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#1
1 Posts
Joined Jul 2018
I am planning to take the Princess Ruby and it stops in Victoria from 7p-12M.
Just wondering if there is time to go to Butchart Gardens...does not look like this is an excursion that is offered.
Thank you for any assistance.
#2
Central Illinois
133,764 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Looks like they close at 10pm. Perhaps the cruise line does not think there's enough time there.
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#3
California, SF east bay
1,133 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We did it once through a Princess sponsored excursion. It was OK but of course you lose daylight. We have visited Butchart Gardens before so kind of knew what to expect. Hard to say, but if an excursion is offered I would go for it. It is a lovely place, even in the dark - haha
#4
Las Vegas, Nevada
661 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
I dont think you will have enough time. We did a land trip last month and the drive to the gardens is atound a half hour. You will be rushed.
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#5
South Florida & Shenandoah Valley, VA
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Joined Jan 2008
Rambo - Welcome to cruise critic. When is your cruise? The Princess website notes that " Due to limited daylight hours in early May and mid-September, this tour may not be offered."

We did this tour when we had almost an entire day in Victoria on a California coastal cruise so I was concerned about the shorter time period when I recommended it to our 2 adult children and spouses (DH and I stayed on board and babysat our granddaughter). They absolutely loved the Princess 3.5 hour excursion last Friday evening (July 6th). Their tour bus arrived at the Gardens around 8:15 while it was still light out and a jazz band (if I remember correctly) was playing in one of the larger gardens. As dusk fell, lights came on throughout and the illumination was spectacular. Their recommendation if you do take the tour is watch which direction most of the tourists take and go the other way! That is what they did and it wasn't crowded at all. They also raved about their guide and the beauty of Victoria at night. They all wished it had been a longer port call but were so happy they at least saw the gardens.
#6
Canada
19,423 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Welcome to the boards. The ONLY way I would take an excursion would be if it is a ship's tour. Sometimes they stay open later for cruise ship passengers on ship's tours. You dock at 7:00 but there is the possibility that you may not be cleared by local authorities and permitted to disembark until probably closer to 8 pm. In my opinion, there is no way to comfortably get out to the Gardens and back again in time. IF a ship's excursion is offered, they will get you back in time. Remember that you will need to be back to the ship at least 30 minutes prior, so now we're talking 11:30 pm at the latest.

Please don't try and do this with the limited amount of time you have. I lived in Victoria for 35 years and I know how long it takes to get there and how much time someone should spend there.... your itinerary just doesn't allow it. Like I said, all of this is my opinion and some others may tell you to go for it, but not me.

Downtown Victoria is wonderful and it is a very walkable city. I feel your time would be better spent exploring the Inner Harbour area, Rogers Chocolates, Beacon Hill Park, Dallas Road, perhaps the Fairmont Empress Hotel. There's lots to do that doesn't include Butchart Gardens.
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#7
British Columbia
686 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
I concur with the previous post. While I haven't lived in Victoria, I have driven the road hundreds of times over the past 35 years. You do not have anywhere close to having sufficient time to spend any meaningful time at the gardens.

Victoria has lots of attractions, so suggest you stay closer to the terminal.
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#9
Westerville, OH USA
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Joined Jan 2002
I have been to Victoria four times but chose to go to Butchart Gardens only when we could go in the morning. You really should wait until you have more time. Enjoy the lovely city of Victoria.
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#10
113,002 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Welcome to Cruise Critic.


Even though your documents say you will arrive in Victoria at 7 PM, that does not mean that the ship will be cleared and you can leave right away.


You will be rushed if you try to do the excursion on your own.
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#11
Farmers Branch, Texas
76 Posts
Joined May 2009
I'm on the Ruby when it stops in Victoria on August 17 and just signed up for the Princess Buchart Gardens tour, they did have one listed. Under normal circumstances I would probably have skipped it but a) I'm with a group that wants to go and b) an acquaintance that was on the Ruby recently took the tour and reported that it was worthwhile.

If it was not for the group thing, I'd take a pre-cruise day trip to Victoria from Seattle.

