Most people taking cruises from Vancouver arrive by air into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). There are several ways to get from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port and we have full details of all the options below. You should allow about 30 minutes for the journey, whether you choose to transfer by road, shuttle, taxi or SkyTrain.
Vancouver Airport is 8 miles (13km) southwest of downtown Vancouver. It is located on Sea Island, at the mouth of the Fraser River. This award-winning international airport manages at least 22 flights to and from the USA every day, and a further dozen or so from international destinations.
As you would expect of any leading city, the airport is modern and efficient. It has a good choice of transport options for getting to downtown Vancouver and the cruise port.
Taxis are always on hand for transfers from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port. On arrival, you will find the taxi stands on Level 2 of the domestic and international Arrivals area.
Fares are calculated by zone on a fixed price basis. The journey takes about 30 minutes, traffic permitting. The standard fare is CAB$35. If you are traveling as a family or group, this is the cheapest and most efficient way to travel to and from the cruise port.
Limousine Meet and Greet
If you want to start your Alaskan cruise in style, you can book a private limousine to sweep you and your luggage in opulent comfort from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port. Some services include a Meet and Greet service when your chauffeur will greet you inside the terminal and assist you and your luggage to the waiting vehicle. For other services, follow signs to the Ground Transportation Area where the limos are waiting just outside the door.
A larger luxury limo vehicle or stretch SUV is a surprisingly cost-effective option for those traveling as a group from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port. Rates with Aerocar are quoted as follows:
- Limo Sedan CAN$ 64
- Luxury SUV (6-seater) CAN$ 77
- Luxury Van (8-seater) CAN$ 103
Royal Limo and City Limousine also offer an airport service with a gleaming chauffeured limo waiting curbside for you at the airport terminal. They are customized with all kinds of neat extras which may include surround-sound, Apple TV, mini bar with soft drinks (consuming alcohol in a moving vehicle is illegal in BC), leg rests and heated seats with massage settings.
Your professional driver will provide a discreet and attentive service, making that final leg of your journey particularly comfortable and easy. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the VIP service from Vancouver airport to cruise port. Reservations are required and full details are available on the relevant company websites.
SkyTrain connects Vancouver Airport to Cruise Port
The Canada Line Rapid Transit Sky Train is a very convenient way to get from Vancouver Airport to cruise port. It is the oldest and longest driverless rapid transport system in the world. This fully automated transport system has three lines: The Expo Line, Millennium Line and the Canada Line, which connects the airport with the cruise terminal in downtown Vancouver.
Canada Line routes
The Rapid Transport Station at Vancouver Airport is located between the international and domestic terminals; just follow the signs for SkyTrain or Rapid Transport System. There is a covered walkway to the station with escalators and elevators to make the short walk very easy, even with baggage.
To go from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port, you need to take the Canada Line which has two routes. One route runs from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port on the waterfront and the other route serves the City of Richmond, so make sure you get the sky train in the right direction for your cruise port destination! There are 13 stations on this route, starting with YVR airport.
If you are traveling from the airport to the cruise ship, you will be getting off at the final station “Waterfront”. From the station, it is an easy 4-minute walk along W. Cordova St and Howe St to Canada Place.
The Canada Line SkyTrain journey between Vancouver Airport and the cruise port takes 26 minutes. It runs every 6 minutes at peak times. In the early morning and evening, the service is reduced to every 12 minutes. Late at night and at off-peak times such as weekends and holidays it operates a 20-minute service.
The SkyTrain shuttle service begins at around 5am (4.48am from the waterfront and 5.07am from the airport). Last SkyTrains are around 1am (1.05am from the waterfront and 12.56am from the airport). You certainly won’t have to wait long to travel by this efficient mode of transport.
Fares start at CAN$3 for 90-minutes of travel by SkyTrain in Zone 1. The fare from the airport to downtown cover two zones and starts at CAN$4.25. There is an additional surcharge of CAN$5 YVR Addfare for eastbound trips only from the airport.
Therefore, the cost for an adult one-way trip eastbound from Vancouver airport to cruise port is CAN$9.25 (which includes a YVR surcharge of CAN$5).
The return trip is just CAN$4.25 as the surcharge does not apply to westbound trips from the cruise port to the airport.
How to pay for SkyTrain shuttle transport
The easiest pay to pay is by using a contactless credit card or mobile wallet with a tap-to-pay feature. Tap your card on the reader once when you board the SkyTrain and, most importantly, you tap again when you exit. This way your charge card will only be charged for the length of time you traveled (up to 90 minutes per single fare).
You can also purchase a single-use ticket from vending machines at the SkyTrain station in the airport, or you can purchase a day pass if you want to use public transport (such as buses and other SkyTrain routes) around the city for the rest of the day.
You can pay by Compass Card which is reloadable, but it is only worth getting a Compass account if you plan to stay in the city for a while. It is valid for SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coat Express as well as some ferries.
