View Full Version : Just saw the Wonder!
08-12-2012, 10:45 PM
What a beauty!! I've been meaning to go down and check her out while she is in Dock, and I'm glad I did!
Welcome Wonder Cruisers to Victoria! I hope you all love our fair city!
08-13-2012, 12:16 AM
I'm looking forward to visiting Victoria! I can't wait to learn more about your city. Please post information on Must Do activities for those visiting for only about 5-7 hours.
08-13-2012, 01:47 AM
Oh man! There are so many great things in my host city of Victoria!
First things first: a lot of people are going to tell you to go to Butchart Gardens, but let me be honest, unless you are REALLY into flowers, there are cheaper (and free) gardens around that don't eat up an hour+ in travel from Ogden Point Ship Terminal. Plus, you can see a mini version at the Canada Pavilion in WDW!
There are 2 castles that you should definitely do:
1) Craigdarroch Castle- http://thecastle.ca
It is amazingly beautiful. Do this one just before you return to the ship because it's all lit up and really pretty.
2) Royal Roads/ Hatley Castle. http://hatleycastle.com Also known as XMen Mansion for Sci-Fi/Comic nerds. It's a little bit of a drive, but worth it. It also has lovely gardens.
Other stuff for a driving tour: Definitely drive through the core of the inner harbour. Don't bother walking there from the terminal it is a good 30 minute hike. Plan to take a kabuki cab (bike taxi).
If you have science/space nerds head on out to the Center of the Universe. http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/outreach/cu/index.html It's our observatory and it is pretty cool. Stop at the second parking area from the top for some amazing views of the city, mountains, and on a good day some of the Washington State Volcanos (Baker, Rainier, St. Helens)
If you have sea nerds some of the worlds best diving is less than 5 kilometers from the ship terminal. Find a good scuba company and get in the water!
For younger/non scuba nerds we have a pretty awesome mini aquarium in Sidney, which is about a 30 minute drive from Downtown. It's called the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center http://oceandiscovery.ca
If you like Coast Salish Native Art (think totem poles and carvings) try the Royal BC Museum. http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/MainSite/default.aspx It has an imax theater in it, but carries a ton of BC historical artifacts and exhibits, including an extensive Native collection and a mini-old victoria that is awesome to go through.
If you like world class food, hit up the Oak Bay Marina http://www.marinarestaurant.com/(I know how starving you will all be after spending a week on the wonder, but I thought I'd put it here just in case.) It's spendy, but the view cannot be beat and has a variety of local fresh foods as well as one of the worlds greatest sushi masters. In full disclosure the Executive Chef is a good friend of mine who cooked me ribs and chicken last night so I had to throw in a plug!
Finally, for a cheap and beautiful trip thats walkable, head along the water to Beacon Hill Park. It has some beautiful walking trails, tons of wildlife, and peafowl (peacocks, peahens, and peachicks) as well as a petting zoo although the hours might be over by the time the Wonder docks. Order room service and bring it with you for a great picnic!
Lastly, if anyone needs a ride to any of the places listed, remember that I take payment in Mickey Bars and Palo Chocolate Souffles! :thumbsup2 :lmao:
08-13-2012, 06:44 AM
OK so how about some suggestions for visitors who will only have about 4 hours in your beautiful city? :mad:
We will be there three weeks from today. Some of the things you have mentioned look like they are for people having more time.
Do you recommend the castle for a short visit? What about "tea" at the famous hotel (sorry, early here and I have forgottne the name).
Thanks for your help
08-13-2012, 01:45 PM
For people with a much shorter time, I'd say grab a kabuki cab right at the terminal. Have them take you to the Inner Harbour so that you can see our lovely Legislature and the Empress Hotel*. Then grab another and head on down to Beacon Hill Park. You can walk around enjoying the grounds and then walk back to the ship along Dallas Road, (locals call it the breakwater), and it is just a fantastic walk. You could do this in just a couple hours and be back in time to catch late seating at dinner?
A note about tea at the Empress- It is SUPER yummy, but you've just had a week on the Wonder, and while I haven't had tea on the ship yet, I'd imagine it was much the same thing. Unless you are a tea connoisseur, skip the hefty price at the Empress, there are cooler things to do cheaper.
You can definitely grab a cab or car over to Craigdarroch and Hatley in the 4 hour range, and in fact, I'd say that if you rent a car you can pretty much do any of the things I posted about previously. I'm shocked they bus people out to Butchart and back in a 4 hour timeframe, because that place is huge and you'd get a maximum of an hour and a half there. (granted, that's all -I- need to spend time looking at flowers, but your mileage may vary. :thumbsup2)
I would still suggest the Royal BC Museum too! You can skip the second floor unless the rotating exhibit is of interest to you, and head to the top where the First Nations exhibit and the Old Victoria is.
Also if you like Art, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has a permanent Emily Carr exhibit and I believe their specials right now are Oriental Silks and William Kurelek.
08-13-2012, 01:49 PM
oh! It's also worth noting that we have a really awesome Chinatown. I believe it is the oldest in Canada.
If you've ever seen Bird on a Wire (Mel Gibson), it was filmed here in Victoria and there is a quite famous chase scene down Fan Tan Alley.
And also the Little Women remake with Winona Ryder was filmed here. That was a long time before I got here though!
08-13-2012, 05:15 PM
thank you soooo much for taking the time. our advice is great. I think will take a taxi the Empress and then decide from there
08-13-2012, 11:24 PM
Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU! My dh was thrilled to NOT have Butchart Garden recommended, and when I mentioned the x-men mansion...I got a big kiss! He's really "on board" with our cruise now, and I can't wait!
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08-14-2012, 12:31 AM
We visited Victoria on our Alaska cruise and my daughters loves Miniature Worls and the Bug Zoo. I have to admit the Bug Zoo was really cool and I held bugs I don't think I normally would have but the guide was so comfortable and it was almost like grown up peer pressure! Either one you could do for as short or long as you like and they are within walking distance of each other.
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