Awesome CLIPPER Sail To Beautiful VICTORIA, B.C.
There is no better way to arrive in Victoria B.C. than the marvelous high-speed Clipper Ship from Seattle!
Our Clipper from Seattle to Victoria departs at 8:00 A.M. Since we're staying in Poulsbo, we needed to rise very early to catch the Bainbridge Ferry to Seattle (a 30 minute beautiful rising sun ride).
|Approaching Seattle on the Bainbridge Ferry|
AOnce in Seattle, we cabbed to the Clipper dock (too far to walk, especially with our overnight luggage, time constriction and area construction).
We've sailed on many ships...large and small...and are always highly aware of the various ships' quality of embarkation. We give the Clipper ship a solid A for their friendly and efficient system! We were on our pleasure boat quickly and settled into our comfortable armed chairs ready for our almost 3 hour sail to Victoria.
|Our ride to Victoria aboard Clipper Ship|
|Clipper Ship interior|
|Our comfy Clipper Ship seats|
A hint: If you want a top deck seat (they go first), early arrival is important.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Meis and Chelsea Evans of Clipper Vacations who, with their high enthusiasm, knowledge and friendly attitude, led us through the Clipper Vacations and the many fun, interesting and exciting trips, tours and excursions offered to vacationers and locals alike. We've already decided that our next northwest trip will include Clipper Vacations San Juan Islands and Whale Watching! Just go to clippervacations.com and let the excitement begin!
Everything you want or need, is offered by Clipper....a smooth sail, great views, comfortable seating, step-up food service and even a small gift shop! Or...relax in comfort and servers will present a menu and bring your order to your table or pull down tray. You can even order from their gift shop list, staying right in your seat!
|Clipper Ship menu|
|Clipper Ship menu|
Naturally, we wanted to explore both decks and were very impressed!
|High Speed Clipper Ship|
Lots of "oohhs and aahhs" as we approached Victoria!
We were happy to see our hotel, Grand Pacific, located just a short walk across the street from our dock!
We originally booked The Empress Hotel, but after hearing about the large renovations (including prohibitive access to the orginal lobby, requiring side door entrance) being conducted now and through the next year, we wisely decided to cancel. There are so many lovely, affordable hotels in Victoria, particularly waterfront and with water views.
We were assured we made the right decision in choosing Grand Pacific Hotel.
|Grand Pacific Hotel|
Shortly after checking into the hotel (we were graciously welcomed to have early access to our room) and checking out our lovely accommodations with a balcony overlooking the waterfront,
we took a short stroll to The Fairmont Empress Hotel.
|Tally Ho Horse & Carriage Tours|
On our way, we stopped to admire the majestic Parliament buildings and grounds.
A statue of Emily Carr (endear
ed Victoria artist who captured the essence of the Pacific Northwest coast in her paintings) with her beloved dog, is situated on our way.
|Emily Carr Statue with Empress Hotel in the background|
The Empress Hotel is beautifully landscaped with explosions of flowers!
True,as we had heard, entrance is via a small side door.
We took a self-tour throughout the hotel, including a large marvelous glass "green house" attached building, owned separately, we were told. That area is breath-taking ... and all, including the hotel's main areas are free to see!
When visiting a new city, we usually take the Hop-On Hop-Off bus through it's entire route, noting the stops we want to make on our second and future rounds. Victoria was no exception so we started our first day catching the bus in front of the Empress Hotel.
|Hop On Hop Off bus with Parliament Buildings in the background|
We are always happy with our decision to take advantage of the reasonably priced Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus service ... seeing an abundance of attractions, neighborhoods and unique discoveries, while learning the history of the city. So...Round 1 ... we stayed on the bus and made mental notes for future stops.
First day... Round 2 - Our first stop ... Old Town.
A bite to eat and we're off to an afternoon and early evening of browsing Market Square, Bastion Square and Hudson's Bay
|Murchie's Tea & Coffee Shop|
and an array of shops (many specializing in outdoor gear and wear).
Immediately regretting not bringing a warm hat, I found just what I needed in Old Town.
|That's the hat...arriving in Seattle after our Victoria trip|
H-O H-O Bus - Second stop (and last stop for the day, with evening approaching)... The Coho Ferry Pier, directly across from our hotel.
Considering our dinner choices, we spotted a friendly indoor/outdoor patio restaurant and bar next to our hotel. Turns out it was the Days Inn and a great choice! Lucky us! It's happy hour, and happy hour is always welcome! So, we ordered wine and perused the appetizer menu, deciding on Asian Ribs and Halibut. Wow! Delicious and actually both large dishes were full meals for us!
Before going back to our hotel for the evening, we decided to stroll along Belleville Street, the main street on the waterfront where our hotel is located. Within a short walk, we came upon a fantasy of lighted Victorian buildings, located directly across from the Clipper ship pier! We were so intent, that morning, on getting to our hotel after disembarking the ship, we missed this treasure, until now! Huntingdon Manor (a bed and breakfast), Pendray Restaurant and The Gatsby Mansion!
We knew we wanted to find a wonderful Tea Room for Afternoon Tea our last day in Victoria and...a beautiful Tea Room sign told us "This is the Place"!
We'll talk about our lovely Tea on our last Victoria day.
Back to our hotel for our first night in Victoria, we reminisced the day, enjoying the night view from our balcony.
Day 2 - We always like to take some time to explore the local neighborhoods, so this morning we walked up Menzies Street, stopping for coffee and croissants at a lovely local cafe.
Spotting a grocery store, we shopped for some hotel room staples...fruit, pastries, wine and soda.
(This might be a good time to mention that, contrary to popular belief, it does not always rain in Victoria..or Seattle...weather was chilly, as expected, but sunny most days, with some rain during the late night.)
After dropping off our groceries, we were ready for Day 2 of our Hop On - Hop Off bus exploration.
Day 2 - First stop - Chinatown, with it's welcoming Gate of Harmonious Interest, the ornately decorated arch marking the entrance to Chinatown.
Many colorful and unique shops, restau
rants, nooks and crannies!
|Dr. Pan Chinese Medicine|
We couldn't resist a venture down very narrow Fan Tan Alley, named after a gambling game in the 1940's.
|Fan Tan Alley|
|Lots of friendly people! Here's Shaun AKA Brave The Wave|