Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox

Victoria Butchart Gardens Excursion Reviews

Home > Member Reviews > Victoria Shore Excursions > Butchart Gardens

Over a hundred years old, the world famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria have been named a National Historic Site of Canada. These more than fifty beautifully manicured acres attract in excess of one million visitors each year.

North/South

1 review

I wish the cruise line would allow extra time here vs. Skagway. This is a wonderul stop. We did the Butchart Gardens and they were truely beautiful and so glad we went. Unfortunately in doing this there is no time left to explore the city althought the bus driver did give us a quicky tour of downtown and the lights on the way back to the ship so we got to see it but would have preferred a couple of hours to explore after the garden.


Provider: Celebrity Cruises

carencpa

3 reviews

Beautiful gardens, hasn't changed much in 20 years!


Provider: Independent Operator

frawnsay

1 review

We had 2.5 hours, so we walked very slowly through the gardens. We had time to peruse the gift shop and even grab a snack before returning to the bus. Others only had 45 minutes to an hour as they had also booked the Butterfly Gardens. I felt that we had a nice visit/tour, but others may have been rushed. Also, our coach driver gave us a tour of downtown Victoria at night on our way back to the pier.


Provider: Celebrity Cruises

kstawicki

1 review

Because of the late season, the Rose Garden was not in bloom but the beautiful fall colors from the seasonal mums and changing maple trees made up for it. The cruise line made sure we arrived early in the day when the crowds were few, making for optimal photo opportunities. Our expedition leader, Ian, was a great tour guide. They also provided High Tea at the gardens, which was interesting but not quite what I expected. Glad for that opportunity but wouldn't do it again.


Provider: Un-Cruise Adventures

Cruising Young Senior

1 review

The Tour Guide was great, talked non stop the whole time, but we learned a lot.
The Gardens were beautiful lit up. Fountains etc. Will go back in the daytime.


Provider: Princess Cruises

vakoenig

1 review

These Gardens are not to be missed. They are elegant and colorful without being at all exotic - you will recognize most of the flowers. The lay out is easy to navigate and floral displays are everywhere. Allow at least two hours. The city tour on the way out and back was OK. Our driver/guide was a bit coarse.


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

SarcasticGuy31

1 review

Our limo driver was actually an author (Eric Hamilton), who wrote a book about his theory on the Princess Di death. He also looked liked David Letterman's twin brother. He was very informative about the area and gave us a brief rundown about the Gardens. Overall my wife enjoyed the gardens more than me.


Provider: Independent Operator

smollie20

1 review

The ships do not give you much time at this port and we missed the first bus out and took the 4:45 and we were done by 7 but due to schedule we got back to the ship at 8:30. It all worked out but I probably should have just spent the money on the boat and took a direct tour. Loved the Gardens. It was the main reason we went on the cruise.


Provider: Independent Operator

LarBear

2 reviews

Butchart is a wonderful tour, worth the drive to see.


Provider: Independent Operator

BlueEyesMI

1 review

Loved the town and the gardens, but time was too short. They did have fireworks (supposedly only on Sat nights) which were outstanding.


Provider: Princess Cruises

Whenisdinner

1 review

Although the Victoria stop is one of the shortest, and in the evening, it's there for a reason. If you don't do Butchart Gardens WITH FIREWORKS on Saturdays in the summer, then you're missing one of the most wonderful experiences of your lifetime.

We brought a couple pool deck towels to set in the grass and hold a spot for the fireworks, with the unique green and white stripes making it easy to spot. I was surprised that only one or two others did this.

The gardens were gorgeous, with not a leaf or petal out of place. And the 30 minute long fireworks show was straight out of Fantasia! Something Disney inc. has long-forgotten in it's modern shoot-and-boom fireworks shows. This was really, really special.


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

HappyTravelFan

1 review

As stated above, the ship is scheduled to arrive late (6 PM), making it impossible to see all of the garden at a reasonable pace. Everyone we talked to on our tour loved the garden but was unhappy about the little time available to enjoy it. The brief tour of Victoria afterward was pleasant, but the constant, sometimes inane chatter of our bus driver/guide was annoying.


Provider: Celebrity Cruises

zarbycat

1 review

Very beautiful and priced reasonable for the activity. Tour bus driver was very entertaining and informative.


