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ace1zoe2

OCD Planner's Live ALASKA Photo Trip Report 16 day Cruise Tour aboard Radiance

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Amber (dear sweet co-worker of mine, who makes fun of my OCD tendencies),

 

So glad you are going with me! I will bequeath all of my Alaska knowledge, as well as the contents of THE BINDER to you when I return from my trip!

 

 

The binder contents! How exciting!!!!

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PS

I am Suite-envious of your Grand Suite. Maybe someday if I win the lottery I can afford one. I'm just happy in my little Junior Suite this trip then it's back to the regular balcony cabins for me :)

 

Oh believe me, the OT I am pulling to pay for it will be felt down to the penny, but it will be worth it, so I'm told.

 

Looking forward to becoming OVERLOADED!!!

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I'm packed and ready to go with you! Can't wait to read EVERYTHING! Alaska is on our list of cruises to do!

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I'm packed and ready to go with you! Can't wait to read EVERYTHING! Alaska is on our list of cruises to do!

 

Thanks for joining our ever-growing-group. Glad you could get the time off to come along. I'm hoping to post my packing ideas, tips & tricks later today. And I'll include my Alaska packing list.

 

Unfortunately it's not grab two swimsuits, shorts & sundresses, throw them in a bag & let's do the Caribbean. For Alaska you have to think & plan ahead!

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Amber (dear sweet co-worker of mine, who makes fun of my OCD tendencies),

 

So glad you are going with me! I will bequeath all of my Alaska knowledge, as well as the contents of THE BINDER to you when I return from my trip!

 

If you give her all of your information then she won't have as much fun doing the research. :D

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I look forward to reading your review. :)

 

Thanks for following along & taking time to post, Nancy!

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If you give her all of your information then she won't have as much fun doing the research. :D

 

This is true! However, she is my cruise buddy. Not that we've cruised together (yet) but she is my friend that gets most excited about "talking cruises". And she practically BEGGED me for it, right Amber?

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If you give her all of your information then she won't have as much fun doing the research. :D

 

 

LOL! I have been eyeing that binder for over a year.

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Looking forward to your notes. I am thinking of going back to Alaska next year and would especially be interested in your land schedule since I would be traveling with someone in a wheelchair and would be doing DIY to Denali to Seward.

 

Alaska is a beautiful place and I hope you enjoy your trip.

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Sorry, I'm the fastest booker in the Midwest! But everything happens for a reason - if you beat me to 9256, you probably wouldn't have been open to an upgrade, and then you wouldn't be in a JS!!! (show off...:D). I'll be following along your live review (especially the packing part - I'm intrigued!), and look forward to meeting you on the ship!

 

Dave - we'll leave the light on for ya...:p

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Thank you so much for writing this - I will be reading with baited breath. We are on the cruisetour #1 in July with RCCL and have several D1 balcony cabins southbound. I booked this in June 2012 - after researching for a while. My parents 50th anniversary is this year and I am taking them to celebrate - and my boyfriend is taking his mom and her boyfriend because they are the best. I have planned - booked - and paid for it all throughout the year and I am excited to know what info you can provide before we go. Thank you so much for anything that you can share.

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We are planning on going to Alaska July 2014 and I feel so overwhelmed with choices. We are going on the Allure in a few weeks and was thinking of booking while on it. Following long should help tremendously. Thanks for letting me tag along!

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This will be our 9th cruise, all have been at least 7 days in length with two or more travel days before or after making all of our trips from 9-16 days. We have also been on two trips to Europe (London/Paris 10 days) and (London/Scotland 10 days).

 

Each trip we have taken 2 LARGE checked bags (1 each), 1 large Vera Bradley weekender bag packed to the limit & 1 large bulging backpack as our carry-ons, and 1 Lowepro Camera backpack & 1 laptop case as our personal items. So we've easily spent $800 in BAGGAGE FEES ALONE durning the 8 trips where we flew to our embarkation port. Add to that all the tips for each time someone touched each bag (shuttle/taxi driver, hotel bellman, porter at the dock) then double that for both ends of the trip and that's another $400 or so in TIPS. Don't get me wrong... I have not problem with tipping and we do every time. However, if I can cut my cost in half or or eliminate it altogether then I can spend that same money on excursions, specialty dining, drinks or EVEN PAY FOR ANOTHER CRUISE... JUST BY CHANGING HOW I CHOOSE TO PACK!

