This port is a popular gateway to many Alaska cruises. While it owes much of its popularity in the cruise industry to an old and archaic U.S. law called the Jones Act it deserves to be recognized as a great destination as well. Vancouver is the largest western Canadian city with a large natural harbor and a thriving economy. Famous for a number of nearby wine regions, its great natural beauty and a vibrant city atmosphere.
The issue with the Jones Act prohibits cruise lines from picking up passengers in one U.S. port and allowing them to disembark in another U.S. port. Vancouver, Canada allows the cruise lines to avoid the problem of picking up passengers from a U.S. port.
Where You Dock – The cruise pier in Vancouver is called Canada Place and it is centrally located with a nice cruise terminal. Canada Place is also a convention center and community event venue so take the time to discover what’s going on inside. Just walking out of the terminal finds you in downtown with a tourist office within a couple of blocks of the pier. Only a few blocks walk to the southwest is Gastown (http://gastown.org/), a popular historic district with lots of restaurants and clubs. A few blocks farther south is Vancouver’s Chinatown, which is home to a large Asian population replete with markets and excellent Chinese restaurants.
Taxi – Taxis are common and fares average about $10 for trips within the central city. A taxi trip to the airport should cast about $30.
Rapid Transit – The Canada Line is Vancouver’s rapid transit rail connecting Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to downtown Vancouver in about 30 minutes. Trains leave every few minutes and run from 5 am till after midnight. Fares run about $3.00 per trip.
Bicycles – Vancouver is a very walkable city and you will discover that many locals commute on bicycles. There are a number of rental locations not far from Canada Place. Spokes Rentals is only four blocks down the waterfront (1798 W Georgia Street).
Money – A Canadian dollar is currently about US$0.80 and unlike the Eastern Canadian cities Vancouver businesses will often insist on cash being in Canadian money.
Gastown and Chinatown, as mentioned above are not far from Canada Place and well worth a visit.
Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanly Park down the waterfront to the northeast about a mile. It is an Canada’s largest and an good place attraction especially if you are traveling with children.
Science World was with its iconic dome was originally built for Expo ’86, and is home to a number of interactive exhibits as well as one of the world’s largest OMNIMAX theatres. Located less than a mile and a half from Canada Place.
Capilano Suspension Bridge is a ways out of town but people from all over the world come here to experience this bridge and the natural beauty of the area. It is located in the Capilano area.