Experience sponsored by V2V Vacations
“I’m waving at you,” a text from my sister came through as we watched the V2V Empress pull into its dock. My niece and I were waiting along the promenade in front of the Steamship Terminal in Victoria, chai lattes in hand after a soggy morning playing with the baby goats in Beacon Hill Park.
“We can’t see you,” I texted back. The catamaran’s front windows were tinted, but we waved back anyway. She was joining us for our Victoria Girls Weekend, which we can’t decide is was our 18th or 20th annual getaway despite photo evidence packed away in albums my mom carted along with her in her suitcase.
My sister was a day behind us with her trip over to Victoria since she had to spend some extra time at work. She said when she was taking a cab from my house in Downtown Vancouver to the waterfront terminal she was discussing the transportation options with her driver. Yes, you can fly (it’s quick), and you can take a ferry (it’s the tried and true way), but you can also treat yourself to a lovely cruise with V2V Vacations, taking your time, crossing the Salish Sea in style and kicking off a weekend refreshed and relaxed with no rush.
My experience began the day before, on a sunny Friday morning where I couldn’t decide if I wanted to settle into my Royal Class seat or head out to the rooftop deck to take photos of the city as we pulled away from the dock in Coal Harbour.
I popped out several times throughout the crossing to get photos, but I didn’t want to miss my meal. For breakfast it was three courses: A warm raspberry scone with butter; a choice of frittata, quiche, or croissant sandwich as a main; followed by a fruit parfait with sweet mascarpone. Bottomless coffee complimented the meal service, which lasted from Prospect Point to the Haro Strait, and warmed my hands whenever I came back in from taking photos on the deck.
After 9:30am, you can order alcoholic beverages, one of which is included in Royal Class. I opted out this time but on the return trip on Sunday afternoon I indulged in some bubbly Unsworth Charme De L’Ile.
The entire 3.5 hour journey is narrated, with interesting historic tidbits, and if you’re near a television screen at the back of the vessel there are photos and videos to accompany the presentation. The staff was friendly and courteous, very attentive – I think I had 3 Americanos and it’s a wonder my photos aren’t shaky. Thanks to the free Wi-Fi I was able to also publish Instagram stories on the fly and research some of the activities we’d get up to in Victoria.
“It’s nice to enjoy life sometimes,” my sister’s cab driver told her when they reached Jack Poole Plaza. She thought back on his words while sailing into Victoria’s Inner Harbour, reclined, feet up, covered in a velvety red V2V branded blanket, sipping mimosas with fellow passengers that had become friends during the journey. She spotted my niece and I through the panoramic front window. This is nice, she thought as she waved at her welcome party.
V2V Vacation offers cruises between Downtown Vancouver and Downtown Victoria, daily from Vancouver at 8:00am and from Victoria at 4:30pm (seasonally). The crossing time is 3.5 hours and fares start at $110. View the full schedule online as well as fares, which are Premium and Royal Classes, with single trip, return, and day trip options.