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Dolphinseas143

First Time to Alaska, What do I bring?

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Hello everyone! We are going on an Alaskan 7 night north bound cruise out of Vancouver on the Radiance of the Seas in June 2019. We will be traveling with our two boys (3 and 8). I was wondering what do we need to bring? I have only done Caribbean cruises. The dress for those are easy (shorts, t shirt and bathing suite). What clothing and items would be good to pack? Any advice on younger children in Alaska? Any advice or information will be great appreciated.  Thank you so much. Also, does anyone know about the passport requirements for children when flying from the united states into Vancouver for the cruise? We have read conflicting information about whether we need to get them passports or just have their birth certificate with us. My husband and I have our passports.

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I am going to follow along.  We have only done Caribbean cruises and are going southbound on Radiance in August.

 

From what I read, a lot of jeans, layered clothing, and walking shoes.  Seems like rain gear is important.  Swim suit for on the ship.

 

I think I will still bring a dress for formal night.

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2 minutes ago, breezy_carol said:

I am going to follow along.  We have only done Caribbean cruises and are going southbound on Radiance in August.

 

From what I read, a lot of jeans, layered clothing, and walking shoes.  Seems like rain gear is important.  Swim suit for on the ship.

 

I think I will still bring a dress for formal night.

This is some of what I have read also. I want to be prepared for sure.

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Posted (edited)

Very easy:

 

Layers.

 

  • Two or three layers for the top.
  • Warm socks
  • Shoes or boots that can get wet and dry very quickly.
  • Hats
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Scarfs
  • and most important a water proof outer shell.

 

Bring a back back to carry stuff when you are ashore. IN another month or so look at places like REI and Bass Pro Shop for some good deals as winter ends.

 

As far as passport, they will need them. No one can fly internationally without one.

Edited by zqvol

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4 minutes ago, zqvol said:

Very easy:

 

Layers.

 

  • Two or three layers for the top.
  • Warm socks
  • Shoes or boots that can get wet and dry very quickly.
  • Hats
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Scarfs
  • and most important a water proof outer shell.

 

Bring a back back to carry stuff when you are ashore. IN another month or so look at places like REI and Bass Pro Shop for some good deals as winter ends.

 

As far as passport, they will need them. No one can fly internationally without one.

Thank you, this is great information. When you say water proof outer shell do you mean a water proof jacket and pants? 

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I see you are from Georgia, so your mileage may very. Being from Wisconsin the weather we had when we went in mid-June wasn't much different than what we left home in.

 

Wear your heaviest clothing on the plane. It will save you space in your bags- that would be any hiking boots, jeans, fleeces, and such. We had fleeces and then vests to go over our fleeces. We did not bring coats. With a turtleneck on underneath and mittens and hats we were perfect on deck sailing in Glacier Bay. On port days we may or may not have needed the vests, but always had our fleeces. Now, you need to know this week here in Wisconsin we hit 50 degrees and I saw many people running in shorts and t-shirts, so you may want something heavier.

 

We never had pouring rain, but we brought rain jackets (no pants, we were not going on any hiking trips) and I don't think we ended up using them but they were there if we needed them. We didn't pack wool socks, but again your mileage may vary.

 

Formal nights the ladies wore dress pants and nice tops and the men had ties and sport coats. We were able to do it with carry-ons and checked only our garment bag (for four).

 

I would love to go back to Alaska someday.

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1 minute ago, WisconsinFan said:

I see you are from Georgia, so your mileage may very. Being from Wisconsin the weather we had when we went in mid-June wasn't much different than what we left home in.

 

Wear your heaviest clothing on the plane. It will save you space in your bags- that would be any hiking boots, jeans, fleeces, and such. We had fleeces and then vests to go over our fleeces. We did not bring coats. With a turtleneck on underneath and mittens and hats we were perfect on deck sailing in Glacier Bay. On port days we may or may not have needed the vests, but always had our fleeces. Now, you need to know this week here in Wisconsin we hit 50 degrees and I saw many people running in shorts and t-shirts, so you may want something heavier.

 

We never had pouring rain, but we brought rain jackets (no pants, we were not going on any hiking trips) and I don't think we ended up using them but they were there if we needed them. We didn't pack wool socks, but again your mileage may vary.

 

Formal nights the ladies wore dress pants and nice tops and the men had ties and sport coats. We were able to do it with carry-ons and checked only our garment bag (for four).

 

I would love to go back to Alaska someday.

Wow that's great. I need to practice packing and I wont have so much luggage lol. I see what you mean about the difference in our weather. Thank you this information is very helpful. I am going to start a list! I cant wait to see Alaska

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24 minutes ago, Dolphinseas143 said:

Wow that's great. I need to practice packing and I wont have so much luggage lol. I see what you mean about the difference in our weather. Thank you this information is very helpful. I am going to start a list! I cant wait to see Alaska

This link might help you determine what you will need to bring to stay comfortable: https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Alaska/temperature-june.php

Although the ship did have a covered pool, our kids did use the outside pool as well. You can see Alaska in June isn't much different than Wisconsin in May (we sailed June 9) https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Wisconsin/temperature-may.php

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Just to reiterate, all international air travel will require a passport.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Schoifmom said:

Just to reiterate, all international air travel will require a passport.

