48 Hours in Vancouver, the Cruise Port

Cathy and I are in Vancouver for 48 hours before boarding the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice. We’ll be on her for 12 nights as she sails to Hawaii and around the islands, and Vancouver is a marvellous city to get into the vacation spirit.

We took the afternoon Air Canada flight out of Whitehorse on Sunday, in an Embraer 190. We seldom fly Air Canada anymore, but it’s hard to argue with free flights with Aeroplan points. It was a dreary Fall afternoon in Whitehorse, with rain and 7°C (45°F).
Air North Boeing 737 in Whitehorse
We took off at 2:30 pm. I hadn’t checked he enroute weather, but expected that, with beautiful weather in Vancouver, that we’d get an hour or so of great views, but that wasn’t the case. We had already started our descent into Vancouver at 4:30 by the time there were any photo ops. It may have been sunny, but the visibility in the Vancouver area from the plane was very poor.
Aerial view of the coast of BC
Making the final turn to line up with the runway, over the Fraser River at New Westminster.
Aerial view of New Westminster, BC
We’ve stayed at a few of Vancouver’s best hotels, and when we found a a great rate at the Pan Pacific through the Entertainment Book, it was our choice for this trip, which is to celebrate Cathy’s 50th birthday. Room 1532 is stunning – well, the view over the harbour and mountains is stunning, but the room itself is extremely nice, too.
Pan Pacific Hotel, Vancouver, BC
We got to our room a few minutes after 6:00 pm, and 20 minutes later, watched the Golden Princess sail for California, having finished her Alaska season.
Vancouver, BC
We asked the hotel bellhop for some dinner suggestions, and one place he recommended was Mahoney & Sons Irish Pub, overlooking the harbour next door at the Vancouver Convention Centre. It was a great choice, and we give them top marks in every category. It was very noisy inside, but our table on the patio offered excellent people-watching as well as the best views.
The view from Mahoney & Sons Irish Pub in Vancouver, BC
“The Drop” is an $800,000 sculpture beside Mahoney’s. Public art with price tags like that are always controversial, but I like it – and $800k is a drop in the bucket compared to the Convention Centre cost, $900 million.
The Drop sculpture in Vancouver, BC
I slept like the dead Sunday night, and woke up Monday just before 07:00, just as the Norwegian Sun was approaching the dock below us. This is the same ship I saw in Skagway when I drove down on Sunday.
Norwegian Sun docking at Canada Place in Vancouver, BC
Cathy and I spend a lot of time looking out the windows of our room. The view is always changing as the light changes, and there’s always something going on – boats and ships of all sizes coming and going, float planes landing and taking off, people walking and cycling around the sea walk. This photo was shot at 07:00.
The view from the Pan Pacific in Vancouver, BC
By 09:30, the weather had gone sour, and it looked quite nasty from our room. But we were going for a long walk regardless, after going for a light breakfast.
Rainy Vancouver from our room at the Pan Pacific
The walkway along Canada Place is now signed as “The Canadian Trail” – when it was built, tiles with the names of communities across the country were laid along it. Most communities in the Yukon are there, from Carcross to Old Crow.
The Canadian Trail in Vancouver, BC
Our first shopping stop was Saje, a wonderful herbal health shop that Cathy had found on her last trip. She was very happy with the product she bought on that trip, and we bought several new ones of the relaxation and sleep-assist type this time. It’s always a pleasure dealing with staff who are passionate about the products they sell.
Saje in Vancouver, BC
We wandered around town (the rain quit after an hour or so), met the friends we’re travelling with for a wonderful dim sum lunch at Kirin, then went back to our room to relax and watch the world go by for a bit.
Vancouver, BC
Action in the harbour at Vancouver, BC
While Cathy was at the spa, I went out for another walk, and spent a while with one of my favourite buildings in North America, the Marine Building. This art deco gem was built in 1929-30, and for a while was the tallest building in the British Empire.
Marine Building in Vancouver Harbour BC
Marine Building in Vancouver, BC
Another of the buildings that I have many photos of is the Hotel Vancouver, now a Fairmont. One of Canada’s great railway hotels, it was completed in 1939 after construction had been stalled for many years by the Depression – it has a fascinating history.
Hotel Vancouver
Hotel Vancouver
We love walking around Vancouver – whatever the weather, it’s beautiful and it’s vibrant.
Vancouver, BC
Back in our room I took this photo of “the BC wilderness” – it’s the roof of the Convention Centre 🙂 This 6-acre field even has bees that produce large amounts of honey now!
Grass roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre
I always enjoy watching freighters coming and going, and imagining what they might be carrying to which distant ports.
Freighter in Vancouver, BC
My niece, Sari, had suggested that we all go to Fly Over Canada, a new attraction that’s been getting great reviews. The weather started to threaten, but it was a short walk, and the rain never did actually arrive.
Vancouver, BC
The show was awesome!! The actual “flying” is only 8 minutes long, but we all agreed that it was well worth the price of admission. In the final half-minute or so, you fly above the clouds to see the Northern Lights – it is a superb ending to the show.
Fly Over Canada
This is the helicopter and camera setup that created the film/experience. What an incredible job that would have been for a pilot!
Fly Over Canada
A souvenir photo? Toss in the 25-page souvenir booklet that describes the show and locations for $14 total, and we’re all in 🙂
Fly Over Canada
As well as being wonderful company, Sari has turned into a great tour guide for us, and suggested CinCin for dinner. It was simply superb in every way. I would really like to do a full Italian-style dinner experience the next time, though the bill for that would be substantial. Our Canadian-style main-and-dessert was a bit pricey but still good value – we certainly have nothing like it in Whitehorse!
CinCin restaurant in Vancouver, BC
Cathy, Sari, MJ and Jim at CinCin. Just thinking about that meal as I write this makes me salivate 🙂
CinCin restaurant in Vancouver, BC
While Cathy, MJ and Jim took a cab back to the hotel, I walked Sari back to the Canada Line station, then went for a bit of a wander. The massive “weather globe” in the main lobby of the Convention Centre is wonderful.
Vancouver, BC
It feels great to be able to come back to a hotel like this.
Vancouver, BC
I was up quite early this morning, getting pretty excited about boarding the ship today. A few minutes before 07:00, there she was outside our window. Unfortunately, she docked on the opposite side of Canada Place. Oh well 🙂
Vancouver, BC
A few minutes later, the colours of the sunrise were incredible. A few people at the hotel pool below us were taking photos of the Canada Place sails lit up, but we couldn’t really see what they were seeing.
Vancouver, BC

It’s time to get this posted, and get ready for a busy day. We’ll be at sea for 5 days crossing the Pacific to Hawaii, with Honolulu being our first stop. The Solstice is a ship that we’ve been wanting to sail on for a few years, so having 5 days to explore her is perfect.


48 Hours in Vancouver, the Cruise Port — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Murray & Cathy Vancouver is a great city. Wonderful photos, but the last one is stunning. Have a great cruise.

  2. Great pictures and a happy birthday to Cathy…….life does start at 50; have a wonderful trip.

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