Victoria Harbour (BC Canada) cruise port is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in the Canadian province British Columbia. This is the most visited port of call on "Alaskan Canada" cruise itineraries. Near the cruise terminal is located the ship repair facility Esquimalt Graving Dock. Its drydock is capable of handling Panamax-size vessels and is among the largest on North America's west coast.
Victoria BC is located approx 100 km (60 ml) from Vancouver BC (mainland Canada), approx 100 km (62 ml) from Seattle WA (mainland USA) and approx 40 km (25 ml) from Port Angeles WA (by ferry across Juan de Fuca Strait). The city is accessible by airplane (year-round), cruise ships (seasonally) and ferries - including the Victoria Clipper ferry (regularly scheduled daily service Victoria-Seattle the whole year-round).
Besides Victoria BC, Alaska-based liners to Vancouver Island may also stop at Port Hardy (on island's northeastern coast). Port Hardy (population around 4,000) has a natural resources-based economy as being the gateway to Vancouver Island's best places for a travel vacation - Cape Scott Provincial Park, BC Marine Trail and North Coast Trail. All are located on the isalnd's northernmost tip. The town provides access to popular wilderness vacation experiences and activities, such as kayaking, rafting, caving, scuba diving, surfing, nature camping. Ferries from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (on Kaien Island) depart every day during the summer's peak season.
Port Victoria BC
Port's cruising season runs from April through October. Cruise shipping operations started in 1978. The seaport is managed by "Greater Victoria Harbour Authority" (GVHA). Cruise port's economic contribution to local economy is estimated at around USD 130 million.
- In 2014, it handled 210 cruise ship calls and over 454,000 passengers.
- In 2016 were handled 224 ship calls.
- In 2017 were handled 239 ship calls (record year) with 600,000 passengers plus 239,000 crew.
- In 2018, the port received 250 ship calls and handled 640,000 passengers plus 260,000 crew.
- In June 2017, here was welcomed its 7 millionth cruise ship tourist (since 1978) who arrived on the liner Explorer of the Seas (RCI Royal Caribbean). At the end of season 2017 the port started to provide ground transportation (cruise terminal bus service) via a joint venture with the local companies "CVS Tours" and "The Wilsons Group".
- For season 2018, Port Victoria BC was upgraded with an extended mooring dolphin allowing berthing for the ever-largest Alaska-based cruise liner Norwegian Bliss (NCL). The vessel (max capacity 5200 passengers plus 1730 crew) was scheduled for an inaugural visit to Victoria BC on June 8, 2018.
- In 2018, GreenPower Motor Company (Vancouver Canada-based manufacturer) sold two electric double-decker buses (model EV550) to the local CVS Tours company. The new buses are primarily used for cruise passenger transportation from and to Ogden Point terminal. The 5-year lease-purchase program was specifically designed for CVS Tours.
- In 2018, port's bus shuttle service (between the terminal and downtown) was upgraded with new and quieter buses via partnership between GVHA, The Wilson's Group of Companies (Vancouver Island-based) and CVS Tours (sightseeing tour company based in Victoria BC). The new bus deal resulted in forming a new joint venture company ("Pacific Northwest Transportation Services" / abbrev PNWTS) between Wilson’s and CVS Tours. The investment in new tour buses also consolidated the companies' tour bus services offered from the Ogden Point cruise terminal, The port authority signed an exclusive 10-year terminal access contract to PNWTS to provide cruise passenger bus shuttle services on the terminal, as well as to supply all shore excursion buses.
- In 2019, for maiden calls here were booked the liners Ovation of the Seas (RCI), Queen Elizabeth (Cunard) and Azamara Quest (Azamara). For season 2019 is planned lengthening of Pier B (mooring dolphin) to allow berthing for Ovation of the Seas. In June-October 2019, NCL repositions Norwegian Joy (sistership of Norwegian Bliss) homeporting it in Seattle for weekly calls at Victoria BC (scheduled for Saturdays).
Victoria Canada cruise port schedule has listed vessels from major Alaskan-based cruise fleets, including Holland America, NCL Norwegian, Disney, Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, as welll as the luxury brands Regent, Oceania, Crystal, Seabourn, Ponant. Their ships usually stop in Victoria on relocation cruise itineraries (to and from Alaska). According to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), after Europe, Alaska is currently the world's second-leading cruise ship travel destination (excluding Asia).
