I'm not new to cruising, but I am to Alaska. I just booked my first Alaska cruise yesterday for next summer. We booked early to get a balcony, and the cruise line we wanted and itinerary, etc. Anyway, before I knew I was going to Alaska, I saw a real good packing list, but now I can't find it on the message boards. Does anyone have one or can give me suggestions as to what to pack? After 30 cruises, you would have thought I had the whole packing thing figured out, but I don't, and I know packing for Alaska is a lot different than packing for the Caribbean. I know I have 11 months to go, but I need to buy new binoculars and a camera and I want to start thinking about things now (it will make the time just go by that much quicker, I think). I know you're suppose to layer your clothes, but I also have to pack for the ship after the land tour. I can just see me taking six suitcases (I'll have to leave my husband home....no room for him). Any tips or suggestions will be appreciated.
Take LOTS of film. We took more for one camera than we shot in the Caribbean with two cameras and still kept having to go back and buy more! Or if you use digital, take a extra memory card. They can download your pix to a CD, but you have to either catch them at an unbusy time or leave your memory card there long enough to get it done. If you don't have a spare, you can't use your digital camera till you get it back.
Take some binoculars. I would recommend some lightweight ones. The ones we took felt like they weighed about a ton by the time I had worn them around my neck all day.
We were there in May and it was very cold. There is a continuous cold wind, so take something with a hood to knock the wind off even if you aren't going so early in the season. (The guide on the White Pass Railway tells a slightly off color joke about the strong wind up there, so the wind must be fairly strong most of the time.) I saw one suggestion (after we got back, of course ) that you take some of those disposable hand warmers that you crush to activate, then keep them in your pocket. When you are near the glaciers it is very cold, so even in the hottest weather they would help. Also, dress standards seem to be more casual. Even on formal nights people were dressed down compared to what you see on the Caribbean.
Thanks for the reply. We're going in August of next year, so I really don't know what to expect weather-wise. Someone had told me that if you go in August (late summer) you'll see more wild life. I don't know if this is true or not, having not been to Alaska before. I'm going to buy some light-weight binoculars and my own camera. My husband had his, and I decided I need mine too. ( I think these two items will be on my Christmas list this year) I always over-pack and since we have to pack for the ship also, this is going to be a challenge to pack for the land tour (four days) and then the cruise seven days. I'm really going to have to get scientific about this. I usually pack enough for a month, when I'm going for a week. I think it's harder packing for Alaska, than the Caribbean. I'm going to have to find a lot of clothes to layer, from what I hear. Thanks Again......
We sailed from Seward to Vancouver the first week of August and had a very warm and sunny sailing, so be sure to take some shorts and sunhats or visors, as well as sunscreen.
We lost some very important wildlife pictures on one of our cameras (a Nikon F3) due to the film not advancing, but since we had taken a variety of cameras with us (the F3), a disposable camera (from our travel agent), a digital camera, a small Olympus camera and a video camcorder) on the boat excursion and had switched frequently between them, we have pictues and video of whales breaching, etc. We strongly recommend you take several cameras with you on important shore excursions.
Someone had told me that if you go in August (late summer) you'll see more wild life. I don't know if this is true or not, having not been to Alaska before. I'm going to buy some light-weight binoculars and my own camera. My husband had his, and I decided I need mine too. ( I think these two items will be on my Christmas list this year) I always over-pack and since we have to pack for the ship also, this is going to be a challenge to pack for the land tour (four days
Wildlife is more sighted in August with the full salmon runs, I would strongly encourage you to add a few more days to your land portion- 4 days isn't enough time to get very far distances are vast. If on a cruisetour- look very closely at the area covered- you can be spending all your time in transit. (I can never rationalize a 3 hour Denali Park tour for an 8 hour trip to get there via rail????) For any significant wildlife viewing you need tours, Denali Park is the best bargain around- my min. distance in, is Eielson and you have an opportunity for a great variety of sightings. For marine wildlife- again you need a tour, for varied marine - Kenai Fjords 6+ hour on the water can't be beat, whale watching is tops out of Juneau for humpbacks, Victoria, for Orcas. Be warned - brochures are greatly enhanced. My preference in binoculars is wide angle 10x50's. A large field of view is necessary if wildlife watching especially marine. You'll never get the area before they swim away with a narrow field.
We're booked with the land tour first on July 27, and the cruise following that. We cruised Disney one year with the grandkids and went around on land for 3 days, then went on the ship for four days and it's more relaxing that way. I think we got a real good deal on a balcony cabin. The real expense is the airfare. We live in the midwest and we're not close to anything. We're also past passengers on Princess and they gave us an automatic four grade upgrade, our TA told us. My favorite line is RCCL and I wanted to book the new Serenade of the Seas, and we're Diamond members with them; but when our Travel Agent checked prices, they weren't going to give us any discount at all. I was rather surprised as we've cruised more with them than anyone else. I usually don't have to wait 11 months for a cruise, but since this is a big one for us (money-wise) I'll just have to spend 11 months getting ready and reading everything I can on Alaska. This will be our 31st cruise, but the first time to Alaska. We did Bermuda this summer for the first time and it couldn't have been better. Hope to see you on our cruise.
Actually pricing now - has nothing to do with pricing trends later. Booking early is great for getting cabin you want but not for the best pricing. Keep checking rates yourself, via several online agencies. If you see a drop, immediately contact your ta and request the adjustment. A lot of action will be around final payment- check daily a week or 2 before. Can sometimes snag significant deals- IF you are willing to sometime rebook.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Packing List for Alaska Cruise
I tried to repy to your email , but it was returned. I know what you mean about the airfare, which is why we are hoping to use FF miles, which we can't ticket yet(330 days from travel). We are planning on booking the Island for 8-21 Northbound Vancouver-Whittier. As soon as those plane tickets we'll be booking. We got a good quote on on balcony from Kim's Kruises. I had read in the past people were pleased with her service. Any other suggestions as to reputable places to check?
We haven't even booked yet and I've been gathering info-espcially shore excursions.
you will enjoy Alaska. Be sure and put new batteries in your camera and to take a package of new ones with you. the cold makes the batteries go down faster. we took coats that fold back into a small pocket.they tend to be larger in size and then we were able to put heavier sweaters under them. we ended up not needing all the heavy things we took. weather was beautiful all the time. only chilly time was up on deck looking at the glaciers. enjoy!
we just came back on the the star princess inside passage and we lucked out with the weather. all u need is lite jacket, gloves if u go to the galcier. we had low 60's and people were walking around skagway and ketchikan in shorts. i followed the weather forcasts for weeks and they were all wrong.