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Old 06-04-2012, 06:32 PM   #2056
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We rented bikes near the Pan Pacific. There are several places along that street that rent bikes. It was easy to get to Stanley Park from there.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:08 AM   #2057
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This kind of afternoon is definitely up our alley! Are there places to rent bikes right in the park?
Very close to the entrance. If you Google: Spokes Vancouver, you'll get the idea. Spokes isn't the only place, and they're probably slightly more expensive, but they're very good.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:03 AM   #2058
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One of the highlights of our pre-cruise day in Vancouver was to rent bikes and ride around Stanley Park. If its a nice day, its a lot of fun...
We did too!! Had a ball. Go early it gets very crowded. We stayed at the Coastal Coal Harbor. Very reasonable and only a block off the water. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Rooms were spotless!!
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:37 PM   #2059
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renting bikes was one of our highlights as well. We also loved the suspension bridge and Grouse Mountain.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #2060
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We did too!! Had a ball. Go early it gets very crowded. We stayed at the Coastal Coal Harbor. Very reasonable and only a block off the water. Staff was very friendly and helpful. Rooms were spotless!!
Very cool! Sounds like I really need to just start keeping my eyes peeled for good deals on any nice hotels in the downtown area near Canada Place. I'm thinking if I look hard enough I can find something for $150/night or less...
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:55 PM   #2061
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Research hotwire.com. We booked our rooms at Pan Pacific for less than that.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:59 PM   #2062
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Very cool! Sounds like I really need to just start keeping my eyes peeled for good deals on any nice hotels in the downtown area near Canada Place. I'm thinking if I look hard enough I can find something for $150/night or less...
If you have some starwood points, the Westin Bayshore is a mile from Canada Place, and it's a stop on the Quick Shuttle back to Sea-Tac--we're staying there for 4,000 pts. + $60.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #2063
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Just returned from a 20-day CruiseTour with Holland America (7-day cruise and 12 days on land up into the Yukon). I know Disney does not offer this, but I cannot recommend this type of trip highly enough. You will go places you could not go on your own (or would want to drive on your own I should say) and see things that are phenomenal.

Anyway, here's a synopsis of what we did and learned. Loved going in May -- lots of ice and snow still left and we did not experience any temps above mid-70's in any city or port.

AMTRAK: We flew into Seattle for one night and took Amtrak the next morning to Vancouver. I cannot say enough about this terrific ride. We did not buy business class, but were in line at the station by 6:30 a.m. for our 7:40 departure and got three seats together on the recommended left side (water views) with no problem. I will definitely say get there early though. We arrived at 6 a.m. when baggage check in opened and there was a line. As soon as we got our bags checked, we got in line at the booth that assigns seats, which opened a little before 7 a.m.

In Ketchikan we had opted to do a day on our own, but when we departed the ship (another non-rainy day for us), we saw an opportunity for a shuttle tour that was discounted by $10/pp and we were glad we took it. We were taken out to the totem poles, to a village and along the waterways where we stopped to watch harbor seals. It was a 4-hour tour and we had a great time with our local driver Justin.

Favorite port: Skagway. We did the full day excursion with Chilkoot Tours that started with the incredible/extraordinary/phenomenal ride on the White Pass Yukon Express (http://www.chilkootcharters.com/yukonrail.htm). We had the most beautiful day and could see for miles. The train ride is just so relaxing and full of views of wildlife, rivers, lakes, snowcapped mountains, etc. When we arrived at the end of the line, our bus driver met us (Terrell from Texas -- you were the best) and we continued on to Caribou Crossing Trading Post for our lunch and a visit with husky puppies! Now granted, the place looks like a western front for a movie, but it was fun and the food was delicious: BBQ chicken, baked potato, rolls, cole slaw and homemade donuts. Sodas were extra, but iced tea, coffee and tea included. We stayed there about 90 minutes because they also have a wildlife museum and a petting zoo (all included). Then we went on to Emerald Lake and Carcross and Lake Bennett. I loved this choice vs. the ship's excursion because Terrell would stop anywhere you wanted, pull over for pictures or animal sightings, and was so personable and knowledgeable. There were only about 18 of us and it was great fun. We left at 8 a.m. and returned at about 4 p.m. He made several stops dropped people off wherever they wanted in town, or taking them back to the ship. Worth every single penny.

Upon return we bought tickets ($5/pp) at the Red Onion Saloon for a tour and it was great fun -- lots of original wallpaper, dresses, etc. Then we walked back to the ship (a truly nice walk along a paved pathway) while Eagles flew overhead.

Juneau: Only excursion we booked through the ship (for the cruise portion) was Best of Juneau. What a terrific excursion. I must start out by saying that I have read voluminous reviews of this excursion with a lot of people complaining about there not being enough time at Mendenhall Glacier. I couldn't understand that statement as we felt an hour was more than enough time. Granted, we knew we were not going to walk to the waterfall, but there was an incredible waterfall fully visible from the land's edge next to the glacier! We spent about 40 minutes out at the glacier, walking around the viewing platforms and on the beach. We had 15 minutes to shop inside which was more than enough time. We felt very satisfied.

Then we went on the whale watching vessel which was a surprise to all of us as we didn't expect it to be so big and comfy. It sets more than 400 and has huge windows on both floors and we were very satisfied even sitting in the middle row because you are constantly getting up and down. We spent a good 3 hours onboard plus another hour at the Orca Lodge for lunch. Now let me tell you, this lunch was awesome. It was a beautiful pavilion with views all around of the water and the beach. They had chicken skewers, salmon, rice, potato salad, rolls and brownies. Lemonade, ice and hot tea and coffee were included. Sodas and alcohol were extra.

Vancouver: We stayed at the Pan Pacific Vancouver for our pre-cruise nights. We had opted for the harbor/mountain view and it was so so worth it. We watched seaplanes taking off and landing and our room was literally right above where the ships dock. So we could look down onto the pool decks of the ships as they docked and got ready for their next departure. The hotel is gorgeous, the rooms were large and very well decorated. We did not eat in any of their restaurants as they were pricey, but there is a food mall underneath the hotel that can be reached by inside escalator.

What was so convenient about this hotel is that the entrance to the cruise terminal is a ride down in their elevator to the basement! We called a porter to come and get our luggage and he told us you will see it in your stateroom. We then took the elevator and got off and there it was -- no having to go outside or call a cab or anything. They had reps all along the way directing us to the HAL check in.

Now here is where Disney could REALLY learn something about embarkation. Once you checked in, a rep took you to the waiting room next door where you were directed to the next empty row of seats, which you filled in from end-to-end. Within 10 minutes, a rep comes and starts directing the rows to go onboard. So organized, no hassle, no clogs of crowds blocking doorways and no tripping over people and suitcases. We were onboard by 11:30 a.m.!

Anyway, while in Vancouver we bought the Big Pink Bus tickets (they are merged with the Big Red Bus). The station stop was right outside the Pan Pacific main door! We always tried to get the pink bus though as they had a live narrator whereas the red buses were pre-recorded narrations that never seemed to be on the right area when we passed. The combo ticket for two days was so reasonable. The first day we just rode the bus the full route, and then got off at Granville Island. We then got back on and took it to Chinatown where we did the gardens and then had dinner at Hon's on the recommendation of our driver. The next day we took it to Stanley Park and then inside the park took the (included) park tour on a different bus. Very convenient. When done, they dropped us off at the bus stop and we waited for the red or pink bus. On the way back to town, we jumped off at Gastown and did a little touring there and watched the steam clock, then went up into the tower there (similar to the Seattle Needle type of thing). There were some terrific restaurants across the plaza from the hotel that we ate in (one Italian, one Irish) and they were very good and reasonable. For breakfast try Scoozie's on Howe street -- Greek restaurant with amazing breakfast dishes.

I can also highly recommend the Fairmont Airport Vancouver Hotel. We were put up there by HAL on the last night of our land tour. What a gorgeous hotel. Our room had a view of the mountains and runway. Totally sound proof (never heard one plane coming in or taking off). And the hotel entrance goes right down into the airport with a short distance to the food court. We really liked that the food court at this airport was BEFORE security. We had lunch (chinese) and dinner (burgers) there. If we ever fly into Vancouver, I would definitely stay here again.

In Seattle we stayed at the Inn at the Market pre-cruise -- literally at the top of the hill of the Pike Place Market. It was a townhouse (all they had available for three) and was beautiful. The beds were comfortable and the views of the city and Pike Place were great. Very convenient for the area and we were able to finish the market that day before leaving the next morning. The people there were very helpful and kind. No complaints about this place either.

