We are taking our first cruise on the Celebrity Mercury to Alaska in May. The cruise is roundtrip in and out of Vancouver. Since the prices for flights to Vancouver seem to be much more than the flights to Seattle, we are currently planning to fly to Seattle and then get to Seattle. We are flying in a day or two ahead of time and plan to take Amtrak to Vancouver. However, on the way back, we were hoping to fly out the same day we get back from the cruise.
If the cruise says it will dock at 7:00am...what time should we expect to be off the boat with our luggage? We thought that buying the cruises transfers back to SEattle airport would be the fastest method...is that true? What is the earliest that we should expect to be back at Seattle airport if the ship says it will dock at 7:00am? We have to fly back to Maryland so if we can't get a flight by 2:00pm then we won't even be able to get home the same day (with the time changes).
Although I've never sailed in Alaska, my last cruise was also due back in port by 7 a.m.
I made our flights for 11:20 a.m. and was able to make them. But, I'm talking about Fort Lauderdale and the airport and Port Everglades are only minutes apart. The Cruiselines make every effort to get you off the boat early if you have an early flight.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Most cruise lines enforce a minimum 1pm departure time from Seattle. Disembarkation time is quite different from the arrival time of 7am and varies wildly depending on lots of issues. You need to allow time to collect your baggage and the trip itself can take about 3 hours. I'd suggest using the cruise line transfers on the return.
When we sailed out of Vancouver for Alaska, we opted to fly between Seattle and VC in both directions on Air Canada. It was actually cheaper than transfers. We too live on the East Coast and timing was very important. Don't forget you have customs to go through at the Vancouver airport if you return from there. It was a zoo even back then. As mentioned, I belive the bus transfer is a 3 hr. drive. You should be off ship by 9 a.m. but I am not sure how soon the motor coach will depart. We stayed at the Hyatt in Vancouver which worked out really well for a pre-cruise stay. This is a great walking town. A trolley tour is a great way to see it all in a short amount of time.
My favorite way to get to and from Alaska cruises is to fly to Seattle, spend about a week there and take the train whose timing is perfect to get to the ship. We bought a transfer on the ship and were back at Sea/Tac airport by 11:00AM. But that was before the terrorist threats. We breezed through customs then. Don't know what it would be like now.
May I make a suggestion. Extend your vacation and book a flight out of Seattle after say 9pm. That will give you enough time do some sightseeing in Vancouver and then you can take the Amtrak to Seattle. I think it arrives sometime around 7pm. The price is our was last year only $36 for first class and the train ride is absolutely beautiful! It is even worth it to spend an extra night in Seattle just for this train ride. The money you save on airfare will more than make up for it.