A cruise to the Alaskan seas to see the glaciers before they all melt must be on the bucket list of most travelers. For those of us from tropical Singapore where the weather is sunny all year round, packing for such a cruise trip might just draw a blank. What should you bring and what should you wear?
Here is a list to help. I am sharing my own packing experience for my first trip cruise trip to tour the Alaskan seas with Princess Cruises, one of the best Alaskan cruise operator globally, named the “Best Cruise Line in Alaska” by Travel Weekly for 9 consecutive years. If you are interested to book an Alaskan cruise with Princess Cruises, here is the contact information on their official website.
Layering is very important because there is wide temperature difference due to varying and unpredictable climate conditions like rain and wind. Altitude also affects.
Bring along a set of warm long johns for your inner wear. Variation of short and long sleeves tops; variation of shorts and long pants/skirts; and two different sets of outer wear, one down jacket for really cold conditions and one regular cardigan or windbreaker for regular wear.
Ensure you pack at least one set of waterproof wear from head to toes. I cannot emphasise this enough. When your socks and shoes get wet, your feet get cold and you will be shivering throughout. Likewise, when your gloves get wet, your hands get cold and when your head gets wet, your whole body gets cold.
For outer wear, pack something with a hoodie if possible. If not, bring caps.
Expect erratic rain. Even if it is a light drizzle, you would want to keep yourself dry so as not to end up damp and cold.
Bring binoculars and zoom lenses
If you have a pair of binoculars, bring them along for wildlife spotting and glacier watching.
If you are a photography enthusiast, make sure you bring your longest zoom lenses.
Pack seasick pills
The waters can get really choppy on the Alaskan seas. Believe me, before I have taken many cruises before. I don’t experience much motion sickness on the South China seas, but I do feel it on the Alaskan seas.
If you book a shore excursion to go whale or dolphin watching, make sure you bring those pills with you because the waters get even choppier in the smaller ships.
Even if you end up not taking any, you will still want them handy or to save some damsels in distress.
Alternatively, you can bring some sharp tasting tidbits like mints or sour plums to help ease the seasickness on a mild level.
Don’t forget a set of formal wear
Part of the cruising experience is attending the formal nights event on board the ship, dressed to your very best. Hence make sure you pack at least one set of formal wear to attend these events.
Have both American and Canadian currencies
Many people tend to overlook bringing Canadian currencies. Yes, credit card is widely accepted in both America and Canada, but it’s always handy to have some small change for impulse purchases off the street like a local snack or a small souvenir from a street vendor.
Bring your swimwear and sunblock
The pools on board the ship are heated. Hence you can still go swimming on the top decks. Additionally, while the weather is cold, the sun is still blazing and you can get sunburned without realising it. Hence sunblock is important if you intend to spend a lot of time outdoor.
Bring your own water bottle
Bottled water is chargeable in the cabin. Nonetheless, you can get water everywhere from the different dining areas and restaurants on the ship. To save on paying for water, bring your own water bottle along for refill. It will also come in handy during the shore excursions.
Rent a travel Wi-Fi router
Wi-Fi on board the ship is crazy expensive as it is routed via satellite. However, as large part of the cruising is within the territories of America or Canada, you can rent a travel Wi-Fi router and get Internet access whenever you are near to ports.
Bring one large suitcase instead of a few small ones
This makes transportation much easier. You only have to move your luggage from the airport to the cruise ship and then vice versa when going back. Two times.
If your flight is booked with Delta Airlines, they have a special collaboration with Princess Cruises whereby you can check in your luggage at the dock upon disembarkation versus having to lug them to the airport for check in. I flew with Delta and it saved me a lot of hassle!
Princess Cruise will also send you packing instructions and other travel information you might need via email, closer to your actual trip. Nifty!
Now you are ready to set sail for your Alaskan cruise adventure! 🙂