Something I didn’t mention in my planning post last week was the amazing trip I just got back from – a cruise to Alaska with my husband’s whole family to celebrate my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary!
Okay, so my mother-in-law picked and booked the trip for us (brava!), but you know I couldn’t leave it at that. I researched the ship, all the ports we’d be stopping at, packing suggestions, weather, you name it! And now that we’re back, I can share all that planning with you…including what was worth the trouble, and what wasn’t.
Naturally, once I found out the dates and cruise line, I headed to every modern planner’s first line of defense: PINTEREST! I did a basic search for “Alaskan cruise” and let myself fall down the rabbit hole for (cumulative) hours on end. It was Pinterest black hole-ing at its best!
In the end, things basically broke down into three categories: packing, on-board tips and tricks, and ports of call. I’ll tackle the packing and prep in this post, and take on the other two in separate posts over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Packing for an Alaskan Cruise
Who doesn’t love a good list? There are so many gorgeous printables out there, and while I’ve always wanted to learn more about designing my own, there was really no time for that (at least not for this trip). My main concern was putting together something exhaustive to avoid that sinking “I-feel-like-I-forgot-something” feeling that always creeps up on the way to the airport.
So, my plan was two-fold.
First, I found as many packing lists as I could having anything to do with either cruises or Alaska. Then, I looked at each of them and created a (long) list that combined the items from all of them.
It’s so interesting the things that some people remember and others ignore! It’s natural that everyone’s lists would be a little bit different, but I wanted as complete a list as possible to start from.
In the end, I came up with two lists that I used in my prep. (You can click on either to download an editable Excel file!)
The first is a detailed outfit planner to help me figure out how many of each clothing item I really needed to bring. For this I looked at our itinerary and made my best guess at how many outfit changes each day would require. I am a big fan of packing as lightly as possible, but I also didn’t want to end up having to do laundry on the ship. (PS – We did end up having to do laundry on the ship, and it sucked!)
The second is your basic packing list. I split everything up into groupings (to avoid staring at a single list of 100 items) and then split those lists even further to have smaller lists for each of us (me, my husband, and my son). It’s a little plain, but it got the job done.
At the bottom of this basic list, there’s a handy miscellaneous section. Allow me to explain some of the things that might seem a little strange.
AIR FRESHENER – Surprise! A lot of bathrooms in cruise ship staterooms don’t have any ventilation. Pleasant, huh? We opted for a little spray bottle of Febreze from Target’s travel section, but a hanging car air freshener could probably get the job done just as well. If you’re in an inside stateroom like we were, this is a good idea if you plan on spending much time in your room.
HIGHLIGHTER – This was one of my favorite tips I found online. Every morning on a cruise, you’ll receive a newsletter of sorts with a long list of all the activities available for the day. It was super handy to have a highlighter to mark the ones we wanted to do. If you’re more into winging it than I am, feel free to leave your highlighter at home. But there are SO MANY OPTIONS on board, it was the easiest way to make sure I didn’t miss anything I was really interested in.
WINE/CORKSCREW – Of course, they have wine available for purchase on board! For my husband, it was even worth purchasing an unlimited drink package. But at $56 a day, we knew the same package would not be worth it for me. And, rather than spending close to $20 A GLASS, we decided to spend $40 A BOTTLE and bring two of my favorite with us. (Princess Cruises allows you to bring one bottle of wine on board for each adult in your room.) #WorthIt
Anything you think I should add/remove for our next trip? Any questions about other items on the list?
Next week, I’ll take a closer look at our stateroom and all of the AMAZING food we had during our week-long trip.