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About Aesop081

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Victoria, BC Canada
  • Interests
    Travel, photography, Goldwing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess or NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama Canal Transit

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  1. If you have the time then the museum, as previously stated, is a great visit. it would be rushed and that would be a shame, but it is a "get into history" type of museum, not the "look at this history" type. September has some of the most gorgeous evenings and strolling downtown and have a nice dinner or sitting at a Patio at a pub will be wonderful.
  2. I'd pay up to 1000pp or even more from Mini suite to get into Haven area. I know this will come with a whole bunch of disagreements and some agreements, but that is MY preference. Just so worth it to be in that environment, the simplicity of cruising when Haven. The quiet, the service, the space, mostly that, the space. If you got a deal on the mini, treat yourself.
  3. That be me. No desire to even look into the big ships, having to make reservations for...everything, where's the fun in that. All the stories posted on the NCL forum of racing onto ships to make bookings, sardine canned pool decks, etc.etc. Give me Jewel class anytime.
  4. The ships tours usually run between 99 US and 120 US depending on length and if there is a lunch, tea, or dinner provided at Butchart Gardens (BG). BTW, the tea at the Gardens is as good as any in Victoria and less than half that at the "other" place. Taxis to BG can be had from either the terminal or downtown. From the terminal will add about $10 cdn to the price. I've never taken a taxi to BG but I have taken one to the airport which is past BG but about the same distance when you count the road taken. That runs about 60-70 depending on traffic getting out of town, each direction. That's about 45 to 55 US. Entrance into BG is 33 dollars...ish. Again about 25 US. So if you are two in the party you're looking at an overall cost of 155 US dollars for the round trip including entrance to the Gardens. So there is a saving to be had. However if you have a restricted time frame to take the tour and the ship is only in port for 4 or 5 hours, you may be better off for piece of mind on the tour. If you have a full day, as I did on a re-positioning cruise with Princess this May, there was no pressure to meet the late night departure time and you can stroll, sit, relax, eat, shop in the gift store which is pretty nice. If you can find another couple then you will make out in spades for the savings of sharing the taxi. Either way visiting Butchart Gardens is a must see if you have any love of gardens. Rated consistently in the top 10 or 5 Gardens of the world. It's worth it. And all the taxis take plastic of all types (credit) so there is no need to stock up on cash. And there is nothing you need cash for at the Gardens either. Downside is that you're way too early for the rose garden.
  5. May 9th, assuming normally good weather, should be a glorious time to be at the gardens as the Bulb show will be in full force. This is my favourite time to visit other than Christmas and a summer Saturday fireworks evening. The gardens plant over 300 000 bulbs every year and the colour is glorious and the smell of the Hyacinth is almost overwhelming. Butchart is a show garden, not a botanical garden, so they will always have flowers in bloom. Granted winter is a bit sparse but the gardens are open 365 days a year. They have 12 gigantic greenhouses that are growing flowers for planting out at all time I hope you enjoy your visit to Victoria and especially the Butchart Gardens.
  6. The seaweed is becoming a problem all over the Caribbean, especially so on the Atlantic side of the islands but not long until it is everywhere. This year the Marriott has a fancy new machine that resembles a hay maker. It drives down the beach each morning or after a tide and lifts it off the beach in 10 minutes piling it into a carrying trailer behind it and disappearing...somewhere. Left the beach mostly clean and no smell, although that might be because of the breeze. By lunch the beach was packed. Not trying to be a fan boy, but just saying they're coming to grips with how to deal with that stuff. If you check out the first picture I put up and zoom in you'll see a clean beach, this was about 2 hours after the "machine" drove down the beach. Approx. 1100
  7. The shuttle price has increased to 15 this year as I experienced a few weeks ago. Of course I didn't take it. 5 for a day pass on transit. Just go out to the street in front of the cruise ship terminal stay on the side of the terminal and catch the bus into town and back. And anywhere else all over the city.
