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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 18th, 2006, 12:37 AM
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Default Alaska must-haves?

I have seen several threads on other boards about the best articles of clothing to pack for an Alaskan cruise. What other items can be tailored to SE Alaska and the onboard environment?

Are there certain hair styling products or other beauty products that are especially helpful in keeping one looking presentable in the variable climate of the Inside Passage? (I know most people consider Alaskan cruises to be more casual overall than other destinations, but which products can stand up to the vast temperature ranges and weather conditions for those who want to keep their best face forward?)

Also, what are some examples (brand/style) of a good, all-purpose shoe for Alaska shore excursions, if for example you want to stay a step or two above sneakers? (By "all-purpose" I am looking for ideas for footwear that would be appropriate throughout an Alaskan cruise and in ports, but I would probably pack something else for formal nights!)

Any and all tips are appreciated!

-Angela
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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Guess you can tell I'm from the Northwest.......I wear my Berkies when we do the Alaska cruises........comfy & easy to walk in......


Sharon
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Old August 18th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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Angela,

What other items can be tailored to SE Alaska and the onboard environment?

You probably will want the following that you might not take on a cruise to warmer climes.

1. Two or Three Sweaters or Sweatshirts

2. Waterproof Windbreaker

3. Two or Three Pairs of Pants

4. Warm Jacket, Hat, and Gloves, for Wear in Glacier Areas

The inside passage tends to be cool (high temperatures in the 60's), except in Skagway. The areas around glaciers tend to be downright cold because the bays contian ice water, at 32 degrees, due to the "calving" of the glaciers and the air over those bays is not much warmer.

If you are planning any excursions into wilderness areas (zip line, nature walk, etc.), bring appropriate clothing (jeans are okay), appropriate footwear (i. e. hiking boots), and insect repellant with DEET.

Norm.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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I found Alaska to be more dressy than the Caribbean by Far...
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Old August 20th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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We've done Alaska twice and i felt it was a bit more casual than the Carib, but not terribly so. I think it has a lot to do with more people flying than driving to the ports and less available luggage space because of bulky warmer clothes.

Norm's list is about right. I have found that on some days you may be very warm. When cruising one of the glaciers we were freezing until we got very close to the glacier and then I was down to a t-shirt and jeans.
My favorites are long sleeve t-shirts which are lightweight and space efficient for packing but give you a good layer beneat a sweater or sweatshirt. You may want to bring along a backpack for those layers you'll be peeling off and adding back during the day. I also like a few turtlenecks. Lightweight layering is better than one heavy item.

Just remember to color coordinate all your clothes so you can mix and match and reduce overall luggage
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Old August 20th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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Hi, Angela,

I've had great luck with Merrell shoes when in need of sneakers+. They come in low-, mid-, and hi-rise styles and lots of colors. Waterproof would also be a must for Alaska. In mens' style, I like their Chameleon II Gore-Tex XCR. Though not on Zappos.com, they have lots on Shoebuy.com.

Have a great cruise.

CurtB
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Magnolia Blossom,

We've done Alaska twice and i felt it was a bit more casual than the Carib, but not terribly so.

The published standards of dress are the same, so it's not officially either more or less casual.

That said, there are two practical realities.

>> 1. Alaska draws a LOT of people taking their first cruise, many of whom do not understand that "formal" means "black tie" (and who apparently don't read the pre-cruise information package, or at least don't take it very seriously) and thus bring a sport coat and slacks (men) or a somewhat dressy casual outfit (women) to wear on the "formal" evenings.

>> 2. There are more than a few travel agents who wrongly advise their clients that Alaska is less dressy than other destinations and that a sport coat, slacks, and tie (gentlemen) or a somewhat dressy casual outfit (women) would be appropriate. The passengers trust their travel agents in spite of the cruise line's constant disclaimers, so this tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thus, one ends up with a higher proportion of non-conforming passengers than in other destinations.

Norm.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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Norm,
Unfortunately not many people in our society believe that rules, standards, laws, regulations, whatever - really mean anything. From cruising to politics, the rules are made to be broken, right?

