Victoria is British Columbia’s capital city — and one of the most charming places in Canada. The cultures that call Victoria home have shaped the architecture, landscape, and personality of the city. Thanks to the many heritage preservation programs, these influences are still strongly represented in Victoria today.
If this is your first time cruising to Victoria, you may want to take advantage of the city’s cultural and historical sites. Passengers choose to disembark in Victoria during their Alaskan cruise to sneak a glimpse into the past at the city’s historic sites, experience the rare natural beauty of its gardens and parks, and get a taste of the local cuisine. There are so many things to do in Victoria, you won’t have any problem finding activities — but choosing between activities is another story.
1. Craigdarroch Castle
Venturing a little further from Victoria proper, you will find the stunning and meticulously restored Craigdarroch Castle. Robert Dunsmuir, a famous railroad tycoon and politician constructed Craigdarroch Castle in 1890. He ensured the designed included delicate-looking stained glass windows and intricate woodwork. Decorated with lavish furniture and accessories from the Dunsmuir family’s residency, this castle allows visitors to step back in time. The castle has also been named a national historic site. With over 39 rooms to explore, it is well worth visiting during your cruise to Victoria.
2. Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site
Continue your journey back through time with a visit to the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. It is one of the most prestigious military bunkers on Canada’s west coast. Take a tour of the restored artillery fort as you explore a maze of bunkers and command posts. The entire compound was built back in 1878, and the influence of the 19th century still lingers in its architecture.
From here, you can also get a glimpse of the Fisgard Lighthouse, the very first lighthouse to be built on Canada’s west coast. The lighthouse is also protected as a national historic site.
3. Horse-Drawn Trolley Ride
There’s no better way to make the most of your cruise to Victoria than to tour the most historic parts of the city from a horse-drawn trolley. Should you choose to disembark at one of the four stops, you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants and shopping nearby. Or, choose to remain seated for the entire journey and feel free to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights of Downtown Victoria. The trolley is also a great way to get to some of the other attractions, including Beacon Hill Park.
4. Butchart Gardens
No family cruise to Victoria is complete without a trip to the Butchart Gardens. These gardens are home to some of the most fragrant and exotic flowers in Victoria. Some of the world’s top publications have all ranked the Butchart Gardens as one of the best in the world. The gardens have also been named a national historic site of Canada. Over one million visitors head here each year to get a glimpse of the flora and fauna in the five gardens, including the Japanese, Mediterranean, rose, sunken, and Italian.
5. Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is a 200-acre park located on the southern shore of Victoria. It offers a variety of outdoor activities.
The park features picnic areas, a petting zoo, walking trails, water fountains, a pavilion, a wading pool for cooling down on hot summer days, and many other amenities. If you want to add a little extra rest and relaxation to your family cruise, Beacon Hill is the place to be.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in Canada. Here, the streets are decorated with traditional Chinese decor and feature a variety of tourist attractions, including Fan Tan Alley (which happens to be the narrowest street in Canada) and the Gate of Harmonious Interest, the official entrance to Chinatown.
You don’t need to go on a cruise to China to taste Chinese cuisine. Some of the most mouthwatering things to eat in Victoria can be found in Chinatown. You might find dumplings that are bursting with soup, hand-pulled noodles that seemingly stretch for miles and ducks so golden and crispy that you won’t be able to resist trying one. The aroma of five spice will be lingering on your lips all the way back to the ship.
Enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine as you bask in the culture and beauty of Victoria’s Chinese heritage when you book the Victoria City Lights shore excursion.
Victoria has an abundance of natural beauty, unique cultures and historical sites that make it a must-see city. Should you choose to disembark your cruise vacation at this port, there are a wide variety of activities to fit just about any interest. Whether you’re into history, culture, nature–or even just a few selfies–you’ll find plenty of activities in this multicultural city.
Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.