  8. Shuttle is now $15...or it was last week when we visited.
  9. With your time restriction I would certainly take the taxi method. With 4 it is still much cheaper than the ship's tour per person. And 60 Canadian dollars is about the right amount plus minus - each way. So that's only 45 US (ish). Getting to Butchart prior to 11 AM is highly recommended as the lunch hour time frame is the busiest of the day outside of a summer Fireworks show. 2 hours is enough to do the Gardens unless you are the type to cover every inch and loiter at flower displays or spend time in restaurant and gift shop. I would pre-arrange the return cab ride also to be safe. And not leave the Gardens later than 1230 for an onboard time of 1330.
  10. As Heidi13 stated timings for your port visit are very important if you are going to Butchart Gardens outside of a ship tour. It's not a problem at all if you have a full day in port. Not such a good idea if you only have 4 or 5 hours. Doing the rounding math of transportation budget--- 1 hour to get there, 2 hours to be there, 1 hour to get back. That's if you're focusing from the minute your feet hit the concrete. All day visits such as the Ruby Princess on May 9th who is in port from 0900 to 2359are not a problem. I'm not certain about where the Big Bus shuttle to Butchart leaves from but the welcome centre for Big Bus is 1/2 a block past the Empress on Government St. They or any other bus driver will let you know. Just keep walking past the Empress and keep the construction on your left and you will be there on the other side of the street from the construction.
  11. Bahama Mama...fresh made, better rum taste.
  12. We were able to get 3 in the shade but they were very close together as you can see here with my father drying off after a swim. But 2 comfortably, and that day there was a good breeze of the ocean so even in the sun it wasn't hot. Sunburn danger sure, but not hot. The loungers at the pool all have movable tops that you can use to keep the sun off your head and body depending on which way you orient the chair to the sun. The only picture I have of them is this one. Well I have others but the wife forbids posting her in the bathing suite. 🙄 They would show her totally in the shade from the overhead sun shade on the chair.
  13. I would love to be definitive about this but I don't know for 100% certain. I do know they have an early morning (1 hour prior) breakfast in the cafe for some tour groups but they're not allowed into the garden until the soft opening 15 min prior to official time. This stops a rush of people at the beginning of the day. So maybe at night. Never heard of it though.
  14. The Butchart Gardens don't open up for evening hours until June. So if you're arriving in May you are out of luck as they close at 5PM. Fireworks happen on Saturdays from First weekend in July until 10 weeks later End Aug/Beg Sept depending on the calendar. The weather in May can be nice and warm in the evening but with a brisk breeze. It won't be dark until 9 ish and the late evenings on a warm night are magical downtown. In June it is light until 930 PM and duskish until 10. Whenever you visit stop and have a beer at one of the pubs downtown. And you don't have to go far to get a micro brew almost every bar carry the locally made stuff. When you consider the exchange rate you get a good price on it also. The museum is on winter hours until the 16 of May. Which means they close at five. After that when they go onto summer hours (read...do it for the cruise ship pax) they stay open late on Fridays and Saturdays, usually to 10 PM. I know it sounds like it would be a dry place to visit but it isn't at all. To be honest, the cruise lines do their passengers no favours by having those weird visiting hours, they only stop because they have to for US cartage laws. Also, we can only get 3 ships at a time in the harbour so sometimes they have no choice but to come in after the other lines have spent a day here. They are trying to expand in the next couple of years and even trying to make Victoria a start/end point, to get more of the lucrative pre and post visit benefits.
  15. As to what I'm going to do...lol. I thought of going to work for the day and saving a vacation day. It's only a 20 minute walk from the ship...but no. Son and I will probably go into town to a pub for lunch and a few beers. We're both into photography, well he is more video since he's taking Motion Picture Arts in University, but we will have our cameras out and try to be a tourist in the downtown area. Maybe mix it up with Wife and daughter for supper. We'll still travel with the ship to Vancouver as that's where he resides. That way I get one more buffet lunch on the ferry coming back to the island on Friday. And it's so much cheaper a trip when you only have to buy airfare one way.
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