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Old October 8th, 2003, 11:58 AM
Carley
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Default Vancouver airport

I have read in other places about nightmares at Vancouver airport and how long it took some people to get things done there and be on their way to the port..I am going on The Radiance in May and would like some input on the best way to get through that ordeal..Thanks!!!
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Old October 8th, 2003, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

Hi Carley,
I think the big problem is things get back logged when there are a lot of planes landing at the same time. We too flew in and out of Vancouver, but had no problem with any long waits. A little bit after we landed, a few larger planes landed at the same time, I heard later, some people had some long waits, so you may be OK. On the return flight, we had one at 11:10 and we were a little worried that we'd be very close, but we were actually at the airport at 8:30 and could of easily made an earlier flight.

What times are your flights?

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Old October 8th, 2003, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

We've gone through Vancouver airport twice now after Alaskan cruises.

These are some of the "problems" we encountered.

On both trips there were 4 cruise ships that arrived the same morning. 3 at Canada place and one (RCCL) was at Ballentine. We all showed up at the airport at basically the same time. That's a lot of people showing up. There was a luggage retrieval area set up. We had to wait in a long line to get into this area. Of course it would have been mayhem if we were all allowed in there at the same time. So it took about 1/2 hour to get our luggage.

Then the huge line at the airline checkin (Alaska Air in our case...but we weren't the longest lines either). This took about an hour to get to the desk. The E-ticket kiosk, due to people unfamiliar with the system took longer than the people with paper tickets in spite of the line being shorter.

Then a long line from behind the check-in desks, through a gift shop, and a large room where the line switch-backed, to get to US Customs who stamped our customs form.

Then another line to go through the Airport tax kiosk. You can pre-pay from a vending machine out front but you still need to be in the line to turn in your voucher.

Then another long line to get to another US customs desk whos sole purpose was to collect your customs form that the first desk had stamped (never figured that one out).

Then a crowded area to drop your luggage off to head to the planes. Yes, the luggage was on a cart this whole time.

Then the security check point and the Xray machines and metal detectors. After 9/11 this is extremely slow.

Then we finally got to the gate. Both trips took a total of about 3 hours and yes, it's a nightmare.

To make things worse, on our last trip there was a security breach at the airport and we had to get off our planes and go back through the security check point. This delayed our flight for 4 hours.

The only suggestion I can think of, other than cruising round trip to/from Seattle, is to spend the night in Vancouver after your cruise and make sure you have a flight the next morning before the next ships arrive. Then the lines should be much shorter.
When we did Seattle however there was only one ship arriving and now that more ships are using this port they may be having the same problems.

Or, maybe do a northbound to Seward. Not sure how crowded Anchorage airport is.

By the way, I'd do it again.......Alaska is awesome and worth the headaches of the airport.
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Old October 9th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

Thanks for all the input...To answer Donnas question ...My return flight is at 1oclock.Hopefully enough time..I arrive to go on the cruise at noon..also I hope that will work..Thanks
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Old October 9th, 2003, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Re: Vancouver airport

hey donna....my flight arrives in Vancouver at noon and leaves at ioclock...does that sound ok????
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Old October 9th, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Vancouver airport

Hi Cathy,
Those flights sound excellent. Lets just hope that there aren't a lot of flights at the same time and you breeze through the airport, have fun! We thought the Vancouver airport was beautiful.

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Old October 9th, 2003, 05:05 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

Donna's right, Vancouver is a beautiful and modern airport. The "nightmares" I've had are only caused by many cruise passengers showing up at basically the same time and trying to get checked in, through customs, and to various flights at the same time.
The crowd's started arriving at around 11:30 AM and our flights were around 2:30 and we couldn't check in earlier than 2 hours ahead so we were right in the thick of it.
Both of our trips returned on a weekend so that might have made it worse. I'm not sure.
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Old October 13th, 2003, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

If you're flying from the U.S., I don't have any tips because you're going to have to get in line with everyone else to go through passport/ID check. It took us well over an hour and a half just in that line. We did, however, get a taxi very quickly and then got to our hotel quickly, so it could have been better, but it was not catastrophic. I survived 8 hours in the Acupulco airport with no air and no chairs (people laying all over the floor), so I guess it's all just perspective. I guess since you already know it's bad, being mentally prepared for the hassle is half the battle.
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Old October 13th, 2003, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: Vancouver airport

Sorry--I guess I should have said that the message above refers to flying into the Vancouver airport. We flew out of Fairbanks to leave Alaska.
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Old October 13th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

We had no troubles getting through Canadian customs while arriving in Vancouver. The lines were long and it took about 1/2 hour. Not too bad.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

Carley

One tip. There is a special charge at the airport that lots of people were in line to pay. But off to the side, there are machines where you can buy your "extra charge" coupons by credit card and then get in a shorter line with prepaid coupons.

Lauri
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Old October 15th, 2003, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

I bought the coupon from the kiosk computer out front but still had to wait in the same line as the people who were buying to turn in the coupon. And since most people in the line hadn't bought the coupons earlier, the line was still really slow.

This was in August so maybe it changed after that.
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Old October 15th, 2003, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Re: Vancouver airport

We were very lucky when having to buy that coupon, no lines. I was wondering, why they don't just add that cost to your airline ticket and avoid that whole process??

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Old November 5th, 2003, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

People get a grip! Vancouver airport is not the problem. It is one of the most modern airports around. They have spent hundreds of millions on expansion over the last 10 years. Long lines to check in? Last time in Vancouver I counted close to 100 check-in counters for international flights. Blame the airlines who don't have enough staff so many of the counters go unused. Customs clearance? Definitely a lot tighter since 911 but blame U.S. Customs for the long lines. Again not enough staff. Secuity checks. A necessary evil. Airlines pay for this cost . Again not enough staff. Luggage clearance at US Customs. Definitely annoying but again necessary. The atmosphere was probably better than the last time we were leaving Fort Lauderdale and had our carry-ons checked by M16 toting marines with bad manners! That $10 departure fee. I agree very aggrivating the way it is collected. They should just include it in the price of the airline ticket , save time and lots of staff.

So stay cool. Allow lots of time to get to and through the airport. One way to save time ids to forget about the cruise line shuttles and take a taxi to and from the airport. The cost is similar to two bus transfers.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

You're right. The delays are mostly caused by US customs, airline check in, and security. It's not the airport's fault. However a delay is a delay and it was a nightmare on our 2 visits.

We did a limo from the ship to the airport and beat the busses there so the airport wasn't crowded. We were 2.5 hours early for our flight. Alaska air however had a check in rule that didn't allow check in more than 2 hours before the flight. By the time we could check in, all the busses had arrived.

Our idea for the next visit is to spend the extra day and have an early flight before the busses arrive.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Vancouver airport

Okay, so here is my question-

If my cruise to scheduled to dock at 7:30am, and my flight is scheduled to leave Vancouver at 11:30am, will I have plenty of time? I've never cruised and I'm not sure how long it really takes to get off the barge. And how far is the airport from the cruise dock? A taxi is the best bet?

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Old November 6th, 2003, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: Re: Vancouver airport

Hi Dozer,
Just make sure you let Celebrity know you have an early flight. We were off the ship by 8:00 and at the Vancouver airport at 8:30, which was a Saturday, so I don't know if that made any difference. We did take a cab, I'd highly recommend doing that too, we had plenty of time to spare, but you could get delays, so definitely plan on the cab and be ready to dis-embark as soon as they call your color, which should be one of the first.

Good luck and happy cruising!

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