All good things must come to an end and today was the end of the cruise – our last port, Victoria, British Columbia.
The city of 78,000 is located on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Originally founded in 1843 as a trading post for the Hudson Bay Co., Victoria now serves as the provincial capital for British Columbia. It still has that British feel with a number of pubs, tea rooms, and double decker busses. The Empress Hotel still serves a traditional high tea. It is also famous for the Butchart Gardens, 55 acres of landscaped grounds with over 700 varieties of flowers.
We slept late again this morning. Chuck had to tell me the alarm was going off. It’s a rare day that I don’t hear an alarm. Retirement must really be kicking in. After a coffee run, we had a late breakfast in the Lido. Then it was time for the dreaded packing. I know I am going to have to re-organize tomorrow night to ensure that the checked bags are under the weight limit and the liquids and such are in the checked bags.
We docked in Victoria around 1:00 but Chuck and I didn’t disembark until around 2:30. We took the shuttle to the downtown area. I had hoped to take the walking tour called Victoria’s City but didn’t realize that they only did one on Sunday and we missed it as it started at 2:00. We looked at the Hop On Hop Off bus but it seemed expensive for what you got. It was raining so we decided just to walk down the street and get some pictures of the Empress Hotel and their Government Building with the statue of Victoria in front. I also took some pictures of the beautiful flowers that they had everywhere. I was surprised at the number of totem poles in the parks.
I didn’t have a Christmas ornament from Canada since last year’s stop in Vancouver was just a transfer to the bus taking us back to Seattle. I found a cute one with black bears around a Christmas tree. Only souvenir purchase of the trip.
I thought Victoria was a beautiful and clean-looking city. There were some panhandlers but they were not aggressive. Surprisingly, it doesn’t get much snow. I hear it is very expensive to live here but there was condo/apartment construction all over the place so somebody must be moving in.
Got back to the ship and said goodbye to our room stewards who have been great. Gave them a little extra for all the nice extras they did for us. Since we have not adjusted our hotel charges, they get to keep the cash we gave them. Otherwise, if we had the charges taken off or reduced, they are supposed to turn in all cash gifts so that everyone can get a share. If they try to keep it and are discovered, they can get fired.
I just don’t understand people who take off the charges. I know the stewards and waiters are the ones you get to know and may only want to reward them but they can’t do their jobs well if the cooks, dishwashers, laundry personnel, cleaning crew, etc. don’t do their job. They all depend on a share of that hotel money.
Had a couple of drinks out at the Sea View pool bar area. Had to stay under the awning out of the rain but the temperature wasn’t too bad and it was not windy. As I was going down the hallway to get on the elevator to go up there which is in the aft area there was a distinct sewage smell. I know the residents back in the area were not happy. I didn’t smell it later in the evening.
Just didn’t feel like going to the main dining room tonight. A nice thing about Holland America is that some of the dishes that they have in the main dining room they also serve in the Lido restaurant on the same night. You just have to go through the line to get it. They will bring you what you want to drink including wine. Tonight was not busy at all as I guess some people decided to stay in Victoria to eat. They don’t have to be back on the ship until 10:30. Some guests actually disembarked the ship permanently today – Canadians. Save them the hassle of U.S. Customs tomorrow and getting back to Canada.
Chuck had the steak and I had the lasagna. It’s nice that you can pick out the sides you want to go with it or not get any sides at all. I just decided on lasagna and salad. Of course, ice cream for dessert.
Not a lot going on in the way of activities tonight. Casino is closed due to being in port until 11:00. The entertainers are off. They are showing a repeat of The Greatest Showman on the screen at the Main Stage. Most everyone is just saying goodbye to one another and putting out their suitcases. Time for one last farewell drink and then put our suitcases out for pick-up. You have to make sure that you keep the clothes and toiletries you need for the next day or you will be embarrassed having to wear a robe off the ship. We keep the small bag with us and let them take the 2 bigger bags.
Our departure time is 9:20. I hope everything runs smoothly tomorrow. All hinges on Customs so you can never be sure. Our shuttle to the hotel runs until 11:00 so we should be OK. Worst case scenario, we have to pay for a taxi or Uber.
I have really enjoyed the cruise even with the days of less than perfect weather. The time went by very fast.
We received the ship’s log tonight. Here are the cruise stats:
Number of officers and crew: 596
Nationalities of crew: 35
Average speed of the trip: 17 knots
Miles traveled: 3700
Fuel used: 822 metric tons
Eggs consumed: 33,000
I don’t even know what tonight’s towel animal is. Very strange configuration.