Alaskan Cruise Family Packing List

Alaskan Cruise State Room unpacking

Alaskan Cruise State Room unpacking

What to Pack for Kids & Parents 

Think less is more.  Really.  There isn’t much room, plus it’s just lighter to carry.  We moved from hotel to hotel for a few days before the cruise, and this is especially a time for LESS luggage!

I packed all of our clothes into 1 large suitcase & 3 smaller suitcases which would fit in the plane’s carry-on compartments if needed.  The big suitcase held the winter clothes, hats, etc, while the smaller 3 had all of our clothes. The kids shared a suitcase. Each of us had a backpack.

In the backpacks were extra outfits, swimsuits, kids toys, books, electronics, important papers/passports, & snacks.  This way, in the hotels, we didn’t need to even open the suitcases, and instead live out of the backpacks.  Though this was the way it was supposed to work, we did end up riffling through my daughters suitcase for dinner clothes before the cruise.

The backpacks were helpful when first on the ship because our luggage was not in the rooms until after lunch and we had some things to change into before the luggage arrived.  Once unpacked, I emptied the backpacks and used them to carry cameras, sunscreen and water on the shore excursions.

In the suite, there are 3 large drawers for each person, plus 4 hanging closet spaces, under the bed storage & other cubbies around the room.  In the suite, full laundry service is provided!! (Awesome!) So, you’ll be able to recycle some clothes several times. Also, we had the types of suitcases that can fit into one another, so after I unpacked, I was able to fit them all together and store them under the bed.

Our suggested packing list:

  • Power strip & extension cord: we used this immediately; there are only a few outlets, so if you have a phone, computer and other things to plug in, a power strip will be helpful
  • Comfy clothes.. for me this means t-shirts, sweats, yoga pants, slacks…I never wore my jeans or shorts
  • Comfy shoes.. for me this means tennis/running shoes, flip-flops, sandals (I wish I had brought my uggs!! they would have been perfect for around the boat or on the verandah!)
  • PJ’s & slippers (I missed having my slippers!) robes are provided in the room
  • Lounge around the pool clothes… don’t mind getting them wet, play ping-pong, play large chess, but there are several people out, so not looking too casual in PJs or yoga pants. 🙂
  • Swim suit & cover up with pool sandals or flip flops
  • Workout clothes for those who workout (kids have to be 16 to be in the gym)
  • 2 Formal outfits: I brought 2 dresses for me/daughter, easily packed (I twisted them, then hung up immediately…worked great) a nice black heel sandal. For my son I brought  1 nice button down shirt with a tie, 2 dress sweaters and a vest with black pants/shoes.  He wore the sweaters alone on the “smart” nights, and the button down/tie on formal nights.
  • 5 smart dinner shirts/blouses for Mom/daughter: I brought black slacks, floral & blue slacks, then 5 shirts, all worn with the black heels. Several of the shirts I doubled to use for dinner out in Vancouver & Seattle, at the pool for the days on the ship, and for the High Teas several times.  My daughter loved this option and liked to “dress up” the simpler shirts with scarves/jewelry. I wore my black scarf 3 nights to dinner because it was chilly in the dinning room.
  • Sweatshirts, hoodies or sweaters: this was worn each day…it’s chilly…I brought a thick sweatshirt for each family member, except my son, and we bought his at one of the ports for $19. The sweatshirt option is especially nice when you are on the verandah or on deck for longer periods of time.
  • Rain/winter coats.  We brought the thicker rain coats which we could also wear skiing, to give you an idea of the thickness.  We wore these at Glacier Bay, sitting out on our verandah for hours at a time and whale watching
  • Hats, gloves, scarves:  We wore these a few times and were glad we brought them.  I run cold, so do my kids.  My hubby runs hot, so he didn’t wear his.  Though, he did wear his rain jacket on the verandah.
  • For each shore excursion I wore my Lulu yoga pants with tennis shoes, and my kids wore comfy sweats & flip-flops. We didn’t do much walking, so if you are walking, the tennis shoe route is best.

Were we missing anything? Yes, my son’s shoes, which I was hoping to buy along the way, with no luck.  He wore flip-flops the entire trip except for formal nights. 🙂

I brought too many books & journals, so think before packing…these are heavy!

We wore each piece of clothing at least once…except my jeans…which is good to have used what we carried.  Good luck!

Getting to Vancouver: Planes, Trains & Automobiles…& Cruises

Our cruise is set, paid for, and waiting for us.  Now we just need to get to Vancouver.  It’s funny because I almost forgot to make that happen, as if just finishing all the cruise arrangements magically finished everything else.  Though the cruise line will make all the travel arrangements, I decided to finish the rest myself.  Now, after some of the hiccups I ran into, I can see why people have the cruise line make all the travel arrangements.  For me, I can usually find what I need quickly so it makes sense for us to do it ourselves.

We usually use Southwest Airlines to fly to the places we like to visit…but this wasn’t an option since Southwest doesn’t fly to Vancouver. This was the first hiccup, but alas, there are other airlines…aren’t there?

The next option was American Airlines and other airlines similar like Delta, Alaska Air, Canada Air, which all had very high prices that took the round trip fare close to $2800.00.  I started looking for plan B.

There was a special on Southwest to fly to Seattle for $100 per person & then an Amtrak train ride from Seattle to Vancouver for less than $250 round-trip for our entire family!  Phew!  Even with the added overnight needed to make the plane arrival and train departure work out was much less than the flights to Vancouver.

Now, we get to cross “train ride” off our bucket list AND see Seattle as well!

From one of my clients recommendations to stay downtown, I started looking for a hotel near The Pike Place Fish Market”.  She also recommended a Treehouse Motel, but my husband wasn’t game for that adventure.

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, WA

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, WA

There seems to be much to see from these downtown hotels without renting a car.  My daughter is extra excited because she gets to see the Chihuly blown glass art exhibit in Seattle.  She just finished studying Chihuly in her art class and seeing his art this soon after this class is perfect timing.

This is a great adventure and I’m glad Seattle was added to our summer!  If you have any suggestions for our short stay on the way to Vancouver & the way back, we have a total of 48 hours in Seattle.

And thank you to Amtrak for saving us $1500!!