May 26, 2013
We were up bright and early this morning. We were nearing Victoria so we watched from the balcony for a while.
Temperatures were cool, skies were overcast and a constant drizzle was falling. By the time the room service coffee arrived at 7:00 a.m. I was already showered and ready to hit the road. We watched the ship dock in Victoria and at 7:30 we made our way to Deck 9 for breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet.
Our excursion group met in Wave Bands at 8:15. The check-in process was efficient, as usual, and by 8:30 the Disney Port Adventures staff were leading us down the gangway to the waiting bus for our tour and tea at Butchart Gardens.
The bus driver/tour guide, Rolland, did an amazingly good job. We told us very informative and humorous tales about the city and its history. He related the origins of the Butchart family and how they came to develop their old and depleted limestone quarry into world famous gardens.
We debarked from the bus at 9:30 and began by exploring the sunken garden located in the former quarry. It is simply awesome.
When people think of Canada they think of ice and snow . . . but these gardens are located in a temperate rainforest. Everything is lush and green. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!
We moved on past the Ross Fountain and toured the rose garden. Very few roses were in bloom this early in the season, but in a month it will be glorious.
Our tea was scheduled for 10:45 so we ran out of touring time much too soon. We had to bypass the Japanese and Italian Gardens. The tea was excellent, a nice variety of scones, sandwiches and sweets along with a pot of hot tea. It sure hit the spot after a few hours out in the cold drizzle.
We took a few more pictures as we approached the exit. A greenhouse beside the gift shop had a vivid display of orchids and begonias so we stopped for some shots of those specimens.
Naturally Carol had to detour through the gift shop and to my surprise, she came out empty handed. Wow!
We boarded our bus at 12:15 and only had to wait five minutes for the inevitable stragglers.
Rolland entertained us again on the way home, pointing out many points of interest and using amusing tales to put them all in historical perspective. All in all it was a terrific excursion – the gardens were breathtaking and Rolland brought the journey there and back to life with his enthusiastic stories. We tipped him generously; I hope everyone else did too!
We were back aboard by 1:30 and wandered the deck for a while enjoying a break in the showers. It was a real surprise, and a treat, to see the Disney Wonder flying our Canadian flag!
We admired the Victoria skyline and watched the boats and float planes navigate the harbor. There was even a floating bus, the Hippo!
We stopped at Beach Blanket Buffet for a light snack about 2:00 p.m. and then returned to the stateroom where Carol did some more packing. Alas, it all comes to an end for us tomorrow and our bags must be out in the hall for pick-up by 10:30 tonight.
Our last dinner was in Animator’s Palate at 5:45. The servers put on a show, parading around the dining room waving flags of their native countries. For some strange reason our server, Sedat from Turkey, was waving the Canadian flag.
We said goodbye to our tablemates and exchanged e-mail addresses, then headed back to the stateroom to finish the last minute things and put our bags out in the hall.
I headed out for a last stroll around Deck 10, soaking in the scenery as we sailed up the Haro Straight past San Juan Island. The sun was setting over Vancouver Island.
Tomorrow we disembark in Vancouver and catch a noon flight to Toronto then drive 2 hours to our home in Kingston. If all goes well we should be able to pick up our dogs and be home by 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night.
This is the first time we have cruised on our own in about six years. Since then we have always sailed with friends or as part of a group. Before this cruise we had wondered what sort of group we would have at our table and how we would all get along. It worked out very well. There was always plenty of lively and interesting dinner conversation and we even met by chance for a few lunches.
We had a terrific time. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “But Gary, you didn’t get to the pool or hot tub once during the trip.” You are absolutely correct, the cruise would have been more enjoyable had the weather been a bit warmer but overall we had a wonderful time.
We hope you have enjoyed travelling along with us!
We’ll sail again in October, aboard the Disney Fantasy on a 7 day Western Caribbean itinerary. Then in May 2014 we will take our 10th Disney cruise when join in the fun of the AllEars.net group cruise. To see more about that cruise follow this link.
The previous post in this blog was Cruising to Vancouver on the Disney Wonder - Day 6.
The next post in this blog is Jim’s Attic: The Hidden Roy O. Disney Tribute.