Yes, good thing is children's passports are a bit less expensive, bad thing with the kids this young, they are only good for 5 years. If that is an issue, a round trip out of Seattle would solve that problem 🙂

 

Edited by WisconsinFan

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35 minutes ago, Schoifmom said:

Just to reiterate, all international air travel will require a passport.

OK thank you very much. It looks like we will be headed to the office for some passports.

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17 minutes ago, WisconsinFan said:

Yes, good thing is children's passports are a bit less expensive, bad thing with the kids this young, they are only good for 5 years. If that is an issue, a round trip out of Seattle would solve that problem 🙂

 

Yes that was one of the issues with it, that it does not last as long. But, we had already booked the cruise before we realized they would need passports 😞 So now we will be paying for that.  I read that if you are driving into Canada the kids just need birth certificates but if you are flying they have to have them. But, I feel like even if they can get into Canada without the passport by car they probably still wouldn't be able to get on the ship without one?

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1 minute ago, Dolphinseas143 said:

Yes that was one of the issues with it, that it does not last as long. But, we had already booked the cruise before we realized they would need passports 😞 So now we will be paying for that.  I read that if you are driving into Canada the kids just need birth certificates but if you are flying they have to have them. But, I feel like even if they can get into Canada without the passport by car they probably still wouldn't be able to get on the ship without one?

I think you are right as you are leaving from a foreign port. When our kids first got passports one was 16 and the other 11- so his renewal worked out right. What a fun time you will have!

 

What ports? So much to see and do. Our boys were less impressed with the gardens in Victora (we did a round trip) but loved Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau. Not sure if they were as impressed with Glacier Bay as the rest of us!

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2 minutes ago, WisconsinFan said:

I think you are right as you are leaving from a foreign port. When our kids first got passports one was 16 and the other 11- so his renewal worked out right. What a fun time you will have!

 

What ports? So much to see and do. Our boys were less impressed with the gardens in Victora (we did a round trip) but loved Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau. Not sure if they were as impressed with Glacier Bay as the rest of us!

Aww that is great! I am glad it worked out well for y'all. I hope it works out for us also. We are going to Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier and Seward. I really hope everyone has a good time. It will be very different then our usual Caribbean cruises (I assume anyway) We are excited about going!!

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4 minutes ago, Dolphinseas143 said:

Aww that is great! I am glad it worked out well for y'all. I hope it works out for us also. We are going to Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier and Seward. I really hope everyone has a good time. It will be very different then our usual Caribbean cruises (I assume anyway) We are excited about going!!

This was our favorite shore excursion ever (ten of us went!). I think the price has gone up since we did it, but educational and fun. Warm overhead heaters and big blankets/coats as well. http://alaskacrabtour.com/

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I think that the clothing list that zqvol outlined provides good guidance for you.

 

We have taken four AK cruises and love them.  AK cruise number five is booked for this April, and AK cruise number six is booked for this September.

 

Rain in AK is certainly not unusual.  However, the only time we have encountered a serious storm we were at sea in the Gulf of Alaska.  Typically, rains that we have encountered in ports have been more annoying than anything else.  Often, it might be described as a "heavy mist."  I know that you are trying to be compact in your packing, but we always throw in one of those low-dollar collapsible umbrellas for when we are walking around the ports.

 

We have visited Icy Strait Point only once.  I am a bit of an outlier, but I think it is one of the coolest AK port stops we've ever made.  We did a combination Whale Watching/Bear Search tour that was offered by the cruise line.  The morning whale watching portion was pretty cool--a very spectacularly breaching humpback was the highlight.  In the afternoon we boarded a bus and rode for about 30 minutes,  We left the bus and followed a very cool path into the forest. We walked to a river where there are some very neat lookouts over the river to try to spot feeding bears.  We had to get to the third of the three lookouts before we found one.  Very cool.  BTW, the walk is not difficult, at all.  It is definitely not a "hike."  I did it in sneakers.  On the bus ride back to town, as we were approaching an overpass over the very same river, there were several stopped cars and people were standing on the overpass.  Sure enough, there was another bear down in the river.  We were much closer to this one and he was darned big. 

 

You're going to have a great time.

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Kids arriving into Canada by land & sea can travel with a birth certificate. If you fly into Seatac and then cross into Canada by land, you should not require passports. However, if flying directly into Vancouver, as it is an International flight, a passport is required for everyone.

 

Some refer to this area as the Pacific North West, we prefer to call it the Pacific North Wet. Having lived around Vancouver for 40 years and completed a couple of full seasons working on Alaska cruise ships, the weather is best described as unpredictable. Temperatures should be in the 60's and low 70's, although we have experienced mid 90's in Juneau and Skagway. 

Wind can be flat calm to decent storms, however in June, storms are rare. Being Vancouver based you use more of the Inside Passage, than Seattle ships.

