Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
After a 30-hour steam from Ketchikan, we pulled into port late in the afternoon at Vancouver, BC, our only foreign stop on the cruise. It would be a short stay, arriving at 6 PM, and leaving at 11:59 PM. We would only have time for one excursion. We chose probably the most beautiful place in a beautiful city. Butchart Gardens is an example of how responsible mining companies can leave a played out pit mine in better condition than before the first shovel of earth was turned.
The final stop on our Alaska cruise is a destination mandated by the Jones-Shafroth Act (known commonly as the Jones Act). Without going into a bunch of legalese, the purpose of this act, signed into law in 1917 by Woodrow Wilson is an expansion of the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886. The law mandates that a ship of foreign registry cannot stop with a specific load of passengers in only US ports of call. The Norwegian Pearl, registered in Nassau, Bahamas is obligated to have at least one foreign port on any United States itinerary. Click here to read more about the effect of this act on a Hawaiian Cruise we enjoyed in 2007. You can read about how the Jones Act and its predecessor resulted in a 2400 mile (3862 km) detour. Over the years, cruise passengers who have planned their own itineraries have been tripped up by the Jones Act and found they could not travel as freely as they might have expected. Google search “Jones Act cruise ships” for examples. But I digress…
On our way to the pier, the Pearl was escorted into port by a boatful of beauties. The excursion we chose, Butchart Gardens and Victoria Highlights departed late due to technical issues with the tour guide’s public address system. This delay, though it was only about ten minutes, coupled with the short daylight remaining caused us to miss some precious daylight in the gardens. The next time we visit Victoria by cruise ship, we will skip the Victoria highlights. The gardens are beautiful at night, but in the daylight, they are gorgeous. The city tour was a bus ride with a tour guide. My preference would have been to spend more time in the gardens.
The sunken garden shows what time, effort and funding can do to reclaim a played out quarry. Jennie Butchart, wife of the cement magnate, created the sunken garden from the exhausted limestone pit. It’s a shame that it takes legislation and environmental control bureaucrats to force companies to do what the Butcharts did for the city of Victoria out of their sense of responsibility to their community.
After dark, a fantastic fireworks display awed the attendees to the 54 acre (22 hectare) gardens. I submit for your floral entertainment, a gallery of images taken at Butchart Gardens. Click on one of the images below to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.