If you’re planning on heading to Alaska on a cruise, then you might find that Victoria is a stop on your itinerary. Victory is part of Vancouver Island and is in British Columbia, which is in Canada.
This past October, my family and I had the opportunity to cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line on The Norwegian Bliss. Our cruise was a transitioning cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. We had the opportunity to be the first ship to overnight in Victoria, which ended up being a wonderful experience!!!
Most cruise ships that port in Victoria have smaller port times and many are in the evenings. Since we had almost 2 full days and 1 night in port, we decided to do several different things.
The number one place on my list to see was Butchart Gardens. Butchart Gardens, a former limestone quarry was a dream of Jennie Butchart. To learn more about the history of Butchart Gardens, click here.
Butchart Gardens is not close to the port and does take extra time to get out to, but it is well worth it! Depending on which way you choose to get there depends on how long it takes. There are many excursions that can be pre booked that take you to the Gardens. If you have limited time in port, definitely take this option!
Another option is using private drivers or taxis. Both of these options are readily available at the port to take passengers out to see the gardens and do vary price-wise. We did not book an excursion and since we had ample time in Victoria, we chose an alternative option, public transportation.
It took around an hour to get out to the Gardens, which for us was fine. I would not recommend this way unless you have plenty of time in port. Also, remember that if you don’t book an excursion that includes your admission into the gardens, you will need to pay at the gate. Click here for admission Information.
The price depends on season and age. Overall by taking the bus (which was only $5 for a day pass per person) and the admission to the gardens, we saved quite a lot of money. If you have the time and would like to try this option, make sure to talk to one of the port travel advisors. They are very helpful!
I will say that the gardens are something to not miss!
My absolute favorite area of Butchart Gardens is The Sunken Garden, which is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I have ever seen!
After we ventured out to the gardens and then made our way back to the downtown area, we got off the bus near the start of the shopping district. Downtown Victoria has many shops. These include gift shops, antique shops, bookstores, niche shops, and many clothing and footwear stores. There are also many great pubs and restaurants. One of my favorite places that we visited was Murchie’s Tea and Coffee. Since Victoria is in British Columbia, Victoria has many British shops, and attributes. Murchie’s is definitely one of them!
After walking through the downtown area, we decided to head back to the ship. The walk back to Ogden Point (the cruise port) is around 15 minutes and takes you through a small residential area. It is an easy and pleasant walk.
The next day we decided to make it a date day. Our daughter, (12 at the time) absolutely loves the kid’s areas on Norwegian Cruises and she chose to stay on board. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a wonderful program called Port Play.
Kids can stay on board in Port Play while the parents go explore. Knowing that our daughter was safe and having a great time, we headed back to Victoria’s downtown district. We spent the morning walking, talking, and shopping. Another favorite area to not miss is Victoria’s Chinatown. On the far end of the Downtown area, you will find Chinatown.
Victoria’s Chinatown is actually the oldest in Canada and only second oldest in North America to San Francisco. Small but unique, this area has a lot to offer. While in Chinatown, make sure to not miss Fan Tan Alley! Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in Canada and makes for great photos!
After we were done exploring the downtown area, we knew we wanted lunch, and when in British Columbia, you have to have fish and chips! After a quick taxi ride (yes, we were walked out by then), we made it to our lunch spot.
My third area not to miss is Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf!
The Wharf is not far from Ogden Point, which makes it super easy to get to from the ship. The Fisherman’s Wharf consists of many floating homes, shops, and restaurants. Since you’re on the water, you never know what you might see!
There have been many sightings of Killer Whale pods and seals swimming among the floating area. After walking around a bit we decided on trying Barb’s for lunch. Wow! Amazing! If you like fish and chips, then this is the place for you! Word to the wise, huge portions! After stuffing ourselves full, we made our way back to the ship.
There are many other things that you can do in Victoria.
Victoria has some of the best whale-watching excursions as well as many kayaking options! If high tea is your cup of tea, then you can’t get any better than high tea at the Empress Hotel! If air travel is more of your speed, take to the skies with the many flight excursions that Victoria has to offer!
Most of all, enjoy your time in this beautiful city! Talk with a local, enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a cup of tea, stop and smell the flowers. Take in all that Victoria has to offer!
For my family and I, we can’t wait to be back in this wonderful city!
A little about myself, the guest blog writer… Danielle Hupp
Wife, mother, traveler and planner. Travel is not just something we do, but a passion and a must! My favorite place to go is Alaska! I absolutely love the mountains, wildlife and people of the Pacific Northwest! I love to help others create memories through travel to last a lifetime! My motto for life is… Don’t wait for tomorrow, go today!
You can learn more about Danielle here.