VICTORIA - BRITISH COLUMBIA - CANADA
photo : Victoria, British Columbial
Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. Well known for its charming city centre idyllically placed around the picturesque harbor, and the many historic buildings including one of Canada’s most reputable museums, Victoria has become an increasingly more popular port of call for cruise passengers on their way to or from Alaska.
The city centre is a manageable walking distance from the docking position for most cruise ships visiting Victoria, and while transport to the main part of town is easy and affordable, many passengers these days chose to take the short walk into the heart of Victoria and explore the charming harbor and main city streets without paying for needless tours.
Apart from the physical fun of all the golfing, hiking, biking and fishing that Victoria offers, the area is world famous for its gardens and the scenery around the harbor, and also for the magnificent exhibitions at the world respected Royal British Columbia Museum and the Canadian Pacific Railway's grand Empress Hotel (now the Fairmont Empress Hotel) that was constructed in 1908.
Victoria was included in the Top 10 Family Vacations in Canada in the TripAdvisor 2011 Travelers' Choice awards.
Cruise Terminal in Victoria, BC
Not far from downtown Victoria, only a short and pleasant walk away, Ogden Point is Victoria's main Cruise Ship Terminal. Pier is B hosts the majority of Cruise Ship arrivals.
Both piers are comfortably outfitted with basic amenities, gifts shops located just outside the customs areas. Transportation available at the Ogden Point Terminal include shuttle buses to downtown, taxi service, limousines and pedi-cabs and Motorcoach Shore Excursions available in the area between the two piers.
For those who enjoy a stroll, and are happy to leave the hordes of cruise tourists behind there is a pleasant stroll between the downtown area and the cruise terminals which lasts no more than 35 minutes and proceeds through some interesting residential areas
Cruise Lines Visiting Victoria, BC
No cruise line uses the Port of Vancouver to start and end their cruises, but those cruise lines visiting Victoria, usually on the wayto Alaska include Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise Line, Princess Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Regent Seven Seas.
Must See Attractions in Victoria, BC
Known as the ‘City of Gardens’, Victoria is known for it’s mild climate, historic buildings and abundance of green and colorful garden displays that are everywhere, even in the city center. Taking advantage of the ideal setting, spectacular geopgrphy and pleasant climate, Victoria offers a wealth of interesting tourist attractions even for those with just a few hours to spare.
Victoria’s main attraction, and one that visitors can enjoy at their own pace, at anytime of day, is the centre harbor area known as Inner Harbour.
Surrounded by several historical buildings such as the world famous Empress Hotel where guests looking for a change from the wonderful cruise ship cuisine can spoil themselves to a traditional English afternoon tea, and the magnificent stately Legislative Buildings, the actual walks and promenade around the water of the Inner Harbour can keep visitors busy for hours as they buy things from the vendors at the waters edge, or just take in the peace from a bench against the rocks.
The shopping area right there and in the many street leading from the harbour offers a wealth of gift & specialty shops featuring local souvenirs and fine Canadian art vendors.
Royal British Columbia Museum
One of the main attractions in the Inner Harbour area is The Royal BC Museum that explores the human and natural history of British Columbia and temporary exhibits from around the world. Considered to be one of the most important museums in the country, the Royal British Columbia Museum always has a wealth of authentic artifacts and specimens displayed in highly realistic settings.
National Geographic IMAX Theatre
Also centrally located in Victoria the 400 seat National Geographic Theatre features the 2-D IMAX Experience with a projected area that is more than 6 stories high and 70 feet wide. Ten times larger than conventional screens, and filling the viewer’s entire field of vision the National Geographic IMAX Theatre is one of Victoria’s most popular attractions, for locals and visitors alike.
If time is not a problem. one of the most amazing attractions on Vancouver island is The Butchart Gardens which is now a National Historic Site of Canada, and still owned by family descendants. Featuring 55 acres of amazing gardens and wonderful floral displays, the Butchart Gardens are located in Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island not far from the main city centre itself. There are many different bus options to take you to the gardens, most of which depart from the Greyhound bus station in the Inner Harbour area. Most cruise lines offer special tours to the gardens from the cruise ships.
Other fun attractions, also based in the Inner Harbour area include the Pacific Undersea Gardens where visitors can go deep down into Victoria’s Inner Harbour and see the Live Dive Show in the unique Undersea Theatre that actually is at the bottom of the sea, and Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria’s legendary Landmark where visitors can climb just over 80 stairs to the tower for fabulous views of Victoria and enjoy, inside, a magnificent collection of stained glass, intricate woodwork and fabulous Victorian era furnishings of the 1890’s.
For those who find all the trips to bottom of the ocean and up all those stairs to top of castles a little too exhausting, Tally-Ho Carriage Tours - Horse Drawn Carriage Tours, operating since 1903 offer a unique and very relaxing way to see Victoria. Professional tour guides offer historical and entertaining information. A great alternative to busy bus tours filled with cruise passengers.
Unique to the city of Victoria, are the Downtown Victoria Ambassadors is a team of dedicated volunteers who have been serving the needs of visitors and tourists to Victoria for the past 15 years. If you get stuck, lost or just need a chat with a local, these are the people to approach at any time.