Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Monday (5/2)--Oh Canada!! (Our Day in Victoria)

Well, Monday brought us to Victoria, Canada.  For many on our ship, today was their last day aboard the ship as they will be disembarking tomorrow in Vancouver and beginning their journeys back home.  Thankfully...that does not apply to me and Jason....or any of our table-mates (Randall, Kevin, Rob, Larry, Deb & Janette) or many of our DIS friends either.  We are all booked on what we call back-to-back cruises meaning that when the the cruise is over we stay onboard and do the subsequent trip, as well----this one going on to Canada.  I have to say that this is our second back2back cruise and we LOVE this feeling----knowing it COULD be over today (as it is for many others) but that for us there is still more to come!  It helps the "last day of vacation depression" from setting in too deeply!

So anyway----Victoria, Canada.  We were able to sleep in a bit this morning, which was nice.  We had our traditional character breakfast with a chance to meet some of the world-famous Disney Characters, but it wasn't until 9:30am and our excursion was not actually until 11:45am (because we weren't even scheduled to pull into port until after 10:30 and I think we were still running a little bit late from the appendicitis incident from a couple nights ago----although I also think that the captain hauled some serious butt to pick up lost time and keep us as close to on schedule as possible! LOL).
We sleep with the curtains to our verandah open so we can awake to the sun and to the beautiful views of the ocean each morning.  This morning we woke up around 8:30am---but it wasn't to sun or beautiful views.  It was, unfortunately, a kind of dreary-looking day outside....grey and wet:

No matter, however, because ANY day on a Disney ship is a beautiful day---even when it's not! (Or at least that's how Jason and I feel, anyway! hehehe)

So we rolled out of bed, got ready and headed down to one of the restaurants onboard (Parrot Cay) for our character breakfast.  This is always fun because the servers make you silly hats/head-gear out of your napkins and the characters come around and say hi to you at your table and take pictures with you.  The characters we met were Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto....

After breakfast was over, we headed back to our room to clean up a bit and chill until our excursion meet time.  Now many of you readers who know me well will know that I love animals----and anything that will bring me near animals (with the exception of large dogs or spiders in any form)....and so when we are looking at excursions, I usually prioritize any experience that will allow me to see and/or interact with animals....and if nothing like that is available then I'll go for something nature-ey (like a hike or canoing) or something that's a cool experience (like rock climbing, zip-lining, parasailing, etc.).  Victoria had kind of limited options for excursions from the cruise line, but one did have the opportunity to see some animals, so that is what we chose:

This "Creatures of the Air and Sea" excursion was a visit to the aquarium in Victoria (and if you read our San Francisco blogs, you know I love aquariums and marine life...and have already visited one such attraction on this trip! hehehe) and the butterfly gardens.  The bus ride from the ship was a little dreary weather-wise, like I said, but we had a nice bus driver who did his best to share interesting tid-bits about the area.  Here is an image of the ship from the bus:

We also drove past this city's version of Central Park----here called "Beacon Hill Park."  We didn't have time to stop and visit this park, but it looked really lovely:

We then arrived at the aquarium.  Much like the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, this was a small community aquarium that was primarily focused on highlighting the marine life indigenous to local waters----not on creating a giant experience like Sea World with whales and penguins and a million species that had to be shipped in from all over the world.  it was very small, but very well done; and it had a number of interactive sites where you could view small marine life through microscopes or touch and handle tidepool creatures, etc.  The whole aquarium took only about an hour to walk through but was very, very cute....and we were able to get some good amateur photography shots of the marine life they had on display:

This is actually a picture of a very small anemone's tentacles that was taken through the lens of a microscope!

And here is a picture of Jason standing on the "pier" behind the aquarium looking out into the water behind him:
After our visit to the aquarium ended, we were off to Butchart Gardens.  These gardens are very famous here in this area and have apparently been "blooming for over 100 years."  Many cruisers from our ship went on excursions to tour and see the gardens themselves. We did not, however.  Our trip took us to the butterfly gardens that are adjacent to the gardens.  We have something very similar in Rochester connected to the Strong Museum of Play.  These butterfly gardens in Victoria, however, were much larger and nicer----containing a much more beautiful and elaborate landscaping and planting scene AND a number of other kinds of animals including birds, fish & reptiles.   They also had quite a few of the largest species of moth on earth: the Atlas Moth.  Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like there were a lot more species of butterflies present than I've seen in other similar exhibits and that the butterflies were a lot more active which made it feel even cooler.  We got some very nice butterfly shots:

These are the "Atlas Moth"----the world's largest species of moth.

The butterfly gardens were very cool.  On the bus ride back to the ship we drove my several important and/or noteworthy landmarks throughout the city as our bus driver described the city to us.

Once we got back to the ship, we headed up on deck for food.  The one downside of our day tour was that it started with us meeting our group at about 11:30 and it didn't return us to the boat until after 4:30pm----with NO food in between (and no real opportunities to GET food either)...so we were starving!  A couple of hot dogs and a diet coke later, however, and we were feeling fine.   We opted not to go to the show this evening because it is the "farewell show" which has a "goodbye you're getting off the ship" vibe to it and so it's kind of sad....and since I didn't want to be sad AND we aren't actually getting off the ship, we figured we could skip the show until our ACTUAL last night.  This gave us some time to just relax in the room, catch up on blogging, watch some TV and think about the rest of our journey.  

When it came time to get ready for dinner, we donned our Mickey and Donald ties (I got lots of compliments on Donald because the Mickey tie is actually pretty common but the Donald is much rarer and very few people have it or have even seen it):
We the hopped down to the atrium for a final night of photos (on THIS cruise, at least) and were delighted to find Sorcerer Mickey was hanging out!
Our final dinner was very nice with the boys and girls of our table....they've all been a real delight to eat with and we love that we get another 7 nights! WOO HOO!!  After dinner we strolled around a bit, talked to Deb and Janette for a while and then retired to our room-----where our most elaborate towel animal friend yet was waiting for us:
Then it was time for bed----so that we could wake up the next morning in Vancouver for the end of this leg of our trip and beginning of our last leg of the trip!


  1. Hadley and familyMay 3, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    It must be a nice feeling to know you are staying when everyone else is not.
    Next time you visit Vancouver--Beacon Hill is lovely if you have the chance to stop. we spent a lot of time there on our one weekend in Vancouver many years ago.

  2. Love the blog! I discovered it through the DisBoards (Alaska thread) and it is a true gem. I realized I read it once before from a link in your signature as soon as I saw the matching ties. I just love all your creative ties. Details matter! Your pictures are amazing and I can't wait to read about your Alaskan adventures. We are on the July 12th sailing and have similar taste in excursions so I can't wait to see what you chose! Happy Sailing!

  3. I am so looking forward to hearing the first impressions of the Alaskan cruise! Enjoy, you guys!