Pacific Port Of Departure - Vancouver, Canada

1 Introducing Vancouver

Encircled by snow-topped mountains, huge verdant forests and the wide ocean Vancouver counts as one of the world’s best cities. Vancouver is positioned on the Burrard peninsula on the western coast of British Colombia, Canada. The city is bounded by the Burrard inlet to the north, the Salish sea to the west and the Fraser river to the south.

The mighty woods on the west coast of Canada were a big potential source of timber, and the late nineteenth century heralded the founding of a number of lumber businesses. A new sawmill was established on the Burrard peninsula in 1867. The neighborhood next to the mill was called ‘Gastown’ after the name of a saloon run by one of the locals. In 1870 the government administration of British Columbia laid out a plan for the new town of Granville, situated adjacent to Gastown. In 1871 Granville was picked as the last stop for the new Canadian Pacific Railway trans Canada railroad. In 1886, the city was given the new name of to Vancouver. Officialdom felt that this name was more widely known (on account of well-liked Vancouver island) and more fitting for the railway’s termination point. In the same year the first CPR train arrived. However just 3 months later, on June 13, 1886, the Great Vancouver fire ruined large parts of the city. A decade of reconstruction began, this time employing fireproof bricks and paving.

Vancouver carried on growing throughout the twentieth century. Today Vancouver is an international center for industry, marketing and communication.

Vancouver’s development is in large part due to Burrard inlet's capactiy to function as a ship’s anchorage without any requirement for dredging. Initially lumber and grain were the main goods exported from the docks. Aside from large cargo ships, small boats sailed the route along the coast northwards, supplying resource ventures in timber, mining and fishing. Stories of awe-inspiring scenery came back with the crew members of these ships. Summer voyages up to Alaska were busy even in the early 19th century, with shipping lines running 7 day cruises. Although just 2 ships operating summer cruises to Alaska were left by the 1950s.

The Alaskan cruise market continued to stagnate, until, seeing an almost forgotten opportunity, Holland America brought their newest ship ms Prinsendam to Vancouver in 1975. Before long Princess joined Holland America, sending 2 ships, which in turn attracted other cruise lines to homeport ships in Vancouver for the season. Further growth carried on, with cruise passenger volumes through Vancouver rising to over 1000000 in 2001.

In 2000 Seattle started to offer cruise vacations, and the new entrant sharply cut Vancouver passenger figures. By 2010 Vancouver's cruise business had halved from 2001 levels.

2 The Port of Vancouver

There are two cruise terminals in Vancouver. Canada Place, near the city center, and Ballantyne, a mile east from the city center.

Before boarding, passengers are required to go through US customs, this shortens procedures at Alaskan ports. As an alternative American citizens transferring from Vancouver airport can follow the US Direct Program, this allows for fast customs clearance.


Canada Place

Canada Place has developed from its beginnings as CPR pier B and C, this allowed for speedy movement of corn from railway to docked cargo ships. The terminal is part of the former Canada Pavilion from the 1986 World Exposition, with its a unique five sail outline, which represents the region’s rich seafaring history. Beside the cruise terminal, the large building holds a Pan-Pacific hotel, a World Trade Center office, Port Metro Vancouver corporate offices and a VINCI car park. Facilities available include luggage trolleys, customs, a snack bar, restrooms and security. The terminal has three cruise ship berths, named East, West and North.



Ballantyne cruise terminal was expanded and improved in 1995, and today gives well-organized passenger processing. Facilities on offer include snack shops, baggage trolleys, restrooms, security, taxi ranks and customs. The cruise port has one main quay East. Occasionally the West quay is used.

See cruises from Vancouver for a comprehensive listing of cruises available.

For the Port Authority see Port Metro Vancouver


3 Out and About in Vancouver

The city’s favorite attractions are positioned within a short distance from Canada Place. A regular HOHO bus service makes travel around the city center easy.

Harbour Center Tower
A quick elevator ride brings you to the roof of the 581 feet high Harbour Center Tower, where there’s a superb view around snow-capped mountains, the modern city and the blue sea.

The mid nineteenth century beginnings of Vancouver lie in the historic area of Gastown. Though the first timber buildings were all completely destroyed in the1886 fire. See the edifice of ‘Gassy Jack’ and the steam clock hiss then have a well-earned rest at a welcoming café.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
In the center of the city’s busy Chinatown, sits the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The Garden is built to reflect the mixing of the four main elements: plants, rock, architecture and water, to generate perfect hamony.

Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the biggest urban park in North America. It’s home to a magnificent collection of native American Totems and the Vancouver Aquarium. Enthusiastic walkers can follow the 6 mile seashore, along a path which offers magnificent views over the sea.

Vancouver Aquarium
Tour Vancouver Aquarium and experience sealife close encounters, with sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins and belugas. Kids will adore Clownfish Cove, with its clownfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a long footbridge far above the Capilano river. After teetering across the bridge, try the Treetops adventure, here you go along rope walkways far above the ground to see the mighty trees of the temperate forest at close quarters. To reach the Capilano Bridge catch the free shuttle bus from Canada place, or bus no 236 from Lonsdale Quay at the northern end of the Sea Bus.

4 Traveling to Vancouver Cruise Ports

By Car From the USA

Canada Place
Cross the US/Canadian Border on I-5. I-5 turns into Rte 99. Continue northKeep on Route 99 and cross the Oak Street Bridge. Make a left turn on 70th Avenue. Then make a right on Granville Street. Carry on north across the Granville Street Bridge. Continue straight on by taking the Seymour Street exit. Carry on north along Seymour St to reach West Cordova St. Head left onto West Cordova St. After 2 blocks turn right onto Howe Street, to soon get to Canada Place. Long term parking facilities can be found at the Vinci car park.

Cross the US/Canadian Border on I-5. I-5 becomes Route 99. Leave at turnoff 36 and make a right onto Route 1. Then turn left onto Knight Street. Knight Street will become Clark Drive. Carry on on Clark to its end then make a right on Stewart St. Continue around half-a-mile to arrive at Ballantyne. There is no car park at the cruise terminal, but one option is cruisepark, positioned on the waterfront between Canada Place and Ballantyne.

By Air

From Vancouver International Airport
The modern Canada Line Skytrain provides a fast connection between the airport and Waterfront station with a journey time of half-an-hour. Trains are frequent. Canada Place cruise terminal is a short walk from Waterfront station. Note that Ballantyne is a taxi ride away. An alternative is to travel by cab from the airport to the required cruise terminal. The journey time is around 45 minutes.

5 Other Information

Currency CAD
Language English
Timezone PTZ

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