The ship arrived in Victoria at about 7 PM and we boarded a bus to the gardens almost immediately. Got to the gardens about 8 PM - it was a Saturday and the place was very crowded. The gardens are very impressive, especially at dusk and later because they light up the trees and walkways with various colors. And at 10 PM they start the fireworks show on Saturdays in the summertime. 30 minute show, very creative.
Tip - everybody in the gardens was there for the fireworks and the hillside where you get the best angle on the fireworks show was very crowded. People bring blankets and just sit on the ground but if you show up five minutes before show time - like we did - you will have a hard time finding a patch of grass with a good view. Get to the fireworks viewing area about 9:30.
Read joelkmcw's full Emerald Princess cruise review