Provider: Princess Cruises

Rev T-Bone

1 review

A do not miss experience!


Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Tarheelmama

1 review

On ferry trip from Vancouver we saw a pod of about 8 orcas!! The gardens are spectacular!


Provider: Independent Operator

cat2610

1 review

I had booked a tour of Buchart Gardens with CVS tours. It included the bus from the pier and the admission into the gardens for $55/pp. Compare this to the $85 the cruise line wanted for the same trip. The only difference between this tour and the one sponsored by the cruise line, was that we had to take a bus to downtown and then change buses at the Empress Hotel. It was very simple, and we got to look at the Inner Harbour for a few minutes while we waited for the bus.

The gardens were amazing! I'm not even sure that pictures do it justice. Because we arrived in Victoria so late in the day, we didn't really have any other choice for when to see the gardens. We were there for about 2.5-3 hours, and it was barely enough time. I could have stayed longer. We were back on the ship in plenty of time for sail away.


Provider: Independent Operator

Chris555

1 review

Butchart Gardens was wonderful. For those who said 45 minutes was enough time to see the gardens are crazy. We strolled through the entire gardens with an occasional stop to smell the roses and pose for photos or 50, and it took longer than 45 minutes. It was hot in the rose garden, but we found shade and cooler temps the rest of the way. The sunken garden and Japanese were our favorites. Everyone said it wasn't a busy day, and there wasn't a parade of people on the path, so it was much more enjoyable than some visits. Just amazing flowers, shrubs trees, paths and waterfalls. Make sure to pick up a product guide. In late July almost every flower in the guide was in bloom.


Provider: Independent Operator

bkghosh

1 review

Although, the garden is a must see in Victoria, our time was very short (the ship arrived late to the port).


Provider: Holland America Line

jimagray@flash.net

1 review

Butchart Gardens is a must-see.
Visit the Empress Hotel....very impressive.


Provider: Independent Operator

pianomom2

1 review

These are the most incredible gardens I've ever seen! Absolutely beautiful! We took a taxi into town, then found the city bus and took it ($2.50 apiece) to the gardens, then just paid the entrance fee. This way we got to see the city, which is very beautiful also. Very worth the $30 entrance fee; this place is amazing!


Provider: Independent Operator

World Gallery

12 reviews

Booked with CVS tours. They pick up at the cruise terminal. It was about half the cost of the ship's tour and the ship was using the same bus company! After, visited the very small Chinatown and had lunch. We also went to the BC History museum, which is very well done.

Provider: Independent Operator

cboyle

15 reviews

With so much to see and do in Victoria (www.tourismvictoria.com), it was disappointing that Princess only allowed 6-1/2 hours of port time. On a previous visit here, we had walked to the Inner Harbour and booked a whale watching tour there (www.princeofwhales.com). Today, we planned to take the public bus to Butchart Gardens.

We were ready to go when passengers were finally allowed to disembark at about 7:30 a.m. The terminal building did not appear open yet but a person was outside distributing maps with several routes to the city center. We took off at top speed up Montreal St., stopping at the Little Gem Grocery (148 Superior) to buy an all-day bus pass (CA$5 pp). From there, we walked to the stop for bus #75 northbound towards Saanichton / Royal Oak (www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/schedules/map.cfm?p=side.txt&line=75&); the bus stop is across the street from rear of the Empress Hotel. If you want to take the public bus, pay close attention to the routes and schedules. Depending on the time of year, the northbound #75 bus may not stop right at the Butchart Gardens and the southbound bus may require a transfer to another line at the Royal Oak interchange. The trip from downtown to Butchart Gardens takes about 50 minutes without a transfer or about 65-75 minutes if you have to transfer.

We arrived at the bus stop with plenty of time to catch the 8 a.m. bus. When we told the driver that we were going to the gardens, he said he would make sure we got off at the correct stop. Our bus stopped just past the entrance drive to the gardens. The bus driver pointed out the direction to go; the entrance kiosk is only about a ¼ mile walk downhill from the bus stop. Note that this is along a narrow street with no sidewalks.

We arrived at the Butchart Gardens (www.butchartgardens.com) entrance kiosk just before the official opening time of 9 a.m., paid the admission fee (which varies by season) and headed off to explore the gardens. Unfortunately, it had started to rain lightly. Although we had come prepared for rain, we were pleased to see that the gardens provide transparent umbrellas for guests to use during their visit.

