Wrapping up our Silversea journey with a fabulous day in Victoria
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Ten days since departing Vancouver’s Canada Place cruise terminal on a voyage through Alaska and British Columbia, Silversea’s Silver Shadow arrived at our final port of call just after eight this morning. A handful of guests were up to watch as we maneuvered alongside in Victoria, British Columbia, tying up stern-first at the Ogden Point Cruise Terminal on the southwestern edge of the city.
Three Silversea shore excursions were operating today in Victoria: the trip to nearby Butchart Gardens and Butterfly Gardens; the In Search of Whales excursion; and Scenic Victoria and Craigdarroch Castle. All of the tours departed promptly at 9:00am, with a 10-minute advance meeting pierside. Compared to clustering into lounges on larger ships and then waiting for the ‘all-clear’ to disembark, Silversea’s procedure is painless.
Living in Vancouver, I have been to Victoria many times – yet it’s still one of my favorite cities in the world. Rather than taking a tour, I opted to walk into town. Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a nice, easy 20-minute stroll through a neighbourhood called James Bay. The walk spits you right out at the British Columbia Parliament buildings (Victoria is the capital of BC), and from there, Government Street and its many shops, museums and attractions are within easy reach.
If you’re not the walking type, Victoria offers a shuttle into the Inner Harbour as part of their Cruise Victoria program. For $7.50 Canadian (or $7.50 US), you can make as many return trips to and from the pier as you’d like aboard a comfortable, air conditioned city bus.
For those who were planning to enjoy a relaxing day on the ship, here’s a look at what’s happening today onboard the Silver Shadow, courtesy of the Silversea Chronicles:
- 7:00 – Sunrise Walk with your Personal Trainer Vlad. Running Track (9)
- 7:30 – Pathway to Yoga with your Personal Trainer Vlad. Aerobics Room (10)
- 8:00 – Silver Shadow is expected to dock in Victoria, British Columbia.
- 8:00 – International Desk with Ana for our non-English speaking guests. Reception (5)
- 8:30 – Crossword & Sudoku are available. Library (8)
- 8:30 – The Silver Quiz is available. Library (8)
- 9:00 – Internet Assistance with IT Communications Officer Rakesh. Internet Café (8)
- 10:00 – Bridge Play with Fellow Guests (unhosted.) Card Room (7)
- 10:15 – Coffee Chat with a cast member of the Artists of Silversea. Panorama Lounge (8)
- 11:00 – Shuffleboard is available. Shuffleboard Court (10)
- 1:30 – Golf Putting Challenge. Lobby, Athenian Lounge (6)
- 4:00 – Afternoon Tea Time. La Terrazza (7)
- 4:45 – Team Trivia Quiz – Grand Final with Cruise Director Don. The Bar (5)
- 5:00 – Fab Abs with your Personal Trainer Vlad. Aerobics Room (10)
- 5:30 – Stretch Class with your Personal Trainer Vlad. Aerobics Room (10)
- 5:30 – Prize Point Redemption with International Hostesses Ana and Monique. Shore Concierge Desk (5)
- 5:30 – Friends of Bill W. Observation Lounge (10).
- 6:30 – Interdenominational Sunday Service conducted by Silversea Artist Duke. Card Room (7)
- 6:30 – Our pianist Willy plays your favorite melodies. The Bar (5)
- 6:45 – The Silver Shadow Quartet plays for your listening and dancing pleasure.
- 9:30 – Our duo Willy and Angie play and sing for your dancing and listening pleasure. The Bar (5)
- 9:45 – Movie on the Big Screen: “Rob the Mob” – 104 minutes. Athenian Lounge (6)
- 10:30 – Our duo Willy and Angie play and sing for your dancing and listening pleasure. The Bar (5)
- 10:45 – The Silver Shadow Quartet plays for your dancing and listening pleasure. Panorama Lounge (8)
- 11:30 – ALL ABOARD! Silver Shadow prepares to sail.
