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Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

Eastern Connecticut
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Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

Next July, after an Alaskan cruise that ends in Vancouver we have a few days to explore the region before flying out of Seattle back to the East Coast. We are seeking some info to plan our hotel stays.

We plan on renting a car for a day and driving to Whistler on the day we disembark from the cruise ship. That night we will stay in Vancouver. The next day (a Sat.) we would like to see Stanley Park then take the ferry (with all our luggage) to Victoria for the fireworks at Butchart Gardens. Is this a feasible plan? Will the ferry transfer take up most of the afternoon? How far in advance do we need to purchase our ferry tickets?

We will stay in Victoria Sat. night and explore the city on Sun.

On Mon. we take the ferry (and schlep our luggage) to Seattle and spend the night before flying out early Tue.

I'm wondering if the fireworks are worth it or should we spend the entire day on Sat. in Vancouver?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

The ferry to Vancouver Island (where Victoria is located) leaves from Tsawwassen, about 30 minutes drive south of Vancouver, and docks at Swartz Bay, about 30 minutes north of Victoria. Without a car, you will need to take a Pacific Coach lines bus from the main bus terminal in Vancouver through to the main bus teminal in Victoria. Allow four hours for the trip (which means that it will take an entire afternoon). Here is the website for PCL -

http://www.pacificcoach.com/

Butchart Gardens is between Swartz Bay and downtown Victoria, which means you will have to backtrack in the evening to see the fireworks. It is possible that there are bus tours operating from downtown Victoria out to Butchart Gardens for the fireworks. Someone should be along to advise you further on this.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

Addendum - Have a look at this information about getting to and from Butchart Gardens from downtown Victoria -

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154945-c95204/Victor…

victoria, bc
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3. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

If your dates are in late July , and it's fireworks that you are after I would suggest that you stay in Vancouver for the international Celebration of Light ( Fireworks Galore! ) Pardon the pun but Butchart doesn't hold a candle to the Vancouver display!

Port Moody, Canada
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4. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

I think your plan has a few flaws.

1. after disembarking..it can take a longtime to get off a cruise ship.. you may be physically off the ship but you still have to clear customs and immigration, get luggage etc. I would plan on it being at least 12 pm actually having your rental car and being able to drive out of vancouver. The drive to Whistler is quite scenic and renting a car will allow you to stop at various spots ( search many previous postings about this) I would plan to stay overnight in Whistler. There will be a lot of daylight at that time of year so you can enjoy the sights well into the evening. if you plan to drive up and back in the same day i think you'll feel really rushed.

2. Without a rental car your best way to get to Victoria is by Pacific Coach lines as previously mentioned. I'm sure they also do fireworks tours. It's not a bad idea to go to Victoria s from there you can take the Clipper ferry ( walk on only, no cars) to downtown Seattle and from there a cab to the airport unless you plan to spend an overnight in Seattle.

clippervacations.com/victoria_clipper_ferry_…

If you decide to stay in Vancouver on your return from Whistler then look at taking amtrak down to Seattle..

The suggestion to see fireworks in vancouver is a good one but the fireworks almost didn't happen this year and there are no confirmed dates for 2010. Personally I wouldn't go all the way to Butchart's just to see fireworks.. Victoria is fun and if you like gardens then Butcharts is great. it's also an easy way for you to get to seattle via the clipper.. as well the ride through the gulf islands is very scenic and well worth the time.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

IMO, your plan will mean you will just "drop in" on a couple of highlights around here while spending quite a bit of time in the car. There is nothing wrong with scenic driving, if that's something you know about in advance.

It will take you 2 hours to drive to Whistler. So another 2 hours back to Vancouver to see Stanley Park, then a 1 hour drive to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen about 1 hour ahead of sailing. The ferry is1.5 hours followed by 40 minutes drive into Victoria. = total of 4 hours travel time.

I support the idea from T47 to look into Pacific Coach's assortment of tours/travel to the Island. itchy has linked their website for you. This bus offers good quality transpo, a very pleasant travel option. They put the luggage under the bus for the duration. No worries about schlepping luggage to Vic. They even offer an overnight package including hotel in Vic if needed. This way, you spend the same 4 hours but would leave the driving to them!

Whistler is great for a day trip. Stanley Park needs about a half day minimum. Victoria is always lovely and Butchart needs about 1.5 hours for the gardens. Butchart offers a picnic dinner to have on the grass. The ground underneath the grass is quite moist (temperate rainforest!) and will wick up into your clothes, so take something to sit on to protect them.

It's early days right now, but you will want to book in time as Victoria/Butchart are very popular destinations.

6. Re: Post cruise transfers: Vancouver to Victoria to Seattle

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