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ErLee

Packing tips for Alaska

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Some really good suggestions here especially everyone who said it's all about layers - they are not lying to you LOL. I have been to Alaska twice (last year in early July and previously in late July/August) and both times I was extremely thankful that I brought a variety of clothing to switch out as needed. 

 

I would suggest a waterproof pouch for your phone, especially if you plan on using it as a camera. I used one in Juneau on our whale watching tour...it was an overcast day with random drizzles of rain here and there but on the boat there was some splashing and it was nice not to have to worry about that. It was like $8 or something like that on Amazon and hangs around your neck - and you can still use it just fine while it's in there. 

 

 

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Thanks to everyone that shared suggestions. I truly enjoyed reading them. One thing I would like to add that I did not see here is to bring a Yeti Tumbler to keep your drinks hot when you're on deck.

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Waterproof your outwear or buy waterproofed outerwear.  Three of my family members had packable light raincoats from Mountain Warehouse.  They were great.  We had waterproofed them before our trip in addition to my old faithful Eddie Bauer raincoat.  We live in Ohio.  I have worn in numerous times in the rain.  I also decided to use the waterproofer on it.  We had rain all last week on the cruise.  The only day we didn't have rain was the Hubbard Glacier day.  My Eddie Bauer jacket was soaked through.  

 

I agree with other posters.  Regular tennis shoes are fine.  I severally sprained my ankles two days before our trip.  I wore a beautiful orthopedic boot on one foot and had to buy the next size up tennis shoe for the other foot to accommodate an ankle brace.  We hiked Nugget Falls in Juneau.  You could have walked there in crocs and been fine! 

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I have my own personal summer. Seriously.  Sweat city right here...so I'm taking my waterproof rain poncho and layering ..will bring my jacket but it says our 10 day forecast has a few days that are 57 but mostly high 60's.  So I don't have a ton of long pants ..mostly capris...and normally am in minimal clothing in those temps...I'll bring the long pants but have a feeling I'm wasting luggage space

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On 5/1/2019 at 5:21 PM, PittsburghNative said:

 

I decided after reading more of the reviews to not bring it...I’m actually returning it because it doesn’t look like it’s a reliable product. I don’t know why they advertise it and say that it’s good to bring on cruise ships 🧐

To sell more product  😟

 

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Great ideas!  Especially the waterproof pouch for the camera/phone.  Thanks everyone.

Nancy

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I'm the one that originally started this thread, and I'm thankful for everyone's input! I've just returned from two weeks in Alaska, and the one big thing that I forgot that I really needed was some lip balm!  I'm sure someone on here said it, but I overlooked it, and in the wind up on deck and on the outside platform on the White Pass railroad, I really wished I had it 😂

 

Things I took that I didn't need? Rain pants, because we did not have a lot of rain on our trip, but I did use my  raincoat a number of times in the occasional rain we did have plus as a windbreaker.  I had also brought cuddl duds fleece leggings and long sleeve crew neck shirt. I used the leggings on Glacier Bay Day and one other day under yoga pants, never wore the shirt because I had enough layers without it. 

 

Feel free to ask any questions! I'm working on my review as well. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/22/2019 at 7:13 PM, elainmir said:

I have my own personal summer. Seriously.  Sweat city right here...so I'm taking my waterproof rain poncho and layering ..will bring my jacket but it says our 10 day forecast has a few days that are 57 but mostly high 60's.  So I don't have a ton of long pants ..mostly capris...and normally am in minimal clothing in those temps...I'll bring the long pants but have a feeling I'm wasting luggage space

I'm like you and I'm normally warm natured. As you're checking temperatures for Port days, you can probably rely on your knowledge of how you like to dress at that temperature. For sea days, especially if you're going into Glacier Bay, that wind is cold!!! In order to stand outside most of the day on Glacier Bay day, I had on every layer I brought with me except for one fleece long sleeve shirt. 

Edited by ErLee

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When we left home (FL) the forecast was for low 60s with some occasional rain, by the time we got to the west coast and spent a few days in Seattle and Vancouver the forecast changed to be low 50s with rain almost every day.  I had tried to prepare with layers and everything but I was caught off guard by the 10 degree swing of temps.  The one thing that I screwed up was socks.  I own all kinds, but I only brought what I wear in the winter in FL, which is tiny ankle socks - and of course in AL with upper 40s/50s and rain what I wanted was my wool, or at the very least longer crew socks.  No idea why I didn't pack those lol.  Fortunately they were easy to find for me to purchase on the trip.

