cruise planning alaska: car rental

I started doing research on excursions and activities, all organised in evernote. Then I realised I should do the hard stuff first — making sure all the logistics are in place. Even more research:

  • car rental vancouver—>seattle
  • hotel in seattle
  • how to get from hotel to cruise terminal
  • how to get from cruise terminal at the end of the cruise to car rental
  • car rental seattle —>vancouver
  • hotel in vancouver

Car rental first.

scenario 1
The logical thing is to do a one-way rental from YVR, then another one way from Seattle cruise terminal. Cheapest at kayak is Hertz at $116. I tried avis, budget, alamo—the usual suspects and got higher prices. Okay.

The trip back from Seattle I want to rent all the day to departure from YVR. For a 3 day one-way it’s $360 at Alamo (again via kayak). But I really want the car for a few more hours because of the timing of disembarkation and the flight but I don’t want to pay for an extra day. So we’ll hang around Seattle for a few hours, no biggie.

Total for 2 one-way rentals $482. Then I have to add taxi to and from the cruise terminal, around $60. Total for this scenario $542.

scenario 2

I have a really neat trick up my sleeve. I find from experience that it’s almost always cheaper booking through UK sites. And, bingo, avis UK gives me £35, or $56. Not getting a good bargain for the trip back though, around £370 or almost $600 pushing the total to $656.

scenario 3
I can pick the best of both scenarios though. Be a Brit one way and an American the other, which gives me a total of 56+360+60=$476.

scenario 4
Out of interest I checked how much it’d be to keep the car for the entire trip, to avoid one-way charges. Avis UK at £265 or $425 is a good bargain. But there’s also parking at the cruise terminal pushing the cost to $556.

There are pros and cons with doing two one-ways vs keeping the car throughout. Convenience is a big factor. With scenario 3, there’s a lot of schlepping and taxiing of luggage and because I’m travelling with mum convenience has to be factored in.

There is another option. A few hotels offer park and cruise packages where guests who stay a night can get up to 14 days free parking while they go on the cruise. They are usually located outside the downtown area, although with a car it’s not a problem. I need to look into this, so I can keep the car rental cost to the $425 from avis UK.

Just as well, it’s taken me hours to get this far. I need to start looking at hotels.