MY PACKING TIPS FOR ALASKA CRUISES

Most of all bring a good sense of humor.
* - Have a wonderful time - *

Pictures may be misleading as you see glaciers and mountains topped with snow. In general, Alaska has a very pleasant climate in the summer from June through to August. One can expect anywhere from 50 to 80 degrees. Areas near the coast are usually cooler. Bring clothing that can be worn in layers that will prepare you for any eventuality. Bring a warm, water resistant coat and pants and a sweater, especially for a day cruise if you take it. Do bring lighter clothing as well. Definitely bring comfortable shoes like sneakers. A good deal of time is spent on deck viewing glaciers and wildlife. Shore excursions include activities such as a helicopter ride to the top of Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier, or a fishing excursion for salmon, panning for gold or a salmon bake at a rustic lodge. A must bring is a camera (zoom lens cameras are even better for those not so obvious shots, like wildlife and wide angle lens for the expanses). Also bring with you a set of binoculars; you wouldn't want to miss anything. Keep an eye out for those Killer Whales, Bald Eagles and Grizzly Bears. Bring bug repellant as summer bring swarms of mosquitoes and good sunscreen is wise as the sun is much stronger here.

How should I dress?

 

Whenever and wherever you travel in "The Great Land," clothing is always a primary consideration. Emphasis should be based on comfort. Some cruise lines recommend smart casual. This means whatever you like but no jeans, tee shirts, shorts or "grubbies".
A layered technique is extremely effective.
In general, evening attire falls into three categories: casual, semiformal and formal.
On casual evenings
, open neck shirts, slacks and sports outfits are appropriate.
On semiformal evenings, ladies usually wear dresses or pantsuits: men wear coats and ties.
On formal evenings, women usually wear evening gowns, cocktail dresses or dressy pantsuits. Men wear tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits.

Necessary incidentals include

Remember to bring your passport.

  • Sun screen
  • Sun glasses
  • Zip-lock bags, great for small leaky items
  • Medications
  • Good book
  • Camera, film and fresh batteries
  • Binoculars

 

Packing Suggestions include

  • Jeans or khakis
  • Comfortable shirts with long sleeves
  • Scarf or muffler
  • Running suits, sweat shirts and pants
  • Comfortable shoes and good socks
  • Pair of gloves
  • Wool hat
  • Sun hat with an elastic band - the sea has claimed many straw hats
  • A water-proof poncho
  • Windbreaker
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Fanny pack and a tote bag for going ashore
  • Wrap or sweater
  • Bathing suit and shorts for warm weather 

What is the weather like?

The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Plan on both rain and sunshine. Temperatures in Alaska during the summer range from 60°-80°F. Nighttime and early mornings are cooler, from the 40's - 50's F. Late August and September you could encounter cooler temperatures and slightly fewer hours of sunlight, as fall arrives early at these latitudes. Below is a chart with average daytime highs & lows, average monthly precipitation and average hours of sunlight. The most popular months to visit Alaska are July and August, typically the warmest months. Nature excursions are at their peak in August with the salmon spawning and the bears fishing.

Climate in Alaska during Cruise Season

 

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Avg. Max.
Temp (F)

51

56

60

60

56

Avg. Min
Temp (F)

36

44

48

47

41

Avg. Total
Precip(in.)

9

6

8

12

18

Avg. Hours
of Sunlight

17

20

19

18

14


The cruise season starts as early as the end of April and finishes around the end of September. You're cruise will most likely not be average. It will be great, no matter what the weather if you are prepared & bring a good sense of humor. You’ll have a wonderful time.

My Favorite Guidebooks on Alaska
Order your books from Amazon.com and get a discount.
There is a link to the travel books on my website http://www.winwinvacations.com
click on: Book Online

 

Alaska by Cruise Ship: Over 200 photographs and dozens of maps, charts, and illustrations support the narrative describing this exciting cruise. Covers the destinations with solid detail and from the cruiser's perspective. Includes a giant color pullout map. There are few books better on cruising than those by Anne Vipond. Anne patiently describes all the major cruise ports in Alaska and the Inside Passage. The detailed town maps with keys to the text descriptions are excellent. Anyone taking a cruise to Alaska will find this book invaluable. Ocean Cruise Guides, Vancouver BC ($18.95)

 

Adventure Guide to the Inside Passage & Coastal Alaska: Icy Inlets, Towering Totems, Rich Rainforests, … as compelling as a good novel, this book feels like a nice long letter from a friend who wants to be sure you have a great trip. The Adventure Guide to The Inside Passage & Coastal Alaska follows the Alaska ferry route, telling you everything you need to know about the ships themselves, the sights and the towns. Tours on land – flight-seeing, kayaking, canoeing, and boating – are covered. The book is targeted at anyone traveling in this region, not just those taking the ferry, and has full information on what to see and do in each town, where to stay and eat and how to get out of town. Extensive details about wildlife, including the best places to see some and how to be an eco-conscious traveler is described.  Hunter Publishing, Edison NJ ($16.95)

 

