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Inside Passage Alaska Victoria excursion

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Interested in this voyage but ship gets into Victoria at 7 pm. Everything on Government St is closed, is it worth walking around town? No Empress Tea or browsing shops?

Thanks for your reply in advance.

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The Victoria stop is needed to fulfill the “foreign port” requirement. We’ve been there twice on Alaskan cruises. Nice little wharf area, with outdoor restaurants, very walkable from ship. Water taxis from that area can take you to other city locations. Nicely illuminated government building a good evening photo op. We enjoyed wandering about for a few hours.

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walk to fisherman's wharf to see the seals. from there get a harbour ferry to the inner harbour.

take a walk, a taxi, shuttle or carriage ride to the inner harbour. the buskers will still be there and they're usually really entertaining.

there are lot of funky pubs and restaurants, some with live music.

do take a walk up government, there will be some shops open. Rogers chocolates is open until 10. a quick google search showed some tourist shops open until 11pm.

if you're here on a friday or saturday the provincial museum is open until 10pm.

the empress may not be serving tea but you can still walk through it.

what are the princess tours doing? those places will all be open.

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look at taking the horse drawn carriage ride. It is nice and peaceful and goes to all the places in Victoria

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I haven't done it myself, but Butchart Gardens is supposed to be illuminated at night, and i hear it's pretty cool all lit up, so maybe that would be worth looking into as an alternate excursion.

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I haven't done it myself, but Butchart Gardens is supposed to be illuminated at night, and i hear it's pretty cool all lit up, so maybe that would be worth looking into as an alternate excursion.

If you are doing this cruise later in the year, you will get to see the gardens lit up. On June 22nd when we stopped there the sun light was just about gone as we pulled out.

They also offer this with a butterfly garden stop, but I think Butchart by itself can't be seen in under 4 to 5 hours if you are looking at and reading plant info and looking a rose varieties.

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Really appreciate all the suggestions for Victoria. We will be there late May in 2019 so still some sunlight.

Does anyone know which terminal Ruby will be docking at? Have read the walk into town is 15-45 minutes depending on how fast we can walk in the dark back to the ship.

Would love to get some chocolate creams at Rogers, had given up hope they would be closed by 7pm. That would give this visit an extra bonus.

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Really appreciate all the suggestions for Victoria. We will be there late May in 2019 so still some sunlight.

Does anyone know which terminal Ruby will be docking at? Have read the walk into town is 15-45 minutes depending on how fast we can walk in the dark back to the ship.

Would love to get some chocolate creams at Rogers, had given up hope they would be closed by 7pm. That would give this visit an extra bonus.

you will dock at ogden point which is off dallas road next to the breakwater.

princess does have a shuttle to government street if you wanted to do that either coming, going or both. there are also taxis. no uber or lyft allowed here yet.

butchart gardens is only open until 5pm in May. for any other time, its one excursion i'd take with the cruise line because of your short time in port.

late May it will be light until 9:15-9:30 or so.

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cdngrl - thanks for all the info, really helpful.

we were originally booked on voyage of glaciers but when ez air came available the logistics of flying back to the west coast was not feasible.

schedules for air and no nonstops forced us to take inside passage, at least we get to see glacier national park and a little bit of bc.

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The Butchart Gardens shore excursion is fantastic! I have done it several times during the evening stop in Victoria. If you are at all interested in flowers or gardens, this is great. A life highlight.

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its funny, i'm not at all interested in flowers or gardens yet i love butchart! its a beautiful place for a stroll, watch the fountains, have a picnic, get some gelato, ride the rose carousel (adults too-it goes FAST! in the summer there are free concerts every day with fireworks every saturday along with the night illumination. its a special place.

 

you are most welcome dott. i love the inside passage route; you will have a great time.

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I was born, grew up and spent 49 years living in Victoria. I've never been to Butchart Gardens or had tea at the Empress. :o After I moved away, I've been kicking myself for not having taken advantage of the once-yearly, Tourism Victoria 'Be a Tourist in Your Hometown' promo. :(

 

I would like to see 'the gardens' (on a summer Saturday when they have fireworks)... but never had any interest in paying an exorbitant price for 'tea'. ;)

 

P.S. Just strolling a circuit from the ship to 'Downtown': Inner Harbour/Empress/Royal BC Museum, south to Beacon Hill Park, then along Dallas Rd. back to Ogden Point is beautiful (assuming the weather co-operates)... and free!:D

Edited by Bill B

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The Butchart Gardens shore excursion is fantastic! I have done it several times during the evening stop in Victoria. If you are at all interested in flowers or gardens' date=' this is great. A life highlight.[/quote']

 

Our two adult kids and spouses did the Butchart Gardens Princess shore excursion last Friday night. They loved all of it - the drive through Victoria with a very knowledgeable and interesting guide, the gardens themselves (they even took notes of plants and flowers they liked to research suitability for their home gardens), the jazz (if I remember correctly) band that was playing in one of the larger gardens, and the beautiful illuminations turned on as night fell.

