Sunday, June 18, 2017

Crystal Serenity – LA to Vancouver – Day 9 – Saturday, June 17, 2017 (Victoria)

We got up at 6pm and again walked the deck.  We did about an hour each.  We forgot to mention that at the end of each walk, we go up to decks 8 and 9 and use the outside exercise machines.  We first found these machines on the Symphony and loved them.  We were pleasantly surprised to find them on the Serenity as well.  The only downside of these machines is you use your own weight to counterbalance the exercise.  As we keep eating the wonderful Crystal food, the amount of weight that we have to counterbalance is increasing and it produces quite a workout.

We got ready for the day and had breakfast off the back of the ship in the Lido.  The Serenity docked at about 8am.  There is a shuttle bus running to the downtown area (near the Empress hotel), however today we have a ship’s tour to Butchart Gardens.  The tour leaves at 10:45, so we had plenty of time to do yesterday’s blog and Julie did a little organizing for the inevitable packing tomorrow.  The weather was overcast, but not rainy.  Temperatures were in the mid 50’s.

The bus driver’s name was Wayne and one of his many jokes included this one: That country club there is very special, they make all players were two pairs of pants.  That is just in case you get a hole in one.

Anyway, we drove through the downtown of Victoria, Chinatown, etc. and it was very nice.  We wished that we had time to walk through it, maybe next time.  We then headed to Butchart Gardens.  When we got there, we were immediately ushered into the Blue Poppy Room (in  the original residence of the Butchart’s) for high tea.  We went back and examined the shore excursion description and it said tea would be at the end of the day.  We heard complaints from a lot of people saying that they just ate.  Oh well.  We liked some of the items and didn’t like others.  The menu is next:

After that, we had roughly two hours to explore the gardens with a designated departure time of 2:45pm.  The gardens were absolutely incredible.  It’s hard to describe how amazing they are.  Hopefully these pictures will do it some justice.  In particular, walking into the sunken gardens was breathtaking.  BTW – the two hours was a good length of time to explore.  We could have easily spent more time, but it was enough to wander around and see each section.

After the tour, we went back to Victoria and got a nice tour of the surrounding area.  We ended up getting back about an hour after the scheduled time (4:30pm vs the scheduled 3:30pm).  It started to rain as we were boarding the ship, so the timing was excellent.

We then got ready for dinner and went to the 5pm “Name that Tune – 60’s music” in the Avenue Saloon.  We got 15 points which wasn’t too bad, but lost to a team that got 19 out of the 20 possible.  Then we went to 5:30pm show called “Jump & Swing-A-Mania” with the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers.  It was high energy swing dancing.  Quite excellent.

Then it was dinner in the dining room.  For appetizer, Julie had the Marinated King Crab Salad, while Bob had the Slow Roasted Fresh Salmon.  We like them both, but Bob’s was the tastiest by far.  Fresh was definitely FRESH!!  

We both had the Endive, Pear & Blue Cheese Salad, which we both thought was excellent.  

For the entrée we again got the same thing – Steak “Mermaid” with tiger prawns and sauce Béarnaise.   It was unbelievable.  One of the best entrée’s of the trip.  

For dessert, Julie had Raspberry Dream and Bob had a rerun of the Crème Brulee (his favorite dessert).

After dinner, we sat down in the Cove area where they had dancing and the Galaxy Orchestra.  We even took a turn on the dance floor.  After that, we went to the 8:45pm show by musical humorist Dale Gonyea.  His technique is to take a bunch of pictures from the ship and our locations we visited and turn that into humor.  We’d seen him before and thought that he was terrific, but this time we thought that it was just “ok”. 

That was the end of another great day on the Serenity.


  1. The gardens look very nice, might have to add to the list....Enjoy your travels! -Dennis

    1. Amazing. Julie has been wanting to see them for years and it was absolutely worth it. The ideal day in Victoria would probably be part time at the Gardens and another hour or two in the city. But if I had to prioritize, I'd go for the Gardens.