All female crew boat which was novel and very pleasant. I felt the actual 'big' whale siting was staged. We spent an hour looking for whales (spotted a few) and then they took us to a MAJOR spot, where about 10 to 15 boats were already patrolling. Oh, well, we did get to see alot of whales and it was a beautiful day.
This is a VERY difficult hike which is described as 'uneven terrain' and does recommend good physical health. I am 70 and my husband 73 (3 years post total knee replacement.) We went to Amsterdam last year and had no problem walking 4 or 5 miles a day. This hike was unbelievable...straight up at times with tree roots all different sizes and shapes as steps, nothing to hold on to. If it hadn't been for the wonderful tour guide, John Harmon, I would have never made it. However, it was a fabulous experience and another beautiful day but they need to upgrade the difficulty of this hike. Was I happy went we floated down the river on the raft! Spectacular scenery too.
We did get overview of a small part of city, but it was slow and wasted a good hour when we could have been walking to these places. There was a big festival in Victoria that night and all the streets and restaurants were mobbed. My impression of this town would have probably been alot different at another time. Sorry I didn't do the Butchart Gardens tour. Very easy to get a cab to and from the ship and they will take American money.