Might want to keep checking, I suspect Princess keeps an eye on demand and adds availability as required.
#12
Canberra Australia
43,853 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
I would be surprised if the ship offers a tour.
If the ship is only in port for 3 hours, that really doesn't leave much time at the gardens, possibly 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Once you travel the 1/2 hour at least to get there, let alone wait times to get on and off the ship and bus, it won't leave a lot of time. I would save it for another time
#13
British Columbia
686 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by MicCanberra
Welcome to cruise critic, I personally think you won't have time, the Gardens are wonderful and really do warrant at least 1/2 a day.
Agreed, the first time we visited (35 yrs ago) we spent a full day, including the evening. All other times we allow at least 4 hrs + we also stop at the Church & State Winery for refreshments after walking the gardens.
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#14
South Florida & Shenandoah Valley, VA
6,369 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by MicCanberra
I would be surprised if the ship offers a tour.
If the ship is only in port for 3 hours, that really doesn't leave much time at the gardens, possibly 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Once you travel the 1/2 hour at least to get there, let alone wait times to get on and off the ship and bus, it won't leave a lot of time. I would save it for another time
The Princess port of call in Victoria (at least last week but think for the entire Alaska season) is 7 pm to midnight. The excursion is advertised as 3.5 hours (and was that last week). Since it was a ship sponsored excursion there was no concern about a late arrival back to the ship. Our kids and spouses arrived back in their cabins around 11:45.

Rambo1411 - if you feel there may not be 'another time' to visit Victoria, the Princess excursion is much better than missing the gardens entirely, especially if you have any interest in gardening. Our kids actually took notes of the names of plants and flowers that they wanted to research for planting at home.
#15
Canberra Australia
43,853 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by capriccio
The Princess port of call in Victoria (at least last week but think for the entire Alaska season) is 7 pm to midnight. The excursion is advertised as 3.5 hours (and was that last week). Since it was a ship sponsored excursion there was no concern about a late arrival back to the ship. Our kids and spouses arrived back in their cabins around 11:45.

Rambo1411 - if you feel there may not be 'another time' to visit Victoria, the Princess excursion is much better than missing the gardens entirely, especially if you have any interest in gardening. Our kids actually took notes of the names of plants and flowers that they wanted to research for planting at home.
With the gardens closing at 10pm that leaves about 1 1/2- 2hours at the gardens themselves, IMO that is not enough but as you say it is better than nothing if they never return..
#16
Canada
19,423 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by capriccio
The Princess port of call in Victoria (at least last week but think for the entire Alaska season) is 7 pm to midnight. The excursion is advertised as 3.5 hours (and was that last week). Since it was a ship sponsored excursion there was no concern about a late arrival back to the ship. Our kids and spouses arrived back in their cabins around 11:45.... if you feel there may not be 'another time' to visit Victoria, the Princess excursion is much better than missing the gardens entirely...
Well I am confused. OP says there is no ship's excursion, yet you took one. I went to the Princess website and it does not show an excursion for Victoria on an Alaskan itinerary, only Vancouver. How did you book this tour? On board ship or in advance? Maybe OP can get to the Gardens after all.
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*RCI - B2B Arctic Circle/Baltic, May 2017 - nope - cancelled AGAIN. Cancer sucks.
*RCI - Serenade Jan 2016 S. Caribbean - nope - cancelled AGAIN.
RCI - Serenade Nov 2015 S. Caribbean
Celebrity - Solstice May 2015 Alaska
RCI - Explorer Nov 2014 Repo/S. Caribbean - 40 ft. rogue wave, lifeboat damage