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Our two adult kids and spouses did the Butchart Gardens Princess shore excursion last Friday night. They loved all of it - the drive through Victoria with a very knowledgeable and interesting guide, the gardens themselves (they even took notes of plants and flowers they liked to research suitability for their home gardens), the jazz (if I remember correctly) band that was playing in one of the larger gardens, and the beautiful illuminations turned on as night fell.

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this😊 I love the Butchart Gardens shore excursion.

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Butchart Gardens sounds like a lovely place to visit. Much appreciation to everyone.

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I haven't done it myself, but Butchart Gardens is supposed to be illuminated at night, and i hear it's pretty cool all lit up, so maybe that would be worth looking into as an alternate excursion.

 

This is what I thought until I did it. Don’t waste your time. Lights illuminate 3 foot circles. There’s not even enough light to read the map.

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This is what I thought until I did it. Don’t waste your time. Lights illuminate 3 foot circles. There’s not even enough light to read the map.

 

GAH! After visiting the gardens during the day it sounded like it would be great to see them at night. I'm quite disappointed to hear your report but grateful to know in advance that my previous plan may well not be a good plan at all.

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I haven't done it myself, but Butchart Gardens is supposed to be illuminated at night, and i hear it's pretty cool all lit up, so maybe that would be worth looking into as an alternate excursion.

 

We have, and had out 8 and 14 year old sons with us and even they loved it. It is truly one of the most beautiful man-made places I have ever seen. My pictures are phenomenal.

 

I clearly disagree with RockDoctor. We were there in late May/early June and so the days were quite long. The sun really didn't set until 9/930 and it was just getting dark as it was time to exit and return to the ship. If I was at home, I could post photos...

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GAH! After visiting the gardens during the day it sounded like it would be great to see them at night. I'm quite disappointed to hear your report but grateful to know in advance that my previous plan may well not be a good plan at all.

i disagree with rockdoctor too, but its all about what your expectations are.

the night illumination is more about the lights than the flowers. there are no giant halogen lights illuminating your way, but the coloured lights on the leaves and the pathways are pretty.

if you've seen the gardens in the daytime already, i wouldn't make a special trip to see them at night unless you are there on a saturday to see the fireworks. in which case you are most likely at the gardens in the evening from before dark to late night.

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I clearly disagree with RockDoctor. We were there in late May/early June and so the days were quite long. The sun really didn't set until 9/930 and it was just getting dark as it was time to exit and return to the ship. If I was at home, I could post photos...

OP indicated late May so they will get the late sunset as you indicated.

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OP indicated late May so they will get the late sunset as you indicated.

and butchart is only open until 5pm in may. i'm not sure how we got sidetracked there.

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and butchart is only open until 5pm in may. i'm not sure how we got sidetracked there.

 

 

Our cruise was Memorial Day week and it would have been the last day...so perhaps we were into June? Something sticks in my head that Memorial Day was the start of the longer tours. Anyway, our tour was offered through the cruise ship so if OP is seeing it as an option, then I would say it’s open.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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and butchart is only open until 5pm in may. i'm not sure how we got sidetracked there.

 

April 1-May 31 9 AM - 5 PM

June 1 - June 14 8:45 AM - 6 PM

June 15 - September 2 8:45 AM - 10 PM

 

These hours reflect the admission gate times. As long as you are through the gate prior to closing time, you’re welcome to remain in The Gardens for one hour after the gate closes.

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April 1-May 31 9 AM - 5 PM

June 1 - June 14 8:45 AM - 6 PM

June 15 - September 2 8:45 AM - 10 PM

 

These hours reflect the admission gate times. As long as you are through the gate prior to closing time, you’re welcome to remain in The Gardens for one hour after the gate closes.

 

Well I can definitely say those were NOT the hours when I was there. I was at the very beginning of June or late May and we went on the tour @ 7 pm. Perhaps they offer something for the cruise ships when they are not open regularly? Either that or they have changed their hours!

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We walked into town from the dock. We walked the Fisherman's Wharf route. A very cute area. There were some gift shops open. We walked through a beautiful residential area. Government street was also good. We took lots of pictures. There was a pretty good gift shop past this area. I bought a beautiful print by a Canadian artist. It was a beautiful evening. We went in June, so stayed light out. There is also an artist market at the dock. We also shopped there. Everything was hand made by local artists. I bought 2 beautiful and unique necklaces. My son bought me a bracelet. We had a lovely evening there. We also chatted with several locals out walking their dogs.

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Well I can definitely say those were NOT the hours when I was there. I was at the very beginning of June or late May and we went on the tour @ 7 pm. Perhaps they offer something for the cruise ships when they are not open regularly? Either that or they have changed their hours!

 

Can't disagree with you. The hours I posted are what is on their web site. You have actual experience.

