Back to SlyFoxes original question. It says that you live in Phoenix, so by far the easiest and cheapest way to get to YVR (Vancouver Airport is US Airways. They have daily direct flights and if you watch the prices you can get a deal. Anything that is part of Star Alliance (US Airways, United, Continental) will probably be a bit cheaper as they are connected with Air Canada.
For the person thinking of going to Seattle and driving......DONT. You can have an incredible hassle at the border with a rented car and it will cost you around $200 to park it at the cruise dock for a week. If you try to rent and drop the car in Vancouver....another small fortune as they have to hire someone to return it to the States.
As for staying....yes most of the downtown hotels are pricey. I suspect Olivia is going to go with the Fairmont Waterfront or the Fairmont Pacific Rim as they are favourites for Holland America. Hotels.ca might be worth a try. Another favourite of mine is the Coast Plaza Stanley Park, that is in the middle of the gayest part of town. You can look on the Coast Hotels website.
We are going to come over the day before from Vancouver Island and stay at the Waterfront. It is right across from the cruise terminal and so you can walk across with your luggage to board the ship. It is a great hotel and great location, but will cost $$$. No taxis though.
As well if you are coming into YVR there is a SkyTrain (over ground light rapid transit) that goes directly from the airport and the last stop is Waterfront Station. It will cost about $3.50 and you can then pull your luggage to the hotel. Incredibly convenient and also saves some money..................and no I dont work for any of the above.
As a sort of local I will be happy to answer questions as we go along.
Cheers, Heather (and Georgette)