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Inside Passage Alaska Victoria excursion

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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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