From a Victoria Resident
Hi everyone. I live in Victoria, so I'm happy to give you my 2 cents. Not sure how much of this will work if you only have the evening in Victoria, but here's what most people do:
- Visit Butchart Gardens: They are quite far away from the cruise ship -- about 40 minutes (not 20 as a previous poster reported). A quick tour would last about 1 hour, but you really need 3 or 4 hours including transportation.
- Visit the Inner Harbour and walk around Government Street: The harbour is quintessential Victoria, and just a short way from the cruise ship terminal. I recommend this no matter how much or little time you have.
- Check out a bus tour: The bus tour is a great way to see the highlights of the city. Easy and convenient.
- Craigdarroch Castle: Not really a castle, but an old mansion set on a hill. It is amazing.
- Pub crawling: Victoria is tough to beat for English style pubs and microbrews. Portlanders might take exception to this comment, but pound for pound, Victoria is great.
- The Royal BC Museum is pretty good, but on a tight timeline, I'd skip it.
Final piece of advice: I traveled to many, many parts of the world, and everybody whose visited Victoria absolutely loves Victoria. If you've come from afar, I think you'd regret not getting off the boat and enjoying a few hours in Victoria.