Did I understand right that you go through U.S. customs at Vancouver Airport after the cruise? If so, how long does it take? We have an 11:30 flight should we do the self disembark from the ship? We are on the Carnival Spirit May 14th.
Yes you are correct. At our major airports you clear US customs here and then you can fly anywhere that the planes can/will take you into the US.
That 11:30 AM flight is a real gamble/ They want you at the airport 2 hours early as they do at most airports now and with having to make sure that your ship gets in/cleared on time and then get to the airport we generally do not recommend anything until after 12:30/1 PM.
However if our ship has US Direct available it can be done. That's the program here in Vancouver where you are bused directly from the ship (You are inside US cleared property on the ship) to inside the area cleared behind the US Customs at the airport. There is a fee of course. Check with your cruise line and or at the YVR website <http://www.yvr.ca/>
BSeabob, Thanks for your reply. Do you know if the Spirit has self disembark? I posted the question on the Carnival page but have not received a response. I checked into the direct assist program but my airline doesn't fall into the qualifications.
We just returned from Alaska on Carnival Spirit. We had an 1130 flight out of Vancouver. We were off the ship around 8:45 a.m. Got to the airport about 9:40 and were at our gate at 10:30 a.m. We weren't able to do the express luggage program because our airline didn't qualify. We also weren't able to do the self dis-embark because we already had purchased a transfer to the airport. Our luggage was trucked to the airport ahead of us. Once we got to the airport we went in and got our luggage and then checked in for our flight then went through U.S. customs then through security. Even though there were three ships in it went real smooth.
Just got home from 5/28 cruise Whittier to Vancouver and they do have self disembark. We did luggage express and it was WONDERFUL! You have to have a transfer with the cruise line to do luggage express and the airline you are traveling on has to be a participant. But everything was so organized and in order - no problems at all. Highly recommend luggage express if you can do it. It does cost $15 pp per bag but well worth it.