I was on the same cruise two years ago - we left and returned to Vancover instead of San Francisco. It was my first Crystal Cruise and I prefer Crystal to any other line. I go back about every 6 months whereever she is. You will love this line. It is owned by the NYK shipping company in Japan. They are one of the oldest and most respected companies at sea and their objective (according to my Japanese friends) is not to make a profit but have absolutely the finest ships at sea. There is a wonderful comraderie on the ship - the employees are wonderful and they give you the idea that they think they are lucky to be there. Unlike most cruise ships they do not work 20 hours a day - they have a respectful amount of time off and it shows. They are pleasant and familylike. I particularly enjoyed the lunches in the dining room. Yes, I know that there is a buffet on 11 but the luxurious ambiance in the dining room is such a treat. Service is efficient and speedy so that it doesn't take any longer than going through the buffet line and we got to meet people other than those at our evening table as it is open seating for about an hour and a half. Be sure to have the ribs when they are served.
The lectures are so interesting and they repeat them on the television channel. So you don't have to miss another activity in order to attend.
The Penthouse level is great because you don't have to go to the deck to see the scenery and the scenery in Alaska is fabulous. We saw Glacier Bay from our Balconey in the robes that Crystal provided - we missed the hot chocolate served in the Odyssey Lounge but I am sure that if we asked they would have brought it to the room!. And you will have both the stewardess and the butler on 10. Service is exquisite - they will even pack and unpack for you if you like.
And be sure to take a class in the Computer University at Sea. Most people think that they know everything about computers. I am a power user and I am always amazed at how much I learn in their classes. So do yourself a favor - get up there early. You can even make a webpage so that you friends and family at home can track your progress.
And one more thing - The night to eat in the Kyoto specialty restaurant is the night that you leave Skagway. Try for 7:30 so that the entire evening at dinner will be in the light of day. That evening you cruise through the most picturesque islands and it looks like something out of a picturebook.
Go and enjoy. Don't sleep. Just move from one activity to another. And hang the cost, it is still one of the best values at sea despite the price!