Port Stop in Victoria
From Ketchikan to Victoria, the Westerdam raced against a Princess boat that left about the same time. Apparently whoever arrives first gets through customs first and the other ship has to wait. I’m not sure whether we beat them or not because by the time we got off the ship both ships had long since docked, along with a ship from Norwegian. Victoria night was the only time we could work in dinner at the Pinnacle grill, which meant we were eating when the ship docked, but it was a meal too good to miss.
Most of the family opted to stay on the ship at Victoria, the majority of them having seen it before. A couple of them who did not have dinner with us went right away when the ship docked. My aunt, sister, and I went when we finished our dinner.
Victoria has enough tourist business that even three ships at the dock really makes no difference. Everything in town closed at its normal time meaning we had not much left to see. The ships dock a considerable distance from town. Shuttles and taxis lined up to take passengers in, along with the horse-drawn tally-ho. Once in town we saw lots of small horse carriages, but the larger tally-ho never ventured far up the main street so I never got a chance to get a photo.
I don’t know what the tally-ho charged for the ride into town, but between shuttles and taxis, the taxi charged for the three of us about what the shuttle would have charged each person.
We looked through a tea shop at the Empress Hotel, tea there being one of the things Victoria is most famous for. Not much else was open, but we did get to see the parliament building all lit up since it got dark before we went back to the ship.
If you want to see more of Victoria than the quick glimpse an evening cruise ship stop offers, it’s pretty easy to get there from Seattle. The Victoria Clipper sails daily from Seattle to Victoria. For faster transportation, seaplanes also fly frequently between Seattle and Victoria. From the Olympic Peninsula, the Black Ball Ferry makes daily trips across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles to Victoria. Any of those methods of transportation are good for a day trip there. For longer stays Victoria has plenty of hotels. Americans arriving in British Columbia, Canada by boat or ground transportation from Washington State just need either a passport card or enhanced driver’s license, although passports are always an option. Taking the plane requires a passport for everyone.