For any adventurers embarking on an Alaskan cruise, a Seattle port for cruise ships is likely to be the starting point. The Seattle cruise ship ports were awarded Cruise Critic’s ‘Best North American Homeport – 2016′, and given the ports’ locations right in the heart of downtown Seattle — providing easy access to top visitor attractions such as Pike Place Market and the iconic Space Needle — and excellent transport links from both the Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Seatac) and the wider Pacific Northwest region, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
Fast and direct links between the Seattle port for cruise ships and those in Vancouver (just north of the border in beautiful British Colombia, Canada) also give access to a range of international cruises sailing out of the Port of Vancouver at Canada Place.
Seattle Ports for Cruise Ships
With two terminals, Seattle’s port for cruise ships is a popular origin point for many Pacific cruises including those bound for the expansive scenery in Alaska.
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91
Pier 91 is located at the north end of Seattle’s waterfront and has the most frequent sailings. Its two berths are home to Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.
Facilities include a cafe serving coffee and pastries, washrooms, luggage storage and car rentals. Wheelchairs, scooters and oxygen rentals are also available on-site.
Secure parking spaces are plentiful, including spots for RVs and other oversize vehicles. A complimentary shuttle service runs throughout the day between the parking lots and the pier terminal.
Smith Cove pier 91 is just 10 minutes from Seattle’s downtown, which can be accessed by public transport, or private charter vehicle. The Seatac airport is also an easy hop from Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 by private charter, which takes around 30 minutes door-to-door. Public transport is also an option if you have the time, with journey times around one hour including a rail/bus connection.
Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66
Pier 66 is well-equipped and conveniently located right on the downtown waterfront. Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises operate out of Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, with weekly sailings to Alaska.
The terminal boasts restaurants, a minimart and ATM, as well as luggage storage, wheelchair, scooter and oxygen rentals.
Secure parking is located directly opposite the terminal and a complimentary shuttle between the parking garage and the terminal is also offered. Reservations are recommended for parking at the Bell Street Pier garage as spots are in high demand. Drivers in oversize vehicles should also be aware that there is a maximum height of 6’6″. Complimentary taxi vouchers are available for any passengers departing from Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 and needing to use the Smith Cove Terminal Parking Lot. The journey time between the two piers is 15-20 minutes.
Guests travelling between Seatac and Pier 66 have the option of a direct rail link, which takes 40 minutes. For those wishing to minimize travel time, a private charter vehicle that cuts the journey to just 25 minutes is recommended.
From further afield, passengers sailing from either Pier can use the Quick Coach service which runs between Vancouver and Seattle, allowing easy access to the Seattle port for cruise ships from the Vancouver Cruise Ship Terminals, Downtown Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and Surrey, BC.
Vancouver’s Port for Cruise Ships
Travellers in search of warmer climes will love the range of destinations originating at Vancouver Canada Place terminal. Coastal explorer trips heading south to California, and longer cruises out to Hawaii, the Panama Canal, the South Pacific and even as far as Asia, are all on offer from this vibrant terminal. Like the Seattle ports for cruise ships, the Vancouver terminal is located right in the central downtown area, and close to shopping, restaurants and the city’s famous Stanley Park.
Port of Vancouver at Canada Place
The three-berth cruise terminal at Canada Place is home-port to Carnival Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruses, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, NYK Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Compagnie du Ponant, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
All of the expected amenities are available: short-term luggage storage for cruise passengers, wheelchair and mobility scooter rentals, car rentals and of course washrooms. A large food court can be found in the adjacent Waterfront Centre which has a wide variety of well-known favourites (McDonalds, Starbucks, Subway, etc), as well as formal sit-down dining options.
Canada Place is far more than just your average cruise terminal, however; it’s a destination in its own right featuring the incredible flight simulation attraction FlyOver Canada, and ‘The Dream of Canada‘ exhibit, which is a collaboration between Parks Canada and Heritage Canada and celebrates the country’s natural and cultural heritage. History lovers will enjoy the guided walking tours, held throughout the summer, which explore the port’s rich past.
Getting to and from Vancouver’s Port for Cruise Ships
Long and short-term parking is available on-site for regular height vehicles (maximum height 6’9″), however, with excellent transport links to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), surrounding towns and as far as Seattle and Seatac airport, many passengers will find it much more convenient to let somebody else do the driving.
The nearby Waterfront Station links the Port of Vancouver at Canada Place with YVR via the SkyTrain rapid transit, North Vancouver via the SeaBus, and also connects with the commuter rail services to the rest of the Lower Mainland.
How to Make it Easier to Travel from Seattle to the Vancouver Port for Cruise Ships
Cruise passengers with lots of luggage, or anyone with mobility issues, will prefer a service that can drop-off and pick-up directly at the Canada Place terminal. The Quick Coach is a great option for anyone travelling over the border to Bellingham Airport (BLI), Downtown Seattle, Seattle port for cruise ships and Seatac. Buses leave from the cruise ship level and reps are on-hand inside the terminal to assist passengers.
Guests wishing to travel on the Quick Coach should be aware that the direct service to and from Canada Place runs May to September only. One of the most popular times for cruises is in late September when there are bargains aplenty —travellers beware: when you get an off-peak bargain you also have to prepare for off-peak scheduling! There’s no need to cancel your trip, since Quick Coach serves the nearby Waterfront Station 365 days a year.
If it’s a true year-round, door-to-door service you need, the best choice, by far, is a private charter. A range of vehicles from taxis through to luxury limo buses for up to 20 passengers are available for connections with YVR and for destinations south of the border, including the Seattle cruise ship ports and Seatac.
Vancouver and Seattle Port for Cruise Ships
Between these two award-winning ports there are certainly a lot of options for Seattle’s cruise enthusiasts old and new. The convenient transport links now connecting the cruise terminals and airports of these two unique cities open up a whole new world of possibilities for travellers from the Pacific Northwest. Why not make 2017 the year you set sail on the voyage of a lifetime?
Whether you choose to sail from Vancouver or the Seattle port for cruise ships, Ridebooker is here to arrange easy and safe transportation from the airport or other points of origin to the cruise ship terminal. Get in touch and we’ll start putting together the transportation option that works for you.