Vancouver has been a leading port for Alaska cruises for over 30 years, with over 500,000 passengers passing through. It has also become a starting point, stopover or disembarkation point for cruises through the Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal areas, Hawaii, the Far East and even round-the-world cruises. All of the major cruise lines have ships that dock in one of Vancouver’s two ports.
Two cruise ports are located in Vancouver and both are within a half hour of the city’s international airport. Canada Place is in the center of the city, making it convenient for dining, attractions and shopping. Ballantyne Pier Cruise Terminal (no website; 655 Centenniel Rd., Vancouver; 888-767-8826) was expanded and remodeled in 1995 so its services are a bit more modern than the facilities at Canada Place. Canada Place (canadaplace.ca) does have three berths instead of Ballantyne’s two, so it can handle more ships at a time.
Point of Origin
Nearly two dozen ships begin their journey in Vancouver. The Carnival Spirit, Celebrity Century, Crystal Symphony, Disney Wonder and Royal Caribbean Radiance set sail from Vancouver to Alaska, Hawaii or up the Pacific Coast on trips that range from five to 14 nights. Norwegian has three ships that leave from the Port of Vancouver – the Star, the Pearl and the Jewel – and all travel on Pacific Coastal or Alaskan Glacier trips. Princess Cruise Lines has seven ships in Vancouver and Holland America has eight ships; itineraries range from one day to Seattle to 35 days to the Far East.
Many cruise ships have a stopover in Vancouver or finish their tour there. Celebrity brings the Millennium and the Century to Vancouver from Alaska and the Pacific Coast. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Sea has Alaska cruises that range from 10 to 18 nights that stop in Vancouver, while the Norwegian Pearl and Jewel both go through Canada and California and end in Vancouver. Princess brings the seven of its Alaska, Far East and Pacific Coastal Cruises through Vancouver and Holland America bring four cruise ships to Vancouver, including a 17-day journey that goes to Japan.
Cruise ship schedules are constantly changing from year to year as new ships come in, ships are retired and itineraries change. If you're looking to sail a particular cruise line, call it directly and make sure it still has a ship that docks in one of Vancouver’s ports. You can also contact the official website of Port Metro Vancouver (portmetrovancouver.com), which lists the larger and lesser known cruise lines currently sailing, as well as their schedules. As of 2012, for example, the Disney Wonder runs Pacific Coastal cruises to Vancouver.