You could quite nicely stay at a hotel near the airport. Canada Line is very convenient and takes 25 minutes to go right downtown to Waterfront Station which is 1 block from Canada Place and your cruise ship departure area. The last train from Waterfront Station to YVR Airport (Bridgeport is 3 short stops east of the YVR last stop.) leaves at 1:05 a.m. so you would have plenty of time to catch a train after the fireworks. And you would not be alone! on the train.
Canada Line travels from the airport east-west along the south side of the Fraser River and crosses the River at the foot of Cambie St in Vancouver. The station that would work best for you would be Bridgeport Station because a number of Richmond hotels will have a complimentary shuttle to that station. Also the River Rock Resort is located right at that station so you might look into that.
There are a number of other hotels that are quite comfortable in Richmond and you could check the hotel reviews on the Richmond Forums.
On Canada Day, you would pay the rate mentioned: $2.50 pp. And as July 2nd is a Saturday and you decided to take the Canada Line to your ship, you would also pay $2.50 pp. Because the line services the airport, there is lots of room on the train for luggage.
If you arrive at YVR early in the day, you could go into town and make a day of it. It is a statutory holiday here, so many offices and banks will be closed, but shops will be open for business. As will the tourist information office, almost directly opposite Canada Place.
If you do take Canada Line to your cruise ship on July 2nd, you will have to walk about 100 m to get into Waterfront Station and then you would want to cross the main hall and go down to the Skytrain platform, walk across that to the west and up to Canada Place. There are elevators. All but the last 75 m is indoors.
Edited: 17 November 2010, 13:56