For the four nights post-trip we stayed at the Silver Cloud Inn at Lake Union. We found this hotel to be one of our top favorites for all that was included with such a reasonable per night price. Our room was a lake view and on the top floor so that you could see the seaplanes taking off and the boats and yachts coming and going. They also provide a free extensive continental breakfast that includes hot items like scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles and ham, plus toast, bagels, cereals, yogurts, etc. They also provide a free (although we tipped the driver each time) shuttle to and from three drop off points in town -- the Needle, Pioneer Square and Pike Place. All you had to do was call them when you were ready to be picked up. They ran from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. We were also within walking distance of the boat harbor and ate at Duke's on the water for lunch one day. We were also able to walk to the Marriott around the corner to rent a car for one day to drive to Oregon. They provide free parking and the garage is inside with access to both the upstairs elevator or the lobby without having to go outside.

They also have an indoor pool and jacuzzi, and a business center where you can go on the computers to print out documents and boarding passes -- also free. And FREE INTERNET. That was a huge plus for us.

Of all the hotels we stayed at, this would be a no-brainer one if we go back to Seattle. The thoughtful layout, convenience, decor, ambiance and outgoing staff were wonderful. When we checked in and got to our room, we were disappointed with the view as there was a building obstructing the lake view. I called down to the desk and they immediately told us to come back down and they would prepare a room on the upper floors. They took all our luggage and we walked down the street for lunch. When we returned, the room was ready and our luggage was moved. I honestly have nothing bad to say about this place and would highly recommend it. With all they provide for FREE (highly unusual these days), it was a gem find for us.

Can't think of anything else, but please feel free to ask questions or pick my brain! I slam dunked this down in writing very fast so that I wouldn't forget anything. I apologize in advance if it is confusing or slightly out of order!
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:50 PM   #2064
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For the four nights post-trip we stayed at the Silver Cloud Inn at Lake Union. We found this hotel to be one of our top favorites for all that was included with such a reasonable per night price. Our room was a lake view and on the top floor so that you could see the seaplanes taking off and the boats and yachts coming and going. They also provide a free extensive continental breakfast that includes hot items like scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles and ham, plus toast, bagels, cereals, yogurts, etc. They also provide a free (although we tipped the driver each time) shuttle to and from three drop off points in town -- the Needle, Pioneer Square and Pike Place. All you had to do was call them when you were ready to be picked up. They ran from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. We were also within walking distance of the boat harbor and ate at Duke's on the water for lunch one day. We were also able to walk to the Marriott around the corner to rent a car for one day to drive to Oregon. They provide free parking and the garage is inside with access to both the upstairs elevator or the lobby without having to go outside.

They also have an indoor pool and jacuzzi, and a business center where you can go on the computers to print out documents and boarding passes -- also free. And FREE INTERNET. That was a huge plus for us.

Of all the hotels we stayed at, this would be a no-brainer one if we go back to Seattle. The thoughtful layout, convenience, decor, ambiance and outgoing staff were wonderful. When we checked in and got to our room, we were disappointed with the view as there was a building obstructing the lake view. I called down to the desk and they immediately told us to come back down and they would prepare a room on the upper floors. They took all our luggage and we walked down the street for lunch. When we returned, the room was ready and our luggage was moved. I honestly have nothing bad to say about this place and would highly recommend it. With all they provide for FREE (highly unusual these days), it was a gem find for us.
We've had very good luck staying locally at the Silver Clouds as well. One thing I would add is that the hotels (at least the Redmond one) also has free laundry. Our friends who came into town loved that fact.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:39 PM   #2065
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Vancouver hotel suggestions pre-cruise?

We'll be sailing out of Vancouver and have decided to arrive the day before since we're coming from NY and want to make departure time!

Any suggestions for hotels? (We have Holiday Inn points and would love to stay, but can't figure out which one, but aren't commited to HI.)

If we book a hotel on our own I guess we're responsbile for fare from airport to hotel and hotel to pier?

THANK YOU!

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Old 07-13-2012, 01:48 PM   #2066
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If you are only coming in the day before the cruise, you might want to consider staying at the Fairmont Hotel at the airport. DH and I stayed there about 5 years ago, and it was really wonderful. It is considered to be one of the best airport hotels. Completely soundproof, never heard any of the airplane take offs or landings.

On the other hand, Vancouver is a really beautiful city. If this is your only chance to see even a small part of it--stay at a hotel downtown, and enjoy!

As for the fare from the airport to hotel and the hotel to pier, DH and I found taxi fare quite reasonable compared to fares where we live--but our home city is notorious for the high taxi fares (and poor service), so YMMV.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:03 PM   #2067
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We'll be sailing out of Vancouver and have decided to arrive the day before since we're coming from NY and want to make departure time!

