This was an fantastic tour. We were on the last tour of the season and the weather was not co-operating but our captain and crew did an outstanding job. We did see multiple whales and got some great pictures. We would definitely do this tour again.
Excellent trip. I would give it 6 stars if I could.
Pros: Abundant wildlife bald eagles, killer whales, humpback whales, whale watching tour guides were experts, Victoria is an excellent destination, bus tour operator to Butchart was friendly and informative, the Butchart Gardens are gorgeous.
Cons: Difficult to balance time between Victoria and Butchart Gardens an additional half-hour in each would have been great the morning check-in process could be a little more efficient
Outstanding tour experience from scheduling to actual trip. Professionally done all the way through the hole experience. Will highly recommend to friends and family members.
JOHN S USA
Let me tell you, just getting to go on this tour was an adventure in itself. Knowing what I know now I would not book this through Viator but would instead go directly to Prince of Whales to book this tour. We arrived on Friday morning and planned to take this on Saturday morning, not being familiar with the area we decided to walk to the hotel mentioned in the brochure to see how long it would take us to get there from where we stayed. Glad we did. We had booked through Viator a good 4 months prior because we really wanted to do this tour, we even received daily reminders as the trip got closer that we need to remember our voucher. Yet we got to the place only to discover that Viator never made the reservations and the tour that day was full. This could've totally destroyed the Vancouver part of the trip as we were looking forward to the whale watching and seeing the gardens which was why we booked so far in advance. The staff of Prince of Whales was very apologetic and helpful and at least fortunately were able to get us on a boat the following day which still worked out okay for us. We saw a lot of Orcas and got some great pictures, the gardens were beautiful, my recommendation would be that as soon as you are done with the whales go directly to the gardens as there is a lot to see and you really won't want to miss it. The people on Prince of Whales were outstanding and showed us a great time. We ran into a problem at the end as the boat meant to take us back to Vancouver had mechanical problems and was too damaged to take us back, but the owner of the company came out to meet us and ensure us that he would take care of us. He got us on a bus which then got on the ferry to Vancouver. He even paid for all of us to have the dinner buffet on him for the trouble we had gone through. It is nice to see someone back up their company. Wish Viator would've have done that. Highly, highly recommend doing this tour.
Fantastic day. The crew are brilliant and very informative. We saw lots of whales on the trip out and on our return which was an added bonus. Victoria and Butchart Gardens are very beautiful places which made the day even more memorable.
Entire trip was excellent. Naturalist on board was very informative. We DID see whales as we were approaching Victoria. So majestic - so beautiful. Besides choppy seas of which we were forewarned it was an excellent trip. We will have to go back to the Butchart Gardens - too much to see - needed more time. The entire layout was well planned except for needing more time to see all the lovely locations. Highly recommend this trip.
AWESOME!! Well worth the cost of the tour. Although the boat ride out was cold not their fault, they offered us warm raincoats and blankets and inside seating we chose to sit on the back deck and watch the scenery. We saw seals and whales on our way to Victoria, and otters and seals when they picked us up from the Gardens to return to Vancouver. We enjoyed seeing and shopping in Victoria and had a nice lunch there at a restaurant the naturalist suggested to us. At the end of the day we were tired, but very happy.
We had a wonderful time. The naturalist was enthusiastic and extremely knowledgable. She made sure to spend time with every guest. The boat got close enough for photos but not so close that it interfered with the wildlife.
The tour was everything you promised, including brilliant weather. Followed a pod of killer whales for at least 40 minutes. Would highly recommend your tour.
Whales playing tag with each other! We saw several pods of them on our way west to Victoria. This was a lovely day, combining whale watching with lunch in Victoria at the Fairmont Empress, then a bus trip to Butchart Gardens. Not enough time in either place to do them justice, but enough for a taste of their beauty. The boat trip home was uneventful. Weather was good, although a little hotter than usual. It was lovely at sea. The only downside was that the bus driver from Victoria to Butchart Gardens left us sitting on a hot bus without the AC for extended periods at each end, without telling us why. Several families tried to leave the bus on their own at the Gardens.
G W D New Zealand
Well organised with informed commentary and knowledgeable crew. And we saw whales!!! Would definitely recommend this trip
We saw many whales, the ride was not too bumpy and umbrellas were provided when it sarted to drizzle. The four year old grand daughter loved the whales and the flowers
The whale watching was fun, but there really wasn't much time in Victoria. You end up picking one or the other Victoria vs Butchart gardens. We had lunch in Victoria and went to the gardens. That being said, it was a long day so I don't know that I would make it longer - just don't expect to see a lot of both. The whale watching would have been easier with a loud speaker system but each guide came around to give the same story to different sections of the boat. They were very nice and gave photos at the end for free which was a nice surprise.
We did not see any whales in the morning, but were able to see a pod on the way back from Butchart Gardens. My only critique is that I wish we would have had a few more minutes on the way back to Vancouver to whale watch. Although, had we seen whales in the morning, this may not have been such a big deal. The guides and rest of the crew were wonderful!
I wish we left at earlier and get some more time in Victoria. It's a place worth visiting.
We didn't see any whales there, but we did get to see the lone wolf on Chatam Island which was cool. We did see a pod of Orcas which was nice. If you have kids with you, I would advise against this trip as the three and half hours there and same on the way back was too much for our teeenage son. There was one naturalist on board, Wilma, that was fantastic and really made our trip great.
unfortunately a rare day when no whales sighted, but the tour was first class otherwise and Butchart gardens were staggering
The whales were incredible and our guides were lovely--charming and knowledgeable. The only downside was being so rushed in both Victoria and Buchart Gardens. For the price, during the summer when the days are long, I think we should have had at least another hour in each spot. If we'd headed back to Vancouver at 7 instead of 9 it would have made all the difference in my abitlity to really relax and enjoy both locations.
The day was nice and clear and the guides were excellent but we had a 'no whale day'. There should have been more time allowed in Victoria to see things. Butchart Gardens were VERY enjoyable. We will definitely be going back there. We look forward to using our 'No Whale Day' vouchers on our next trip. We are really looking forward to seeing the whales.
Too much time spent on the boat just to and from Victoria; too little time to really enjoy Victoria and the Gardens.
Enjoy the beautiful flowers in the different gardens at Butchart Gardens. However, the whale watching was kind of disappointing because the waiting was long and we only managed to catching only a few whales
Due to delay in delivery of a new boat, the whole day tour turns out just whale watching, missed buchart gardens and sunset cruise, very disappointed. Only saw a group of 5 whales and few sea lions, feel not sufficient, would be more fun if we can see more after 2 hours cold and windy ordeal in boat
Trip tries to do too much in one long day and and apart from the visit to the gardens, fails to do anything well. We spent 7 hours on the boat and saw a couple of bald headed eagles and some seals on the way out and had a 10 minute chance encounter with a small pod of Orcas in the way back. The boat is OK but the seating is just benches and some padded cushions. Not ideal for sitting on for such a long time. Couldn't wait for the journey home to end. It's billed as a cruise, but in reality you're pushing 30 knots at time to get back before dark. The boat has a single toilet and a small 'tuck' shop selling sweets, crisps, snack biscuits and tea/coffee.
We had no time to look round Victoria once we'd had a sandwich otherwise the visit to Butchart Gardens would have would have been too short. We had the best part of three hours at the gardens, which is about right for a gentle meander though and fit in a tea stop.
My advice would be to split the activities. Do whaling for most of one day and spend another in Victoria and at the Butchart Gardens. You can organise this yourself and go by ferry.
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