We are spending the money and are staying at the Fairmont Waterfront because it is located right at Canada Place. Many other hotels are less expensive but we figured that we will be tired, due to the three hour time differencial when we arrive. At Canada Place there are restaurants and shops right near the hotel. Also, we are in walking distance from the cruise terminal. Sometimes it's better to spend a little extra for location, location, location!
Just remember not all cruise ships dock at Canada Place. Some use Ballantyne Pier (Princess in particular). Even if your ship isn't docking at Canada Place, it is a great place to stay and is a fairly short taxi ride to Ballantyne.
The Pan Pacific is right on the dock. You can go down the elevator right to the cruise booking-in area. It is expensive though. We were glad we stayed there once, because being right there, we saw 2 HAL ships leave the night we arrived, then saw our ship as soon as we awoke. However, we are planning to go back, and next time we will stay somewhere cheaper. I'm thinking that if we don't stay at Canada Place, then we will have to pay for 2 taxi rides - 1 to our hotel and 1 to Canada Place. We might stay out near the airport where there is a free shuttle to the hotel from the airport, since all we'll want to do after we arrive is crash and burn. Then we only have to pay for 1 taxi ride (to Canada Place) on embarkation day. It costs about $25 Canadian from the airport to Canada Place. (About $1.55 Canadian is $1 US.)
Just a note on the Canadian $$. It has risen quite rapidly against the US buck in the last couple of months. When I went to St. Maarten in January 03, I was paying $1.58 Canadian for a US buck. When my wife and I cruised the Triumph in April '03 it was $1.48 Cdn for a US dollar. This week I had it quoted @ 1.38 Cdn to the US dollar. So if any Cruisers are buying Cdn. $$ they may want to get some soon, in case is continues to gain ground against the eagle. You will still get good value for your "eagle" with the advantage it has over the "Loonie". Vancouver is a nice place to spend your dollar, whether US or Canuck!