Alaska Cruise Guide, the Coastal Companion: Joe Upton draws on twenty years of exploring the northwest coast and Alaska to produce a meandering journey rich with stories, photos, and his illustrated maps. Both book and map use a unique locating system: Seattle is mile zero. Passengers can easily follow their ship’s progress and reference it to the exciting tales in the book. Coastal Publishing ($17.95)

 

Bell’s Travel Guide to Alaska, Yukon & British Columbia: This is a driving guide with good maps and description mile for mile. Dollar for dollar this simply is the best tool available for planning and implementing your northern vacation. The comfort of knowing what lay ahead is priceless. West Bank, BC ($19.95)

 

Best Places: AlaskaOne of a series of Best Places guidebooks by Seattle-based Sasquatch Books. Over 200 restaurant and lodging reviews pack an in-depth guide to the 'best' recommended Alaskan places; from hidden coves and fly-in fishing lodges to spectacular outdoors attractions presented by nature. This is an excellent title of choice for any discriminating Alaska-bound traveler who wants to plan a quality trip. Especially good for recommendations on where to stay and eat ($21.95).

 

Compass American Guides: AlaskaGood essays on the natural and cultural history of Alaska, plus lots of photos. However, it's sparse on sightseeing details and hotel listings, so you'll need a guidebook, too ($21).

 

Discovering Denali: A Complete Reference Guide to Denali National Park and Mount McKinley, Alaska: Discovering Denali is the complete reference guide to Denali National Park and Mount McKinley, Alaska. Includes hiking and climbing maps and information on summer and winter activities, wildlife, local towns and state parks. iUniverse.com  ($16.95)

 

Insight Guides: Alaska — Beautiful pictures, Good all-around guidebook covering sights, hotels, shopping and more. Insight Guide books include a section detailing the country’s history, features covering the country's life and culture, a region by region visitor's guide to the sights, and a comprehensive Travel Tips section packed with essential contact addresses and numbers, plus many lovely photographs and maps. ($22.95).

 

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Great Gold Rush: by Pierre Burton. This is a superb popular history book, informative and fascinating. It is the most complete and most authentic on the subject: a lively saga of the great gold rush. Publishers Group West ($19.95)

 

Lonely Planet Alaska: Lonely Planet is at its guidebook best when it's covering isolated regions where those little details of shelter, food, and transportation are of more than passing concern. Just the section on Denali National Park alone makes Jim DuFresne's guide worthwhile, illuminating the complex new rules governing access to that sensational wildlife reserve, plus giving information on dogsled demonstrations, hiking, rafting, backpacking, and so on. The sections on climate, geography, and ecology are very well done, as are the chapters on the Alaskan people and society. The transportation chapters are vital and comprehensive, and the rest of the guide follows suit, covering all of Alaska (no little task) with reliable acumen, information, and savvy. Lonely Planet, ($18.99)

 

Looking for Alaska by Peter Jenkins: Jenkins's 18-month sojourn in Alaska involves more unconventional modes of travel: a nervy float-plane trip through the fog with a passenger who knows the route better than the pilot, for instance, or a wild ride across a frozen river on a sled attached to 13 surging huskies. Part of Jenkins's charm is that he never pretends that he's figured the place out; he readily cops to his outsider status and invites readers to experience his sense of awe and surprise with him. "No one is ever the same after coming back from Alaska," he writes and after reading his book, it's easy to believe him. St. Martin's Press  ($25.95)

 

The Milepost: A Trip Planner for Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta & Northwest Territories:  To go to the exotic and wild and unusual world that is ALASKA you need two books, `MilePost' and `Looking for Alaska' by Peter Jenkins. In order to get the fullness of ALASKA you must know where to drive, how far it is to the next gas station, what B&B to stay at that has cinnamon buns as big as the `moon' BUT you should also have a sense of the soul of ALASKA. The MilePost offers the practical and Looking For Alaska, Peter Jenkins'newest book offers you a glimpse of the soul and spirit of this astounding place that you need to see and touch and hear. Published every year by Morris Communications Corp. ($24.95)

 

The Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats
In this lively fieldguide to Southeast Alaska’s natural world, you’ll find everything from bears to banana slugs, mountains to murrelets. It includes comprehensive information about wildlife and terrain, mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, fungi, plants, and habitats. A map, numerous color photographs and b & w drawings illustrate the book. Alaska Northwest Books, ($18.95)

 

Travels in Alaska by John Muir. Take a trip to last century's Alaska through Muir's clean, easy-going, enthusiastic prose. He wrote the way he took pictures, with insight, attention, care and genuine feeling. It's a lovely look into a beautiful land and its inhabitants the way it used to be, told in a flowing narrative that is far less rushed than contemporary travel tales. Mariner Books ($25.00)

 

The Yukon Fact Book: by Mark Zuehlke. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Yukon from a to Z. A must read to fully enjoy a trip in the Yukon, an encyclopedia that reads like a novel. Whitecap Books, Canada ($16.95)

 

WinWin Vacations, Your Travel Solution, PO Box 30903, Seattle, WA 98113-0903
phone (206) 297-7179,
WinWinVacations@comcast.net

Web site designed by Tom Trowbridge 
Copyright 2000-2009 WinWin Vacations. All rights reserved
Email webmaster Tom@winwins.com