First time Crystal Cruisers, spoiled for life. Very rarely do we see this kind of superior service. I can't even count them on one hand. The entire sailing was marked by pleasant surprises. We booked a year in advance, and I had forgotten that I had mentioned my birthday, and our anniversary. We were surprised 2 nights after dinner with a celebratory cake for our occasions, and well wishes from the staff. And lovely cards in the cabin, and our names on the daily occasions announcements on the TV. The bouquet of flowers that my husband sent to the cabin for my birthday, was exquisite! It's like the crew and staff are trained to never say no. We started to be careful to say, "Don't go to too much trouble, we were just wondering...." If we didn't start our inquiries this way, our wishes were carried out before we knew what had happened. The food was magnificent everywhere we went, and perfectly portioned. We always felt full, but when we got home, we had only gained a couple of pounds each. We were surprised at our traditional dining, as we were seated at the Assistant Chief Engineer's table. Thanks Samir for the company. What a treat to have an expert at our table to answer all of our cruising questions on the inner workings of our ship! We also enjoyed an invitation to the Captain's quarters for a cocktail. We are sushi lovers, and have never had a sushi experience on any cruise ship as fantastic as Silk Road. Again, if you don't see something you'd normally order at a sushi restaurant, on the menu, be sure to ask. Richie took excellent care of us at Silk Road! We very much enjoyed Tastes, and so much appreciate the Head Waiter fitting us in, after a late return from a shore excursion! At this sitting a huge eagle flew right past us, marvelous! We saw both of the comedians, and loved their shows! We enjoyed the rebroadcasts of the enrichment lectures in our cabin. We even enjoyed the brain teasers available in the library. The Bistro was always a great meeting spot to pick up a cappuccino or wine, and a little snack or fruit.
Crystal Shore excursions-
Skagway- Glacier Point Wilderness Safari-Loved this excursion! Not too aggressive, but a full day. The guides at the camp were delightful, knowledgeable, and charming. Davidson Glacier was spectacular! And when the boats were a little late picking us up at the camp, the guides went with us to pick wild strawberries.
Victoria BC- Butchart Gardens and English Tea- we happened to be there on a very sunny day, and stepping into the gardens was like stepping into a movie. Just stunning everywhere we went. I used 2 of the pictures we took, for screen savers on my phone. So beautiful they don't even look real. They look like a graphic designer's summer dream. Be cautioned, the English Tea is amazing, and the tasty treats are plentiful and very filling. Go hungry, and expect to be full for a long time.
Glacier Bay National Park- Once in a lifetime, perfect weather, dazzling! Just poetry. And be advised, soup and sandwiches are served in the Palm Court during the sailing through the park. This is also where the naturalist is stationed. There are neat little decks on the exterior of the Palm Court, where you can take breathtaking photos. I almost found this area too late, glad I caught it in time.
In Prince Rupert and Sitka, we had no excursions. We wandered through town. Sitka was neat because there's a little hatchery on the main promenade, and salmon were lined up to spawn. These two ports, we lunched outside on the Lido deck looking over the pretty little towns below. And let me take a moment to let you know how amazing the meals on the Lido can be. We found on all of our visits, something that we wouldn't find on any of our other cruise line experiences, like perfectly cooked filet, or huge boiled prawns. This is not your ordinary buffet!
Our cabin was perfect, balcony 8022. Loved the double vanity. The appointments were chic and inviting, from the marble top nightstands, to the plush bedding. Mariya kept us fully stocked with ice and plush towels. Really enjoyed the aft balcony on our deck, especially through Glacier Bay National Park. And the complimentary laundry was so very convenient.
Lastly, I can't say how fantastic the all inclusive experience is! We've sailed some other cruise lines with drink packages, that we thought were adequate. But all inclusive is magnificent! It's obvious that when the servers don't have to deal with bookkeeping, that their attention is solely focused on taking care of cruisers.
They say especially in Alaska, you must have a balcony, and they're right! The accomodations were just right, and I spent a lot of time looking out to the little towns and cabins sailing past , with a nice glass of wine, and with my feet on the railing.