Things To Do In Vancouver Canada Before Your Alaska Cruise #DisneyCruise

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Our Disney cruise to Alaska sailed from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  We decided to arrive the day before so we could have a relaxing embarkation process and be rested for our first day.  When you do online check-in for a Disney Cruise, you are given a time to board the ship.  We chose the earliest time available to us, which was 11:30 am.  The more time on board, the better!  We didn’t want to take any chance of missing the sailing and made a reservation at the hotel at the port, the Pan Pacific.  It was a little more than our budget, but we thought it was worth it to avoid stress on sailing day.


AAA0006 Canada Place Sails

The Pan Pacific is beautiful!  It’s located at Canada Place – the port for all major cruise ships leaving from Vancouver.   Canada Place includes the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver’s World Trade Centre, and FlyOver Canada.  There are huge white sails on the roof which are visually stunning.  During holidays or special events they are lit in different colors.  Approximately 900,000 people visit Canada Place every year!


Pool at Pan Pacific Vancouver Canada

The pool of the Pan Pacific is on the 8th floor, so you have an incredible view to enjoy while you swim.

When we returned from the cruise we wanted to stay “downtown” and at a less expensive hotel.  We chose the Residence Inn Downtown, Vancouver, Canada.

Residence Inn Collage

Residence Inn Downtown, Vancouver, Canada

Lobby of Residence Inn Downtown, Vancouver Canada

Lobby of Residence Inn Downtown, Vancouver Canada

We were very pleased with our choice of the Residence Inn Downtown.  The hotel was newly remodeled, centrally located and the service was exceptional.  After we checked into our room, the front desk called to make sure everything was in order.  Little touches like that – with your wakeup call you also hear the day’s weather – make a big difference.  The staff was very helpful with things outside of the hotel, as well, like telling us about sights to see, restaurants to go to, etc.  When I asked about the revolving restaurant, the gentleman offered to call and make a reservation for me.  Although they didn’t have a concierge desk per se, the front desk staff was as helpful or more helpful than I’ve experienced with concierges.  Oh, almost forgot, bathrobes!  And the breakfast was delicious.  Hot foods, make-your-own waffles, and tons of fresh fruit.

Vancouver Trolley Company - Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour Bus

Vancouver Trolley Company – Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour Bus


vancouver canada trolley tours hop on hop off

The first thing I like to do in a new city is ride a Hop-On,Hop-Off tour bus.  I like to get a view of the city and see what attractions will merit more time and which only need a drive-by.  We rode the Trolley tour bus, there is also a BigBus  One thing I liked about the BigBus was that you could sit in an open air section (not only great for fresh air, but also for taking pictures).  An advantage of the Trolley, was the “live” tours.  Most of the time, our buses weren’t crowded and we could ask the driver multiple questions, it felt like a personal tour!  Live tours are always more interesting for me than recordings.  Also the trolley was small (short) enough to go through the tunnels in Stanley Park and therefore had more access to the areas of the Park.  But whichever company you choose, I think a Hop-On,Hop-Off is an excellent way to see and get around a city.


I would love to spend more time in Vancouver – it is a beautiful city!  There is so much to see and do, I think you could easily spend weeks exploring and still want more.


These were our top four favorite areas:

  • Stanley Park
  • Gastown
  • Granville Markets
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

AAA0239 Stanley Park Trees

AAA0256 Biking Sea Wall

Stanley Park is 1,001 acres.  As a frame of reference, Central Park in New York is 778 acres.  It is heavily wooded, and stunningly beautiful.  There is a seawall that frames the park where you can walk, cycle, or skate.  We rented bikes at a shop just outside the Park and rode the seawall path.  It’s flat and easy to navigate.  We had limited time so I intended to ride for half the time and then return the bikes to the shop.  Well, that sounded good, but didn’t work, the cycle path is one way!  Happy ending, though, the path ended just in time for us to return the bikes and make it to dinner.

Steam Clock Gastown Vancouver British Columbia Canada

The Steam Clock in the Gastown neighborhood of Vancouver Canada

Gastown is within walking distance from Canada Place.  It’s one of the oldest areas in Vancouver and home to gift shops, art galleries, restaurants and more.  It’s very picturesque and the perfect place to spend a few hours wandering through the shops.  In the center is the “Steam Clock”.  Every fifteen minutes, a whistle blows and steam comes out, but the big show is on-the-hour when steam pours from the top and several whistles are heard.

Granville Markets Vancouver Canada Collage

Granville Markets Vancouver Canada

Granville Island Ferry

Granville Island Ferry

We took the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus to the Granville Markets and then a ferry back.  The Markets are amazing.  Fresh flowers, produce, every kind of food you can imagine and much, much more.  It’s a wonderful place to spend browsing and munching.  Then the ferry ride is a fun way to return from the island and enjoy picture-perfect views of the area.


 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Vancouver Canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Vancouver Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was a very pleasant surprise because there is so much more than just the bridge.  The bridge itself is a stop-worthy attraction, but we also enjoyed the park spending two hours strolling the grounds and going on a tour.  You could make a whole day of it, if you have the time.  The bridge came about when Scottish civil engineer and Vancouver park commissioner George Grant Mackay – who purchased 6,000 acres of forest on either side of the Capilano River and built a cabin – created the original bridge in 1889 from hemp ropes and a deck of cedar planks. Today, the suspension bridge stretches 137 metres across and 70 metres above the Capilano River in the 27-acre park.

Places to Eat

Fish House Collage

The Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada

Of course, I have to talk about places to eat!  There were two places we went that were truly outstanding.  I’d had the recommendation of a frequent Vancouver visitor for The Fish House at Stanley Park.  He said the Spring Salmon was amazing and he was right!  The Fish House is a historic restaurant with spectacular views of the park.  We ate outside and the setting was truly impressive.  The food matched the view every step of the way.  We started with the famous, Lobster Oil, and crunchy-crusted bread.  An amuse bouche of salmon mousse and avocado on a pastry bed, was as pretty as it was delicious.  Then the Spring Salmon… one of my top five favorite meals – ever.  The salmon was cooked perfectly and complemented by a beurre blanc sauce.  Despite eating salmon for many meals of our vacation, I’m not generally a fish lover.  This salmon was unbelievably delicious.

Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant Vancouver Canada collage

The second restaurant I highly recommend for making memories is Cloud 9.  On the 42nd floor of a downtown building, the views are breathtaking.  But wait, this is a revolving restaurant!  You see the entire city spread below during your dinner.  I had the prix fixe meal with salad, Linguine Prima Vera and Tiramisu and  it was excellent.

Other than one block in downtown, where the shop owners clearly don’t have children and know that when a kid needs a bathroom the “No Public Washroom Signs” shouldn’t be enforced, everyone we met was very friendly.  Oftentimes if we would pause, looking confused, someone would kindly offer directions.  If we asked for advice on what to do, or information, everyone was helpful, cheerful, and friendly.

Vancouver is a wonderful city and I’m hoping to return!



  1. 1
    Kamla L. says:

    I’ve never been to Vancouver. It seems to be a great destination in and of itself. There seems to be lots to see and do. I would love to visit.

  2. 2

    Looks like you “did the town” in Vancouver – lovely city! ☺

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