There are no words to adequately describe seeing the Hubbard Glacier. We had the opportunity to... read more
Although we travel a lot, we had never been on a cruise before. I decided, three months before departure, that I wanted to go on an Alaska cruise. I did some very intensive internet research. I knew absolutely nothing... More
Although we travel a lot, we had never been on a cruise before. I decided, three months before departure, that I wanted to go on an Alaska cruise. I did some very intensive internet research. I knew absolutely nothing about cruise ships but I liked that Crystal's price included gratuities and all beverages - including alcohol. I also knew I did not want to "backtrack" - that is I wanted to start in one city and end in another. We decided on the Crystal Serenity. I think they now use a different ship (I think the Crystal Symphony), which has even fewer people. We departed from Anchorage (actually from Whittier which is a scenic 1 1/2 hour bus ride from Anchorage) on June 26 and disembarked in Vancouver, Canada on July 3, 2017. It was a 7 day cruise. Our ship got within 1/2 mile of Hubbard glacier. We stayed in that position for three hours. It was an experience I will never forget. It was cold and misty but the crew served hot chocolate and provided blankets if you wanted them. We attended a lecture from an expert on the Hubbard glacier on board the ship and he said it was the closest he had ever been and that it was the best he had ever seen in 21 years. We were so close to the glacier and the "calfing" was incredible. The week before, the captain said they were only able to get within three miles of the glacier. It is totally unpredictable. It just depends on the conditions the day you are there. It has to do with the pieces of the glacier and how they are flowing. We just loved this cruise. The food and service were both outstanding. We attended lots of lectures and the presenters were very knowledgeable. As I said, I knew nothing about cruising as I was a neophyte, but I am so glad I chose Crystal. As a matter of fact, we are booked on another Alaska cruise with them in 2019. From what I have gathered, it rains a lot in Alaska. The dates we were there - late June to early July - were supposed to be the best time as far as weather. If you have nice weather, you are very lucky. When we arrived in Anchorage, it was nice and sunny. We did not see the sun again until we arrived in Vancouver - so be prepared and pack accordingly. It was never a heavy rain - just a constant drizzle. The rain did not detract from our experience. We departed from Vancouver to return home and Customs was a real pain in the neck. It took forever. As a matter of fact, they held up our flight departing from Vancouver because the flight crew was delayed getting through Customs. We almost missed our connecting flight in Seattle because of this delay. On our next cruise, we are departing from Vancouver and disembarking in Anchorage to avoid this inconvenience.