 

FINALLY! We decided WE CAN DO THIS!

 

We can do a trip with just a checked bag. So as I posted in a previous response based on the old saying "Go Big or Go Home" - our new motto from this day forth is "GO LIGHT OR STAY HOME" or maybe "GO LIGHT OR NO FLIGHT"?

 

I started out researching: How can I make this happen?

 

I read boards, websites, reviews. I gleaned a little information, tips and tricks from each one. There is no one way that will be perfect for every person. You have to decide what's best for you, and only you know what that is.

 

First let me say YOU CAN DO THIS - with just a few caveats:

 

* IF you are not the fashion police

* IF you don't have to have two completely different outfits every day

* IF you don't have a matching pair of sandals that you can only wear with that one outfit,

* IF you don't take separate jewelry that matches each outfit

* IF you don't want to dress to the hilt for formal night

 

We are non of those things. So this is easy for me after a little research and shopping that I have spread out over the last 14 months waiting for this cruise to arrive.

 

First you have to commit to going in a carry-on! Then you'll need to pick a color... another commitment. We chose black. Black as in black shoes, black belt, black pants, black capri's, black shorts... then think shirts that are black & white, black & colors, any color that goes with black. Next think about another pant color for variety, maybe khaki or beige... try to find something that will coordinate with the shirts you've found.

 

Then start shopping the clearance rack at the end of the season for TECHNICAL GEAR and light weight, wrinkle resistant fabrics. Buy it as you find it on sale or clearance... great places to shop for these items are Academy, Bass Pro Shops, Magellan's, Travelsmith, even JCP, Kohl's, etc. Don't buy these items during the season, they are too expensive - shop for long sleeves after winter, short sleeves after summer. Most of the long sleeves are made to roll up and snap or button to make short sleeves. Some have vented backs. All are light weight and pretty wrinkle resistant. The pullover shirt come in long & short sleeve, solid colors or cool prints, they are moisture wicking, quick drying, some are insect repellent & some are sun blocking fabrics. They can be washed/rinsed out in the sink with Woollite, rolled in a towel and hung on the shower line and will be dry in just a few hours - ready for another day. Ex-Officio makes underwear that has the same properties.

 

I don't know about you, but I couldn't tell you what someone had on last night at dinner, much less 3 days ago... so you mix and match your color coordinating outfits. Different shirts with different pants. Take one or two pieces of jewelry or scarfs (if that's your thing) that will compliment all your outfits. You get one pair of black dress shoes that go with everything, one pair of flip flops for the pool and you wear your hiking shoes, boots or tennis shoes on the plane.

 

We're wearing our hiking shoes & jeans on the plane. Jeans you can wear 4-5 times over the two week period and no one knows the difference. We'll probably be wearing ours for the most part on the land portion of our tour and maybe again during the port days. Then once we're on the ship we'll wear our technical pants. We have enough clothes that we won't have to wear the same thing during the first week at all. Then we can do one of 3 things:

 

1. wash & dry at one of the hotels that has self serve laundry in less than an hour

2. recycle pants & shirts that we've only had on once before

3. send out our clothes to laundry when we get on the ship - no way will it cost $100 that our checked bags would have cost us round trip

 

We used to bring a huge bag of toiletries... anything that we could possibly need, you know, just in case... and I don't think we've really ever used half of it. So we streamlined, just the essentials... razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste,

mouthwash, floss, tylenol, 1 punch out packet of pepto, immodium, bonine, 6 clothes pins, a travel hair straightener, 2 rolls of tums, powder, individual neosporene packets, bandaides, downy wrinkle release, 1 lipstick, powder makeup, blush, mascara (that's it for cosmetics). I'll use the hotel/ship supplied shampoo for 2 weeks and their hairdryers. All the liquids fit in 2 one quart zip lock bags for airport security. Every thing is travel sized, including the floss & toothpastes (I save the ones we get every six months when we have our teeth cleaned). All of hubby's meds are in individual pill-sized zip lock bags dated by the day with each days meds inside. Everything else fit in a Rick Steves toiletries bag that hangs when unzipped. It will fit great on the inside of the bathroom door.

