Victoria, B.C.

Day 9 of our Alaskan Cruise, found us docked at Victoria, B.C.

Good morning Victoria, B.C.

We had visited Victoria twice before taking a bus to Butchart Gardens, roaming around Beacon Hill Park, falling in love with Craigdarroch Castle, and touring the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. A stroll through the downtown area was also fun as we walked in and out of the stores and read the menus outside of the restaurants, but this trip there was no time to take in these activities.

With limited time ashore during this visit, we stuck close to the ship. A one-mile walk took us to the Empress Hotel where we had earlier made reservations for tea through Open Table. Our sightseeing in Victoria consisted only of our walk from and to the ship along the harbor.

The Johnson Street Bridge opened on March 31, 2018. The single-leaf bascule (moveable) bridge is the fourth bridge crossing the span.

Johnson Street Bridge

The Friendship Bell, located in Centennial Park at the corner of Belleville Street and Pendray, was gifted to the city by Morioka, Japan, on May 19, 2015. The bell marks the 30th anniversary of the cities of Victoria and Morioka, Japan, becoming twin cities.

Friendship Bell

We might not have been able to get to Butchart Gardens, but there were plenty of colorful plants and flowers along our walk.


We also walked past Fisherman’s Wharf, a colorful collection consisting of a fishing fleet, live-aboards, float home dwellers, and transient vessels along with commercial operators.

Fisherman’s Wharf

We arrived early for our reservation so we hung out in the hotel’s lobby. Jon read while waiting.

Jon busy reading

I, on the other hand, picked up the camera and gawked at the architecture, the stairs, the windows, and a view of the Parliament building.

Empress Hotel Lobby
Lobby through the railing
Hallway to hotel and restaurant
View of the Parliament building from the Empress Hotel

By the time we settled into our seats for tea, I was so immersed in the quiet atmosphere that I forgot to take photos. A piano playing in the background, white tablecloth and napkins, and an attentive server combined to set a pleasant mood. It was an expensive treat, especially since we upgraded to the rose champagne, but oh so worth it when the three-tier tray piled with mini pancakes topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, scones, and other treats arrived.

Back on board we went up on the Lido deck and watched the horizon of Victoria B.C. fade away.

Victoria, B.C., skyline

As we neared the open sea, the pilot boat pulled alongside to pick up the pilot that had steered the ship through the channel.

Pilot boat

We kept busy during our last day at sea. There was a presentation by the head chef, with assistance from a couple of his sous chefs, and the head maitre d’ on stage where we learned about how they made the food for all the passengers and crew members. Afterward, they took us behind the scenes into the galley that seemed to go on for a mile. The tour ended with the chef and maitre d’ signed copies of the Princess Cookbook. Ongoing was the end of cruise sale where passengers (including us) picked through tables piled with clothing and other goodies.

The library seemed like a quiet place to relax after the presentation and shopping. Situated along a narrow walkway opposite of the Crown Grill, the library was not the quiet spot I had envisioned. Sounds of a violin, bass, and piano rushed through the open doors from the piazza. Clapping ensued when the musical tempo increased. Jingles and jangles of keys on belts and patters of feet cushioned on carpet announced crew and passengers that passed by. A crew member slid a folding table on its side. Another pushed a luggage cart. A couple’s hush tones snuck in from a table nearby. A boy explained something to his father. Mahjong game tiles clattered against each other. Cards shuffled. Laughter erupted. Knives sliced against a butcher block. The murmur of several conversations melded into a cacophony. Couples and groups gathered in front of the restaurant waiting for the host to seat them.

Cruise ship library a hub of activity

We headed back to our cabin to pack and get ready for our departure the next morning.

Taking a 10-day cruise was just what we needed to relax and set aside all of our household chores, fifth-wheel maintenance, and technology for a few days. Our interest in Alaska has us thinking about a trip in our RV so we can explore in more depth. Another cruise to Glacier Bay might also be in our future.

Safe Travels

10 thoughts on “Victoria, B.C.

      1. I visited the Empress for the afternoon “high” tea for which they are known. I was with some family members. Because we had not been advised they had a dress code for this (we were tourists, wearing informal attire) they let us use an elegant parlor adjacent to the tea room and served us there. It was a beautiful space, full of antique furniture and portraits. But we did feel something a bit “off” although nothing one could put a finger on. After tea we gathered on a beautiful old velvet settee and I took pictures of the others sitting there (beneath a grouping of old photo portraits). I used one of those “instamatic” disposable 35mm cameras. The resulting photos showed odd streaks of light over the heads of the family and around the portraits. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


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