Victoria cruise terminal
Victoria BC cruise port terminal is located at Ogden Point (distance to downtown approx 15 ml / 2,5 km). Victoria International Airport is at approx 18 ml (29 km) from the cruise terminal.
The port has 2 cruise ship docking piers – "Pier A" and "Pier B". Each dock has 2 deep-water berths (with excellent approach and mooring) and its own Customs and Immigration area. Currently, the cruise port has capacity to accommodate 3 ships simultaneously. However, each year there are several 4-ship and even 5-ship days, usually arriving within 1 hour of each other.
Passenger terminal's facilities include paved car parking, cargo storage areas, passenger gangways (embarkation / disembarkation ship-to-shore bridges), garbage disposal, baggage handling facility, fresh water, phones. At the cruise terminal's dockside there are exchange bureaus and gift shops. Available are taxis and shuttle bus services to downtown. The distance is very walkable. Available for rent are bicycles. passengers can also use pedicabs and rickshaws, and even horse-drawn carriages.
In 2017, GVHA (Greater Victoria Harbour Authority) started planning minor cruise port upgrades that can make Victoria BC a turnaround (homeport) for smaller-sized Alaskan ships departing on roundtrip itineraries from here.
- Ogden Point cruise terminal (where vessels dock) would need minimal upgrades to become a homeport (by the year 2020). Port's statistics show that cruise tourists spending ashore (on hotels, restaurants, bars, etc) brings to the local economy between USD 40,000 and USD 2 million per ship (depending on vessel's size / capacity).
- The draft plan for the port redevelopment project included building new commercial and retail facilities along Dallas Road (35-hectare sized property) and the construction of a dedicated cruise terminal with an underneath parking garage (for tour buses). By the project will be built the First Nations (cultural and retail complex), heliport, boat launch facilities, possible hotel (near breakwater's head).
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
Swartz Bay is a terminal in North Saanich BC, serving BC FERRIES (Canadian state-owned passenger ferries). The terminal facility covers an area of 12 hectares (30 acres) and is located approx 32 km (20 ml) north of Victoria BC. The terminal is also part of British Columbia Highway 17. This is a 2-highway system - one on Vancouver Island, and one on mainland Canada. Both are connected by a daily scheduled ferry links.
Currently, the ferry terminal has 5 berths. In 2006 was inaugurated "Berth 2" (floating dock, project cost CAD 25 million). The terminal facility consists of administration building, main building (with cafeteria and coffee shop), several kiosks (rented by local artisans and vendors), pay parking.
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal provides daily service to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal (mainland British Columbia), and also connects Vancouver Island to all major Southern Gulf Islands (Salt Spring, Mayne, Pender, Galiano Island).
The ferry terminal is connected to several public transit routes. Route 70 is an express bus service (1 hour drive) linking with downtown Victoria BC. Swartz Bay and Victoria BC are also connected via Lochside Regional Trail (length 29 km / 18 ml). The terminal is approx 10 min drive from Victoria International Airport.
Victoria tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Inner Harbour: the central harbor area. It is major attraction in the city. The area is surrounded by beautiful historical buildings – the Empress Hotel and the Legislative Buildings. There are many small streets leading from the Inner Harbour, where you can buy Canadian art and souvenirs.
- Royal British Columbia Museum: it is the area of the Inner Harbour. You can explore the history of the people in British Columbia, their live and heritage. The gallery displays also temporary exhibitions.
- National Geographic IMAX Theatre: centrally located, has 400 seats.
- Butchart Gardens: Canadian National Historic Site located in Greater Victoria.
- Pacific Undersea Gardens: located in the Inner Harbour area. The Undersea Theater shows Live Dive Show where you can see the sea bottom.
- Carriage Tours: Tally-Ho Carriage Tours – Horse Drawn Carriage Tours offer the most relaxing way to see Victoria in unique way. They operate since 1903 and offer guided tours of the city.
- Downtown Victoria Ambassadors: dedicated volunteers that will help you anytime, anywhere in the city. The team serves the tourists for 15 years.
- Craigdarroch Castle: inside you will find stunning collections of woodwork, stained glass and furnishings from the Victorian era. If you want to take an amazing view of Victoria, climb the 80 stairs to reach the castle’s tower.
Port Victoria cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Canada. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|12 April, 2019|
|16 April, 2019|
|30 April, 2019|
The Victoria cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Canada.
If you lose the Victoria location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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