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Butchart Gardens... ship's tour or on your own?

Sandy R

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Can't decide whether to take a ship's tour of the Gardens or rent a taxi and driver. Anyone know what the road is like to the Gardens... 1 lane each way or more? I'd hate to get in a traffic jam and be nervous about missing the ship. We're there from 7 pm to midnight. Is there a website that tells how many ships will be in port on a particular day? Was the schedule the same last year... stopping in Victoria in the evening for 4 or 5 hours? Would love to hear from someone who's done it.



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Try this web site for which ships will be in which ports on which days.




I'm taking the cruise's B. Gardens tour because we arrive in port at 8 PM and the B. Garden's web site says the last visitors are admitted at 8 PM. You might also think about how you are going to get back to the ship. Will taxis be waiting or not? Good luck. Happy cruising.

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My parents just went to Butchart Gardens last weekend. It's a 20-40 minute drive from Victoria, something like that. I forgot what they said but can ask later. Just a guess, but I'd think a cab would be a lot more expensive with that distance. A 15 minute cab from my office to the airport was $40. Ouch.

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We stayed on the ship last summer when it was in Victoria. We did not feel like there was enough time (plus I'd hate to miss a meal icon_wink.gif). We had been there two summers before and spent two nights.


For such a limited time and considering the distance, I'd go with the cruise line's excursion.

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I too wondered if this was something we could do on our own. In the end, I decided to take the tour because with only 4 hours in port and the time it take to disem and rebarc, I figured we had about 2.5 hours and this is just cutting it too close. Besides, the gardens close entry to the public at 8.

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Thanks for the input. Here's what we've planned (which can be changed)...we've hired a local taxi company to pick us up at the ship a 1/2 hour after we dock (7:30 pm pick up), drive us to Butchart, wait for us, then start the drive back at 10:30 pm. (We sail at midnight so have to be back onboard at 11:30pm) Thanks to qqqsal's post, I found out that there will be 2 ships docking in Victoria the day we'll be there... our ship, the Diamond - 2600 passengers and the Oosterdam - 1840 passengers. Actually, the price for taxi coming and going, waiting time and price of admission at the Gardens, compared to the ship's excursion price, is exactly the same $. I'm thinking a taxi will get us to the Gardens faster than a bus... but I'm concerned about the traffic on the road. Anyone know if the road from the dock to Butchart is just that, a road, or is it a highway. I'd feel better doing our own thing if I knew we wouldn't experience a traffic jam going and coming.



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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Actually, the price for taxi coming and going, waiting time and price of admission at the Gardens, compared to the ship's excursion price, is exactly the same $. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>With the worry about the road and the traffic why would you not take the ship' tour? Can't imagine that you would think it would be so bad for the peace of mind. Have you ever thought of other problems, with such a limited port time, like taxi flat tires, accidents or the taxi you have arranged not showing up and you not being able to go?


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11/04 Dawn Princess-Southern Caribbean

Jan. 05 Diamond Princess-Mexican Riviera

July 05 Star Princess-Baltics

Aug. 05 Star Princess-Baltics

Past cruises:

04 Dawn Princess- Southern Caribbean x2

03 Grand Princess-W.Caribbean

03 Sun Princess -Mexico

03-Tahitian Princess-Tahiti/ Cook Islands

03 Royal Princess-x2 British Isles & Norwegian Fjords/ Iceland

03 Island Princess-Panama Canal

01 HAL Ryndam x 2-S. America San Diego to Valpariso/ & around Cape Horn to Rio

00 Sky Princess-China/Orient

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Hi Sandy,

Since money doesn't seem to be the issue, you sound like you just like to be independent. Good for you. If you miss the ship departing at midnight you can just hop a plane to Seattle. But I would just like to add one more thing. On other cruises, when I took an excursion that was departing right when the ship docked, we (on the excursions) got to disembark first. That extra time might make up for the difference between the taxi and the bus. Also, I think the B. Garden gates close at 8PM. If your taxi arrives after that, you might not get in. If you are on the excursion you wouldn't have that concern. Just some food for thought. Whatever you decide, enjoy. It's a fabulous place to see, esp. at night. Happy cruising.

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I would go with the ship's tour if it is the same price. I live near Victoria. There will be little traffic that time of night if it is not a weekend but it is close to an hours drive to Butchart Garden's from where the cruise ships dock. The garden is probably staying open for cruise passengers and might not let you in after 8. It is well worth a visit but I would be safe. If your bus is late the ship will wait. Deirdre

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