Facts and How-to's

Vancouver Cruise Ports: 16 Interesting Facts

Megaships have a difficult time docking at the Vancouver cruise ports since they have to go under the Lionsgate Bridge. Certain ships must lower their masts to clear the road deck due to the bridge’s 200-foot clearance.

Norwegian Bliss set a record by arriving in Vancouver as the biggest cruise ship ever. The port of Vancouver strategically chose low tides for its arrival and departure. Occasionally the arrivals and departures take place in the early morning hours.

1. Vancouver Cruise Ports

Canada Place in Vancouver includes the cruise terminal. It was built for Expo 86, which presented the Canadian city to the international community. The Sails of Light are illuminated every night from dark till dawn with displays, motion, and seasonal, brilliant hues.

New cruise lines are bringing ships to the Vancouver Cruise ports to accommodate the growing demand for Alaskan cruises. They include Viking Ocean Cruises, Cunard, and Azamara Cruises.


Four ships can dock at the Vancouver cruise terminal each day. If there are, however, three to four vessels, when the terminal reopens, the boarding process can also be cumbersome.

Be patient; the port may be training new employees or getting acquainted with procedures they haven’t used in a while.

2. How to Travel to Vancouver Cruise Ports

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Aircraft arrive at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) at Sea Island near Richmond when flying into Vancouver. Depending on traffic, a cab ride to the cruise terminal may take about 30 minutes.

The preferred method of entering the port is by “Skytrain.” Downtown Vancouver may be reached directly from the rapid transit system. The trains are convenient, affordable, and rapid. Additionally, rush-hour traffic is never a concern.

Once you exit the airport, cross the street, then ride the escalator to the right. This escalator leads up to the platform where the Skytrain departs. Tickets for a direct route towards the Vancouver Waterfront station are available at the self-service machines.

Costs per person range from CAD 7.75 to CAD 9, and from the airport to the Waterfront, the Canada Line provides direct access. Trains depart typically every six to seven minutes, and it takes 25 minutes.

Take the escalators up, leave the building, & turn right at the Waterfront Station. Afterward, proceed about a block to Howe Street and make a right. Straight ahead are Canada Place as well as the Vancouver Cruise Ports Terminal.

Furthermore, your cruise ship can even be parked in front of you. There are lots of staff to help you, and signage delineates the path for cruise ship guests.

3. Baggage Storage

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Passengers who have reservations on cruises can store their luggage with Westcoast Sightseeing. The location at Canada Place is ideal.

Furthermore, PorterGenie provides 24-hour luggage storage at numerous locations across the city. Their rates are reasonable, service is quick, and zippers are securely fastened.

4. Vancouver Cruise Terminal

The Vancouver Cruise Terminal is a place of cruise lines. There are now 28 cruise lines servicing the Vancouver cruise port, and many of them operate small luxury ships and expedition ships that provide exclusive Alaska cruise itineraries for small groups.

Certain cruise ships, like the World Residences at Sea luxury cruise ship, only make sporadic port calls as part of their worldwide cruise schedule.

Vancouver Cruise Ports
Image by Steve Barker from Pixabay

5. Eco-Friendly Vancouver Cruise Ports

As it opens into Burrard Inlet, the natural harbor is located in Vancouver Harbour. Many marine animals can be found in these coastal areas, such as killer whales, dolphins, humpbacks, fin, blue, and sei whales.

The Vancouver Cruise Ports authorities operate Shore Power, which lowers pollution by enabling cruise ships to close down their engines when berthed in the port to protect the crystal-clear waters of this lovely harbor.

This is a component of Vancouver’s EcoAction Program, which lowers pollution, noise in the ocean, emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gases, as well as other environmental toxins.

Additionally, the port offers reduced harbor fees (up to 47%) for ships utilizing environmentally friendly technologies and clean fuels, and it honors deserving participants with a Blue Circle Award.

Only Princess Cruises, MSC, and Disney Cruise Line currently adhere to these stricter environmental criteria.

6. Reasons for Visiting the Vancouver Cruise Ports

Vancouver is the starting point for cruises to Hawaii, South America, Mexico, the West Coast of the United States, and the Panama Canal. It also serves as the major hub for one-way and round-trip Alaskan cruises; all nationalities can come together there in a truly international setting.

