Disney Cruise Line Vancouver Hotel Compare/Contrast
Touring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks and I have been sharing some of our excursion experiences (dog sledding in Juneau, trains in Skagway) on our Disney Cruise Line voyage to Alaska this summer. Now it’s time to cover our respective pre-cruise stays in Vancouver.
Both Kristi and I chose to book our pre-cruise hotels through Disney. Kristi stayed at the Fairmont Vancouver Waterfront. By the time I booked, the Waterfront was filled, so they placed me at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport location. Here’s the scoop on what we experienced.
THE FAIRMONT WATERFRONT
- Location: Located directly across the street from Canada Place Terminal. Walking distance to Gastown, the seawall and Stanley Park.
- Physical Address: 900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6C 3L5
- Phone: 604-691-1991
- Number of Rooms: 489 guest rooms
- Room Types: Standard, Specialty and Suites all with city or harbor views
- Concierge Available: Fairmont Gold located on the 8th and 9th floors. Includes concierge services, private check in/check out, exclusive lounge and terrace access, complimentary breakfast, afternoon snacks, evening bar and canapés, beverages throughout the day and wireless internet access.
- Room Rates: Starting at $399CAN
- Room Amenities Included: 24 hour in room dining, in room safe, wireless internet, stocked mini-bar, bathrobes, flat screen TV, in room movies, tea and coffee maker, iron and ironing board, alarm clock and hair dryer
- Optional Room Amenities (available upon request in certain rooms): connecting rooms, rollaway bed, microwave, mini fridge, special needs equipment and humidifier
- Hotel Amenities: bell services, concierge services, Disney Cruise Line desk, food court, small shopping mall, business center, fitness room, steam rooms, outdoor heated pool, whirlpool, rooftop garden, restaurant and lounge
- Family Features: Family suites are available. Kids age 5 and under eat free off the children’s menu and kids ages 6 to 11 eat for half price off the regular menu. Babysitting services are available and should be reserved at least 12 hours in advance. Special in room amenities for children can be requested such as step stools, kid’s robes, potties, highchairs, cribs and Diaper Genies.
- Transportation from Airport: Transfers are available through Disney Cruise Line. The Fairmont Waterfront is about a 30 minute drive from Vancouver International Airport. It can also easily be reached by The Canada Line Skytrain. The Waterfront Station is a 5 minute walk from the hotel and the ride takes about 25 minutes. Trains run every 8 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day. The fare is $8.75CAN one way.
- Parking: Valet parking is available for $46CAN per night. Self parking is $44CAN per night. Complimentary parking is available for electric cars and well as discounted valet parking for hybrids. Long term cruise parking is also available.
- Special Tips: In order to have complimentary wireless internet during your stay, sign up for the Fairmont’s President Club (it is free) before you leave home.
Kristi’s experience at The Fairmont Waterfront:
My night at The Fairmont Waterfront began with a day of travel. That morning, my family and I took a three hour non-stop flight from Denver to Vancouver. Once we arrived, we spent about an hour clearing customs and retrieving our bags. We had set up our ground transportation with Disney Cruise Line well in advance of our trip. The only information that we had received in our paperwork was that someone would meet us at baggage claim. I called Disney Cruise Line directly to find out exactly how the ground transfers would work and they told me that the person meeting us at baggage claim would have all of the details for our entire itinerary. Since we were arriving the day before our cruise, I didn’t worry too much about the uncertainty. But after we had waited several minutes at baggage claim and no one came to meet us, I started to get nervous. I left my husband, kids and luggage behind while I set out to find someone with information. Fairly quickly, I was able to locate a helpful airport employee who explained that Disney Cruise Line representatives meet travelers near the exit at a greeting area outside of baggage claim. So I gathered my family and our luggage and we headed out to find the greeting area. After five minutes of following signs and dragging our bags through various hallways, we entered into a large, open space. Sure enough, there was our Disney Cruise Line driver waiting patiently for us holding up a tablet with our name on it. Feeling relieved that the difficult travel part of the day was over; we left the airport following our driver.
Imagine our surprise when we arrived outside and found a stretch limousine waiting for us! Disney Cruise Line explains that you could be traveling from the airport to your destination in any number of vehicles (cab, van, bus or car), but I never expected an actual limo. My boys had never ridden in one before, so they were beyond excited. A short 35 minutes later, we pulled up to The Fairmont Waterfront. The hotel looked very clean and sleek on the outside, so we were eager to check out the inside as well. Our driver helped us unload our bags and the bellman explained that when we were ready to leave the next morning for our cruise, to call them before 11:00am to handle the luggage.
