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  • Cecilia Teixeira

Vancouver Cruise Tips [2024]

A complete guide for those cruising to / from Vancouver


One of the best cruise ports in the world, Vancouver Cruise Terminal has tons of advantages when compared to other destinations. If you are a cruise enthusiast, you've probably dealt with the distance between Civitavecchia and Rome, or Southhampton and London.


But guess what? Vancouver Cruise Terminal is right here, "just around the corner", in the downtown area, making it a breeze to navigate with everything conveniently centralized in one building.


Canada Place - Vancouver Cruise Terminal
Canada Place - Vancouver Cruise Terminal

#1. Location

Due to its location in Downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Cruise Terminal can be reached walking no more than 15 minutes from the majority of the hotels in the downtown area. Canada Place, where the cruise terminal is located, also offers cafes, souvenir stores, restaurants and a 4D movie / simulator, called "Fly Over Canada".


#2. How to reach the port

If you arrive at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and are going to cruise right away, you can take a cab at the airport (flat rate for the downtown area is CAD 40.00), or even an Uber.

Another popular way to travel from the airport to the port is by public transit. The skytrain links airport to the port, and vice-versa, in a 25-minute ride. From the Airport you need to disembark at the terminal station, called "Waterfront Station" and from there is a 7-minute walking to the cruise terminal. You will see other fellow travelers going on the same itinerary, but in case you need any additional information, have a look on the volunteers wearing black slacks/skirts and blue shirt written "Destination Vancouver". They are very helpful providing information and free maps.


#3. What to do when you arrive at the port

  1. You are going to handle your luggage for the cruise personnel. They will have the ship cages and will take care of your suitcases. Before handing your suitcases make sure they are tagged with your name, cruise company, ship name, cabin number, etc. Your cruise company probably sent the tags to your home address, or sent an email for you to print your tags at home. If you lost your suitcase tags, let the staff that are handing luggage know, and they will have instructions of how to proceed. Make sure you keep your documents, cell phone, medicine and essentials in your possession ALL THE TIME.

  2. After you have dropped-off your suitcases, take the escalator up to Hall C, where staff members from your cruise line will check your documents.

  3. After you have checked in at Hall C, take the escalator down to go through customs. Just follow the signs and the flow of people doing the same thing as you. You will show your passport, boarding pass, etc, to the U.S. officials. Although we are in Canada, after you go through U.S. Customs, it's as if you have already "arrived" in the USA.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Canada Place Cruise Terminal - Preclearance Operations Vancouver

#4 What to bring to the ship: You and your carry-on luggage will go through a x-ray (same way as the airport). Big difference here: You CAN have your bottle filled with water with you!

  1. Do NOT bring or try to embark with electric appliances like rice pans, irons, etc as they are not permitted and will be confiscated.

  2. If you intend to bring alcohol on board, first check with your cruise line, as some companies authorize 1 or 2 bottles of wine, some companies forbid any type of alcohol, some companies will take posse of your alcohol and return it to you by the end of the cruise, and some companies will just have the order to the security people at the x-ray machine to confiscate your alcohol beverages and this will be the end of it. You will not see your $500 dollars bottle of XXXXX never again. So, pay a lot of attention to this!

#4 Where do the ships go?

From May to October almost all cruise ships will go from Vancouver to Alaska. You can take a cruise that is a "roundtrip", meaning that you will depart from Vancouver, will visit Alaska and will be back to Vancouver one week later

OR

You can take a cruise that starts in Vancouver and after 7 days cruising and visiting Alaskan towns and attractions you will disembark in Alaska and will fly from there to your destination.

ANOTHER

Another popular itinerary is start the cruise in Alaska, and after 7 days visiting towns and attractions you will disembark in Vancouver


#5 Disembarking in Vancouver

It's a very straightforward process. Your cruise line will have the luggage of all passengers in a big area, separated by colors (this is the case for Princess Cruise Lines), or by characters (this is the case with Disney Cruise Line). The cruise ships usually arrive early in the morning (around 6.30 - 7a.m.) although passengers are able to disembark only after 7:45a.m. The best thing here is to check with your cruise line and let them know, in case you have an early flight, so you can be on time.

Luggage area for disembarking passengers

#6. If I want to visit Vancouver, what should I do?

I recommend at least 3 nights (4 full days) in Vancouver, in order to get to know one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Depending on your itinerary (please read #4 above), you may choose to visit Vancouver before or after your cruise to Alaska.


If you have time to visit Vancouver (highly recommended) you may want to book a private tour. This is for sure the best way to enjoy the city and to honor your precious time. In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to spend money going on a cruise, paying flight tickets, etc and when it's time to visit the best attractions you stay on a hop-on / hop-off line for over an hour, waiting for a bus, that will travel slow and in case you disembark (you should!) you will be waiting on a line all over again. TIME IS MONEY and when you are traveling, something that looks like "more affordable" in fact is not, as you could have visit many more tourist attractions with a private driver-guide telling the most important facts of Vancouver / Canada and able to answer any questions you might have.


This year of 2024 Vancouver will receive over 1.3 million cruise passengers! If you didn't book your tour yet, it's time to do it now.


#7 If you are flying on the same day you arrive from the cruise:

If you are going to fly on the same day that your cruise ship arrives in Vancouver, there are 3 scenarios:

  1. In case you have an early flight, you can take a taxi (they will be inside the cruise terminal) and in approximately 40 minutes you will be dropped at the airport. There's a flat rate from the port to the airport. Another option is walk (5-10 min) to the Waterfront Station and take the skytrain to the airport. The train ride takes approximately 25 minutes and the trains are clean, safe and depart frequently. Follow the signs to Canada Line and make sure that your train has "YVR - Airport" written on it. If it doesn't display "YVR - Airport" wait for the next train. Notice that Uber and Lyft are not allowed inside the cruise terminal. In case you want to use ride-hail, you will need to walk to the street level and follow the signs for the area where Uber and Lyft are authorized to pick-up passengers.

  2. In case your flight is scheduled to after 3PM, you have time for a sightseeing tour of Vancouver! One of our team members will pick-you up at the cruise terminal (carrying a meet & greet sign with your name) and will take you on a short (or long) tour of the city. The amount of the time available for the tour will be decided when we get information about your departing flight. We have several guest who start the tour at 9AM (after having breakfast onboard of the ship), and when they are flying at night we have the whole day not only to show Vancouver but also to take then to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, Sea to Sky Gondola, and lots of other options depending on their interests.


If you are interested in a pre-cruise or post-cruise while cruising from/to Vancouver, do not hesitate to contact us and we will plan an unforgettable experience to you and your family!

We specialize in private tours tailored to solo passengers, couples, seniors, individuals with mobility challenges, families with children (using Toyota minivans), small groups (utilizing a Ford 15), and large groups (with minibuses or buses, depending on group size). Whether you are traveling solo or with a large family, we have customized plans to meet your needs. Simply email us with your travel dates, and we will be delighted to provide you with a personalized quote.


Enjoy Vancouver! It's even better than you are imagining it!


Have a look at some of the places below. These are some examples of the places we can visit while you are staying in Vancouver, or during your pre-cruise, or post-cruise day in the city.

Email us with your travel dates, and we will be delighted to provide you with a personalized quote.




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