Princess - Grand Princess May 2014 Pacific Coastal
RCI - Serenade March 2014 - B2B W. Caribbean
RCI - Serenade Feb 2014 - Bahamas - yes, a celebration cruise indeed!
*RCI Scandinavia 2013 - nope - cancelled due to my illness. ~ Maybe next year, God willing.
RCI - Jewel Nov 2012 - B2B Mexico
RCI - Jewel Repo Oct/Nov 2012 Boston to Tampa - Hurricane Sandy
RCI - Brilliance June/July 2011 Mediterranean
RCI - Mariner Oct/Nov 2010 Mexico
RCI - Oasis May 2010 E. Caribbean - 4 adults in one cabin; we did it!
Princess - Emerald Princess April 2009 E. Caribbean
RCI - Explorer Sept/Oct 2008 - 25th anniversary! Canada - Hurricane Kyle
RCI - Liberty August 2007 E.Caribbean - Hurricane Dean - 4 adults in one cabin; we did it!
RCI - Explorer April 2006 E.Caribbean
RCI - Vision Aug 2003 Alaska
HAL - Rotterdam - last leg of her final world cruise ever April 1995 Pacific Northwest
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#17
Farmers Branch, Texas
76 Posts
Joined May 2009
From the princess website for the Aug 17 stop in Victoria. This is the wheelchair accessible excursion, I booked the non-accessible version which is no longer available.

ENCHANTING BUTCHART GARDENS (WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE)

YYJ-311| VICTORIA
3.5hours
from $99.95


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An extraordinary world emerges at dusk as hundreds of hidden lights transform the famous Butchart Gardens, a National Historical Site of Canada, into a fairyland scented with summer blooms. A guided city tour transports you to this magical world of themed gardens, spacious lawns and meandering pathways. Your 1.75-hour, self-guided tour affords ample time to appreciate the splendor of the area and to purchase refreshments or visit the well-appointed gift shop. In the evening, the grounds are gracefully illuminated with a variety of colored lights and magical effects. The nightly transformation, known as Night Illuminations, is as unique as it is breathtaking. The magnificent Rose Fountain, the centerpiece of these lush gardens, dances with creative lighting while outdoor entertainment accompanies the effects. At the conclusion of your magical evening, return via motorcoach through downtown Victoria to port.
Read moreView Excursion Details »
#18
Canberra Australia
43,853 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Not long in the gardens, especially when you factor in a toilet stop as well. Unless it is the only time you will get to Victoria, I would be hesitant to spend $100 for 1 3/4 hours there.
#19
South Florida & Shenandoah Valley, VA
6,369 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by Langley Cruisers
Well I am confused. OP says there is no ship's excursion, yet you took one. I went to the Princess website and it does not show an excursion for Victoria on an Alaskan itinerary, only Vancouver. How did you book this tour? On board ship or in advance? Maybe OP can get to the Gardens after all.
We booked it the day after final payment (although it had been on the Princess website for months) for $79.97 per person.
#20
British Columbia
686 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Another factor to consider is our lovely West Coast weather. The Seattle based ships all go up and down the West Coast, not the Inside Passage.

Our son worked a full season out of Seattle some years ago and they were late getting into Victoria on a number of cruises. On one cruise they docked, cleared the ship and then departed with no shore leave.

If the weather is rough and arrival is delayed, you will have even less time at the Gardens.
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World Cruise & RV'ing Blog: www.andyandjudi.com

Upcoming Cruises
2020 - Viking Sun World Cruise - LA to Greenwich

Previous Cruises
1976 Uganda - Meddy
1977 Oriana - Vancouver to Sydney
1978 Oriana - UK
1978 Canberra - UK
1979 Uganda - Meddy
1979 Island Princess - Alaska B2B, Mexico B2B
1980 Sun Princess - Alaska B2B, Mexico B2B
1999 Sun Princess - Alaska
2002 Radiance of the Seas - Alaska
2005 Coral Princess - Panama
2005 Dawn Princess - West Coastal
2007 Dawn Princess - Mexico
2008 Island Princess - Panama
2008 Diamond Princess - Asia B2B
2010 Island Princess - Panama
2011 Diamond Princess - Alaska B2B
2013 Sapphire Princess - Alaska B2B
2014 Emerald Princess - Caribbean B2B
2014 Emerald Princess - Trans Atlantic
2015 Sea Princess - World Cruise
2017 CMV Columbus - Baltic