For many, cruising to Alaska is the cruise of a lifetime – and an Alaska cruise on Disney Cruise Line is an even more magical experience. However, cruising to Alaska is very different than sailing on Caribbean or European itineraries and there are some things you should know before taking an Alaskan cruise.
From what you’ll do in port to packing (including the one thing you MUST bring), here are 5 expert tips to make your cruise more enjoyable:
1. Save for Port Adventures
One of the biggest surprises for Alaskan cruise passengers is that often the total sum for port adventures in Alaska can come close to your cruise fare. Walking on a glacier, zooming through the Yukon on a Jeep, snowshoeing through alpine mountains, whale watching, flying around fjords in a float plane, taking a steam train to the Klondike – these once-in-a-lifetime experiences don’t come cheap and most cost several hundred dollars.
Luckily, Disney Cruise Line is upfront with pricing for port adventures and you can research this even before you book your cruise. While prices can always change, you can use the Disney Cruise Line website to help form your budget for your trip.
A cruise to Alaska is something that you want to enjoy without having to worry about every cost, so plan accordingly so you can do the port adventures that are on your bucket list.
2. You Must Bring a Pair of These
What is the number one thing I recommend to anyone taking an Alaska cruise? Binoculars. Good ones. Preferably binoculars that are light in weight and portable so you can take them on port adventures.
You’re going to see a heck of a lot of wildlife and stunning scenery on this Disney cruise. Prepare to be wowed with lots of exciting sites that you’ll want to get a closer look at. Cue awesome binoculars.
High quality binoculars will be your best friend on an Alaskan itinerary and will be the envy of all those passengers who aren’t “in the know” to bring them. Binoculars; don’t leave home without them!
3. Layer, Layer, Layer
When most of us picture Alaska, we think about snow and glaciers. But the fact is that temperatures in Alaska can range between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit during summer, which is right when you’ll be cruising.
At the same time, it does get pretty darn cold when your gorgeous Disney ship gets close to those glaciers!
These variable temperatures prove to be a wardrobe packing conundrum, but have no fear. Layers will save you! Pack comfortable clothing that can be layered so you’ll be ready for whatever Alaska’s weather has in store for you. Some days you may be in a t-shirt and jeans, while other days may require a sweater and heavy coat. If you pack with layering in mind, you’ll be in great shape.
4. Know Where You’re Going
For those of us who aren’t super great with geography, it is hard to picture the route your Disney cruise will take through Alaska. For the geographically-challenged but still interested among us, a guide to Alaskan cruising can be immensely helpful to gain your bearings. Otherwise you may think that the Tracy Arm is something that fits snugly into a shirtsleeve.
Books like The Alaska Cruise Handbook: A Mile by Mile Guide, Alaska By Cruise Ship and others make great companion guides to your cruise. Knowing exactly where you are and finding out a little backstory for your ports of call will add a level of depth to your enjoyment of the cruise.
5. Rain Happens
While nobody ever wants it to rain on their vacation, on an Alaska cruise, it is less of a possibility and more of a certainty that it will rain a little on your trip. Summer in Alaska is typically a rainy time of year and even clear days have a little mistiness to them, but don’t fret, it is all a part of the experience.
A light rain jacket that can be layered (remember Layer, Layer, Layer!) and a portable umbrella is a great addition to your suitcase. Then when the rain comes, you’ll be dry and ready to roll.
Whether it’s your first cruise to Alaska or you’re a veteran who needs a refresher, if you keep these tips in mind when planning you will be better prepared to enjoy your Disney cruise. Adventure is out there!