This Canadian port city is renowned for its diverse food, exciting nightlife, high-quality lifestyle, and pure air. It also organizes numerous festivals.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park Grouse Mountain, as well as the FlyOver Canada virtual flight are among the must-see sights for cruise passengers.

7. Recommendations for Cruise Departure

Before leaving home, ensure you have all the required paperwork and licenses. eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) is required if you are traveling by plane to Canada for your cruise.

If you live in a nation that is qualified for the eTA, you can apply online for the electronic travel document for C$7.

If you wish to disembark and take shore excursions in Alaska, you’ll also need an ESTA if you’re a non-US citizen from one of the approved nations.

As part of the embarkation process, US Customs and Border Patrol will examine your passport and supporting documents. You are regarded as being under American jurisdiction once you board.

Porters will assist you in labeling and checking in your bags once you arrive at the terminal. Your cabin will receive delivery of it. Keep all prescription drugs, passports, important documents, and other requirements in your hand luggage.

You can use escalators to get to Convention Center Hall C’s second-floor check-in area. A health questionnaire, information on your ID, a ticket, and a photo are all required. Afterward, you’ll go through security checks before boarding the cruise ship.

8. Activities to do near Vancouver Cruise Ports

On the coast, in the shadow of beautiful mountains, sits the eclectic city of Vancouver. The theatre, music, and art scenes in the downtown area are all booming. Vancouver has also developed into a foodie’s paradise because of its extensive array of international cuisine.

You do not need a rental car because the city offers fantastic public transit. You will also be responsible for paying for parking in the city, including at your hotel, if you rent a vehicle.

Instead of walking around the park, why not rent a bike? A tram, horse-drawn carriage, or hop-on hop-off bus are additional ways to see the park.

The amazing aquarium, several beaches, a sea wall, and other features of Stanley Park enjoy spectacular city views, a bird of prey performance, and a lumberjack show.

Vancouver Cruise Ports
Image by James Wheeler from Pixabay

The oldest part of Vancouver, Gastown, is reachable by foot from the waterfront. Visitors are delighted by the whistling clock spews steam here every 15 minutes, the Gastown steam clock. A free shuttle bus from downtown will take you to the park.

Farther up Capilano Road, Grouse Mountain is also accessible via the shuttle. The entire family can have fun at Grouse Mountain. The two grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, can be seen once you’ve ridden a gondola to the summit.

Afoot, public transportation, or rental bikes, you may easily explore the downtown area. In addition to the numerous taxis available, the Aquabus also crosses False Creek to Granville Island.

Although most businesses accept US dollars, you might not get a favorable conversion rate. Hence, convert your money and utilize Canadian dollars in its place.

9. Restaurants near Vancouver Cruise Ports

Vancouver is renowned for its diversity. So, whatever suits your palate may be found in the city center. Several options include dim sum, sushi, Lebanese, Italian, Chinese, & seafood from the West Coast.

  • Why not start your Alaskan cruise off with some seafood at a Granville Island terrace restaurant? With breathtaking views of False Creek, the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant offers all your favorite dishes.
Vancouver Cruise Ports
Courtesy: Sandbar Seafood Restaurant
  • The Cactus Club Coal Harbour serves seafood and west coast cuisine. It’s a fantastic option because of its downtown position on the coast. Therefore, during busy times, plan on a protracted wait.
  • For those who need to eat quickly, “Timmy’s,” as it is known locally, makes doughnuts, fresh sandwiches, soups, & wraps.

10. Embarkation in Vancouver Cruise Ports

Every cruise ship leaving from Vancouver makes a port call in the United States, necessitating U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening for every passenger.

You must obtain an ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization if your passport is not from Canada or the United States.

Vancouver Cruise Ports
Image by dominador from Pixabay

An online application is required to obtain an ESTA. If you’re flying into Canada, you’ll need to obtain an eTA, or electronic travel authorization, which is a new requirement for visa-exempt foreign people.

Citizens of the United States and visitors with valid visas are exceptions, and applications are submitted online, just like the US ESTA.

