Enjoy the best of both worlds with Crystal’s authentic yet luxurious Alaska cruise experience
Words: Aaron Saunders
Few cruise destinations offer the alluring mix of nature, ancient history, modern development and spartan ruggedness that a cruise to Alaska does. And few cruise lines showcase Alaska like Crystal. Well regarded for its stellar six-star service, Crystal is a line that anticipates guests’ smallest wants and needs.
The litmus test of luxury cruising for decades, Crystal offers guests authentic experiences in Alaska while surrounding them with every comfort. Onboard programming is further enriched by Crystal’s partnership with conservation and research agency ORCA to collect scientific data on its Alaskan voyages and educate guests about the delicate marine ecosystems in Alaska and neighbouring British Columbia.
In Alaska, Crystal deploys its secret weapon: the all-inclusive 848-guest Crystal Symphony. With a crew-to-guest ratio of almost one-to-one and an abundance of space, Crystal Symphony bridges the best of both worlds: a ship large enough to offer all the amenities and diversions one could ask for, combined with the intimacy of a vessel half her size. The result is the perfect ship for Alaskan exploration, its window-lined public rooms and expansive deck spaces ensuring no second of Alaska’s majesty goes unnoticed.
On board, you can indulge in a variety of dining options ranging from elegant afternoon tea in the Palm Court to sumptuous dinners in the Waterside dining room and Chinese fare at Silk Kitchen & Bar, to name just a few.
All accommodations have ocean views and a stunning array of luxury appointments. In Alaska, if the weather turns, that just makes Crystal Symphony’s suites all the more inviting.
Alaska’s breathtaking natural beauty is a symphony for the eyes aboard Crystal’s luxury liner
Most cruise lines sailing to Alaska primarily offer week-long voyages, with little in the way of more extensive itineraries. Crystal facilitates these convenient getaways as well but, in true luxury fashion, mixes things up by offering a wide variety of itineraries that range from week-long roundtrips from Vancouver to 10- and 11-night voyages between Vancouver, Anchorage/Seward and Los Angeles.
This variety enables Crystal to visit a total of 24 ports of call in two countries on its Alaska and Pacific coast journeys, complemented by more than 200 shore excursion options.
Choosing Vancouver as the primary departure point has great benefits for Crystal’s guests. This west-coast seaport in Canada’s British Columbia is a glittering city of glass bordered by the Strait of Georgia and the North Shore Mountains.
Few sail-away experiences are as dramatic when Crystal Symphony pushes away from the pier, backs into the harbour, turns around to sail past Stanley Park and passes underneath the famed Lions Gate Bridge, bound for the Inside Passage and Alaska.
In Alaska, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway never fail to impress with their natural beauty and unaffected charm. Life here moves at a different pace and authentic experiences abound for travellers willing to look a little deeper. Skagway staked its claim to fame with the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 and today that rustic flair still colours this mountain outpost nestled at the end of Lynn Canal, North America’s deepest and longest fjord.