airport costing all a few Canadian dollars each. The journey times were not too long and the trains being a frequent service, they said it was a really relaxing day. In some ways, they were quite happy that their excursion and transfer had been cancelled, as costing over $80 each with princess they spent no more than $15 dollars total for luggage storage and transport!
From experience pre-booking transfers in Vancouver are expensive, in some cases, a taxi one way from port to airport can cost around £50. So this is a great alternative and means you get more time to see Vancouver without sitting at the airport all day.
If you have any top tips of what to do in a port when you have early disembarkation and late flight departure, please let me know as I would love to pass the information on to my readers and guests.