The value of the Canadian dollar has been rising against the US dollar so while almost everyone here will take US money don't expect the 8 -10% premium in your change which will be in Canadian money.
The best way to get the proper exchange rate is to use credit cards or to exchange money at a bank or one of the many money exchange places around the city.
The sites mentioned are all good. There is a tremendous choice of restaurants if you like eating ethnic foods or seafood. One thing that a lot of tourists notice about Vancouver is the number of panhandlers on the street. Most of them are harmless but we aren't proud of them.
I believe RCI uses Ballantyne Pier. The pier itself is safe but you should take a taxi to get there - do not walk downtown to or from Ballantyne as it is a rough area. Canada Place pier on the other hand is in a very safe but congested area.
The main downtown and tourist areas are very safe but take the same precautions you would in any large US city.
There is also a lot of road construction in Vancouver due to the expansion of the subway out to the airport.
Have fun in Vancouver and please spend lots of money ;-)
February 1998 - HAL Westerdam E. Caribbean
January 2000 - Carnival Ecstasy - Mexican Riviera
February 2002 - Costa Atlantica - W. Caribbean
February 2004 - Grand Princess - W. Caribbean
March 2007 - RCI Voyager of the Seas - E. Caribbean
May 2007 - RCI Voyager of the Seas - Western Mediterranean (Mrs. E. & daughter only - I had a medical emergency)
October 2007 - RCI Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean