Recently, I was faced with a familiar Seattle scenario: A week-long visit from out-of-town family members. Our guests ranged in age from 20-something to senior, and my job was to come up with activities that would satisfy everyone—comfortably. My number one concern was ensuring my senior father-in-law enjoyed his visit with plenty of sights to take in, while also recognizing his need for comfort in our travels. After a few jaunts around Seattle proper, I knew exactly what we needed to do: take the Victoria Clipper for a group outing.
My extended family members loved the laid-back sailing that took us through Puget Sound and The Strait of Juan de Fuca, and into downtown Victoria’s Inner Harbour. We were all passengers on equal ground, with not one of us responsible for a long drive, and each of us able to point out marine wildlife along the way and enjoy our journey in style. We were free to roam about the cabin, take snapshots from the outer deck, or kick back and relax as we pleased.
I’ve traveled on the Clipper several times, both to Victoria and to Friday Harbor, but this was the first time I’ve taken advantage of the new Comfort Class fare option. If you’ve dreamt of having front row seating to take in panoramic views as you travel by sea, Comfort Class is for you. I loved the reserved spacious seating offered in the upper-deck, with wide tables to lay out my camera and reading materials—and snacks! The Comfort Cabin includes complimentary coffee and tea, soft drinks, and a variety of snacks including fresh fruit and chips. You’ll also get priority boarding with Comfort Class, so you can settle in sooner and start your relaxing adventure in style. Personally, I loved the incredible views afforded by sitting right up front with my family. My father-in-law also appreciated the extra leg room for his taller frame. Comfort Class truly is comfortable for all, big and small.
Victoria has plenty of attractions and events year-round for all ages to experience. What worked well for us, given our multi-generational journey, was to explore the waterfront on foot. We strolled along the harbourfront to admire a variety of sailboats, visited the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, wandered through shops along Government Street, and enjoyed tea time at Fairmont Empress. We took a water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf, which helped cut down on our walking workout and preserved my family’s energy. Then we dined on old school fish and chips from Red Fish Blue Fish, a classic favorite of mine.
Our getaway on the Victoria Clipper was a super easy remedy for entertaining a family of varying ages and capabilities. The ferry sailing was smooth and full of amenities, and our seating was positively comfortable. While we opted for a self-guided walking tour, once you disembark in the Victoria Harbour there are plenty of cabs and excursion bus options if you feel like exploring beyond downtown.
With so many festivals and events in Victoria, it’s always a great time to visit this capital city. Consider these upcoming events as you plan your own Victoria Clipper getaway:
- Classic Boat Festival: August 31-September 2, 2018
- Victoria Fringe Festival: August 22-September 2, 2018
- The Great Canadian Beer Festival: September 7-8, 2018
- Victoria International Wine Festival: September 20-22, 2018
- Cirque Du Soleil Corteo: October 4-7, 2018
If you’re planning an overnight getaway, book direct with Clipper Vacations to get the best value for your budget. Clipper Vacations has a partnership with 20 Victoria hotels, and you can also maximize the package by including excursions to The Butchart Gardens and Butterfly Gardens, or adding on a Whale Watching adventure. Don’t forget to schedule tea time at Fairmont Empress Hotel!
Lori A. May is a Seattle-based travel writer. Follow her on Twitter at @loriamay.