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Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

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Hong Kong, China
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Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Hi, our NCL ship will dock from 6p to Midnight in Victoria and are planning to take a group of 10 ppl ( including two 2-yr olds and 80+ yr old great grandmother) to Butchart Gardens. We read that the cruise buses take an insane amount of time thus were considering using taxis. But, is it legal for the two 2-yr olds to not use car seats? Will it be easy to get taxi out of the Gardens at closing? If we can't use taxis, any one recommend a car service with car seats? Are they willing to just drop off then come pick back up at designated time?

I made a 8:45p reservation at The Dining Room inside the Garden to celebrate my mother's birthday. I am thinking it will take 1 hr to deboard, get transportation, then enter gardens. This would give us 1hr 45min to walk around before eating. Is this a good plan?

Thank in advance for any advice!

Victoria, Canada
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1. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

hi, I would recommend taking a private tour company - there are van tour companies and limos that service the cruise ship terminals and routinely take groups to the Butchart Gardens, wait for you while you enjoy the gardens and guarantee you will be back in plenty of time for the ship. many of these companies have car seats. Check out the sightseeing tour companies under "things to do"

you would need 3 taxis at $55 each for one way - so $330 return. A private van or limo can take you in one vehicle for less.

Bellmore, New York
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2. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Sounds like a very ambitious plan to me especially with dinner at the gardens. If all the stars are aligned possibly you have 5 hours for r/t transport, see the gardens and have dinner. Guess it is possible but not an easy task.

Bellmore, New York
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3. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Sounds like a very ambitious plan to me especially with dinner at the gardens. If all the stars are aligned possibly you have 5 hours for r/t transport, see the gardens and have dinner. Guess it is possible but not an easy task. Do you realize that the Gardens are not near the port......about a 40 minute drive

calgary
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4. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

I agree with martyap - that sounds like a very busy evening and a rather late dinner for two year olds. As lovely as the Gardens are (and I'm a big fan) for the amount of time you have, the need to have a special dinner, and the number of people you are trying to transport I think somewhere in town would suit you better. Might I suggest you hire a horse drawn carriage to take you all on a tour, then drop you at the Empress Hotel for a the special dinner. Of hire a private tour company to take you on a tour of the city, then dinner.

Bellmore, New York
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5. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Cruiseryyc has made some great suggestions. Too risky, too far, too few hours to do all you plan at Butchart. There are plenty of very good restaurants in Victoria in addition to the Empress. You could have just desert at the Empress.....another plan would be to have a meal on the ship before getting to Victoria and visit the gardens alone without dining at Butchart.

SE Ontario
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6. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

All it would take is one accident on the highway to create a traffic jam, or some such, and you could be stuck trying to get back to the ship on time. With such a short span, I'd agree with the rest that you're better off exploring the Inner Harbour area and surrounds, and booking a dinner at the Empress or another fine establishment.

Butchart has an amazing and far-reaching marketing machine which is part reason for their success. The gardens are lovely, but there are many fine gardens and natural sights in the downtown Victoria area, in the adjoining neighbourhoods and by the legislature buildings. Personally I'd skip Butchart, spend the time strolling the area, let the kids run and tumble by the Empress, and not feel stressed over time restraints.

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

The other suggestions are great too, there is so much to see and explore in Victoria! The little ones would love Beacon HIll Park too. However, cruise ship passengers routinely go to Butchart Gardens when their ship arrives in the evening, has been going on for many, many years! Some cruise ships arrive at 7 pm and hundreds of people from the ship go to the Butchart Gardens. In the springtime when the Butchart Gardens are not open to the public they open JUST for the cruise ship passengers.

I'm thinking your ship is arriving on a Sat. night. In Aug they have fireworks on Sat nights, which are spectacular, but it will be very, very busy.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

You will have to clear Canada customs to get off the ship. I actually don't see why you can't do this but not in the timing you have outlined. I've been looking through Sightseeing listings and think you might like to have a look at this listing:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g154945-d4…

An experienced and professional driver, who seems to be able to handle more than driving and guiding may be something to look into. They have a stretch limo as well so see if they have the necessary vehicles to handle 10 people.

I think you could be off the ship by 7h30. At the gardens by 8h15. Do a 30 min walkabout of some of the garden. A lovely dinner at 8h45 to 10h00 at a memorable venue. Finish your walkabout for a short time after dinner and have the driver get you back to the ship by 11h00, which is no doubt the time they will ask you to be back on board.

You will need to choose which "event" to shorten: either the visit to the Gardens which can take 1-2 hours, or the dinner itself, which can take 1.5 hours to enjoy. You might even work with the dining room to pre-order your dinners a day before. This would save the server taking time to take your orders at the table.

Taxis and limos are exempt from car seats. They will allow you to install them if you bring your own.

1. Find out from your ship about Canada customs disembarkation time as well as when you need to be back on board.

2. Talk to some private sightseeing companies who would be at your service for the duration of the evening.

3. Talk to Butchart about preordering your meals. Also how much flex time would there be around that 8h45 reservation. Would they be set up to handle it if you arrived at 8h30 or 8h20 for example. Preordering your meals would only work if you could ascertain a fixed reservation time, though. I'm just thinking about how to reduce the split of the two walkabouts. I think the tour drivers who meet the ships would be another source of info as to when you could actually get off the ship and get going.

I think this is a wonderful idea and doable. I would trust an experienced Victoria driver to know many routes to and from Butchart and use any of them if necessary. And I think you have enough time to do this under the guidance of an experienced driver. It is the division of time at Butchart that would need to be managed. A Saturday fireworks night might have an impact on a car getting away from Butchart. The parking will be full by about 6 pm so no worries there, cars will be diverted away from the entrance at that point, leaving taxis and limos free to enter, but 10h00 might be a concern. If Saturday is your day, ask Butchart when the fireworks end. Then work with your driver.

Bellmore, New York
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9. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Too many things could go wrong but if that's your plan a few other things to consider:

1. If you do hire a private car/driver you might have to pre/pay or leave a deposit......check out

their cancellation policy.....just in case. Plus make sure you have a contact phone number

for when you get off the ship AND when you are done with Butchart.

2. How many ships are in port with you......when we were in Victoria last month there were three ships in port one evening......that many more buses/people converging on Butchart; that much more traffic.

We always take private tours when we cruise and have cruised all over the world. They have always been professional and we have never missed our ship's departure. Still, it is ambitious to do the trip/dinner/garden tour......good luck. Victoria is indeed beautiful with or without Butchart

Edited: 01 August 2014, 23:34
Hong Kong, China
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10. Re: Transport from Port to Butchart Gardens w/ two 2-yr olds

Wow, thanks everyone! Such great advice and really appreciate it. I will pass the info to my family to develop a different agenda.