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Trying to decide on our Victoria excursions-anyone else ever dock in Victoria at 5:30 PM the last night of their cruise (7/27/18 Celebrity Solstice cruise). I was wondering what it's like going on an excursion on the last night/missing dinner etc. We have narrowed it down to either the 3 1/2 hour Enchanting Butchart Gardens tour or the 4 1/4 hour Craigdarroch Castle and Butchart Garden.

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We will be in port in July from 7:30pm-11:59.  Any suggestions on some activities that we can do in this short amount of time? Butchart Gardens? Craigdarroch castle? Is it worth taking the time or are we better off just walking around on our own? Is there tour companies you recommend?

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On 1/14/2019 at 8:58 AM, bouelle11 said:

We will be in port in July from 7:30pm-11:59.  Any suggestions on some activities that we can do in this short amount of time? Butchart Gardens? Craigdarroch castle? Is it worth taking the time or are we better off just walking around on our own? Is there tour companies you recommend?

 

Victoria is infamous for its delays in allowing passengers to depart the ship after docking as Canadian authorities have lots of Customs forms to review.   All aboard is usually 30 minutes before departure. 

 

The ride to Butchart Gardens is around 40 minutes each way and you will be there in the dark.  So fully appreciating the gardens is not possible.

 

With limited time, a stroll to downtown would be a good way to spend a few hours before having to pack your luggage for the next day disembarkation.

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I basically agree with CrewNews, but since you didn't say which day you were porting bouelle I'll offer a couple of caveats - first, if it's a Saturday and you like fireworks then Butchart will be worthwhile doing. There's no extra charge for the fireworks, even if you're the last folks to leave when they're done you'll have well over an hour to get back to the ship for recommended All Aboard time, so it's a minimal risk doing it independently (cruise excursions tend to be heavily-padded as well as then priced in USD in my experience - a cab each way will be about $60, entry tickets ~$35pp, and you can fit at least 4 in a cab so use that to compare with whatever your cruiseline is charging).

 

Second, Friday or Sat means that the fabulous Royal BC Museum will be open until 10pm. Great permanent exhibits, generally one large temporary exhibit, and IMAX movie theater.

 

Craigdarroch almost certainly won't be open as it shuts no later than 7pm (though I've heard of cruise excursions getting in a little 'after hours' just like at Butchart on occasion) and your expectations need to be reined in for it to begin with - despite the poor choice of name it is NOT a castle, just a fancy house. Nice stained glass and period furnishings, and if you've never seen a castle it might do well enough, but if you've ever visited Europe it will very likely disappoint. It's not even the most castle-y building in Victoria, let alone all of Canada, so they've got major cheek to be calling themselves 'Canada's castle' and claiming the very-definitive-sounding thecastle.ca website;-)

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1 hour ago, martincath said:

I basically agree with CrewNews, but since you didn't say which day you were porting bouelle I'll offer a couple of caveats - first, if it's a Saturday and you like fireworks then Butchart will be worthwhile doing. There's no extra charge for the fireworks, even if you're the last folks to leave when they're done you'll have well over an hour to get back to the ship for recommended All Aboard time, so it's a minimal risk doing it independently (cruise excursions tend to be heavily-padded as well as then priced in USD in my experience - a cab each way will be about $60, entry tickets ~$35pp, and you can fit at least 4 in a cab so use that to compare with whatever your cruiseline is charging).

 

Second, Friday or Sat means that the fabulous Royal BC Museum will be open until 10pm. Great permanent exhibits, generally one large temporary exhibit, and IMAX movie theater.

 

Craigdarroch almost certainly won't be open as it shuts no later than 7pm (though I've heard of cruise excursions getting in a little 'after hours' just like at Butchart on occasion) and your expectations need to be reined in for it to begin with - despite the poor choice of name it is NOT a castle, just a fancy house. Nice stained glass and period furnishings, and if you've never seen a castle it might do well enough, but if you've ever visited Europe it will very likely disappoint. It's not even the most castle-y building in Victoria, let alone all of Canada, so they've got major cheek to be calling themselves 'Canada's castle' and claiming the very-definitive-sounding thecastle.ca website;-)

 Thank you for providing such detail and insight. We will be there on a Monday evening, as our cruise ends Tuesday in Seattle. 

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9 minutes ago, bouelle11 said:

 Thank you for providing such detail and insight. We will be there on a Monday evening, as our cruise ends Tuesday in Seattle. 

No worries - sorry if I taunted you with the potential of seeing the fireworks and museum;-)

 

Oh, especially as a fellow Canuck you do have another possiblity - skip Seattle! Leave the cruise in Victoria, overnight there, do the gardens properly next day (heck, even stay on another day or two on the Island as there are plenty of other bits of it see beyond Victoria/Butchart) then fly homeward without having to cross the US border again... as long as you check with your cruiseline first to ensure that CBSA are expecting you to disembark, as folks get understandably peeved if people on the passenger manifest just disappear mid-cruise(!) this is a very common thing to be allowed to do.

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