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Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

San Jose, California
7 posts
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Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Hi -

I have a family reunion of about 30 people that are going to be disembarking in Vancouver from an Alaska cruise. As none of us have been to vancouver we are interested in staying 2 nights to visit and drive/train into seattle. I'm trying to find hotels that would be the best place to stay for this # of people.

What the best place for us to stay? Any recommendations?

Do we need to rent a car? I hear that car parking is $$$ in Downtown?

Is there good public transportation to take us to the recommended sights?

What's the best/recommended way to get to Seattle for this # of people? Would it be best to just fly out of Vancouver?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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59,677 posts
64 reviews
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1. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Vancouver is walkable and public transit is very good. Parking is indeed $$$$ - at meters, at off street lots and lower end hotel parking is $20 per night.

Amtrak Cascades is a scenic and comfortable way to get to Seattle. No delays at the border. It's a 4 hour journey. US Customs pre-clearance takes place before you board the train. Allow 45 minutes for that.

www.amtrak.com

A hotel choice for this many people is out of my league, but there will be others coming on who can help you out with that. My only thought is that you negotiate with actual staff at a hotel to get a quote for a group rate. And you stay in the downtown area: West End, Downtown, Yaletown.

Perhaps you could let us know if you prefer a 3* 4* or 5* hotel and what amenities your group might be looking for.

Vancouver BC
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for Vancouver
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2. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

No car needed. Normally I would not recommend a hotel out of downtown, but 30 people will require many rooms and that might be difficult in any one decent downtown hotel. So...this one is at the Seabus Terminal in North Vancouver and new enough that you might get enough rooms http://pinnaclepierhotel.com/ The Seabus is convenient to the Cruise Terminal and all transit connections, but service drops from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes after 6:30pm. The crossing is 12 minutes. Amtrak is a good choice but with 30 folks you can look at flight charters or bus charters.

San Jose, California
7 posts
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3. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Thank you for the responses. The advice on the car is great. We will most likely not rent a car since public transportation seems to be the best way of transport. As for the htoel - we are using a group hotel planner to find hotels that would accommodate our group. (www.groups.hotelguides.com and/or www.hotelplanner.com).

What would you recommend as sites to see in 2 days after the Alaska cruise?

For the trip to Seattle - are there any recommended bus charters?

Whistler, Canada
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for Whistler
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4. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Considering Vancouver is a convention city and all the large major hotels have around 400+ room; even the smaller hotels having 200 + rooms, finding 15 rooms (assuming double occpuancy) is a breeze. Any hotel given that there isn't a large convention in town, can accommodate you.

I would narrow down 2-3 hotels you fancy yourself staying in, and contact the hotel directly. Ask to speak to someone who can look after booking 30 room nights (15 rooms x 2 nights a piece), some hotels have Sales Managers who do this, some larger hotels will direct you to the Reservations Manager.

Regarding using a hotel planner, I aways disagree in using an online hotel planner unless the planner is located in the location you're booking a hotel for, as they can't provide any more service or information to the local hotels than a simple google search can. And finally feel free to use hotel booking sites like expedia etc. Hotels don't always give discounts to larger room bookings vs. the rates yo uget on expedia, as they assume you'll need more "assistance" in town, and time = money. However if you don't need to set up any group breakfasts or dinners in the hotel, outside of what the concierge can do, arrange for porterage etc., this won't be a problem as it's strictly accommodations, with each guest paying on own.

Guanajuato, Mexico
3 posts
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5. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Can I ask what cruise line you used-I'm exploring such a trip for summer 2012-with about the same number of people.

Also any other words of wisdom you might like to share after your adventure would be appreciated.

Thanks

San Jose, California
7 posts
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6. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Sure happy to share my tips.

We took the Coral Princess - South Bound trip from Alaska to Vancouver. We wanted a cruise that went through the Glacier Bay area which we found to be the best part of the trip.

For any excursions we thought it would be easy to find vendors next to the cruise line and get discounts that way but we ended up booking all of our group excursions through the cruise line itself. It saved time and made it easier to manage such a large group.

For the cruise - take walkie talkies. For the first few days our group spent most of the time trying to find each other on the boat. Cell phones don't work out there and you do get charged roaming charges.

Also it is best to have a dining hall reservation for dinners if you plan to eat dinner as a group. You can set that up on the first day and have the same dining time throughout for your dinner dining.

Hope that helps.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

Thank you this is very helpful.

8. Re: Family Reunion returning from Alaska cruise to Vancouver

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