Crystal Cruises – Alaska

It was an adventure getting to the ship, due to delayed flights and a power failure. Thankfully we were all packed the day before, and I set the alarm for 5.00am, leaving us plenty of time, BUT the thing failed to go off. At 6.05 I awoke leaving us ten minutes to leave the house. Shower, shave, set the house alarm and off, all within nineteen minutes, to meet Anthony who was driving us to the airport. But, no coffee!! Grrrrr. Anyway, the first lesson was always to set two alarms, one electrical, the other quasi mechanical, (my blackberry).

Getting to the airport was easy, (thankfully we just got under the TransCanada interchange as the burst water main was cascading thousands of litres down onto the road, which we read caused a huge traffic jam). So into the line, BUT, we had to have get into the no boarding pass line, as they have to produce the baggage tags for flights into the states, and we were connecting in Vancouver. Another delay, but eventually we got through, and onto the Vancouver flight.

There are several non stops to San Francisco, but we declined to take one. The AC flight was full, and the Westjet flight left it too fine to get onboard. I hate not having a fall back flight, which was why we decided to go via Vancouver.

When we got to Vancouver, we were hugely impressed with the baggage handling. We never had to touch our bags, but went through security after being shown a photo of them. Yes they were ours. Unfortunately the WJ flight to SFO was delayed by almost two hours. Oh, “the best laid plans of mice and men go oft aglay” as Burns would have it. So we got to San Francsico behind the Calgary nonstop, but still in plenty of time to catch the cruise.

We were fortunate in finding a taxi who took credit cards, (I had cash but prefer to pay by card) and it is good advice to have your Travel Counsellor book a limo for the transfers. Straight to the ship, and straight onboard.

Crystal are large ships, with a small passenger count. Lovely staff, excellent excursions and lectures. I suggest prebook any tours you REALLY want to do, but most of them had lots of space when we arrived. We quickly settled in, checked our meal reservations, (do this as early as possible. The specialty restaurants book early, but are wonderful. Also ask for a small table if that is what you prefer.) and explored the ship.