Vancouver cruises kick into high gear once the month of May arrives. When the weather gets a little nicer and the days are longer, you can step aboard a cruise ship to enjoy a vacation to Alaska. Every summer, more than 1 million passengers set sail on the nearly 300 cruises that travel from the Vancouver cruise port along one of the most scenic routes in North America. The cruise season continues in earnest through the end of October.
A dozen of the world's best cruise lines make the trip from southern British Columbia to America's fiftieth state. Whichever Alaska cruise from Vancouver you choose, you'll follow the same route through the Inside Passage. This land of dramatic beauty is made up of fjords, glaciers, and miles and miles of open ocean. The little islands along the way are sheltered from major storms, and the calm waters mean fewer delays and more comfortable vacations.
Most of these Vancouver cruises follow one of two routes—the shorter trip to Skagway or Juneau or an extended journey to Anchorage through the Gulf of Alaska. While you're enjoying the Alaska cruise from Vancouver, you will see some truly amazing scenery. On board the ship, you'll have the chance to experience the benefits that come with cruising, including live entertainment and dining experiences that rival the best restaurants around. Once you arrive in Alaska, you'll have the chance to watch for wildlife and follow in the footsteps on the gold rush, for starters. A wide range of shore excursions will keep people of all interests happy.
Vacnouver Cruise Terminal
Any Alaska cruise from Vancouver begins at one of the two facilities that serve as the Vancouver cruise port. Both are located a half-mile apart on the thriving, busy waterfront in downtown Vancouver. A free shuttle runs between the two, making it easy and convenient for you to begin your journey. The Ballantyne Pier Terminal is the smaller and the older of the two ports. It was completely refurbished in 1995, adding amenities for the passengers and updated facilities to accommodate modern cruise ships.
The newest Vancouver cruise port is one of the favorite destinations even if cruises aren't involved. After dark, the building shaped like an ocean liner lights up with the Sails of Light Show and fireworks on select holidays. During the day, the Canada Place Terminal offers views of the city, Coal Harbour, and the mountains. After you've stepped off your Vancouver cruises or before your scheduled departures, you'll want to spend some time exploring Canada Place beyond the pier. Along with the cruise ship terminal, you'll find an array of fun things to do at this downtown destination. The Canadian Trail winds along the pier for a walking tour of the ten Canadian provinces and all of the territories. The country, from coast to coast, is profiled through a mix of tiles and recycled glass.
You won't be able to miss the Welcome Centre thanks to the giant maple leaf. Here, friendly staff members are eager to answer questions and explain where to find the best attractions. A giant high-definition video screen, Canada's Storyboard, provides useful information about the cruses and the terminal, as well as videos celebrating the Canadian spirit. This year-round facility is also home to the Pan Pacific Hotel and several offices, making it a busy and exciting place to visit for cruise ship passengers and other vacationers.
If you'd rather stay at one of the local hotels rather than a cruise ship, you'll still have many options for taking to the water. Several local outfitters offer short-term cruises where you can soak in the scenery from a cool vantage point. A dinner cruise is a pleasant and romantic end to any day, and some of these cruises offer live music and dancing under the stars. Another popular Vancouver outing option are the fun-filled wildlife watching excursions that will bring you up close to some of the most amazing creatures anywhere. An on-board naturalist will help you spot killer whales, dolphins, and other sea animals and narrate the entire experience. These short-term excursions depart all year, with even more departures in the summertime.