When the Victoria Clipper began 30 years ago the company was just trying to stay afloat.

"We started with one boat and no spare engine back in the day." Said Merideth Tall, founder of Clipper Vacations.

Now they have 4 ships and thousands of happy passengers who take the Clipper north to Victoria BC.

"You start your vacation as soon as you get on board," Said Tall. "As you go north you are looking on either side beautiful scenery. You've got the Olympic mountains to the west. Whidbey is just heavenly."

But the trip is more than just a feast for the eyes.

"We've been locally sourcing all sorts of wonderful foods that we're serving," Said Tall. "Caffe Vita is our coffee. Copperworks is a gin distillery that's local. We feature a Moscow Mule on board."

By the time you've finished your drinks, less than 3 hours have passed and you've arrived.

"We come right into the inner harbor that's where our home is there."

A short walk away you'll find one of the most popular destinations in Victoria, the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

"The Empress has been around since 1908. Essentially Victoria grew up around the Empress." Said Kerry Duff with the Empress Hotel.

The historic hotel just completed phase one of a 40 million dollar renovation that blends its classic architecture with contemporary design.

"When you walk into this hotel and you see it after the transformation that we've done it's spectacular. The rooms are really modern yet we've preserved the history." Said Duff.

Even the hotel's famous tea service got an upgrade.

"We now have 21 loose leaf teas a lot more local producers involved in making everything from the meats to the bread."

The biggest changes have come to the restaurant and bar at the Empress.

"We have a brand new restaurant it's called Q at the Empress and it's a big departure from our Empress Room that people might remember," Said Duff. "The bar is a really a stunning, stunning space."

So while the Empress is still the centerpiece of Victoria, her multi-million dollar makeover assures she'll be welcoming guest for a second century.

"I think that people will really appreciate what we've done." Said Duff.