Alaska Cruise, Part 1: Our Trip Begins!

Vancouver Arrival:

I was so excited for my upcoming adventure, holding my breath and hoping that nothing would derail my travel plans.  This trip to Alaska was all about traveling with longtime friends and looking forward to meeting a group of clients that I would have onboard.  LAX was so busy, with summer in full force.

After a smooth flight we arrived to a drizzly afternoon in Vancouver.  Every time I visit this beautiful city, I stay at a different hotel – an important way of increasing my destination knowledge.  This time the Shangri-La was my property of choice.  I found this hotel to be very calming, with warm soothing colors, a waterfall as you exited the elevator near the restaurant, and a very understated sense of luxury.  Perhaps  there were some Feng shui principles in place.

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After settling in, we went for a walk about the downtown area, making our way to Canada Place, the port of Vancouver, where Crystal Serenity was docked.  Even though we weren't sailing until the next day, we wanted to take a peek at our ship.  After 19 cruises, I still get so excited when I first see the ship I'll be boarding.  Dinner that evening was at The Greek by Anatoli, which I highly recommend!  Our table was filled with Greek specialties and great conversation with good friends.  Couldn't ask for a better start to our trip!

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Crystal Serenity Boarding Day:

Unfortunately, cruise departure day did not start well.  I woke up with one of the worst migraines of my life.  I literally could not eat breakfast and ended up back in my room sitting on the bathroom floor.  Leaving the hotel at 10:45 turned into leaving at 11:30 as I tried everything I could think of to clear the pain in my head.  Of course the ship waits for no one, so eventually I just had to pick up and go.  When we arrived at Canada Place, we saw Disney Wonder and Norwegian Sun had joined Crystal Serenity.  The port staff did a very good job of getting cruisers to their respective ships with little hassle.

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Crystal has an especially nice boarding process with check-in completed onboard the vessel, as opposed to within the cruise terminal, as most cruise lines do.  Typically, passengers wait in long lines to get through security and board the ship, but with Crystal, the process is very pleasing.  We were completely at ease, checking-in with a glass of champagne in hand.  This was our first reminder that there is a "Crystal way" of doing things.

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Excitement and relaxation combined with a chaser of Tylenol and essential oils led me down the path of migraine relief and thankfully, I felt better and better throughout the day.  I was able to thoroughly enjoy our beautiful sail away under the Lion's Gate Bridge, and soaked up every moment.  As we pushed off from the dock, "What a Wonderful World" played over the ship's speaker, a gentle reminder that life is made up of blessings large and small, and it was time to leave my worries behind.