 

I'm very cold by nature and never needed to have a layer under my pants at all.  On my coldest days I wore a tight long sleeve shirt, a tshirt and a fleece and then layered my rain jacket over the top.  I was happy to have the warmer socks that I grabbed in Vancouver.  My husband said his compression (knee high) socks were perfect for our early June cruise.

 

Chapstick was a must - also don't forget your sunglasses.  It may be cold but the sun reflecting off the water and ice is strong!

 

Of course I see the weather 2 days after we left was easily 15 degrees warmer and dry lol - so plan for about everything!

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What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

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25 minutes ago, Dbs944 said:

What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

Possibly the only reason to carry a DSLR is for the ability of using a long lens for wildlife. DW has a S9+ and the camera in it is great for wide angle scenery. I hear that there are many P&S cameras now that come with great optical zoom features.

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Posted (edited)

I found a waterproof envelope/holder for my phone at WallMart for about 6$, thanks for that suggestion. I have also found some duck boots at a resonable price, I am ready to pack but will delay a couple more weeks to avoid wrinkles. 

I have decided to leave my winter coat at home and just take the raincoat plus a fleece jacket, hoodie and regular tops. I do plan on taking some exercise pants that can be put under jeans if I don't eat too much.

 

The raincoat is almost knee length and should keep my pants dryer than the disposable type we used last year at Disney. I got soaked several times on that trip.😵 At least it was warm there. 

 

Thanks to everyone for their advice

Edited by Clairescurtains

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On 7/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Dbs944 said:

What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

 

I went back and forth about the camera for our 2 week trip last month, but I ended up taking all my pictures with my Android phone because it was simple, lightweight, and always with me. I don't have mad camera skills, but I think my pictures turned out great! You can check them out if you're interested in my trip report over in the trip reports thread 😃

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Posted (edited)
On 7/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Dbs944 said:

What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

 

I purchased what they call a rugged point and shoot for Alaska. Waterproof, though I don’t anticipate taking underwater photos, I just didn’t want to worry about taking pictures in the rain, or while whale watching, or on our kayaking and fishing excursions. I purchased one with decent enough specs...and planned to do some photo editing afterwards and that turned out very well. I also picked one that I could handle well if I was wearing gloves (Glacier day). The shape of the Ricoh WG-50 I bought last year was great. And I made sure I had the fastest writing sd card the camera could handle.

 

i love the rugged style because you don’t need a case...just put it in your pocket, any pocket and it’s good to go. I did to play with it before leaving and I think that’s important. I figured out and found a handy lens cloth, which is the only thing that is sometimes affected by pocket travel.

 

When I purchased, the price was $250...pretty much the upper limit of what I was willing to pay for another camera. I like the recharge via usb. I would generally take this camera out on excursions and then use my other point and shoot or phone on the ship while the rugged charged. Then I would charge my normal point and shoot during the day. Worked very well for me.

 

my TR link is in the 2018 sticky.

Edited by Anita Latte

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On 7/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Dbs944 said:

What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

Thanks for the replies, very interesting.

 

I have my DSLR packed and will probably take it just because I'd hate to miss some great shots and I have space in my carryon.  I think I'll head out to a local pawn shop to see if I can get a decent point and shoot on the cheap.  If all else fails, still have my phone.

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On 5/9/2019 at 12:33 PM, Sharon in AZ said:

I take most of what has already been mentioned plus:

 

Post it notes and a pencil.  Sometimes I need to write a short note to the cabin steward or my husband.  Travel hand wipes, tissues, lotion, lip balm are a must in my purse.  I have two Relax the Back purses, one large one small that I always take.  It has lots of pockets and zippered areas to store items, even pen/pencil slots.  I bought them in 2000 and was one of the best travel purchases I have ever made.  I take a small purse that has a longer shoulder strap to use on the ship that just holds room key card, cash for the casino, travel size lotion, tissues.  Fanny pack for walking or tours in ports (I know it's dorky but I don't care if I look like a dork).  A small tripod to use for the camera taking videos from the balcony.  Umbrella is a must, one for each person.  Wine bottle opener.  Lanyard for the casino. 

 

fanny packs are in style now! All the kids are wearing them 😉  Except they call them a "belt bag" and sell them for $300. Just pretend you are a millennial. You'll be on the cutting edge of fashion.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2019 at 2:33 PM, Sharon in AZ said:

I take most of what has already been mentioned plus:

 

Post it notes and a pencil.  Sometimes I need to write a short note to the cabin steward or my husband.  Travel hand wipes, tissues, lotion, lip balm are a must in my purse.  I have two Relax the Back purses, one large one small that I always take.  It has lots of pockets and zippered areas to store items, even pen/pencil slots.  I bought them in 2000 and was one of the best travel purchases I have ever made.  I take a small purse that has a longer shoulder strap to use on the ship that just holds room key card, cash for the casino, travel size lotion, tissues.  Fanny pack for walking or tours in ports (I know it's dorky but I don't care if I look like a dork).  A small tripod to use for the camera taking videos from the balcony.  Umbrella is a must, one for each person.  Wine bottle opener.  Lanyard for the casino. 

