My family and I are going on a 13 day cruise/tour in August. I'd like any some suggestions on what to pack. What do most people wear on the land portion? How about on the boat? Is it warm enough to wear shorts most of the time. What are the other essentials. Thanks for your help.
Bring a coat, some sweaters, a pair of good comfortable walking shoes, something for formal night if you wish to get dressed up, and lots of casual pants (shorts are optional). I have seen the hottub on deck full when the rest have been huddled in there winter coats.
I took a cruise tour in May and found several helpful items on this web site, The most valuable were a sleep mask as it does not get 'dark' in Alaska as it does in the summer in Texas. I also found wrap around sunglasses to be very important as the winds on the ship and in Denali can be very strong and really hurt your eyes. (I purchased some ski sunglasses at Wal-Mart in Anchorage for about $10.00). Other helpful items were layers (sweaters on top of short sleeve shirts), a backpack to carry various items on day trips, a rain coat with a hood (very important), and a clock. The rooms we stayed in at Denali as well as on the ship did not have clocks, and it helps me to know what time it is - even when it's midnight and completely light outside. Another helpful tip I got was to bring an 'over the door shoe organizer.' The counter space in the bathrooms at our hotels in Denail and on the ship was very limited. By hanging up the organizer, I was able to have everything at arm's reach without having all the clutter around the sink.
As far as dress goes, I wore shorts a couple of warmer days on the ship. however, for the most part, I wore jeans at Denali and khakis on the ship. This was a much more relaxed dress code on the ship than I had anticipated - and jeans would have been fine. One additional hint - bring ear muffs and a wind breaker jacket. The wind was the toughest part to bear on colder days.
If you haven't booked a balcony cabin - I would strongly suggest it for this cruise. The public decks were jammed as we went through College Fjord, Glacier Bay, and the inside passage. By having our own balcony we were able to see everything and not be peering over the heads of others.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask. This was the vacation of a lifetime, and I can hardly wait to return!
Hi there, I read your comments on alaska. we are going in September. How will the weather be??? Which ship do you go on??? What about excursions??? We have done caribbeans cruises and always done our own excursions that were great at about half the price, Is alaska the same in that there are tour operators waiting at docks to take you to excursions???? any other info would be greatly appreciated>>>>> thanks
We've done our own research on the internet and booked our excursions before we leave. I wouldn't wait until I got into a port to book if there are specific things you wish to do. Maybe if you just want to tour the towns you can book after you arrive, but for things like helicopter ride to glacier, bear watching, etc, do it ASAP!
It greatly depends when in Sept you are sailing. Weather is usually worse as the month goes on with 40-50 temps, 3 days ave. of rain and dark by 7pm by 3rd week. You still need to take layers, rain gear, knit hat and gloves. I no longer take jeans as I spend all my time out doors and the tend to get and stay damp. My preference now is lined wind pants and leggins. these also take up significantly less packing room. I also always do my laundry in Seward and Skagway to "lighten the load".
If you plan on taking camcorders, digital cameras and such, take an extension cord with a three plug Y. (Cabins usually only have one outlet outside the bathroom.) One for the camcorder, one for the digital camera batteries and one for the laptop to download the digital cameras to.
Also, while the ships have irons in the laundry rooms, use them early in the cruise or bring your own. There is a substantial line each formal afternoon. By the 3rd day of the cruise the wait for a washer or dryer is way too long. The Ocean Princess class ships have on-board laundry at very reasonable prices - less than most hotels in major cities.
Most excursions will provide rain gear, but carry rain coats or shells for the deck for College Fjord and Glacier Bay cruising and for getting to and from the excursion and for walking around shopping.
Also take an extra empty duffel type bag to bring back souvenirs. Extra shoes are a must. For outdoor type excursions take a backpack with a dry pair of socks, a pool towel and a dry T-shirt for that accidental slip into some cold water. Also great for carrying cameras, film, batteries and a water bottle.