A handy guide to get your off on the right foot

By Patti Pietschmann

Wow! Alaska is on track to greet a record number of cruise passengers this season. We’re talking 1.3 million people heading off ships and into the wondrous cities of the Last Frontier. But, will they be prepared? Will you?

 Cool and rainy days happen there

It can be chilly and it does rain. So you want to be sure to keep the elements from ruining your vacation. A good idea is to layer. Pack moisture-wicking long-sleeve t-shirts for the first layer and a fleece jacket on top. That combo works great when headed on the active shore excursions.
Also because of the likelihood of rain at any moment it’s a good idea to bring waterproof hiking boots and a light-weight hooded rain jacket or parka. A backpack to stow extra warmth or to store layers is also a smart idea.

But the sun also rises

Even though you don’t think of sun in Alaska, it does shine and you will want to apply sunblock before going ashore. Those long northern days produce quite a glare from the water. And since Alaskans joke about the state bird being the mosquito, don’t forget insect repellent. As far as wardrobe, during the day pants or jeans and sweaters suffice. But, depending on the ship’s dress code, you should throw in some dressy outfits for evenings. (Check the cruise line’s web site for dress codes).

Men might want to throw in a sport coat, both for looks and warmth. Women might find happiness with a nice wrap or pashmina. Other good ideas are rain hats, a waterproof, hooded coat and boots or good sturdy walking shoes if you plan to hike, bike ride or trek. Socks are important for warding off blisters. Some shore excursions entail lots of use of your feet.

Photo by Richard Pietschmann

Most ship pools are heated so if you enjoy swimming better bring a swim suit. You may want to also pick up thermal swim tops and bottoms.
Biking outfits if you plan to book such a side trip which most ships offer in Alaska. Helmets are often provided so don’t worry about carrying one.
Sunscreen, yes I said sunscreen, when the rays are out in Alaska they can really penetrate the skin. You should make sure to bring sunglasses for the glare from the icebergs. Binoculars are a good idea, too. Some lines provide them in cabins so check with yours before packing.

Of course if you haven’t yet booked your Alaska cruise, Pavlus Travel can do it for  you. There are a ton of ships from which to choose. So let the experts help you pick.

Bon voyage.