TouringPlans – Fairmont Vancouver Hotels Before Disney Alaska Cruise

Please check out my latest article, co-written with Disney Mom Panelist and fellow TouringPlans blogger Erin Foster, about our experiences staying at The Fairmont Waterfront and The Fairmont Vancouver Airport before our Disney Alaska Cruise!

4 comments on “TouringPlans – Fairmont Vancouver Hotels Before Disney Alaska Cruise

  1. I have been following your series of reviews to help in planning my own multi-family Disney Alaska cruise in June 2015. They have ALL been very helpful! I haven’t seen anything on disembarking the ship. Do you have any tips on this? DCL isn’t helpful about this process other than to say no flights before noon. For several families flights between 11a – noon are the cheapest and most convenient. From your experience, what is the departure process like as far as getting to airport, going through customs and getting to your flight? Did you experience long delays?

    • Hi Amy – Thanks so much for reading my posts and I’m glad to hear that they are helpful! Here’s the scoop on disembarking from the ship: You have a couple of options. The slower and more relaxing way is to pack your bags the last night of the cruise, attach the luggage tags that you will be given and place your luggage in the hall by 10pm. In the morning before you leave the ship, you will be able to eat a leisurely breakfast at the same restaurant that you dined in the night before. If you have the early seating for dinner then you will have the early seating for breakfast. We had the late seating for dinner so our breakfast seating time was 8:00am; early dinner guests were assigned a 6:45am breakfast seating. You will completely vacate your stateroom and take all carry-on items with you so that you can disembark from the ship when you are finished with breakfast. Once you are off the ship, you will pick up your bags (unless you have purchased Disney transfers), go through customs and then head for your transportation. The second and faster option (the one we always do) is to do Disney’s Express Walk Off. You keep all of your luggage with you, skip breakfast (or send someone from your stateroom to grab some food from the buffet & bring it back to your room), and disembark from the ship with all of your belongings as soon as the ship clears customs (usually between 7:30 – 7:45am). Once you have your luggage and you go through customs, you’ll be ready for the 45 minute drive to the airport. The general rule of thumb is that you want to be at the airport about three hours before an international flight. Assuming everything goes smoothly with the disembarkation process and the drive to the airport, you could be to the airport as early as 9:00am. This is probably why Disney recommends no flights before noon. We did not experience any delays and we were off the ship with our luggage and through customs by 8:00am. You could experience some delays if you have Disney handle your bags, if you purchase something in Alaska that is restricted (like a knife) that you have to check and pick up at the end of the cruise or if the customs lines get backed up. And of course, there could be the obvious transportation issues to the airport plus long lines at the airport. I hope this info helps and if you have any other questions, please let me know. I hope you have a wonderful cruise! 🙂

      • We did purchase the $25 Ground Transfer back to the airport because my thinking was it would be the quickest route. Is the Disney Express Walk Off something different? Did you not use Disney transportation to the airport? We have 13 people and a lot of suitcases to think about transporting.

      • We did use Disney transportation, but we stayed an extra night in Vancouver after the cruise and flew out the following day. We used Express Walk Off (you don’t have to sign up for it – it is just what Disney calls taking your own bags with you when you leave the ship) and pulled our luggage directly across the street to the Fairmont Waterfront hotel. You can do either one: Express Walk Off or have Disney take your bags from the ship to the terminal for you. If you choose option two, you must pack your bags the night before, have them in the hallway by 10pm (minus your carry ons) and you will need to wait for your luggage group to be called before you leave the ship in the morning. You will then exit the ship and wait in line to collect your bags at the terminal before going through customs. There will be porters (not employed by Disney) to help you with your bags in the terminal. Having Disney handle your bags will cost you time, but with 13 people and all of those suitcases it might be worth it if you aren’t in a rush to get to the airport. If you have an early flight (anything before noon), DCL recommends that you notify Guest Services onboard the ship before the last day of your cruise (you will be required to show them an airline ticket or itinerary) and they will do their best to speed up your disembarkation process. Once you disembark, collect your luggage (or already have it with you) and clear customs, then Disney cast members will direct you to the first available Motor Coach to the airport. They will load your luggage onto the Motor Coach and drive you the 45 minutes to the airport. Once you arrive at the airport, you will be on your own to get your bags to your airline’s check in area. Hope this helps!

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