Gateway to Alaska cruising and a departure port for cruises to Hawaii this port has much to offer visitors.
Cruising North To Alaska?
Vancouver is a major embarkation port and a gateway for many of Alaska’s cruises.
This port is a popular gateway to many of Alaska’s cruises. While it owes much of its popularity in the cruise industry to some old and archaic U.S. law called the Jones Act and The Passenger Vessel Services Act, it deserves to be recognized as a great destination city 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, it has a great natural beauty and a vibrant city atmosphere.
The issue with the Jones Act/The Passenger Vessel Services 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 Your Ship 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, 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.
Disembarking – This port provides a modern cruise terminal with built-in provisions for passengers using wheelchairs like ramps and elevators.
Port City Characteristics – This port has a well developed wheelchair friendly infrastructure. The port area is flat or has few inclines. Intersection crosswalks have few issues with curbs or other wheelchair obstacles.
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 currency. Credit cards are welcome and ATM machines are plentiful. If you spending a day or two in Vancouver a good way to pick of Canadian currency is to use an ATM.
Cruises depart by sailing under Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge
Gastown and Chinatown, as mentioned above are not far from Canada Place and well worth a visit. Because of the large Chinese population there are a number of restaurants featuring authentic Chinese cuisine with great dim sum. Gastown is located not far from the cruise terminal and is the old section of Vancouver. Lots of restaurants, bars and shops.
Entrance to Vancouver’s China Town
Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanly Park down the waterfront to the northeast about a mile from Canada Place. It is Canada’s largest and a great attraction especially if you are traveling with children.
Science World 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 theaters. It is 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.