 

All good tips! Thought you would be glad to know that Fanny Packs (now called a waist purse -fanny pack being a crude phrase for our european friends) are back in style! LOL😄 

 

On the extension cord/extra outlets discussion: This will be our 15th cruise and I have never needed extra outlets

Edited by shark&minnow

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Could you list what you packed in your day bag while in Alaska? 

 

i.e., the bag you take with you off the ship before heading out on excursions

- excursions in a boat  

- excursions on land

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I always overpack, and bring way too many "dressier" items such as dress shirts, sweaters, sports coat, nice shoes, dress slacks, etc. My wife says I really overdo it, but want to look nice for her. My last trip to Alaska --2 weeks in Mid-May 2018, with cruise and  first week in Fairbanks & Denali-- all I packed were a couple warm sweaters, rain-proof wind jacket, a couple of my shemaghs, couple pairs of levis and lite weight travel pants, t-shirts, and tennis. I felt totally comfortable every place I went --on board and ashore-- and was never happier. Leave the dressier stuff at home!!

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One tip I learned when packing for a Greenland trip was to get some Marino wool or Smartwool liner socks.  They are meant for layering for feet... warmer socks to be put over them for hiking or extreme cold.  However, I found they were great for everyday in Alaska.  Living in SoCal I don’t have a need for thick socks and my shoes are all sized for thinner ones.  The liner socks are thin enough that they pack well and warmer than a pair of cotton socks... yet they fit well with your normal sneakers/trainers...unlike thick wool socks. I’ve also worn them with my open toed shoes in the evening on board ship. (Black pants, socks and shoes so it doesn’t look that weird).  If it’s really cold you can use them as liners.

 

 

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On 7/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Dbs944 said:

What kind of cameras do folks bring?  Phone cameras are fine sometimes but aren't always up to snuff.  I always hate waking it up, going to the camera app, looking at my face when it accidentally went into selfie mode, moving the protective case out of the way, etc.  I have a decent DSLR but was wondering if a nice digital camera would work just as well.  Point  and shoot.  Maybe the DSLR is too big and clunky (and intimidating to people you hand it to to take your picture) but do like the lens choices.  I assume you are pretty safe from grab and run crime.

Some may think we were overkill but DH and I brought a DSLR with multiple lens options and a standard point and shoot.  While I agree that today's phone cameras have improved significantly, there's something about the majesty of Alaska that warrants the good gear.  Especially if the photos will be used for viewing purposes outside of social media. 😃

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Me I’m bringing dslr with one lens. 18-400mm.  Also bringing a simple pocket point and shoot.    Also bringing a Gopro to take video on the ship.   I’ll pack a carry on with all my gear and change of close just Incase. Also grabbed a few extra memory cards and bringing a few external backup batteries.    

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Actually, DH had to correct me.  We brought 2 DSLR bodies and a P&S.  The secondary body was a back-up and also to allow him to have different options with the lenses without fumbling through changing them.  Guess it goes to show who ended up hauling this gear for us! :classic_happy:

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I know a little late to the post but just in case others are reading this for more information: 

- Waterproof hiking boots- we did go hiking a lot so this was an obvious item for us; however, we tended to wear our boots whenever we got off the ship. As they were comfortable and waterproof they were the perfect shoes to wear even just for walking around a port. 

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On 8/7/2019 at 9:49 PM, Ptroxx said:

Me I’m bringing dslr with one lens. 18-400mm.  Also bringing a simple pocket point and shoot.    Also bringing a Gopro to take video on the ship.   I’ll pack a carry on with all my gear and change of close just Incase. Also grabbed a few extra memory cards and bringing a few external backup batteries.    

 

 

Ill have a DSLR with 3 lenses (28-75, 70-300mm and the mama of the group my 50-500mm which weighs as much as some carry on bags i swear) and a Point and Shoot for every day stuff.

 

I really am hoping that my side of the ship is facing out into the harbor in places like Ketchikan and Juneau so i can put the 50-500mm to use taking shots of the seaplanes (same as Vancouver).  All of my memory cards come with me at all times (about 15 of them) same with batteries.  The benefits of a fully kitted out camera bag.

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