Cruising Into Vancouver

Travel Tips — By Natasha John on February 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Over 600,000 passengers made their way through the Port of Vancouver in 2011 on 199 sailings. That number is likely to go up in 2013 when Disney Cruise Line once again uses Vancouver’s port as their starting point for their Alaskan trips. For many years they docked in Vancouver, until recently when they decided to move down to Seattle. After customer feedback, they decided to bring their ships back to Vancouver in May of 2013. This is great news for passengers and Vancouver!

A Disney Cruise ship makes it way up to Alaska.

Along with Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruises, to name a few, also make their way into Vancouver’s port each year. The organization of the 27 cruise ships that come in and out of the port is a well orchestrated dance, and catching a glimpse of these large ships is a sight to be seen; even if you’re not taking a cruise yourself. These massive floating cities make their way up to Alaska, and some down to California, but Alaskan cruises remain the most popular. The immense glaciers are overwhelmingly beautiful and bring people from around the globe to cruise their way through frigid waters to view them up close and personal. While on the cruise, you may also see Orca, Humpback whales, Harbor porpoises, White-sided dolphins, Grey whales, Minke whales and Dall porpoises.

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau Alaska

Vancouver continues to be a hot vacation spot for international visitors, and if your cruise leaves from Vancouver, it’s like getting a two-for-one deal. There’s plenty to do in the city any time of year, so make sure you give yourself a few extra days to stick around Vancouver and take advantage of the city. There’s a long list of hotels that are within walking distance from Canada Place, or are just a short cab ride away. The peak cruise season runs from April through September, which is the perfect time of year to make the most of Vancouver’s outdoor activities.

It's not uncommon to see sea lions taking a rest amongst the rocks.

If you only have limited time to kill while you’re in Vancouver before and after your cruise, here are a few places that are so close to the port at Canada Place:

  • Bella Gelateria – Hands down, the best gelato in Vancouver. Unique flavors and quality ingredients create the perfect cold, sweet treat.
  • Stanley Park – You will sail right by this beauty, but visiting the park is the best way to enjoy this lush urban oasis.
  • Vancouver Aquarium – While in Stanley Park, stop in the aquarium to get a glimpse of the underwater life that’s living below the waters you’re sailing through.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery – A few blocks up Howe Street is the Vancouver Art Gallery. After swooning over the glaciers, keep your eyes satisfied by looking at some impressive art work.
  • Gastown – Boutique shops, excellent restaurants, charming cafes and the Steam Clock can all be found in one of Vancouver’s favorite neighborhoods a few blocks away from your ship.

If you’re planning on staying for a few days, then Vancouver is your oyster to enjoy.

Tags: alaska, cruise, Gastown, gelato, Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Art Gallery

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