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Butchart Gardens

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Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 1
Butchart Gardens

We are a family of 4 arriving in Victoria on a cruise ship at 7pm. The ship excursion to the gardens is $69 pp. With the admission price of $30pp, that seems a bit high. Any ideas for a less expensive way to travel to and from the gardens?

8 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 27,645
reviews: 37
1. Re: Butchart Gardens

Hi Denr954 ~

The Gardens are about 45 minutes drive away from the cruise ship pier. Don't know when your ship is sailing again, but I would recommend you take the ship organized tour. It will not get lost as you might on your own and it will get you back to the ship on time.

You could walk 25 minutes to the Empress Hotel on Government St and Humboldt for the CVS Shuttle service to the Gardens. They also have a shuttle(s) from the cruise ship pier into town (and the Butchart shuttle), which will no doubt be busy. There is a link just above the pricing on the following page to their schedule to and from the Gardens:

www.cvscruisevictoria.com/butcharts.html

You could also walk about 25 min into Douglas St and Belleville to catch the #75 public transit but for an hour to the Gardens. See the map here: http://goo.gl/maps/ls1lx

A cab would cost about $70 + tip one way.

Nanaimo, Canada
posts: 8,275
reviews: 17
2. Re: Butchart Gardens

Welcome to Trip Advisor!

There is a public bus that goes out to Butchart Gardens, but it is time consuming. A taxi is quicker, but you may not save enough to justify not using the cruise ships tour.

Have you had an opportunity to look at the right side of this page? The last question is all about getting to Butchart Gardens. Your answer might very well be in there. I haven't read it though.

What day of the week are you arriving? What month?

calgary
posts: 1,095
reviews: 2
3. Re: Butchart Gardens

With that limited time in port, I highly suggest taking the ship tour to ensure you get back in time for sailing.

Victoria BC
posts: 155
reviews: 1
4. Re: Butchart Gardens

There is also another option. If you walk off the cruise ship, after going through customs, there will be several smaller tour operators waiting outside the terminal. Prices here vary, and some will negociate to an extent. The quality of the tours here varies- some are very good, and others are, as the younger folk say today- meh.

Assuming quality in the "official" cruise ship excursions is though, in my opinion, a misplaced confidence. Tours depend on the individual driver/guide, and the enthusiasm and preparation they put into the job, and these vary as much with the bigger outfits as with the smaller.

Cruise ship companies get a cut from their affliate tour companies, and will often use the claim that unsanctioned companies may not be able to get back to the ship on time for departure as an incentive to use said favored companies. This may be the case in some destinations, but it is extremely unlikely in Victoria. This is a compact part of the world, and a little simple planning will assure a trip with a chronological safety margine before departure time.

Lincoln, Nebraska...
posts: 1
5. Re: Butchart Gardens

I have been on a cruise to another destination when traffic was backed up on the major highway leading back to the port due to an unexpected obstruction on the road. The ship had to wait for those of us that were on the cruise sanctioned tours, or was at least responsible for getting us back to our ship if we didn't make it...which we did. There were several other people who took other tours who did not, who had quite a long night catching back up with the cruise in a different port. Think poolside deck chairs all night on a different boat.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 27,645
reviews: 37
6. Re: Butchart Gardens

The Saanich Peninsula does not lend itself at all to traffic backing up. There are just too many other road choices between Butchart and the city.

The thing that keeps me from advising well is not having any idea what time the OP is sailing or has to be back on the ship. Even if it's an 11 pm boarding, I would think there will be about 1.5 hours each way (including disembarking/ embarking and waiting in the coach to get going) and about 1 hour? at the Gardens. I think you would have more joy in the city and perhaps in the Royal BC Museum.

Dallas, Oregon
posts: 4,470
reviews: 255
7. Re: Butchart Gardens

Yes the area is relatively compact, and there are several roads to and from Butchart Gardens, but a first-time visitor probably would get totally lost on the alternate backroads. Once visitors get off the main highway between Swartz Bay and Victoria, the roads zig-zag through various neighborhoods and are very confusing. We've been to Victoria 30-plus times and I've driven the middle part of the Saanich peninsula numerous times, and sometimes find myself driving in circles.

I wouldn't want to take the chance of getting back after the ship has left.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 27,645
reviews: 37
8. Re: Butchart Gardens

The smaller tour operators, waiting outside the terminal would not get lost though. It's safe to say that they would get back on time, their reputation and livelihood depend on that. It's not something you would want to do on your own, on the bus or with a rental car.

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