Any suggestions for hotels? (We have Holiday Inn points and would love to stay, but can't figure out which one, but aren't commited to HI.)

If we book a hotel on our own I guess we're responsbile for fare from airport to hotel and hotel to pier?

THANK YOU!

Lots of info in the posts before your's. The first post has some good info as well.
Cab fare from airport to hotel won't be that bad. We paid around $35 from the port to the airport and our taxi ride from our hotel to the port was around $10. Much cheaper options than DCL's transport, especially when paying for 3 people.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:42 PM   #2068
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We've been to Vancouver quite a bit recently, and figured I might have good info, so I'm reading the thread from the back to the front.

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somewhere we have stayed and have been very happy is The Century Plaza hotel and spa on Burrard Street. It is right next door to a hospital I have to attend some time for my cancer treatments thus the reason for our stays. They have very spacious suites with small kitchens, are very clean and modern. And it is easy walking distance to downtown, and short taxi rides away from places like Granville island and Stanley Park.
It IS a good hotel.

However, they are ever-so-slowly renovating it, and it's possible (especially if you're booking a bargain rate) to get a non-renovated room. Now, there's nothing wrong with the non-renovated rooms, *as long as you don't see* the renovated rooms, LOL.

Either way, good hotel, incredibly friendly staff, and easy walking distance to, well, everywhere. Plus, go out on Burrard, face north, and look at the mountains down the city street-scape...sigh....

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I tried a search but too many posts come up. Anyone with a quick recommendation for taxi service in Vancouver? We have to get from Amtrak to Pan Pacific. Thanks.
Every taxi I've taken in Vancouver, since '01, has been clean, friendly, and good.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:49 PM   #2069
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ATM & easy food

We seem to only use one machine in Vancouver. It's a "Green Machine" ATM, on Burrard just before Robson. Good rates, low fee. We bank with Chase and a WA credit union, and it has been good for both of those cards.

It's just down (towards Canada Place) from the Sutton Place Hotel, by the way.




********
In case people are interested....

We love going to JapaDog. We are vegetarian so we get the veggie dogs, but they'll do most of their dogs veggie-style. Very tasty. When it's just DS who wants one, though, since he gets them plain with mustard we go to the Yves stand on Burrard and Robson, just outside of Blenz on the corner, because the veggie dog there is cheaper than the plain JapaDog veggie dog.

The JapaDog stand near Canada place can be very very busy! (it can also be invisible, as they sometimes pack up and go when you're least expecting it) It's right in front of the A&W burger/float place, so if you have people not interested in a Japanese style dog, they can run in there.

JD doesn't take cards, FYI, but they will, if necessary, take US$.

Lastly, get a crepe! DS would live off of Cafe Crepe's nutella crepes if we'd let him. So tasty. And there are a ton of different storefronts for that company.


Not-so-lastly, it turns out. If you like a family style restaurant, Red Robin is good for that. And if you want take-out pizza, MegaBytes is tasty.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:17 PM   #2070
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FYI about Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver...
remember, the only 2 runs that actually use the train ar the 7:40AM and the 6:50PM runs, everything else you are on a bus. The bus is not nearly as scenic as you are going up I-5 and not up the coast.
Another FYI is *pay attention to emails/calls from Amtrak* in the days before your train trip, and check the website.

We were in Vancouver, expecting a lovely ride home on Amtrak. I wasn't paying any attention, and when we got to the station (with minimal food and water b/c I was expecting to use the Club Car) we found out that there had been a slide almost 48 hours before. When there's a slide, putting dirt/mud on the tracks, they shut it down for 48 hours to make sure it's stable. This one was just outside of White Rock. When there's a slide, you get to be on a bus. And while I hear the actual Amtrak buses aren't bad, when it's a situation like that, they charter buses, and they aren't that nice.

No food, no water, and you have to stop at the border, wait, get out when told, and then stand in line with your carryons to go through customs. NOT as nice as being on a train at all.

As we were coming into Seattle, the conductor announced that fact, and told the people who were taking a day trip down to Seattle that the schedule going back up that evening would be *on the train*, since it would have passed 48 hours by then. If he had told us *in Vancouver* that it would be clear-for-the-train that evening, we would have waited in Vancouver and taken the TRAIN.

So be on the lookout for landslide info, know when it happened, and if you're looking at a bus ride instead of the train, ask if it will be clear later on and if you can get on that instead.

If we had booked Business class they would have refunded that upcharge, by the way.
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