We grabbed our bags and off we went to the check in desk. As luck would have it, they had a room ready for us. The front desk staff was very kind and welcoming. It must have been noted on our reservation that we were celebrating our anniversary, because we were given certificates for a free glass of champagne and certificates for free cookies and milk for our boys in order to celebrate. It was such a nice and unexpected surprise! We then made our way to our room on the eleventh floor. We had booked a standard room with a city view, so we were expecting it to be very basic. However, our room more than exceeded all of our expectations. It was spacious, clean, well maintained and furnished beautifully. Not to mention, the city view was spectacular and the beds were amazingly comfortable.
We spent the evening exploring the hotel and surrounding area. When we arrived back to our room, we had a letter from the Disney Cruise Line Representative letting us know they would be meeting at 11:00am the next day to walk everyone over to the terminal or we were free to walk over on our own. Tired from a long day of travel, we settled in to our pillow top beds for a good night’s sleep anticipating tomorrow’s big day. The next morning, we had some delicious Tim Horton’s donuts at the food court in the hotel as well as some Starbucks coffee. After breakfast, we returned to the room to call Bell Services to arrange for our baggage pickup. They arrived moments later to check our paperwork, insuring that we had all of our necessary documents readily accessible in order to board the ship, as well as retrieve our luggage. We then checked out of the hotel and walked directly across the street to the terminal.
Our experience at The Fairmont Waterfront was outstanding! The hotel was gorgeous, the room was immaculate, the staff was courteous and you couldn’t ask for a more convenient location. Without a doubt, I would recommend this as a perfect place to spend the night before a Disney Cruise out of Vancouver.
THE FAIRMONT AIRPORT
- Location: Located within the Vancouver airport. You can be at the counter for some airlines within about 30 seconds of leaving the hotel proper.
- Physical Address: 3111 Grant McConachie Way, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V7B 0A6
- Phone: 604-207-5200
- Number of Rooms: 392 guest rooms
- Room Types: Standard, Specialty and Suites. Most rooms have views of runways or airside operations.
- Concierge Available: Fairmont Gold located on the 14h floors. Includes concierge services, complimentary breakfast, afternoon snacks, evening bar and canapés, beverages throughout the day, wireless internet access, and two hours of Fairmont boardroom access, pending availability.
- Room Rates: Starting at $319CAN. Day rates are also available for guests with long layovers or late flights.
- Room Amenities Included: In room dining, in room safe, wireless internet, stocked mini-bar, bathrobes, flat screen TV, in room movies, tea and coffee maker, iron and ironing board, alarm clock and hair dryer
- Optional Room Amenities (available upon request in certain rooms): connecting rooms, crib, rollaway bed, electrical outlet adaptors, special needs equipment, fan, and humidifier
- Hotel Amenities: bell services, concierge services, Disney Cruise Line desk, business center, fitness room, pool, restaurant and lounge, laundry services, and fish freezer. Additionally, all services of the airport, including food options and shops, are steps away.
- Family Features: Kids age 5 and under eat free off the children’s menu and kids ages 6 to 11 eat for half price off the regular menu. Babysitting services are available and should be reserved at least 12 hours in advance. Special in room amenities for children can be requested such as step stools, kid’s robes, potties, highchairs, cribs and Diaper Genies.
- Transportation to the Port: Transfers are available through Disney Cruise Line. The Fairmont Waterfront is about a 30 minute drive from Vancouver International Airport. It can also easily be reached by The Canada Line Skytrain. The YVR Station is a 5 minute walk from the hotel and the ride takes about 25 minutes. Trains run every 8 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day. The fare is $8.75CAN one way.
- Parking: The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is a tenant of the Airport and therefore the airport parking rates apply. Valet parking: $28.50/night, with in-and-out privileges. Self parking: $15.00/night.
- Special Tips: In order to have complimentary wireless internet during your stay, sign up for the Fairmont’s President Club (it is free) before you leave home.
Erin’s Experience at the Fairmont Airport
Honestly, I hadn’t done much research on the hotel prior to our trip. We stayed here simply because our travel agent booked it through Disney for us. (Usually I do more personal investigation, but we were in a particularly busy time of family activity, so I was happy to outsource this time.) Given my near complete lack of preparation regarding the hotel, I didn’t really know what to expect other than the Fairmont name which is typically a good sign.
After a 6+ hour flight from New York, my husband, daughter, and I went through baggage claim and customs in about 45 minutes. When we left the customs area, we immediately saw a Disney representative holding up a Disney Cruise sign. We spoke to her, assuming that even the airport hotel was a shuttle ride away, and learned that the hotel (much like the Hyatt at Orlando International) is directly accessible from inside the main terminal. The representative directed us to the hotel entrance which was about a five minute walk from customs.
