Q: We are taking an Alaskan cruise on the Celebrity line's Mercury ship and leaving from Vancouver. We bought the cruise online, and have some questions we thought you could advise us on. We are arriving in Vancouver a few days before the cruise and would like a suggestion about how to get from the airport to the city. How much does a taxi cost or is there an airport bus or public transit? Can you also suggest a good hotel that is near the dock we will be departing from?

A: I would take a taxi from the airport rather than the airport bus. A taxi will cost you no more than $35 and takes about 30 minutes. The airport bus costs $13 per person, but takes forever to get to the city and the service is poorly run: it operates every 20 minutes but if the bus is full, which it often is at peak times, you'll have to wait another 20 minutes, and last time I took it there was no air conditioning. Adding to the misery, to reach some hotels, you need to transfer to yet another, smaller bus once you reach downtown. This is no way to begin the trip of a lifetime. As for your hotel, the Pan Pacific Vancouver is a top choice, especially since you'll be able to walk from the hotel to where the Mercury docks through a covered passageway. By the way, the Mercury recently underwent a very pleasing renovation, and you'll find the service, cuisine, and shore excursions on Celebrity to be first rate, so you made a good choice.

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