Of course, the cruise lines have played into this with their failure to consistently enforcd dress codes. Had they done this when the mucho casual dress began appearing years ago word would have gotten out that cruise formal means formal, no jeans means no jeans, and my personal pet peeve - no ball caps means NO ball caps.

Not meaning to start the dress code debate but . . .

Enjoy Alaska, it's one of God's bestest things!
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Old August 24th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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getting back to the original question, (aren't i the tactful one )
Lightweight fleece layers are great
For warmth without weight nothing beats a silk underlayer(short or long-sleeve t-shirt, leggings)
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Old August 24th, 2006, 05:08 PM
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Two things I brought that were really essential were a Misty Harbor hooded slicker with flannel lining and a pair of LL Bean miceece pants that rolled up into nothing but were very warm. Since it drizzled almost every day (this was August), the slicker was great to have.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 09:58 PM
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Magnolia Blossom,

Unfortunately not many people in our society believe that rules, standards, laws, regulations, whatever - really mean anything. From cruising to politics, the rules are made to be broken, right?

Of course, the cruise lines have played into this with their failure to consistently enforcd dress codes. Had they done this when the mucho casual dress began appearing years ago word would have gotten out that cruise formal means formal, no jeans means no jeans, and my personal pet peeve - no ball caps means NO ball caps.


I agree completely. I fully respect the right of each cruise line to "suggest" whatever standard of dress it deems appropriate for its passengers, but I also think that each cruise line should enforce whatever standard it publiehes. Customers who purchase a cruise based upon the line's representation that there will be several "formal" and either "semiformal" or "informal" evenings have a right to expect that those evenings really will be "formal" and either "semiformal" or "informal." For better or worse, the attire of the participants is a major element in setting the elegant atmosphere of those evenings.

There's also a fundamental safety issue here -- what happens when passengers who habitually disregard the rules decide that they don't have to go to their muster stations, with their life jacets, during a real casualty? They could well get in the way of the responders or, worse still, get into situations where their presence causes injury or death, and quite possibly to others as well as to themsevles.

Norm.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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well said as usual, Norm. I totally agree with you.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Norm, as usual, you're right. Speaking of muster drills (LisaK, I just can't help myself) . . . okay, okay I'll save that story for another thread
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Old August 25th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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now, now Magnolia you just can't leave us hanging here, do tell
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Old August 25th, 2006, 08:11 PM
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Well, since you asked . . . and of course, Norm started the whole muster drill thing . . .

In the dark ages, there was a roll call for muster drill but in the age of enlightenment such practices have been abandoned. On a recent Princess cruise the voice on the PA system said there would be no roll call since more efficient methods had been devised to deal with attendance. Now, I've been doin' some thinkin' 'bout this. Maybe there's a GPS locator chip in my key card, but I don't think so. And on this same hi-tech cruise we received a notice the first evening that since we had been absent at our muster station they hoped we would seek guidance from the staff about emergency procedures. Note: we HAD attended the drill - I mean, who could pass up that much fun! (translation: the bars are closed and you can't sleep through the non-stop noise over the PA so what else ya' gonna' do?) . . . so how DO they know who is and who aint where they're supposed to be? Side note: I think this is necessary and even though I've done it a zillion times I would not think of disregarding this Coast Guard requirement (unless of course they opened the bar or casino )

But on a serious note: this started down the path of disregard for dress code but Norm poses a very pertinent question about observing other regulations. We've all seen the drunken idiot racing for the gangplant (or waving goodbye) because they didn't believe all aboard time was absolute. I saw an incident on RCL when a family blatently brought their young children into an adults-only hot tub. A heated (no pun intended) situation resulted when the parents poo-pooed (more puns?) the other adults. Too much beer had been introduced into this situation for it not to become overheated (sorry, just can't refrain). RCL's security was nearby but complacent until fists were thrown (and believe me, there was pleeenty of warning this was coming, and anyway, it WAS adults only).

