"Package Tours & Items Added to Victoria Clipper" Top 5 Page for this destination Attractions Tip by glabah

Attractions, Victoria: 9 reviews and 4 photos

  $52 vs $26? And No Flexibility? Take bus for $2.50
by glabah

While investigating my first trip to Victoria, I decided to take the Victoria Clipper out of Seattle. It is the middle of winter, and therefore the ticket price is $70 round trip, so $35 one way really isn't that bad a price (it is much higher during the tourist season!).

Victoria Clipper offers package deals, as well as transport only between Seattle and Victoria. They also offer a "cafeteria plan" where you can select the various activities that you like, and add them to your single ticket that you pay for at Victoria Clipper.

Adding hotels seemed to wind up being a good idea - the price seemed to be less when ordering transport and hotel together over paying for the same hotel separately. I chose to do this, but on future trips may decide to go for a different option. There are a few less expensive hotels than what the Clipper includes in its packages. Don't get me wrong: they appear to all be great hotels, and I had no problems at all with the Victoria Harbourside that I selected. They are great hotels for the typical Victoria Clipper passenger during the tourist season. However, during the off-season, the prices are much less expensive, and cheap minded tourists like me are much more likely to wander into the mix. I don't need a huge conference center, swimming pool and hot tub plus excersise room. Really, I just want a bed and shower, and maybe an internet connection.

So, be careful of the hotel selections too, and make sure you are getting a decent price for what you want, based on your actual needs.

However, then I looked at other options to add to the trip.

Buchart Gardens Christmas Lights Tour? It's would cost USA$52 to add that to the trip, and the entrance fee paid by itself is Can$25 (add 12%, or about $3 for the Harmonized Sales Tax). I could get totally screwed (by only using it twice) on a BC Transit day pass for Can$7.75 and still come out ahead on the admissions price, plus I get to choose my own entry and exit times. Plus, I found that the hotel was willing to exchange enough American money to let me have the cash fare I needed to get to the gardens on the transit bus. As the obtaining of small amounts of Canadian money for transit use was my primary concern with being able to take the bus, it all worked out well to not take the package tour.

Unique Suggestions: There is some convenience to organizing tours through a group and paying one single price. If that is your taste and you don't mind spending a bit of extra money, then it is probably worth it to you. There is also the possibility that a guided or package tour includes a few things that one simply can not do on their own.

All I can say is know what you are getting for what you pay.

I will also point out that the Victoria Clipper shows as a comparison the cost of renting a car in Victoria, and certainly doing that is an alternative - which is very expsensive.

Taking public transit ($2.50 per trip, or $7.75 for an all-day ticket), when it is an option, is much less expensive than renting a car here *or* adding the tour as a package to the Clipper Trip.

Fun Alternatives: For me, I decided I was better off organizing my local visits in Victoria myself, after I saw the prices Victoria Clipper was adding to the local price. It means I would get nailed for the foreign transaction fees for using my card outside the USA. However, that inconvenience price didn't add up to enough money to be worth the price charged for adding the tours.

But how bad could those fees possibly be? turning a $25 entrance fee into a $52 entrance fee is a horrible markup, in my opinion - though obviously having a dedicated tour bus take you there from downtown Victoria is worth something if it is raining hard.

Also, I would point out that aside of the tour packages, Victoria Clipper also offers ticket sales on the boat. I wound up purchasing the Butchart Garden entrance ticket on the boat for USA$26. If that markup sounds bad, consider that the $25 entrance fee listed does not include the Harmonized Sales Tax, which in Victoria is 12% - or Can$3. Therefore, the actual at-gate price is really closer to C$28. Buying the tickets from the Clipper, without the $52 package deal, therefore becomes a reasonable price.

If they try to talk you into buying the expensive package deal, tell them the same thing I did: I want to spend more time in the garden than allowed on the package tour, and have the leasure to come and go as I wanted - which was the case, and I wouldn't have been able to see parts of the garden in the daylight, and some of which are closed to the public during the night light show, had I gone on the package tour.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 28, 2010
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