 

Let me just say, if this were are Caribbean cruise I could almost pack us both in a carry on for a week. Alaska is a little different... it can be freezing cold, rainy, somewhat cold, comfortable or sunny and warm... for Alaska you have to pack LAYERS... LAYERS ARE YOUR FRIEND... you start off in the morning with your base layer, a long sleeve shirt over that, maybe a sweatshirt or fleece jacket and a heavier jacket or raincoat. As the day warms up you start peeling off your layers... this is where your daypack comes in (if you are off the ship), it gives you a place to put your layers until you need them again (when it gets windy or rainy or your out on a whale seeing tour on the water). So you have to pack more clothes for Alaska than you would the Caribbean... but keep in mind that people aren't going to see your layers under your coat or under the other shirt... so now you can wear that first layer another day as your outer layer this time.... are you starting to get the idea now?

 

We both have light weight, wicking (silk for me, cuddle duds for hubby) long underwear for our base layer if needed. We will both be taking our 3-in-1 jackets (Waterproof jacket & zip in fleece which can be worn together or either separately as needed for rain, wind, cold).

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Yesterday was a bank holiday and I was off work for the day. I used this extra free time to pack our carry on bags and to round up the electronics, charge batteries, etc. We invested in the Rick Steve's wheeled carry-on that also has back-pack style straps you can use (we'll leave the straps tucked and wheel them.)

 

Everyone has differing views on packing... the roll method, the drycleaner bags between layers, folding, garment bags, etc.

 

I am subscribing to the Packing Light dot net method of packing. You can go to their website and watch a video explaining how to do this. Below I am listing what I put in my hubby's bag and what I put in my bag. These are CARRY-ON sized bags and no, we are not tiny people with tiny clothes. I am average size 8-10 & hubby wears an XL shirt.

 

This is it, this is all we're taking. Any ornaments I buy (which is what I collect from our travels) I will have shipped home, which is what I normally do anyway.

 

image_zpse76da1e4.jpg

 

This is what fit in my hubby's bag:

 

1 dress pant

1 tactical pants

1 technical pants

1 zip-off convertible technical pants

4 long sleeve button up technical shirts

2 short sleeve button up technical shirts

2 light weight polo shirts

2 exofficio t-shirts

4 exofficio underwear

1 set cuddle duds long underwear pant/shirt

1 long sleeve mock turtle neck

2 long sleeve dress shirts

1 black tie

1 bathing suit

1 pair flip flops

1 toboggan

1 pair gloves

2 pair wool socks

2 pair regular socks

1 pair dress socks

Rick Steve's day pack - folded & put in outside pocket

Quart size back in outside pocket with liquids for airport security check

 

My bag contains the following:

 

2 dress pant

2 technical pants

capri pant

2 dresses

bolero jacket

4 dressy shirts

4 long sleeve shirts

2 short sleeve shirt

thermasilk long under wear & shirt

6 underwear

2 bras

2 wool socks

2 regular socks

swim suit

cover up

flip flops

dress shoes

toiletries bag with all the contents listed above

quart size pull out liquids back for airport security

Rick Steve's daypack, folded and put in an outside pocket

 

Hubby's backpack contents:

 

Both of our 3-in-1 jackets folded & placed in the bottom half

Binoculars

Hubby's dress shoes

Reusable Nalgene water bottle in outside pocket

 

My back is a LowePro Camera bag which contains the following:

 

Canon 7d body

Canon 28-135 kit lens

Canon 70-300 IS Zoom lens

Canon battery grip

Canon speedlite flash

Olympus Tough Waterproof Point & Shoot Camera

Extra batteries for both cameras

Extra Compact flash cards 16gig, 2 8gig, 4 gig & 2gig

Chargers for both Cameras

Iphone & Ipad chargers

Earbuds

 

In the outside pocket is my travel wallet that contains our passports, credit cards, insurance and donor cards, some cash and my driver's license. Hubby's iPad mini will fit in his backpack.