Rain - rarely been to Alaska and not experienced rain at least 1 day.

 

As other suggest - layers and a rain jacket

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We were very lucky last June - no rain other than a sprinkle in Juneau.  As others have said , layers are the key.  We packed pretty much all atheletic fabric tops as they dry quickly if wet.  For the same reason hiking pants rather than jeans (which are miserable when wet).  On our three Alaska cruises we have never needed waterproof pants, but do have waterproof jackets to use as the top layer.  Needed gloves and hat during glacier viewing and in Skagway as we drove up the Yukon Highway into Canada.  On Victoria Island it was a lovely day in shirtsleeves.  

 

There were brave folks in the pool and hot tubs - but not that often.  On board the guys were happy in jeans and shorts (that child loves shorts and flip flops) and tee shirts.

 

have a great time.

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9 hours ago, Dolphinseas143 said:

Hello everyone! We are going on an Alaskan 7 night north bound cruise out of Vancouver on the Radiance of the Seas in June 2019. We will be traveling with our two boys (3 and 8). I was wondering what do we need to bring? I have only done Caribbean cruises. The dress for those are easy (shorts, t shirt and bathing suite). What clothing and items would be good to pack? Any advice on younger children in Alaska? Any advice or information will be great appreciated.  Thank you so much. Also, does anyone know about the passport requirements for children when flying from the united states into Vancouver for the cruise? We have read conflicting information about whether we need to get them passports or just have their birth certificate with us. My husband and I have our passports.

In May 2008 when I joined CC I posted a similiar question. I was advised to bring winter clothing. There was a heat wave,temperatures in every port close to 80 degrees.

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Make sure you bring your camera and spare batteries as the cold really kills battery life quickly.

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Hmmm - looks like layers of clothes incl. a good waterproof shell and extremity coverings, passports (if flying to YVR), camera (extra batteries) have all been mentioned. I'll add sunglasses and sunblock - even if it's cloudy and cold you can easily get burned on the water as well as any shore excursions involving being on snow or ice - and extra memory cards for the cameras. Plus, if you're buying hiking boots or a new camera for the love of pete actually get out and about and use them! Break in boots LONG before you need them, and unless you know how your camera works and actually have it in hand you'll miss all sorts of reaction shots like surfacing whales, calving glaciers, family members making fools of themselves that you can blackmail later...

 

If you don't have any foreign travel scheduled or planned in the near future I'd be good with skipping passports for the kids this time around and flying RT Seattle - the risks of not being able to fly home immediately would be very remote, as your only time in Canada on a one-way cruise will be Vancouver on embarkation day and any other pre-cruise time spent here (well, if there was an onboard emergency during the first 24-36 hours you might be nearer a Canadian hospital too I suppose). This assumes that your cruise line is OK with it of course - but since the grownups have passports and kids <16 just need a birth certificate to cross back into the US by any method except flying, it should be OK (and the savings of not getting the passports plus likely a cheaper flight x4 to SEA could add up to a nice chunk of change, to be e.g. spent on extra hotel nights in Vancouver pre-cruise...)

 

Book the train from Seattle for the most relaxing way to get here, or rent a car one-way at Seatac for the most flexible routing (but NB: car seats for the kids are then required!)

 

As to what to do with small children in Alaska - you can almost certainly outrun your three year old, and if not you should be able to easily pick up and toss them behind you to distract any pursuing grizzlies;-)

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Dolphinseas143 said:

Thank you, this is great information. When you say water proof outer shell do you mean a water proof jacket and pants? 

 

That is what we take, ie; a rainsuit. Much better than a poncho. Spend a little on them and they last forever and the wind doesn't blow water into them. Keep in mind that the right version of these work as wind jackets too. Often when you are on deck cruising near the glaciers the wind is the problem more than the water.

Edited by zqvol

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Doing my first Alaskan cruise in August so this is nice info to have, thank you all for your posts!!

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One packing tip that we found handy when we went to Alaska this past July—I bought a box of  suitcase size Ziplock Space Bags at Wal Mart. They require no vacuum to remove the air—instead they have a one way valve and you get the air out by rolling them. They are affordable (11.00 for a box of 5), worked really well and saved a lot of suitcase room for our fleece, coats, vests etc. We could not wear all our outerwear on the plane as, like you we live in GA and June and July are pretty toasty.

 

Enjoy your Alaska cruise—we had a ball!

Cathy

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38 minutes ago, Cailey53 said:

One packing tip that we found handy when we went to Alaska this past July—I bought a box of  suitcase size Ziplock Space Bags at Wal Mart. They require no vacuum to remove the air—instead they have a one way valve and you get the air out by rolling them. They are affordable (11.00 for a box of 5), worked really well and saved a lot of suitcase room for our fleece, coats, vests etc. We could not wear all our outerwear on the plane as, like you we live in GA and June and July are pretty toasty.

 

Enjoy your Alaska cruise—we had a ball!

Cathy

Not a bad plan, but remember weight limits. You do not want to get charged for an overweight bag.

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