Victoria, British Columbia's capital, is an occasional Cruise Port during the USA cruise season, especially at the beginning or the end of the cruise season, when cruise lines have unique itineraries as they reposition their ships from the south to the north, or vice versa.
Currently, foreign-flagged passenger vessels that visit more than one U.S. port per itinerary must stop at a port outside the U.S. to be in compliance with the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 (PVSA). This is the main reason USA cruises make a stop here.
terminals at Ogden Point are 2.4 km (1.49 miles) from the city center of Victoria and
there are tourist information desks, currency exchange, restaurants
The shuttle bus for $10 is from the cruise terminal to downtown; and a bit off a rip-off; given a taxi is under $10 for 2-4 people; it's a 15 minute walk; or the city bus is $2.25 (exact change required). The 45-foot-long bus is the first purpose-built, fully electric double decker bus in North America. It has 99 seats including 65 on the upper floor, plus standing room. There are USB charging ports at each seat. The bus is also fully accessible with low-floor design, kneeling capabilities, wheelchair lift and configuration with two spots for wheelchairs or mobility aids.
Services available for passengers at dockside include gift shops, foreign currency exchange, and pay telephones. Tour and shuttle buses, taxis and other forms of transportation are readily available for passenger excursions to the city center and major tour attractions.
The city is very walkable.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
Victoria was settled in 1843 as a Hudson's Bay Company's trading post. The most westerly of Canadian cities and the oldest city on Canada's west coast, its temperate climate allows daffodils to bloom in February while the rest of Canada is experiencing bitter-cold weather. More than any other Canadian city, Victoria has the ambience of an English town.
Named for Britain's famous queen, it is a city that revels in the past. Tartan-kilted pipers welcome you. The streets, the Tudor-style architecture and the lampposts adorned with hanging baskets of bright blossoms, as well as the British-style tea shops, will take you back to another time and place.
Victoria's city layout is ideal for walking. Strolling the Inner harbor, sightseeing on foot and discovering the city's colorful history are encouraged. Heritage buildings, flower baskets hanging from lampposts and ocean and mountain views entice visitors down cobblestone sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly walkways.
British Columbia's capitol buildings, which we call the "Legislative Buildings" or "Parliament Buildings", are on Victoria's inner harbor (where you will land if you come by float plane, or a very short taxi ride or shuttle from where the helijet lands, or the cruise ships dock on the outer harbor). This symmetrical capitol complex was designed in 1897 by Francis Rattenbury, and is an outstanding example of European architecture.
Directly across the Street from the Empress Hotel is where the Victoria Visitor Center is located. This handy spot features tons of brochures and tours one can take while visiting Victoria.
An excellent way to see all of the city of Victoria is by using the HoHo bus. For a single fare you can depart the bus at any of its scheduled stops and then re-board the next bus to continue your self guided tour.
Victoria is the known as the "Cycling Capital of Canada". A temperate climate, an extensive trail and road network and spectacular scenery allow for year-round on- and off-road biking. Bike shops, clubs and touring companies offer expertise, equipment and guided rides to both residents and visitors.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
The Butchart Gardens is one of the world's premier floral show gardens.
To get to the gardens, there are charter buses that run from downtown in front of the Empress hotel, but they're in the $15 range, or the city bus works, but is slow, and you need to change buses once (at Royal Oak), but it's only $2.25 from the cruise terminal.
Surrounded by coastal waters and the rich farming regions of the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley, Victoria's gourmet chefs are blessed with an abundance of local produce right in their own backyards. Seafood, particularly salmon and shellfish, is a mainstay of West Coast cuisine and can be caught fresh from Pacific waters.
Local farms supply fresh, seasonal ingredients and the unusual varieties of food that chefs like. A number of Vancouver Island wineries complete the gourmet experience by providing locally-made wine.
It's considered normal to tip 10-15% of a restaurant bill. Tips are also usually given to bell hops, concierges, room cleaners, cab drivers, hairdressers, hotel attendants and, by savvy drinkers, bar staff.
You will find ATMs in many grocery stores, malls, airports and so on, and most are linked to the international networks, the most common being Cirrus, Plus, Star and Maestro. You can also grab cash from an ATM if you use a major credit card although this method tends to be more expensive because, in addition to a service fee, you'll be charged interest immediately.
The downtown public library has free WiFi and computers.
Holidays in Canada
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