 

We will each wear our Merrell Hiking shoes on the plane. I still think we are taking more clothes than we need... we could always take less and if we need something buy tshirts or sweatshirts when we get there. Also we will have a rental car the first day so if we really need anything or thought we couldn't do without a certain type of shampoo or other liquid or hairspray we would just stop at Walmart or a local store and buy it. But I think my travel sized hairspray will be plenty for me.

 

Hopefully this will help you see how it can be done... just think you won't have to wait on your luggage at the airport, or on the ship when you get to your room, or on the morning that you debark the ship or at the airport again when you get home. :)

 

Ok, lets hear your thoughts...

Edited by ace1zoe2

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Sorry, I'm the fastest booker in the Midwest! But everything happens for a reason - if you beat me to 9256, you probably wouldn't have been open to an upgrade, and then you wouldn't be in a JS!!! (show off...:D). I'll be following along your live review (especially the packing part - I'm intrigued!), and look forward to meeting you on the ship!

 

Dave - we'll leave the light on for ya...:p

 

Kathy,

 

Thanks for following along. I look forward to meeting you onboard Friday week or at the M&M on Saturday morning at 10. Would love to say hi and maybe have a drink of the day together at some point.

 

You will love 9256!

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Thank you so much for writing this - I will be reading with baited breath. We are on the cruisetour #1 in July with RCCL and have several D1 balcony cabins southbound. I booked this in June 2012 - after researching for a while. My parents 50th anniversary is this year and I am taking them to celebrate - and my boyfriend is taking his mom and her boyfriend because they are the best. I have planned - booked - and paid for it all throughout the year and I am excited to know what info you can provide before we go. Thank you so much for anything that you can share.

 

Wow! Sounds like you have a great group going. What a wonderful gift for your parent's 50th anniversary. Looks like you already have everything under control as far as planning goes, but hopefully there will be some little nugget of wisdom that you will gain by following along. Thanks for taking time to comment!

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We are planning on going to Alaska July 2014 and I feel so overwhelmed with choices. We are going on the Allure in a few weeks and was thinking of booking while on it. Following long should help tremendously. Thanks for letting me tag along!

 

It an be very overwhelming, especially if you book last minute and are trying to throw a trip together. I'm of the personal opinion to book as far out as possible, then sit back and watch for price drops, or watch the price go up & be thankful that I booked when I did! The best part of booking early, it gives me plenty of time to research and decide what excursions we want to do and have the option of spreading out the cost over a year or more.

 

Hopefully you won't feel so overwhelmed after reading some of the ideas that I am going to share. Thanks for coming along on our adventure!

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Looking forward to your notes. I am thinking of going back to Alaska next year and would especially be interested in your land schedule since I would be traveling with someone in a wheelchair and would be doing DIY to Denali to Seward.

 

Alaska is a beautiful place and I hope you enjoy your trip.

 

We will be doing the cruise sponsored land tour, not DIY, but hopefully you will find some information in my report that might be helpful to you in planning your trip. Thanks for commenting on my posts.

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I'm in. We're doing the same exact itinerary, but we have to wait for August '14. Can't wait to follow along. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned how overwhelming Alaska planning can be. Can't wait for more tips and hints as we leave. ;)

 

I'm so impressed with your packing. I'll be the first to admit that there's no way I could even pretend to pull it off, but it sounds like you have it all covered. I really need to take lessons.