At the hotel, we were warmly welcomed by the front desk staff and given our room key as well as an instructional sheet from Disney Cruise Line. The instructions were clear and told us everything we needed to do the next morning for our transfer to the port.
The room itself was large (411 square feet) and well appointed with two queen beds, a spacious bathroom with a separate space for the toilet, and all the amenities you’d expect from a top notch business hotel. My main concern when I realized just how integrated the hotel was to the airport was that the plane noise would be problematic for sleep. This ended up being a complete non-issue. The windows were 100% soundproof. Despite the fact that we could watch planes loading from our window, I never heard a single aircraft noise.
I had assumed that we’d take a cab into town, but while cabs were readily available (it’s a major airport), they were unnecessary. The Canada Line public transit system which serves the airport is just outside the hotel, accessible by a marked walkway. The trains are inexpensive, clean, reliable and easy to navigate. I’m a New York would rank the Vancouver public transit system several large notches about the NYC subway system in terms of usability. After check in, we took the Canada Line into town and visited the Granville Market area, the Canada Place region (at the Port), a bit of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and did some shopping at Pacific Center and on fashionable Robson Street. Being slightly removed from town barely felt like an inconvenience.
In addition to all the services at the hotel, we had easy access to everything in the airport. At the end of a long day of travel and sightseeing, we were happy to get a meal at the airport food court which was inexpensive and more casual than the restaurants inside the hotel proper.
We had requested a hotel to port transfer through Disney, mostly because we had lots of luggage. The next day, we left our luggage for the DCL porter as was instructed on our information sheet. We checked in with a Disney Cruise Line representative and were on a bus to the port right on time. If you were traveling light, it would be incredibly easy and inexpensive to take the Canada Line transit directly to the port.
I’d certainly stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport again. The Airport location would be a particularly a good selection if you’re arriving quite late on the day before your sailing. This would also be nice choice for a guest on their way home from a cruise. If you’ve elected to stay in Vancouver for a bit after your sailing and have an early flight out in the morning, the Fairmont Airport would be an extremely convenient place to sleep.
Have you stayed at either of these locations? Have you have Disney Cruise Line book your pre-Alaska hotel stay? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
5 thoughts on “Disney Cruise Line Vancouver Hotel Compare/Contrast”
Thanks for another great article about your Alaska cruise experiences. I am saving these all as I prepare for my Disney Alaska cruise next May. Do you plan to do an article about the Customs process? Ie going thru both US & Canada customs at the same time, how did that work?
LG, I have several more posts in the works about the Alaska cruise. They will cover things like the Misty Fjords Sightseeing excursion, the Vancouver Terminal and what to do the night before your cruise. As far as the Customs process, I was surprised at how easy it was. We went through Canadian customs when we arrived via air from the US before the cruise. We filled out a simple form on the airplane with basic information like names, address and a couple questions about what we were bringing into the country. Once we arrived at the airport, it was a line of about 30 minutes at the end of which they took our form and looked at our passports. When we boarded the ship the process was the same for US Customs, this time the line was short, because we boarded early it only took about 5 minutes with a quick look at our passports at the end. At the end of our cruise, we were given another simple form to fill out and when we left the ship we handed in the form and our passports were checked. When we departed Canada at the airport for the return to the US it was a little different, but still simple. This time everything was done electronically. We had to scan our own passports and have our photos taken. There was a problem with us, because our flight number had changed and there was an issue with our names not matching any flight manifests. Even with this situation, it only took a couple minutes for someone to match us up manually and we were on our way. Hope this info helps and if you have any other questions, just let us know! 🙂
Thanks, Kristi! I am anxiously awaiting the rest of the posts, they are so helpful. One more question – your photo of the cruise ship from the sea wall, did you take that morning of, before you walked over to board? I love that one! We will be staying pre-cruise at the Fairmont Waterfront, too!
Hi LG! So glad you are enjoying our posts! I did take that photo before our cruise. We didn’t walk over to board the ship until just before 11am, so there was plenty of time in the morning to get some great photos. I was standing about a 10 minute walk from the hotel entrance. You just walk out of the front doors of the hotel, directly across the street, instead of going to the right and straight into the cruise terminal take a left and head towards a sculpture that looks like a large tear drop. Once I hit the tear drop sculpture (it is beside the convention center) I just started snapping photos, walking away from the cruise ship. I hope you enjoy the Fairmont Waterfront! 🙂