Vancouver, B.C., CA

Seabourn’s Alaska cruises begin or end in the handsome city of Vancouver, sailing under the graceful Lion’s Gate Bridge into the scenic harbor backed by snow-capped mountains. Vancouver is actually one of British Columbia’s newest cities. Its earliest beginnings date from the establishment of a sawmill in 1862. Gastown, the city’s colorful oldest section, was born when “Gassy” Jack Deighton placed a plank between two stumps next to a sawmill and started a saloon in 1867. The town was incorporated in 1886 upon the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and named for the early explorer George Vancouver who surveyed the region in 1792. Within months, a terrible fire razed the entire town, but it was quickly rebuilt. Today the Greater Vancouver Area is the third most populous metropolitan area in Canada, and the most densely populated. It is an extremely diverse city, where 52% of the people speak a first language other than English. About 30% of them are ethnic Chinese, a group which had long been established, but which burgeoned in the 1990s with the diaspora resulting from Hong Kong’s repatriation to China. Vancouver’s port is one of the busiest in the world, and the most diversified in North America. The city’s towering skyline is a result of strategic urban planning favoring high-rise, live/work infrastructure over sprawl. It is consistently ranked as one of the cleanest and most livable cities in the world. Its airport is also among the world’s busiest, and is the second most active gateway for international passengers on the west coast. It also remains a major rail hub, which extensive service from AmTrak and ViaRail, including the popular Rocky Mountaineer sightseeing route to the spectacular Banff and Lake Louise recreational areas. Vancouver’s well-maintained parks, attractive architecture, many fine museums and galleries, excellent hotels and a thriving restaurant and nightlife culture make it an appealing place to linger before or after your Alaskan cruise adventure.