 

Thanks in advance for this, it's great so far! :)

 

Nancy

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I'm in. We're doing the same exact itinerary, but we have to wait for August '14. Can't wait to follow along. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned how overwhelming Alaska planning can be. Can't wait for more tips and hints as we leave. ;)

 

I'm so impressed with your packing. I'll be the first to admit that there's no way I could even pretend to pull it off, but it sounds like you have it all covered. I really need to take lessons.

 

Thanks in advance for this, it's great so far! :)

 

Nancy

 

Nancy,

 

Great to have you onboard for the virtual trip! Afterwards, you get a re-do to enjoy possibly some of the same things, or to not make my same mistakes... hopefully the fun stuff.

 

Maybe you can take the packing in steps... two checked bags this trip, one checked bag next trip, 2 carry-ons the following trip... just think of it as a process :)

 

Thanks for taking time to comment and for coming along!

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Thanks for sharing your packing lists. We are doing a Caribbean next May and I will try to pare down and try some of your suggestions. I have been checking the travel clothes at Travelsmith and a few of the others you mentioned. Also J. Jill has a nice no-iron line. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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It's so great to find another person who has a binder! We are doing almost the same itinerary as you in July and I have been glued to my pc since booking -researching, printing and getting more and more excited :D -unlike the rest of the family who will just turn up at the airport :rolleyes:

I didn't know that double cruise points are awarded for the whole cruisetour- we are in a 2-bed suite. We will also be diamond after this cruise. Kudos for the packing light- doesn't -and won't -happen in our house! I'm more a "pack the kitchen sink" kind of cruiser....

Looking forward to all the details you can tell us about the cruisetour- like many CCers I find RCI less than informative about the land portion and I NEED TO KNOW!!!

Have a wonderful trip and please keep posting.

Alison

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Thanks for sharing your packing lists. We are doing a Caribbean next May and I will try to pare down and try some of your suggestions. I have been checking the travel clothes at Travelsmith and a few of the others you mentioned. Also J. Jill has a nice no-iron line. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

 

geoblond,

 

Thanks for pointing out the J. Jill line, that's another option to check out! You should have absolutely no problem doing the Caribbean in a carry-on! Thanks so much for your comments. I welcome your input as we sail on. Have a great day!

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It's so great to find another person who has a binder! We are doing almost the same itinerary as you in July and I have been glued to my pc since booking -researching, printing and getting more and more excited :D -unlike the rest of the family who will just turn up at the airport :rolleyes:

I didn't know that double cruise points are awarded for the whole cruisetour- we are in a 2-bed suite. We will also be diamond after this cruise. Kudos for the packing light- doesn't -and won't -happen in our house! I'm more a "pack the kitchen sink" kind of cruiser....

Looking forward to all the details you can tell us about the cruisetour- like many CCers I find RCI less than informative about the land portion and I NEED TO KNOW!!!

Have a wonderful trip and please keep posting.

Alison

 

Alison,

 

Your family sounds like mine! Hubby just wants to know what he needs to wear each day and what time he has to be ready to go. He asked me last night, "so where do we fly in to?" I said "I've told you all this, you never listen." His response, "well it's closer now so I can remember." In other words, I plan too far in advance and he can't keep up with it.

 

I also didn't know about the double points but have had 3 different CVP tell me that when I called in to ask questions or make payments. Congrats on making Diamond yourself!

 

Definitely, NOT KNOWING has been the only negative for me so far in planning this cruisetour. I'm sure it's designed for non-OCD types who like to sit back & let someone else take charge so all they have to do is show up (like hubby).

 

I did find this e-zine after months of searching the RCI website and calling & talking to 5 or more people, the shorex team & even the landex team, not one of them could tell me how to find out about what is offered for land excursions or even knew it existed. Hope it might help with at least having an idea what's available or what type of costs you are looking at. You can't book any of them until the cruisetour actually starts. I just can't go in blind and hope there will be something I want to do or might can afford.

 

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/statichtmlpage.do?pagename=brochure_alaska_land_excursions

 

Enjoy!

Edited by ace1zoe2

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