I think cruise lines have got to be pro-active about their rules. On the flip side of this story, we were on an NCL cruise 2 months later and a guy made a huge, ugly scene in the casino and left (reached across the table, grabbed chips and threw them in the air ) My DH had seen all of this and said the perp exited the casino and must have gone into hiding) but when he entered the dining room and presented his card to order a beverage, it was only moments before security was there and politely, but sternly, escorted him out of the room. We were later told he spent the night in the brig, til he sobered up, and his card was blocked from purchasing alcohol.

Thinking of this in the "big picture" scenario considering what we've seen in the last week . . . how will the cruise lines react to smuggling liquor now that airlines don't even allow water? Will no booze mean no booze or will it mean no jeans in the dining room?

Call me old fashioned but rules are rules. If you don't like them - do something else. I like resort casual, which is why we cruise a lot on Princess and NCL but when I cruise lines with different standards I always honor them or make other arrangements. If the cruise lines want to have a dress code that requires "panties must be worn, nothing more" policy that's okay with me. Just say so. I won't be booking that passage but at least I'll know. If you want me to wear a red shoe and a blue shoe, that's okay too - just tell me and enforce it!

I really and truly think that it might be useful for the lines to advertise a "no dress code" cruise and advertise it as such, just as you would advertise an itinerary or theme cruise so those folks who are insistent on doing whatever they ***** well want to, could!

The cruise lines need to understand what good parents have known for generations - if you set limits, you'd better be prepared to enforce them! Otherwise, you're screwed.

Okay, I think I've wandered far enough off the what-shoud-I-pack-for-Alaska thread that I need to say "goodnight, Gracey".
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Old August 25th, 2006, 09:49 PM
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Magnolia Blossom,

I really and truly think that it might be useful for the lines to advertise a "no dress code" cruise and advertise it as such, just as you would advertise an itinerary or theme cruise....

Let me just split a hair or two here. I do think that a cruise line's dress standards and clientele become part of its "branding" that tends to appeal to a similar crowd. By way of example, you can book a cruise on Oceana with certainty that the dress will be "country club casual" every evening or you can book a cruise on Celebrity with certainty that at least half of the evenings will require either "formal" or "informal" attire. A "no dress code" cruise on Celebrity, for example, would cross that. It would be better to start a new line with a "no dress code" policy.

That said, I have commented before that there's plenty of demand for both cruises with "formal" and either "semiformal" or "informal" evenings and "all casual" cruises. I would like to see a couple of the larger lines, like Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, could split off half of their current fleets into new brands that would offer "all casual" cruising.

Norm.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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Oh Norm, I do love splitting hairs - so long as they're not mine.
I think you are correct in that we expect certain "norms" (aargh, aargh) to apply to certain lines, however, those expectations are not clearly defined. Take Carnival for example, and I don't mean to pick on them but they're such a big target how can one not? . . . they have a written policy which says one thing, but is seldom enforced. Jeans, t-shirts, ball caps, etc are typically seen in the dining room. Why? Not because they don't think that's okay, but because they don't wish to enforce their policy OR they don't wish to publish their desire. Pick one.

It is true that on NCL and Princess there is a certain expectation and the clientele differs but there also seems to be a somewhat different level of expectation/tolerance. I've been on NCL ships where they turned an eye to deviations (albeit not real biggies) and on ships where the dress code was strictly adhered to. I know this for a fact because I was turned away one evening when DH and I chose not to dress formally and got confused as to which dining room was formal and which was casual. They were very polite about directing me to the proper dining room and I was thrilled to know that my dress slacks and sweater and his dress slacks and turtleneck were referred to the non-formal room.

Part of the problem with sailing today is that it has become increasingly more affordable and as certain itineraries have become more congested there is less brand loyalty. This has led to many first-timers aboard a cruise line who may well be seasoned cruisers to a line with lesser standards. If patrons of cruise line A have always worn their ball caps to dinner then they show up on line B with that expectation. Line B doesn't want to offend the patrons and may well let them slide. And so the battle is lost.

I think the fall of several civilizations could be cited here but that would be a bit much wouldn't it?

But where does it end? Does it end at the dining room podium or does it end catastrophically at a life boat? Who knows?
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