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Alaska cruisetour packing, must do's?

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We're so excited for our Alaska land and cruise tour in August.  We're doing the land portion first (Fairbanks, Denali, Talkeetna, Anchorage, Seward) then boarding Millennium (Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Straits Point, Ketchican and inside passage, Vancouver)

Any suggestions on packing only one suitcase per person?  I've heard it's a bit more relaxed dress for Alaskan cruises, is that true?

Also, do you have any "must do" recommendations for shore excursions or sites not to miss for either the land or cruise?  We're a pretty active group between mid 30's to early 60's.

I'd love to see the Northern lights but I think we might be a bit early for that.  Aug 15-28

Would love to hear your thoughts and tips.

Thanks!

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You can pack one bag if you wish or have all you luggage sent to your room at each stop.   The give you different colored tags for ones you want in your room and those left on the bus.  

 

Dress is very casual and you will be fine in Jeans and Sweatshirt or what ever you choose.  Recommend you  go with the layered look as temperatures can vary greatly.   I was surprised that temperatures were warmer than I had expected.   Make sure you pack bug spray if going to spend time outside.

 

Average Weather in August in Fairbanks Alaska, United States. Daily  temperatures rarely falling below 52°F or exceeding 79°F.

 

Really recommend the extended tour in Denali -   It was incredible and we saw Grizzly Bears, Dear, Sheep Moose and Wolves.  

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My first cruise was to Alaska. I fell in love with cruising and Alaska. Have fun!

 

I can’t speak to the land travel, but on the cruise portion whatever else you do, go whale watching.  For me seeing whales -so big but so graceful - was tremendously moving.  If there is a shopper in your group, my favorite place for local, unique products is Creek Street in Ketchikan. 

 

You won’t need a bulky coat in August.  Bring layers to choose from: tee or polo, sweater or fleece, waterproof shell.

 

Cruise Critic has a sub-board devoted to Alaska. (I don’t know how to link.) There are lots of knowledgeable, helpful people there.

 

Best wishes!

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The aforementioned Alaska Cruise Critic forum is very valuable.  Please skim the trip reports (organized by year) at the top of the forum index page.  Skimming those reports will be one of the most efficient uses your time spent planning.  Lots of information and photos of what folks did, including websites of private excursion vendors.  And doing so won't take that much time since you really don't care what the poster thought of their stateroom attendant and so forth.

 

Regarding the aurora, spend some time on the University of Alaska Geophysical website (just google it).  Here in Fairbanks we can start to see an occasional aurora in late August.

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10 hours ago, auntjoy036 said:

You won’t need a bulky coat in August.  Bring layers to choose from: tee or polo, sweater or fleece, waterproof shell.

 

 

Agreed.  Layers are more practical; you can add and subtract as needed.  Include a lightweight waterproof outer layer (windbreaker or shell type jacket) and a lightweight but warm fleece or cashmere layer that can go underneath if needed, or be worn on its own.  Thin base layers for top and bottom will also be good.  Take both short and long sleeved t-shirts. 

Alaska can be rainy in the summer, so while jeans are great to pack and can be worn multiple times without needing to be washed, they aren't good in the rain because they take so long to dry.  So I'd take at least 1 pair of "trekking" style pants from Columbia, REI or similar, for any days where rain is predicted.   They will air dry really quickly once you're back and can hang them up, and will be thus be ready to wear again the next day if needed.  Add base layer bottoms underneath if needed for warmth.  Jeans could easily still be damp the next day.

You'll want casual shoes you can walk in, but unless your excursiosn involve strenuous hiking you don't really need bulky hiking boots; that seems to be something that many assume they need, but if your just walking around in town, or on marked pathways, they really aren't necessary at all.  Having something waterproof can be good, so that could include either some kind of boot, or athletic shoes that can be sprayed/treated with waterproofing solution. 

 

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10 hours ago, Jim_Iain said:

You can pack one bag if you wish or have all you luggage sent to your room at each stop.   The give you different colored tags for ones you want in your room and those left on the bus.     

^^^

This is what I was going to say too.  We had several suitcases, so moved everything we wanted to take for land portion into two bags, and kept the other suitcases on the bus the entire trip. 

 

Second, one thing that we found helpful was snacks.  You end up on long road trips on the bus for some portions, so having a few snacks in your backpacks or luggage is great.  

 

Third, layers is great - we went in the end of June in 2018, and when we arrived in Anchorage the temps were in the 70's.  When we set sail four days later, the temps dropped to 50's, and when we flew up to glacier the temps were in the 40's.  

 

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In addition to the very sensible clothing suggestions above, don't forget to pack a good pair of binoculars and a foldable lightweight umbrella. 

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Be sure to take the Wilderness bus tour at Denali.  It is an all day tour and you will see lots of wildlife.

 

It will be chilly, even in August.

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