As popular as Vancouver is nowadays as a vacation destination, it is interesting to think about its humble beginnings. Originally called Gastown, Vancouver served strictly as a place for lumberjacks to enjoy drinks and a bit of relaxation between grueling work at nearby sawmills. Coastal mountains form a scenic and breathtaking backdrop for this eclectic and multicultural city. Indeed, many places on Earth claim to be “melting pots,” but Vancouver definitely lives up to that reputation. Above all, simply being in this vibrant place can put the icing on the cake of any cruise.

Sightseeing & Things To Do

Vancouver is, without question, a true breath of fresh air. From the effervescent and exciting downtown vibe to the bright, sunny – and green – vistas of Stanley Park, Vancouver is bold and fun. The melting pot nature of this multifaceted city will surely win you over. Whether you choose to hit Chinatown or opt to climb to the top of Grouse Mountain, you will be glad that you got off the ship when you arrive in Vancouver.

Due to the melting pot characteristics of Vancouver, there are several really interesting and fun things to see and do within a conveniently compact area. Whether you’re into outdoor pursuits or prefer spending sightseeing time in museums, Vancouver has something for everyone. Consider these attractions, for instance:

Stanley Park

Those who are familiar with Vancouver know about Stanley Park. Indeed, this picturesque, 1,000 acre park is tremendously popular with locals and tourists alike. It is located at the very tip of the downtown peninsula and offers visitors stunning views of the city. Sitting back and watching the ships come sailing in is simply delightful, especially on a pleasant day. Otherwise, there are hiking and biking trails that can be put to good use all over this decidedly pleasant park.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Whether you are familiar with Canada’s great artists or not, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a veritable gem in the heart of downtown. A visit here will open your eyes to the amazing art that has been produced by local people for many years. The building itself – a converted courthouse – is interesting to explore as well.

Grouse Mountain

Enjoy amazing views without all of the hard work involved in hiking and climbing to get there by visiting Grouse Mountain. Its Sky Ride will whisk you up to the top of the mountain’s 3,700 foot peak in a mere eight minutes. The ride alone is well worth it, but the view from the top makes it even better.


As North America’s second-largest Chinatown, Vancouver’s Chinatown is a hot tourist spot. Head over here for delicious food and a compelling atmosphere. The window shopping is also a real treat here, so make it a point to explore and get to know Vancouver’s Chinatown while here.


Vancouver’s Yaletown district is the absolute best place to shop in the city. An eclectic mix of shops, boutiques and other stores converge to offer shoppers plenty of unique and one of a kind options. Because this district abuts a marina, you can also combine window shopping with a bit of yacht watching for an exceptionally fun time. Don’t miss the BMW showroom along the way, and make it a point to stop and have lunch, dinner – or just a drink – while in this hopelessly trendy neighborhood.

Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship

First Nation or Inuit artwork is expensive but well worth it, if you have the means, to bring home with you as a souvenir. These native people have a definite knack for creating some stunning handicrafts and artwork, so consider making a stop at one of the several galleries that feature such work in downtown Vancouver.

Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine

With its high concentration of Asian residents, Vancouver offers up some truly divine Asian cuisine. At the top of the list is dim sum, which can be found all over the city. Whether you choose to nosh on some dim sum in a high priced restaurant – or simply from a local food stand – you are sure to discover that it is among the very best that you have ever had. Naturally, Chinatown has the highest concentration of dim sum restaurants in the city.

When, Where, and How

When To Go

Since warm, sunny days are the most amenable when it comes to roaming around a big city like Vancouver, July and August are definitely the best months out of the year to visit. Stanley Park is undoubtedly at its finest during those months, as well.

Where You’re Docked

There are two main cruise ship terminals in Vancouver. Canada Place Terminal – the better of the two – is located directly downtown and conveniently near dozens of great attractions, restaurants, shops and other sites. The other one – Ballantyne Pier – is not as centrally located and requires a cab ride or other transportation to get visitors to where all of the action is.

Which Cruise Ships Go Here?

A lot of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Vancouver. A few of the biggest cruise lines that stop in Vancouver are Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruises. However, there are many other options available in terms of ships, dates, days in port and at sea when it comes to Vancouver.