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.
Stepped off the ship and took a taxi for $55 Canadian. Got there before the tour busses and the hordes of people. Entrance fee is only $32 Canadian. Saved a ton of cash ($200 USD) by not booking this through the ship.
The garden tour through NCL as more expensive and super crowded (my Aunt and Uncle went with them as they had excursion credit) We went with CVS and it was a smaller group (23 of us) a roomy bus and we got a little bit longer visit. The gardens were spectacular and I would totally go again!
Butchard Gardens is a must. Its so hard to explain how incredibly beautiful this place is......definitely well worth the trip.
Bloggers said rent a car at Avis in Downtown Victoria and drive. We did this and it worked out great. We docked at 230pm. Took cab to Avis downtown Victoria for 10.00CAD (they take USD). Rented car for 30.00CAD. Was at Butchard Gardens by 330pm until 515pm. Was able to get back and turn rental car back in by 6pm and was able to have a nice sushi dinner in Victoria and back on boat by 830pm. Renting car is much cheaper than shore excursion (99.00USD per person) or even renting a taxi to Butchard Gardens which is 60.00CAD each way.
Great day spent at the Butchart Gardens. Local tour operator had frequent buses going back downtown, so we could stay all day. Saw plenty of Cruise excursioners from our ship who wished they could stay longer. Victoria was the best port of the entire cruise,
We took one of those pedicabs from the cruise terminal to the front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel. It was $14 American per person plus tip. It was enjoyable to go through the residential area of Victoria. It’s such a beautiful city. From there we went to Butchart Gardens, which we really enjoyed. It’s beautiful in May with lots of tulips. We bought our tickets at the tourist information building across the street from the Empress Hotel. I believe tickets cost a few dollars more if you purchase them at the booth outside the Empress where the buses pick you up. Taxi back to the ship costs $10 Canadian so it’s quite reasonable.
Phenomenal botanical gardens. It was TULIP TIME! Google Butchart. You have to see it to believe it. Amazing. So great. Can't say enough good things. Martin was a great tour guide -- just perfect. We had another sunny day! We got dropped at the Empress Hotel to snoop around and shop. Went stopped at Roger's Chocolates. mmmmmm. Next we walked to a lovely pub called The Churchill, had Poutine and draft beer. We caught the shuttle to the cruise terminal for $6/each and shopped on the wharf for cheapie souvenir gifts. GREAT DAY!
To enjoy the gardens you need two hours minimum. Mine included the butterfly gardens which gave only 1.5 hours in the gardens. This made the excursion feel rushed to get back to bus in time. September is late in the season so the colours were not as vibrant as mid-summer but it was still very beautiful.
Since we did not have much time in port, we took a trip to Butchart gardens through the ship. The bus driver gave commentary en route to the gardens. I was glad that we went early since it was getting crowded when we were leaving. I wish that there had been a longer visit available
This was our second visit to Butchart Gardens and we booked with the cruise line because of the short time in port. The gardens are breathtaking and we loved them as much the second time round. Our only disappointment was we only had about 1 hour and 15 minutes there. On our prior visit we spent an entire day there! I hope that Princess will consider extending the time in Victoria. There is so much to do in this port! The disembarkation in this port was nothing short of chaotic. Due to the short time in port, multiple excursions departing at the same time it seemed like EVERYONE was trying to get off at the same time. The stairways were blocked - elevators jammed etc....and there were two very long lines getting back on the ship. We were grateful for lovely weather because otherwise it would have been very uncomfortable.
Ship arrived in victoria, bc on time but at dusk, paid $60/ea to see the gardens, even with the lighting the gardens were dark and 95% hidden from enjoyment.
Princess cruise lines only stops in victoria bc to get a port of call that is non-usa, so the ships crew can be the cheaper labor cost then an american crew. We were ripped off here..
Again, very expensive. you pay for a four-hour tour of the gardens, but you actually are only there for two hours. you have enough time to see one part of the gardens, fireworks, then you're heading for the bus ride back to the ship. very disappointing and very expensive!!!!!!
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