11. Debarkation in Vancouver Cruise Ports

With three ships in Vancouver Cruise Ports, the process of debarking could take a while. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to travel to the airport. Due to lengthy queues at security, customs, and immigration, you need to arrive three hours before takeoff if you’re flying abroad.

Within the first 30 minutes of disembarking, you can typically find a taxi or ridesharing service very quickly. Instead, you could return to the Skytrain.

Vancouver Cruise Ports
Image by Pat Josse from Pixabay

But, according to availability, if you’re in one of the final groups to disembark the ship, you could have to wait a bit for a cab or rideshare. Thus, if you have an early flight, choose an early debarkation option or do self-debarkation.

Regular shuttles & buses to popular locations, city taxis, vehicle rental agencies, limousine services, and public transportation are all available to passengers. It is advised to make reservations for transportation in advance.

12. The Cruise Terminal at Canada Place

The Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing-run Ground Transportation Bureau, conveniently situated at the Canada Place cruise terminal, provides clients with individual transport or sightseeing excursions.

Bus transportation from Vancouver to Victoria, British Columbia, Bellingham, Washington, and Seattle’s SeaTac airport can also be arranged through Gray Line Westcoast Touring.

13. Drop-Offs

The Main Street flyover or the Cordova Street tunnel must be used for ride-hailing vehicles to enter the Cruise Terminal at Waterfront Road to drop off cruise passengers.

Access to the entrance from Waterfront Road is available from Canada Place’s east side.

14. Transportation by Air

55 international and regional airlines fly to 125 destinations worldwide from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). From the airport, it takes around 30 minutes to get to downtown Vancouver.

From the heliport or seaplane base next to Canada Place, local flights are accessible to several locations, including Vancouver Island and Whistler.

Passengers may easily get to and from the cruise terminal using shuttles, taxis, limousines, and public transportation.

15. Vancouver City Secrets Walking Tour

During this two-hour guided walking tour of Vancouver, see a side of the city you never thought possible.

As part of this entertaining and information-packed tour of the city, your guide will lead you into obscure alleyways to find city icons.

Anyone who enjoys local history and interesting stories will find this tour to be truly fascinating. Take a tour that travels from Cathedral Square to historic Gastown and stops at several interesting locations.

Who would have believed it? You can learn about the criminals and mobsters who formerly operated in this city.

16. Vancouver Lookout

The imposing Vancouver Lookout attraction is around 400 meters from Canada Place Cruise Terminal. From the enclosed viewing deck, which provides 360-degree views, it’s a great opportunity to see everything Vancouver has to offer.

The Lookout, which is almost 168 meters (553 feet) tall, has a glass lift ride that takes 40 seconds to reach the observation platform. Strong binoculars are available in the gallery to view some of the sites in more detail.

Furthermore, your entrance is valid all day. You can go early in the day and come back later to observe how the city is beautifully changed by thousands of vibrant lights.

Vancouver Cruise Ports
Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

Over 1,000,000 cruise passengers pass through the Port of Vancouver each year; given that Vancouver is consistently ranked among the most beautiful cities in the world, it is no surprise that many of them choose to extend their stays before or after their cruises to experience this breathtakingly beautiful west coast location fully.

They have served as a major homeport for Alaskan cruises for more than 30 years. We also serve as the starting point for one-way and round-trip voyages through the breathtaking Inner Passage, which runs along the west coast of British Columbia.

The cruise itinerary and tourism websites have further details that can be used to organize your vacation. Also, you can download the Port of Vancouver eHub app to learn more about peak traffic periods and vessels in the port.

Final Note

Given the short cruise ship season, Canada Place was created to be multipurpose (May to September). It features a cruise ship terminal in addition to a hotel, convention center, theatres, shops, and cafes.

Near the pier’s end, a multi-dimensional simulated fly over well-known regions of the nation is run by FlyOver Canada. That is essential to do before leaving and a terrific rainy day activity.

Vancouver Cruise Ports passengers can depart from Vancouver or Seattle on an Alaskan cruise. Seattle may be a good option for Americans because flights there are less expensive as well not require a passport. Nonetheless, Vancouver Cruise Ports provide a breathtaking sail away.



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