Arrival Questions for Disney Alaska Cruise

NotTooGoofy

Go BUCKS!
Joined
Jan 1, 2000
My wife and I are taking our first cruise to Alaska via DCL in September. I've never flown (only driven) into Canada. Does anyone have lessons learned on getting through Canadian Customs as easily as possible after arriving at the Vancouver airport? Unfortunately we don't have Nexus or Global Entry.

Our port arrival time is 11:30 AM and we are Silver level. Again, does anyone have any lessons learned for check-in to minimize line waits, although I know there will be some waiting? We are staying at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown which looks to be a 10-15 minute walk to Canada Place.

Thanks in advance! We are definitely looking forward to our trip!
 

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Airport customs at YVR isn’t as crazy in terms of lines as the border crossings. I think a lot of it is done at kiosks now so you just need to have your passport ready and the line should move quite quickly.
 

disneyfaninaz

It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
YVR customs is so easy. When you arrive you will be funneled directly to customs. You will go through the line for US Passport holders and go to a kiosk to scan your passport and get a picture. You will then get in a line to see a customs agent. After that you can pick up your luggage and then head out after handing your picture printed from the kiosk to an agent. Depending on when you arrive it can go very quickly or take a little while. Overall, its not a bad experience at all!
 
  • TikiThunderPirates

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2018
    Our port arrival time is 11:30 AM and we are Silver level. Again, does anyone have any lessons learned for check-in to minimize line waits, although I know there will be some waiting? We are staying at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown which looks to be a 10-15 minute walk to Canada Place.

    Thanks in advance! We are definitely looking forward to our trip!
    We ended up using the "Disney Transfer" because we just didn't want to think or deal with anything. This gets you the option to have your luggage taken over to the terminal from your Disney hotel room, and then they either drive (airport hotel) or walk (cruise terminal) hotel you over. We got a priority line to go through security, but then we had to wait in the regular check in lines. We had no PAT time because we were with the "Disney Transfer" but we arrived around 11:30am. The lines were long, but they did move. We were completely checked in and they were already past our boarding group number was called (Group 2). They were just starting to board around 12:00pm as we were finished check in. We just walked right on the ship and had zero issues.

    The lesson here I guess is even arriving at 11:30 we were still on the ship at the MDR buffet (this was when they still had that!) in less than half an hour.

    You can check out that days experience here. http://frequentlyaskeddisneyblog.com/disney-cruise-alaska-part-19/
     

    Marc D

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2016
    Getting into Canada from a flight with a U.S. passport is now super easy. You get to a terminal, scan passport, take a picture, answer a few questions, grab the paper and give it to the border officer. Every time we've crossed using the new system, we've been at the border zone no more than 5 minutes.

    Of course, that's when it is working. It crashed a few weeks ago across the entire country and most airports had a 4-5 hours wait time since they had to do everything manually. They were even holding passengers in planes so they would not crowd the security areas.
     
  • anjuan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2012
    I hate to be the one negative person, but we had to wait in line for customs for almost two hours at the Vancouver airport this May. Once we got there, the process wasn't complicated. The wait was just the longest I have ever experienced at customs by far, even in China. So you may want to be prepared that it can take longer.
     

    EmilyS92003

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2019
    Just a word of advice, keep your passport somewhere you can easily get to multiple times. They ask for your passport so many times and we made the mistake of putting it away every time thinking we were done and having to dig it back out. Not a big deal just something to keep in mind.
     

    SyracuseWolvrine

    Hockey Fanatic
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2004
    There is an app you can download to start the customs declaration process ... you put in your information, information about the goods that you are bringing with you, and then when you get to the kiosk, you just have to scan a qr code that the app displays.
     

    Marc D

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2016
    There is an app you can download to start the customs declaration process ... you put in your information, information about the goods that you are bringing with you, and then when you get to the kiosk, you just have to scan a qr code that the app displays.
    While this is what is advertised, we have never able to make it work. Maybe they have worked out the kinks, but we tried three times and got an error message every time after scanning the QR code. We gave up on using it since the entire process without the app takes no more than 2-3 minutes for the three of us, which is about the time it takes for the kiosk to reset after it bugged.
     
  • BruinEd03

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2013
    My wife and I are taking our first cruise to Alaska via DCL in September. I've never flown (only driven) into Canada. Does anyone have lessons learned on getting through Canadian Customs as easily as possible after arriving at the Vancouver airport? Unfortunately we don't have Nexus or Global Entry.

    Our port arrival time is 11:30 AM and we are Silver level. Again, does anyone have any lessons learned for check-in to minimize line waits, although I know there will be some waiting? We are staying at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown which looks to be a 10-15 minute walk to Canada Place.