- Midnight – Silver Shadow sails for Vancouver, Canada
Once in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour area, I simply strolled up one side of Government Street to the other and did a little window shopping. There’s a fabulous bookstore here, Munro’s, and a local tea company called Murchie’s. Tea and books are important to Victoria, which has a decidedly English vibe that is cemented by a large collection of Irish-themed pubs decorated to appear as though they’re from the turn of the century. If you hide away in the Irish Times for a pint, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Dublin.
I also popped into the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, which has a fascinating exhibit running until October 20, 2014 on the Canadian Pacific Steamship Empress of Ireland, which collided with another vessel in the St. Lawrence River and sank in the early hours of May 29, 1914.
It’s a very odd feeling to be visiting a city on a ship and, at the same time, to visit a museum with artifacts from a shipwreck that occurred 100 years earlier. You wonder about the plates, now behind glass and stained with age, and those who ate off of them. An uncorked wine bottle that might have been someone’s last drink. Train tickets that were part of a longer journey abroad. A cracked portside running light, its red glass intact.
After leaving the museum, I took a leisurely stroll back down Government Street, stopping at Rogers Chocolates for some truffles. I figured the 20-minute walk back to Ogden Point and the Silver Shadow justified the sweet reward. By the way, I highly recommend walking into the downtown area from Ogden Point – it’s an easy and highly enjoyable outing.
Once I’d returned to my suite onboard the Silver Shadow, my luggage had been placed on a rack in the middle of the room. In typical Silversea fashion, it had been cleaned, sanitized, and decorated with a silver logo-branded ribbon. If I had wanted to, my butler Mohammad would have packed all my clothes for me, but I decided to do it myself. He would have done a better job than me, no doubt, but he’s brought me breakfast and coffees every day, and I just couldn’t fathom making him do that, even though I know he would have gladly.
Other cruise lines talk about anticipating your every need; few actually do. Silversea has the art of anticipation down to a science. If you’ve never sailed with the line, that might come across as overly-complementary. It’s not. It’s just how the line operates.
On a personal note, the last day of a cruise reminds me to be appreciative for the experiences I have had, and for the people who have enriched my life along the way. The saying goes that life is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. Tonight, the chapter titled “Silver Shadow’s Journey to Alaska” has come to a close for the guests here onboard the Silver Shadow as we slowly, quietly, thrust away from our berth here in Victoria and set out for Vancouver.
The past 11 days have taken us on a journey of 2278 nautical miles. Tomorrow, there will be no afternoon canapés; no cocktails in The Bar. Another group of guests will be onboard, headed back to Alaska on a 10-day adventure. A few current guests are staying on for this next voyage, creating an itinerary that is 21 days in length and offers another shot at many of the same ports of call.
For the rest of us, however, all is not lost. We may be going away tomorrow – but we can always come back. I know I can’t wait to. As Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Our Live Voyage Report onboard Silversea’s luxurious Silver Shadow has sadly come to a close. Tune in on Wednesday for a full recap of our Alaskan Adventure, and a preview of our next Live Voyage Report – kicking off from Budapest, Hungary in just 10 days! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.
Follow along with our entire journey!
Silver Shadow, Alaska
|Thursday, June 19, 2014||Vancouver, British Columbia||Embark Silver Shadow||18:00|
|Friday, June 20||Cruising the Inside Passage|
|Saturday, June 21||Ketchikan, Alaska||08:00||14:00|
|Sunday, June 22||Juneau, Alaska||09:30||23:00|
|Monday, June 23||Skagway, Alaska||08:00||17:00|
|Tuesday, June 24||Sitka, Alaska||09:00||18:00|
|Wednesday, June 25||Cruising Tracy Arm / Sawyer Glacier|
|Thursday, June 26||Wrangell, Alaska||07:00||16:00|
|Friday, June 27||Prince Rupert, British Columbia||08:00||17:00|
|Saturday, June 28||At Sea|
|Sunday, June 29||Victoria, British Columbia||08:00||23:59|
|Monday, June 30||Vancouver, British Columbia||07:00||Disembark|