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Earliest time I can check-in Alaska cruise from Vancouver

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Does anyone know what the earliest time is that I can start to check-in with Holland America in the Vancouver Port?  This is my first time with Holland!  Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Suggest you check with these forums:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/315-west-coast-departures/

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/23-canada-alaskapacific-coastal/

The process is significantly different in Vancouver.  Several good explanations in those forums.

BTW, the process takes a long time.

 

Edited by RocketMan275

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If arrive around 10:30 - we did in May. Was onboard in 35 minutes. Best embarkation we’ve ever had actually,

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3 hours ago, sppunk said:

If arrive around 10:30 - we did in May. Was onboard in 35 minutes. Best embarkation we’ve ever had actually,

Unusual to have the ships boarding before 11:30 am!

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We boarded in the afternoon for our Noordam July 21 embarkation but some or our rollcall members got there early and dropped off their luggage at 10:30 and were on the ship by 11:30am.

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We arrive at the terminal about 10:30 AM for check in.

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We arrived about 11:00. Everything went smooth, no wait line till we were all checked in. People were seated in the holding room. They started taking people in soon after we got to that room...we waited maybe 15 minutes. We took a taxi from our hotel. They let us off right where the luggage racks were. People on the buses(HAL transportation) got let off upstairs...they had to stand in line for the elevators to take their luggage down to the luggage carts, then get back upstairs to check in. Those lines were a mile long. I have no idea how long it took those people.

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As you see from otehr answers already OP, there's a big difference day-to-day in Vancouver regarding how efficient the boarding process is - the question you actually asked has a pretty consistent answer (if you show up at 10:30am you will definitely be able to join the check-in queue; earlier than that may be possible but it depends how many ships therefore how long it takes to get all the incoming pax dealt with as nobody gets to check-in before everyone has been confirmed OFF the ships, thanks to preclearing US immigration before boarding in Vancouver...) BUT the question you possibly wanted to ask is "when is it quickest to check-in?"

 

That depends even more on passenger volumes - there could be one ship or four, and anything from ~500 pax to 10,000+ all needing to embark on any given day! If you are early, you will most likely check-in then sit in a big hall for an hour then start going through Security and Immigration - which will be quick since there aren't many people ahead of you. So being onboard as early as possible guarantees waiting, probably 60-90mins total from curb to cabin.

 

Turn up as LATE as possible though, and again the queues are light or even nonexistent BUT you also remove the wait time due to clearing the ships - in other words your curb to cabin time is purely based on how long it takes to be processed at each stage, no chunk of sitting around time. That means it's always efficient to show up as late as you possibly can - since we started doing that we've generally taken 20minutes curb to cabin.

 

You could show up at 10:30am and if you get lucky you may also be on board that fast - but it's unlikely. Plus, boarding late has the enormous advantage of giving you bonus time in Vancouver! With your handle I'm guessing you are a fellow Canuck OP, but from way over the other side so unless you used to live this side chances are there's plenty of stuff you haven't seen in Vancouver just like foreign cruisers - and most folks fail to add on enough pre/post cruise time to do Vancouver justice. We have  more people, more stuff, more toruist sites etc. than literally every cruise port in Alaska combined... and if you board at 3pm instead of 10am, that's five whole hours of sightseeing - enough to do any one site, even a really big one, or two or three smaller ones.

 

Just be sensible and leave the things near the pier for last, so there's no risk of missing the ship! Aim for 2 hours before your ship is scheduled to leave - there's a hard cap of 90mins before as CBP want time the passenger manifest before the ship leaves. Gastown, Coal Harbour are just minutes walking, so no matter how bad traffic gets there's zero risk of being late if you're touring those.

 

TL;DR - if you just want to be onboard as early as possible, arriving before 10:30am will pretty much guarantee you are one of the first people onboard. Just be aware that the time you actually set foot on the ship is most likely going to be 11:30am or later.

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We just sailed from Vancouver on Aug. 14.  We walked from our hotel across the street at 11am and were having lunch in the dining room at noon.  The only time we stopped was to check in at the HAL desk and to use the immigration machine.  The process was very fast and efficient. Just remember to take your luggage to the lower level and follow the signage carefully! Have fun!

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2 minutes ago, Gsel said:

We just sailed from Vancouver on Aug. 14.  We walked from our hotel across the street at 11am and were having lunch in the dining room at noon.  The only time we stopped was to check in at the HAL desk and to use the immigration machine.  The process was very fast and efficient. Just remember to take your luggage to the lower level and follow the signage carefully! Have fun!

 

How, exactly, do you get to the lower level (parkade) the most efficiently?

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You can take a elevator down from the main entrance. Very easy. If you can't find it just ask, everyone is eager to help.

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