The map and guide given out at the entrance kiosk shows a suggested path through the gardens. Because we arrived earlier than most of the bus tour groups, the gardens were not crowded and we could enjoy and photograph the colorful plantings without feeling like we were being herded along. There are several themed gardens, fountains and ponds. It's hard to believe that this is a reclaimed quarry! At this time of year, the roses were not yet blooming but the rhododendrons were spectacular. Butchart Gardens is a must-see for anyone who enjoys beautiful flowers.

We completed a leisurely circuit of the gardens in about an hour. The crowds were starting to build up, but we decided to walk the circuit again to take some of the side paths. Our original plan had been to spend about 2-1/2 hours (a minimum of 1-1/2 hours is recommended) in the gardens and return to the ship via bus #75 bus with a transfer to bus #31 (which stops right at the entrance to the port). However, after 2 hours we felt that we had seen enough of the gardens and leaving earlier would give us some time to visit the Inner Harbour area. Once we were back downtown, we took a few photos before heading back to the ship along the waterfront, where we saw a sea lion swimming in the harbor. Back at the port, we walked out on the Ogden Point Breakwater for a good view of the Grand Princess and spotted another sea lion swimming near the rocks.


Provider: Independent Operator

hippychick925

2 reviews

It was pitch dark by the time we got there! We could tell Gardens were beautiful, but we could only see the flowers directly beneath the dim lighting at the pathways! So disappointing that we can't be there before almost 8:00 p.m.!

Provider: Princess Cruises

DesertWindTX

1 review

In the daylight, this tour would be great. In the dark, it was an almost total waste of money. The only reason I didn't give it a 1 rating is that the tour guide was really awesome, and it's not his fault I was stupid enough to book this tour at night.

Provider: Princess Cruises

Troyer5

2 reviews

At this port, due to the lateness and we only had 6 hours, we just went to the gardens. Unfortunately since it got dark and there was lack of time, we didn't get to see all we wanted to. The gardens are about 1.5 hours away and we were allowed only 2 hours there. When we got back on ship, it was very windy.

Provider: Celebrity Cruises

finsup01

5 reviews

Best gardens you will see anywhere!

Provider: Celebrity Cruises

Tigerlily70

1 review

VERY VERY CROWDED. Difficult to see and appreciate all I know is there. Time was very short as well. The fireworks were the most unusual I have ever seen.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Chryssie

1 review

This is a lovely garden and once you get there on the bus it is a self guided tour. Our bus guide was nice and we went to the gardens and then to Craigdarroch castle. He gave us lots of info before we got to the gardens on the drive there so we had a lot of background prior to walking around them. It was hotter than we had thought it would be. Mid august and it was about 80 degrees. We had to buy water and I wish I had worn lighter clothes. But the gardens are lovely and I'm glad we went. We got some beautiful pictures. The gift shop has a lot of expensive items and some cheaper ones.

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

ShamrockFL

1 review

The rating says it all. 5+! These gardens are absolutely fabulous and should not be missed. Whatever else you do in Victoria which is a lovely city, you have to get to these gardens.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Peng You

1 review

I had heard about the gardens from friends and family for years, so looked forward to this stop. The gardens were beautiful, and the tea was nice, but I wish I had signed up for the garden and butterfly garden tour instead. It was less expensive and included more.

Provider: Independent Operator

Habenero

4 reviews

The Saturday night fireworks display is great!

Provider: Princess Cruises

alwayscruise123

1 review

See ship review. DO NOT BOOK THIS TOUR. Ship was an hour late getting into port-it usually is. Instead of extending the tour or offering to let us not take it, the excursions desk insisted they would extend the time of the tour. The result was less than 40 minutes at the gardens and not enough time to see them-even in dark. Had we started when scheduled, we would have had an hour of daylight which would have made all the difference.

Provider: Holland America Line

CruiseGal999

1 review

NOT worth the $$$ Wine is watery, low on flavor and there was no time to see the gardens because when the wine & pairings ended ... the firewors were beginning.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Turtle0246

1 review

Described above and the Butterfly Gardens and Butchart Gardens were included in the same tour.