    Thanks in advance! We are definitely looking forward to our trip!
    I would make sure you arrive at least one if not two days ahead of time. Vancouver is deceptively difficult to get to. There aren't a lot of flights in to the city, especially if you live in the Midwest/East Coast. There's a lot of hubs which are subject to bad weather.
     

    Plumberries

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2019
    To me customs going into Canada at YVR felt like one of the easiest experiences. Part though I think is the length of the halls as you're walking from the airplane to the customs area. It actually took me (and my sister who arrived on different flight several hours later) a full hour to go from getting off the plane to leaving the secure area with my luggage, but psychologically it felt a lot shorter than an hour because I was pretty much constantly moving for that entire hour. I can imagine some times or days might have more arrivals and take longer.

    A side note that you didn't ask about, if you're flying out of YVR, that is interesting too, because you also go through the US customs in YVR (and apparently other Canadian airports). So just be prepared that you're going to have to do all that stuff before walking to your gate.

    (I also found this much easier faster and easier because it has the same Candian kiosks and the lines go much faster than when I've had to do customs at the end of a flight. I think a lot of it has to do with everyone going through security first, and that takes so much time so the border patrol doesn't have a problem keeping up with the flow coming through security.)
     

    ofcabbagesandkings

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2014
    What time is your flight? Our secret hack, although I'm not sure I would advise doing this on purpose, was that our flight got in at 1am YVR time. The airport was practically empty and we sailed through customs. Folks who got in the next day at a reasonable hour in the afternoon reported waiting up to two hours.
     

    doublesided

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    It's going to be different every day, you just have to deal with what you are dealt with that day. We heard that people booked flights for 11am on way back from the cruise. Unless you were first off the ship there was no way that was happening with the security/customs lines that day that we debarked. We had a 1pm flight and only had about 40 minutes to spare!
     

    NotTooGoofy

    Go BUCKS!
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2000
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! We are arriving two days before the cruise and I did notice the limited number of US flights to Vancouver, at least going through Chicago (only one nonstop flight that day). If all goes well, we'll arrive around 1PM on a Saturday. We are leaving the following morning vs. the day we get off of the ship. We also downloaded the Canada Customs app so we'll try and see how it works.

    I am considering using their light rail system to get to my hotel with a three block walk to the hotel.. It downtown safe around the terminal or is it best to take a cab?
     

    BruinEd03

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2013
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! We are arriving two days before the cruise and I did notice the limited number of US flights to Vancouver, at least going through Chicago (only one nonstop flight that day). If all goes well, we'll arrive around 1PM on a Saturday. We are leaving the following morning vs. the day we get off of the ship. We also downloaded the Canada Customs app so we'll try and see how it works.

    I am considering using their light rail system to get to my hotel with a three block walk to the hotel.. It downtown safe around the terminal or is it best to take a cab?
    I haven't taken the train before, but if it makes it easier for the luggage, you may want to consider a cab. The cab's are easy to get at the airport and most of them take credit cards. I think it was approx. $30-40 (US) including tips as there is currently an excellent exchange rate. They are flat rate. You can see the current rates here. http://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/transportation/taxis.
     

    Marc D

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2016
    I am considering using their light rail system to get to my hotel with a three block walk to the hotel.. It downtown safe around the terminal or is it best to take a cab?
    If you are talking about the few blocks around Canada Place, that area is as safe as can be. Some parts of downtown Vancouver are quite sketchy but they are of little interest for tourists and the major hotels are not located there. You should just avoid them if you decide to walk around.
     

    ScooterScott44

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2018
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! We are arriving two days before the cruise and I did notice the limited number of US flights to Vancouver, at least going through Chicago (only one nonstop flight that day). If all goes well, we'll arrive around 1PM on a Saturday. We are leaving the following morning vs. the day we get off of the ship. We also downloaded the Canada Customs app so we'll try and see how it works.

    I am considering using their light rail system to get to my hotel with a three block walk to the hotel.. It downtown safe around the terminal or is it best to take a cab?
    I’ll defer on the customs since we drove but I have done YYR in the past, it wasn’t bad but can back up some depending on actual flight arrival times.

    We used the same hotel earlier this year. Pretty nice and good location for seeing some things in that area and hitting Stanley park. We drove up and I did drop the car at the airport and took the train to the hotel. Train station is right outside of the airport and the walk over to the hotel was about half tourist. Very easy and should not be an issue unless you have a plethora of luggage. The walk to the port is very quick and easy.
     

    NotTooGoofy

    Go BUCKS!
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2000
    Thanks for the comments. We are at the Marriott Pinnacle which looks to be in a safe area. Still a toss up for us whether to take the train or a cab.
     

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