westjet 737-600 toronto pearson international airport

Vancouver To San Francisco: Airplane Or Luxury Cruise?

san francisco california skylineTravel, peeled down to its most basic form, is simply movement from one place to another. And, it’s a cruel, old saying but there is more than one way to skin a cat. If you’re in Vancouver, British Columbia and, for whatever reason, you need to go down the Pacific coast to San Francisco, California, the obvious option is to hop on an airplane and take the two and half hour flight.

However, there’s another option. Yes, the drive is scenic and awesome. That’s not it. You could hop on a luxury cruise liner, relax for a few days at sea while enjoying as much food as you could possibly stuff in your face, then arrive in downtown San Francisco refreshed and ready to go. The cost is a bit higher than a flight but considering what you’re getting out of it, it is well worth it.

There are flights and cruises between the two cities all the time. Let’s use the arrival date in San Francisco¬†of May 12, 2014 as an example.

Via Cruise

star princess cruise shipStar Princess of Princess Cruises embarks from Vancouver on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 4:30pm. She arrives in San Francisco on Monday, May 12 at 7am. The ship makes one port call, at Victoria, British Columbia on Saturday, May 10, from 7am to 2pm.

Pricing as of January 14, 2014 is as low as $249 per person for an inside stateroom. There is an additional $90 per person in government fees and taxes. For two, the stateroom can be had from $678, including taxes, or $339 per person, based on double occupancy.

Star Princess is a Princess Cruises Grand Class ship built by Fincantieri in Italy. In service since 2002, she is one of nine Grand Class ships built between 1998 and 2008. Star is the third oldest while Grand Princess is the oldest and Ruby Princess is the newest.

This is a decent sized cruise ship with a gross tonnage of 109,000. Star is 290 metres or 950 feet in length and can hold 2,590 passengers along with 1,150 crew members. There are 13 decks accessible to guest.

Via Airplane

westjet boeing 737 yyz toronto pearsonAir travel originating in Canada has been a sticky point with its citizens since time began. Direct flights on May 12, 2014 range in prices starting from $176 per person including taxes between Vancouver and San Francisco. On the same day, a direct flight to the domestic destination of Edmonton, Alberta from Vancouver starts at $212 per person including taxes. The distance from Vancouver to San Francisco in 1,526 km while the distance from Vancouver to Edmonton is much less at 1,158 km.

Anywho, beef about Canadian air travel aside, to fly between YVR and SFO via Westjet starts at $176. This equates to $352 for two and nearly half the price of our cruise on the Star Princess. However, a package of crackers and a drink of water do not compare to three days of gorging on semi-gourmet food.

Direct flights are also available though U.S. carrier United. The price is slightly higher at $183 per person, including taxes. Air Canada also makes the journey for $204 per person, aligning with their goal of never costing less than their rival Westjet.


Like all things travel, it comes down to your personal needs and desires. If it’s simply a matter of cost, the flight is the best option. However, if you like to live life, the cruise wins out. Of course, the other major factor is time. Although, this particular cruise seems to be custom designed for the business man who needs to be in S.F. for a Monday meeting, doesn’t it? A nice weekend away following by a nice early arrival time.

Location. With San Francisco, there is not a whole lot of difference between the cruise port and airport as far as accessibility. The cruise port is centrally located in San Francisco, as the crow flies right between Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The airport is just south of downtown off highway 101 on San Francisco Bay.

Whatever your mode of transportation, treat yourself and stay at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, just south of the city. This is a beautiful luxury hotel perched on the Pacific coast and was the scene of Jim and Michelle’s wedding in the classic movie American Wedding!


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