Okay, as promised I’m going to write about what to pack on your Alaskan cruise with kids. Let me start off by telling you about the cruise we took. We decided to cruise with Norweigan (Star) because one, it was affordable (we found that kids were only an additional $100/child) and also we liked the idea of freestyle dining (meaning you can eat your meals anytime you’d like). Our iteineary included Seattle; Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway; Prince Rupert and it was a 7-day cruise. And we got an obstructed view room, room 8608. If we didn’t have young kids we might have thought about a balcony, but we were really happy with the obstructed view since we could see when we were in ports, what time of day it was, and it also made the room feel bigger. Fitting a family of four in a room that size is not the most fun, but it is doable.
Parking: We set off on your journey May 16th and left from Seattle. Since we live so close, we simply drove and stayed at the Bell Parking garage on the corner of Alaskan Way and Wall St. . You can order your parking pass online if you wish (that’s what we did). Make sure to park all the way in the back and get the shuttle. We did not do this, and no one told us about it at the gate. It sure would have helped taking a shuttle since we had both kiddos and tons of luggage. It was a pain to get across the railroad tracks, toting luggage, trying to keep the kids close and dodging the numerous tourists on the sidewalk. Side note: we did try to take the shuttle back, however the driver was unable to take us since we didn’t park in their specific cruise parking. Ugh! Also another word to the wise…make sure to check that all lights are off before leaving your car!
Packing Tip with Kids:
- Now, another helpful thing that I did was pack the kids clothing in gallon sized Ziploc baggies. In each bag was underwear, socks, clothing and hair accessories. And on each baggie I wrote the day number, date, the destination, and made a fun drawing for each child. This made keeping track of outfits super simple and fun for the kids as well. There was no searching for matching articles of clothing and the kids were able to get dressed mostly on their own. Pjs we packed separately since we didn’t care what they wore to sleep.
- I made little over the sholder bags for my kiddos so they could stash gum, a toy of their choice, a notebook and pen and other little goodies. This helped them beat the boardom blues while boarding as well as on excursions. My 6 year old daughter also brought her journal (along with scissors and glue stick) so she could write and collage about her adventures.
- I also made some mini blankets since my kids wanted to take their blankets but they were bulkley and cumbersome. My son adores anything with a satin feel so I took a half a yard of satin, a half a yard of flannel and sewed it together with satin blanket edging. These worked perfectly to wrap around the kids and they didn’t drag on the ground.
- Another thing we packed was some bathroom spray. The little bathroom really didn’t smell good so it was really nice to have a fresh scent in there after use, especially if you have a family of four!
- Bring your own shampoo and soap. The shampoo supplied by the cruise smelled like old-man aftershave and the soap smelled like mint. It was a strange combination of smells, however, if you get sea-sick you can always wash yourself with the bodywash and it may help with the nausea!
- Pack Dramamine! You never know if you might get sick and our ship did not have this available in their gift shop. Also pack cough drops, children’s Tylenol, reg. Tylenol and band-aids just in case.
- We didn’t need a hairdryer since one came in the room.
- Irons are not in the room and they charge a $1 for pressing. You might want to bring one or use the steam from the shower.
Also make sure you pack a surge protector power strip. There is only one plug in, so that was super helpful.
- I brought my camera which has a large chargable internal battery. I also brought my computer to download pictures onto after my compact flash filled up.
- The price of wireless internet was crazy expensive so I didn’t use my computer for a week. It would be helpful to have a blackberry or Iphone since cellphones did work most of the time (either by extened network or roaming using Verizon).
- If you are taking a non-Alaska cruise where you don’t get great recption, or want to stay in contact with family members onbard at all times, take a walkie talkie (pronounced halky talkie by my three year old). It’s fun to play with if you want to play hide-n-seek on board as well.
- A booklight comes in handy for reading in bed while the kiddos snooze.
- We had wonderful weather, even in May, so we didn’t even need rain coats, but we did pack them. We didn’t pack heavy coats. You may want to pack something heavier if you are going on excursions that take you close to a glacier.
- Dress in layers.
- It is a good idea to pack stocking caps and gloves just in case it does get nasty.
- We brought swimsuits but didn’t use the pool much since it was cold.
- Towels are provided. Swimming towels can be checked out poolside on deck 12.
- There is laundry service ($25) a bag if needed. My son had a few accidents so we ziplocked the rinsed off clothing away and took care of it when we got home.
- Each family member packed two pairs of shoes (sneakers and sandles). The sandles I wore on dressy occassions. It was hard to choose only two!