Provider: Independent Operator

tabecker

2 reviews

The gardens are magical. This is a must take excursion. If you do not see this then you have missed it all. Breath taking there just aren't words for the wonders you will find here.

Provider: Celebrity Cruises

alaskajames

1 review

This is another Must See when you come to Victoria. However we were only in this port about 5 total hours and only had two hours to visit these gardens, You Need several hours to enjoy this amazing place.

Provider: Princess Cruises

Ocredhead

1 review

You must go there. There is plenty of time to see everything and it stays light late there. So even though the boat gets in late there is no reason not to go if you haven't ever been.

Provider: Independent Operator

dandman14

1 review

Beautiful Gardens. The staff were so-so, and food at the snack shack was ho-hum.

Provider: Royal Caribbean International

gra2172

3 reviews

This was least exciting part of our trip. We did the Buchart garden tour. We're from PA where we have Longwood gardens. If youre familiar with that place, itll spoil you. Buchart was nice, but not all that big and really full of people. We got very few pictures that didnt have people in the background. It probably wouldve been better if there were fewer people there. In fact, the bus driver said when they do fireworks theres like 10,000 people there! I cant even imagine being there for that! We paid for just the gardens but the bus took us on the city tour anyway so, that was a real plus!

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

kc1126

1 review

Beautiful gardens, but there was just not enough time. We had to speed through the gardens and did not get to thoroughly enjoy it.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

expdek

2 reviews

See review

Provider: Princess Cruises

supergrandmother

1 review

The gardens were just beautiful. I liked that we were able to progress through the gardens at our own pace without a guide. I thought it was interesting that with all the plantings, I did not see anyone doing maintenance. Don't know when they do that but at least it did not detract from our enjoyment of the gardens. While I enjoyed the gardens, next time I would visit the Craigdarroch Castle or have High Tea at the Empress. I was sorry we were not there long enough to do more.

Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line

Pink35

2 reviews

Took a guided tour 22 miles outside of town to the Butchart Gardens. We took a day tour, however, some cruise lines get into Victoria after 6 PM and may have night tours with fireworks. We had approximately 2.5 hours to walk around to the various gardens. There was also a coffee house, cafe, and souvenir shop available. On the particular day we visited there was drizzling rain. The gardens provided clear umbrellas free of charge--available throughout the gardens.

Provider: Independent Operator

memjan

1 review

You arrive in Victoria at 6:30 pm or so and have to be at the bus at 7:20 pm. We booked an excursion just to Butchart Gardens (not the combo with the Butterfly House). This allowed us to spend more time in the gardens. We had good weather (no rain) so we were lucky. It takes 45 minutes to get to the gardens so you depending on time, you have 2 hours in the gardens. You could easily spend an entire day in the gardens. They are exquisite. The rose garden was not in bloom in May, but many other flowers were in bloom that would not be in bloom later in the summer. Many things will always be in bloom at the gardens whenever you visit. In May, it is light when you arrive and then gets dark later in your visit. So move at balanced pace, but don't rush. If you like gift shops, it is a beautiful gift shop -- so leave yourself time as the lines can get long to pay for your purchases. Our guide on the bus was very informative all along the ride about Victoria, its history, its culture and lifestyle, etc. He answered any and all questions that were asked of him on the bus. This stop is a short one on the cruise -- it would have been nice to spend all day there.

Provider: Princess Cruises

refswife

1 review

This evening tour of the gardens was spectacular!! Gorgeous settings and flowers. Had two hours to walk around so plenty of time to see everything without rushing around (takes a little over an hour at a leisurely pace to see these). The bus driver gave a narrated city tour of Victoria both ways so got to see some lovely spots/landmarks of the city as well.

Provider: Princess Cruises

flexurmind

1 review

Although it was a well maintained site I thought that $27.55 pp to walk through the gardens was too much. This was highly recommend to me and I was very disappointed. If you are in Victoria try the queens garden instead.

Provider: Princess Cruises

brydee

1 review

Great gardens. Unfortunately due to rough sailing we got into Victoria a few hours late and we had to rush through the gardens.. Well worth the trip.

Provider: Holland America Line

About UsAdvertisingEditorial DisclaimerPress
PrivacySite MapStoreSubscribe
X

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.

We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.