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Hotels/areas, for short stays in Vancouver book-ending an Alaskan cruise?

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My wife, 15 y/o son, and I will be taking a one-week Alaskan cruise departing from and returning to Vancouver in July. Our tentative plans are to fly in late one evening, allow one day in Vancouver, and then sail the following morning. Although the ship is scheduled to return early in the morning a week later, we plan to spend that night and the following night in Vancouver before flying out early the following day.

We much prefer not to rent a car and envision staying in an area (or possibly two different areas) of the city where we can find sights, activities, good restaurants, and access to public transit if that is desirable. We do not require top-tier accomodations, but would be comfortable a level, or maybe two, below that.

We are from the southeastern US so this may be our only trip to Vancouver. We'd like to make our stays as complete as possible without renting a car or feeling rushed to try to see everything.

Specific hotel recommendations are more than welcome, but we'd at least like to know which areas or neighborhoods we should look for a hotel and whether we should stay in different areas on our two stays.

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