You are right in saying that the airfares are usually much cheaper to fly into Seattle to take a cruise that leaves from Vancouver. In the past we always rented a car in Seattle and drove to Vancouver and dropped the car before our cruise. For the past three or four years I was able to use frequent flyer miles to get to Vancouver and now I have heard that prices are up and there is a pricey drop charge.
That said, there is a very cheap way to get to Vancouver and that is the train. Not sure what tickets run but it would be worth checking out.
Most cruise lines also offer transportation from Seattle to Vancouver when taking a cruise for somewhere around $60 pp.
Hope some of this helps.
With integrity nothing else matters; without it nothing else matters.
Amtrak is frequently the "cheapest". Add to that, however, is an overnight necessary. $35++ in cab fare Seatac to Amtrak, then transportation in Vancouver.
I too have mostly used one way car rentals. Especially with staying the prior night in Bellingham, you can avoid the worse of border delays, and have some time for Vancouver touring. Downtown Vancouver rental offices are most convenient. I have rented from Avis, Alamo, Budget and National. There is also Hertz.
There is also Quick Shuttle- door to door service Seatac/cruise docks.
You almost have to figure in the cost of transporting yourself, luggage, etc. from Seattle to Vancouver between what the actual cost of just flying into Vancouver. When I went, it came out better just to fly into Vancouver...Especially if there is an over night in the plans, then the cost of food adds up.
We've found a cruise that we're wanting to take in may that leaves from Vancouver. The airfares are so much cheaper to fly into Seattle. So what is my cheapest route to get to Vancouver?
Your cheapest option actually might be to suck up the difference in air fare and fly into Vancouver. The cruise lines' transfers generally leave Seattle (either downtown or the airport) before noon in order to arrive in Vancouver before the ships depart (typically around 5:00 PM) -- which could well mean that you will have to stay at a hotel overnight in the Seattle area. Also, the bus ride from Seattle to Vancouver is about four to five hours or more, depending upon immigration and customs delays at the border.
That said, the cheapest fares on flights to Vancouver tend to sell out very early in the cruise booking cycle on the days when cruises depart, so you may well get a much cheaper fare if you go to Vancouver a day or two early. In fact, the savings in air fare may be enough to pay for a decent hotel, meals, and a pretty good time on the town -- and I can tell you from personal experience that Vancouver is a really great city to visit!