Most of the hotels are right downtown and the airport is quite a jaunt. Most all of the downtown hotels are very close to the cruise terminal.
The hotels near Robson Street are close to the best shopping and excellent restaurants.
We have stayed at Sutton Place which is a five star property easily booked at hugely discounted rates through Hotwire. This is a very nice hotel near Robson Street and is $5-$10 by cab to the cruise ship terminal. The Fairmont Harbourside is exactly across the street from Canada Place (cruise ship terminal) and is a fine but pricey hotel. Entertainment Cards will get you half off of the rack rate.. The Grand Hyatt is a four star property on Priceline and is pretty nice and also quite close. We also like the Listel Hotel on Robson Street which is a three star property with a great jazz bar downstairs and a fine location.
All of these are good options if the price is right, in my humble opinion.
We got our hotels, the Hyatt and Sheraton Wall on Burrard Street on Priceline by bidding 4* downtown Vancouver. When we were leaving the airport, there was a kiosk that said Limos/Taxis. We booked a limo RT and it was less expensive than our friends who took a taxi. The airport was 30 minutes from the hotel area and the cruise terminals are 5 and 15 minutes from our hotels. Royal Caribbean leaves out of Ballentyne and the others leave out of Canada Place, the closer port.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean