After sharing our Alaskan cruise adventure over the past few weeks, I realized that I have valuable information and tidbits that I couldn't keep all to myself. I realized several items that really enhanced our vacation, and a few that I wished we would have had. So, today I'm sharing 10 items to add to your Alaskan cruise packing list.
Binoculars | Binoculars definitely added to the awe of your trip. Not the cheap kind either. Invest in (or borrow from a family member or friend) a great pair of binoculars for wildlife & scenery viewing. I was blown away by how much more we could take in by keeping a pair handy while on deck or our balcony.
Robe/Blanket | A robe would have been great for mornings & evenings relaxing on our balcony. I'm sure we could have requested one from our steward, but I always prefer my own. A blanket would have been even better! We did use our bed's comforter for cozying up on the balcony, but it was much too big to lug out. A throw blanket would have been perfect, and could double up for use on the plane.
Flowers | No, don't run to the grocery store before leaving home. I'm talking about popping by Pike Place Market, if you're sailing from Seattle. Stop by the morning before you sail away to pick up a bouquet of flowers for as little as 10 bucks! Bring a plastic cup for a vase or ask your cabin steward for one.
All Weather Shoes | Rain, snow, glaciers, you need shoes that covers it all! We loved wearing duck boots for the rubber, skid resistent soles for rain, snow, and wet decks. They also gave added warmth on cold days. We were also sure to get duck boots that were comfortable for walking on port days.
Light Jacket | Not all day, everyday will be cold enough for a heavy coat. A light jacket will come in handy for warmer days.
House Shoes/Slippers | This is something I really wish I would have taken—slippers. We loved hanging out on our balcony in the early mornings before heading out and in the evenings after showers. Instead of putting on socks and shoes to keep my tootsies warm, house shoes would have been the perfect fix. Bonus—they don't take up much space in luggage.
Stamps | We enjoyed mailing postcards back home from our ports, but I didn't bring enough to send from each port or to everyone I would have liked. So pack some stamps (you can buy postcard stamps for a little cheaper than regular stamps) and a pen to treat someone back home to a taste of your trip.
Sunscreen | Believe it or not, the sunshines bright in Alaska! We spent many days on deck overlooking the ocean and onboard pools, suncreen would have definitely been appreciated!
Small Bills | Our service was so impecable, we wanted to show our appreciation even more than just the cruise line's gratuity rates. We carryed on a stack of 1s and 5s for additional tipping. Having the cash kept our final bill at bay when checking out on the last day.
Hearty Appetite | So much good food! Onboard, in port, great food options everywhere!
Hopefully this list adds to the enjoyment of your Alaskan cruise! If you're still waiting to book your adventure, contact me, and let's start planning!
Our Alaskan cruise has been our best vacation to date and it’s not all because of the amazing itinerary. Our experience was immensely heightened by the cruise line, ship, and cabin we chose! Norwegian Cruise Line packed a punch with one of their new ships sailing Alaskan—Norwegian Joy! Read out for my thoughts, notes, and things to know about this beautiful ship.
Ship Shape | This is a very large ship! It takes a day or two to get used to where things are and get a jest of the lay of the “land.” However, with it being so large, I felt like this helped alleviate crowds during busy times as the ship boasts a spread-out deck plan. That being said, be prepared for walking, but know the ship is fully accessible. With our stroller, we never had any issues getting around. With elevators at every turn, wide doors, and minimal “step ups,” ease was added to our vacation. If you need accessibility, this ship is a wonderful option!
Waterslide + Pools | Yes, you can utilize the waterslides and pools on an Alaskan cruise itinerary! These babies are heated! There’s even a small water park for the little ones. Just be prepared for when you exit the water—a plush, long robe would come in handy. Note about the epic waterslide that juts out over the ocean: it is not as easy to slide down as it looks. It was common for attempters to get stuck midways, left waiting in the tube with the ocean below them, if they didn’t gain enough momentum. A trap door awaits to “rescue” you, but just admire the bravery of others if you are afraid of heights.
Shows & Entertainment | The ship has some great entertainment, including two complimentary show, for guests to enjoy. Experience a comedy club, video arcade, casino, and much more! We also took advantage of the kids’ club (drop off available for 3 and up) for free play with toys for our little ones. This was a great way to allow them to run off energy, especially since they couldn’t use the pools/waterpark as they are still in diapers.
Deck Notes | Deck 8 happened to be our favorite, as you could walk nearly the entire perimeter of the ship, excluding the immediate forward section. We spent many hours just hanging out outside on the couches of deck 8 and were even given blankets for keeping warm on chilly days/nights. However, it would have been nice to have blankets (though our cabin steward would have provided us with a few) handy while on our own balcony. Keep that in mind when packing—throw in a plush robe or a warm blanket. Let it double as help keeping you comfy on your flight.
Fish Carpet | Notice my photograph of the carpet below—there are schools of fish swimming in one direction. These little fishies are swimming towards the front of the ship. This way, you know which direction you are walking—brilliant!
Laundry | Yes, laundry! Towards the end of our 7 day sailing, we were offered a full bag of laundry service for only $19.95. Let me tell you—best 20 bucks I've ever spent! Every piece of our clothing, including socks, came back perfectly laundered and folded. It was great to head home without so much laundry waiting for me at home.
Dining | The restaurants aboard Norwegian Joy afforded us some of the best dining we’ve had on any vacation, ever! We were absolutely blown away with our meals, all of them, and are still raving about the food even 6 months later! Our favorites were the Garden Café (buffet), Teppanyaki, and Cagney’s Steakhouse. We frequented these 3 many times during our cruise.
Ready to book your Alaskan, or even Caribbean, cruise aboard Norwegian Joy? Contact me to plan your vacation on this beautiful ship!
It is finally the day—I’m here to share the most epic adventure of our Alaskan Cruise! Though it was the second stop on our itinerary, I saved my favorite port & excursion for last. Juneau, Alaska was not only a beautiful town, it was chockful of adventure! Those in our group opted to stroll around town, take a ride on the Mt. Roberts Tramway, and go hiking in the Tongass. But me, I’d been itching to do something I’d been dreaming of since I first heard of cruising to Alaska—dog sledding on a glacier. And that we did!
Our adventure started out on a bus ride through town with a great driver/guide. She pointed out important buildings, took us by Juneau’s locally famous humpback whale statue, and drove along a route with what seemed like hundreds of bald eagles soaring above. But the beauty was only beginning. We then arrived at a heliport to be fitted for special glacier boots and eventually a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier. And that is where the epic adventure began!
We flew out of Juneau and over Mendenhall Glacier, taking in sights of the 13+ mile glacier’s crevasses (shown in the first photo in the middle row below) that looked like gigantic slits in the earth that one might disappear in never to return. Once passing the crevasses, we glided over a part of the glacier that looked like vehicle tracks, but it was actually the land and the ice coming together to form the massive glacier. From there, we flew over a smoother part of the glacier, ultimately caught sight of the dog mushing camp. Eeeekk, my dream was actually coming true!
We landed at the fully equipped camp greeted by hundreds of excited dogs and their handlers/sled drivers called mushers. These sweet pups were lined up in rows with dog houses, we are told they won’t even sleep in—that is how much they love the cold! You’ll notice the photos the dogs aren’t wearing shoes either. Our musher explained that the dogs actually prefer much, much colder temps than the glacier was experiencing at the time, a balmy 40 degrees during the day. It felt much colder if you ask me!
So, we were paired up with our musher to begin our ride. We hopped on the sled, and that is where the magic happened for me! I could not believe I took a cruise ship to Alaska, hopped off in Juneau, caught a helicopter to a glacier, and landed at a dog mushing camp to ultimately dog sled in the snow! It was beyond my wildest dreams! My husband & I were both smiling ear to ear, and put this at the top of our list, after our babies’ birth of course, of best experiences of our lifetime!
After our flight back to Juneau, we took a quick stroll through the port shops, we loved the ones with a Russian flare (also on my bucket list) and a ride up and right back down the Mt. Roberts Tramway. Maybe if we ever get back to Juneau, we’ll give that another try. Juneau was beautiful, even aside from the glacier & dog sledding, and is definitely worth booking an excursion to explore. Whale watching, hiking in the Tongass National Forest, and more are adventures to be had in Juneau.
This experience was truly incredible, and I find it hard to put into words just how beautiful it was. To be surrounded by nothing but mountains and snow with no sign of civilization in sight, yet to be amongst these thriving animals was beyond amazing! I have a newfound love & appreciation for dog mushing now, and someday hope to get back to Alaska for a winter dog mushing trip to see the Northern Lights. What can I say, my dreams just keep getting bigger & bigger!
And I hope yours do too! If you’re ready to make your dreams a reality, let’s chat about planning your own Alaskan cruise. Contact me to get started on the process, and I’ll have you sailing away before you can say “Gee” or “Haw”! You’ll have to head out dog sledding to learn what those terms are all about! ;) See you back soon!
Let me start out by saying, an Alaskan cruise is nothing short of amazing! Today’s post on our experience sailing to Dawes Glacier is just a sliver of why. I never realized just how blue water could be outside of the Caribbean. It was truly breathtaking and is a sight I won’t soon forget.
Our sailing began from our Juneau stop, which I’ll share tomorrow, and went on through Holkham Bay taking us to the sights of Dawes Glacier. This adventure brought us sights of seals basking on ice chunks, tiny boats navigating icy waters, and beautiful glacial waters streaming from mountainsides.
Our group gathered on the lounge deck to enjoy the views together, sharing binoculars, and pointing out noteworthy sights along the way. At the end of the road per say (where the sea began and the glacier ended), our ship’s captain turned the boat so both sides of the ship could enjoy the breathtaking views of Dawes Glacier in all its glory! It truly hard to envision the view, even from photos. It is something you must see for yourself.
For me, glacier cruising confirmed that taking our babes was the absolute best decision! Our sweet boy pointed out the calves of ice (chunks of glacier that have fallen off from the main glacier) that little by little appeared in the water the closer we sailed to the glacier. That is a moment frozen in time, no pun intended, that I will never forget!
If you’re looking for your own unforgettable experience, let’s chat about planning your own Alaskan cruise. Visit my Plan a Trip page to get started on the process. Talk soon!
Along with our stop in Victoria, I hadn’t initially planned to blog about Seattle. However, I ultimately decided I couldn’t help but share the goodness we experienced during our few days there. This was my 3rd visit there, having joined my husband a couple of time during his 90-day work stay there a few years back. Believe it or not, there were still places, and still are, left for us to explore! This trip was quite a bit different with twin toddlers in tow, but equally fun! We arrived mid-afternoon, taking it easy the first night, but we hit the ground running the next day.
We started out visiting The Museum of Flight. Our airplane loving babes, not to mention the husband, loved this spot! I must say, I quite enjoyed it myself. It held much more grandeur than other aircraft museums we’ve visited with dozens upon dozens of planes, helicopters, and other aircraft suspended from the ceiling, practically flying around our heads. Along with aircraft on view, you can take a stroll through the remake of the original Boeing factory. Quite the transformation back in time! The Museum of Flight is highest on my list of any of the aircraft museums I’ve been to, and I’ve perused quite a few. So, you’ll definitely want to check it out on your visit to Seattle.
Our next stop was the pier, for lunch at the Crab Pot, my favorite in Seattle, and a visit to The Seattle Aquarium. This time was so much fun with the babes in tow! The aquarium boasts an interactive tidepool, think Finding Dory, a gorgeous dome tank, and so much more. This was a huge hit for me, as always, and an even bigger hit with the babes!
Top end our full day, we checked into a new hotel right across from our cruise port, so convenient! We were able to watch a ship sail out that afternoon, and anxiously await the arrival of our own ship. Before heading to bed, we popped over to Pike Place Market for an afternoon visit (less crowds), just a short walk & elevator ride up from our hotel. We scooped up a beautiful bouquet & bundle of lavender for our ship cabin then called it a day.
The next morning, we loved waking up to seeing our ship right outside our window! This was the perfect ending to the beginning of our next big adventure—Alaska!
I’m so excited to wrap up this trip with two of our very favorites from the trip, glacier cruising & dog sledding, so be sure to check back over the next 2 days to read all about that!