When my husband and I decided to plan a side trip to Victoria, British Columbia as part of a business trip to Seattle, we explored all of our travel options. In early spring, many of the public ferries and catamarans do not run. Our choices were to fly or take the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran from Seattle Harbor.
We opted for the Victoria Clipper because it was a little more affordable, and I’m glad we did. The three hour trip was very relaxing. As a mom, I rarely have time to read a good book, or just sit and take in the view. A three hour boat ride felt like the height of luxury. The seats are reasonably comfortable, and you can walk about the cabin. If you decide to go out on deck it can be chilly, so bring a windbreaker or warm coat.
The food on the Victoria Clipper was underwhelming. Most offerings consisted of variations of a low quality bagel and cream cheese. You might want to bring your own snack. The hot chocolate was delicious however!
You can also take a Clipper to The San Juans, Whistler, and Vancouver Island. Once your reach your destination, the Clipper offers a number of activity and lodging packages. These include visits to Buchart Gardens and afternoon tea at the historic Fairmont Empress hotel. It pays to do your homework though, my husband was able to obtain a lower nightly rate at the Empress by booking separately.
We opted for the bus tour to Buchart Gardens. Despite being the youngest people on the bus by at least 20 years, this tour gave us a great preview of the city of Victoria and plenty of interesting historical information about the gardens. We had several hours to explore the gardens, and even found time for a delicious lunch before we boarded the bus! The gardens were absolutely spectacular in early spring…well worth a visit!
Our trip was brief, we left early Saturday morning from Seattle and returned from Victoria early Sunday evening. Still, it was lovely to spend the weekend in this romantic Canadian city. Our time on the Victoria Clipper made the journey even more memorable. I will never forget the breathtaking sight of seeing Victoria Harbor for the first time as we approached the dock. I am looking forward to bringing the kids along on our next Victoria Adventure.
All Photos: Bridget Smith
*I did not receive any discounts or promotional considerations from the operators of the Victoria Clipper. This review is based on my personal experience.