Cruise Line Shuttles
Some cruise lines operate a shuttle service for cruisers to and from the cruise ship. There is a fee and seats must be booked prior to your arrival. Each cruise line has its own schedule and fees so contact them direct once you have booked your cruise and flight.
Ace Charters runs a daily shuttle service from Vancouver Airport hotels to the cruise port. It has a pick-up/drop-off point outside the Pan Pacific Hotel at Canada Place. There are several stops along the way at various airport hotels including the Four Points Sheraton, Holiday Inn Vancouver Airport, Executive Inn and several others. It is ideal for those planning an overnight stay before heading to the cruise terminal. Check out the shuttle timetable and book your seat online or call 1-844-776-3722. The fixed price is CAN$18 per person.
If you plan to spend a few days in Vancouver exploring the area before your cruise, you will find car rental desks for most major car rental companies at the airport.
Avis includes a pick-up and drop-off service and one-way rentals. You can pick up your car on arrival at the airport and drive to Vancouver City along the 99 highway. Once you have finished with your car rental, you can arrange to have it picked up from your hotel or from Canada Place cruise terminal.
Disabled Facilities at Vancouver Airport and Cruise Port
Vancouver prides itself on being one of the top most livable cities in the world. It ensures that visitors with special needs have easy access to public transport and every facility. Travelers with a disability or mobility issues will find helpful accessibility services at both Vancouver Airport and the Cruise Port.
If you want to rent a mobility scooter for the duration of your cruise, you should book one ahead of time from Scootaround. They also offer wheelchair rentals, powerchairs and oxygen concentrator rentals. Call 1-888-441-7575 to book your rentals which will be delivered to Canada Place Cruise terminal ready for your sailing.
You can arrange a wheelchair for use within the public areas of the airport. You should contact your airline representative to arrange this. Service counters are adapted for wheeled mobility users and restaurants have seating with and without arms.
The airport also has a 15-minute curbside parking rule for vehicles with an official disabled badge to allow for passenger and luggage pick-up and drop-off. The airport terminal has low resistance carpeting for easier movement for wheeled mobility devices and those using walking aids. There are also disabled-accessible washrooms and toilets with an emergency call button.
The award-winning cruise terminal at Canada Place is designed to make it easy for everyone to navigate the terminal, even those with wheeled mobility devices or special needs.
If you have any special requirements or need assistance during embarkation and debarkation you should contact your cruise line ahead of time. On arrival at the Canada Place Cruise Terminal, the Information Desk will be able to assist with any inquiries regarding special passenger needs.
Vancouver Airport to Cruise Port FAQ
A taxi from Vancouver Airport to the cruise port costs CAN$35. Prices are fixed and are calculated by zone. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
Vancouver Airport is 8 miles (13km) southwest of downtown Vancouver. It is located on Sea Island.
The Canada Line Rapid Transit Sky Train connects Vancouver Airport to the cruise port in downtown. This fully automated rapid transport system has several lines serving the city. To travel between Vancouver Airport and the cruise port you need to use the Canada Line.
The service runs every 6 minutes at peak times and operates from 5 am to 1 am daily. The cost for an adult one-way trip is around CAN$9.25 eastbound which includes a YVR surcharge of CAN$5. The journey takes 26 minutes.
Since January 2020, Uber and Lyft ride-share private taxis have been licensed to operate in Vancouver.
From the cruise terminal in Canada Place there are several hotels in downtown just a short walk away. The most convenient is the luxury Pan Pacific Vancouver which is within Canada Place and overlooks the cruise ships.
The Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver is 0.1 miles away and offers a shuttle service to the cruise port. You’ll find plenty more hotels to suit all budgets in this comprehensive article about hotels in Vancouver near the cruise port.
You can leave luggage short-term with CDS Baggage in Canada Place. Located in the cruise terminal between the Information Desk and Car Rentals, this seasonal service operates from May though September only.
Alternatively, use Porter Genie, which offers 24/7 pick-up and delivery of your luggage and a long-term storage service from just $7.99 per day. The service includes tamperproof seals and insurance.
As Vancouver cruise terminal is right on the waterfront in downtown, it is just a short stroll from delicious seafood restaurants, bars, shops and a host of interesting sights and attractions.
Check out the public artworks on the waterfront including The Drop and Digital Orca as you head to Harbour Green Park. Visit Vancouver Aquarium, the FlyOver Canada virtual tour or admire the Totem Poles inside the Convention Center, all within the Canada Place complex.
The Vancouver Lookout (400 meters away) offers a superb observation deck for seeing the city at a glance. Take a boat ride from the harbor and enjoy the coastal scenery or go on an exciting whale watching trip. You can join a walking tour of the city sights or book a sightseeing bus tour with a guide.
If you have time, visit Grouse Mountain (15 minutes from downtown) and ride the gondola to the snowcapped peak or head to the beach at Stanley Park. This fact-packed article has lots more suggestions for things to do in Vancouver for cruisers.
Photo Credit: Volodymyr Kyrylyuk / Shutterstock.com