Don't Wait to Plan your Trip
Cruises to Alaska tend to book up quickly for the season, so it's not a good idea to wait. Also, the longer you wait it will be particularly difficult to obtain the premier dates, sailings and land tours that you want.
The Key Word for Dressing is Layering
Casual sportswear including windbreakers, pants and jogging suits are well suited at both sea and ashore in Alaska. Remember to bring a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. The weather is unpredictable, and you should plan on bringing a rain resistant jacket for shore side activities. Light gloves, a hat or visor, and sunglasses are also recommended. You'll also want comfortable walking shoes with a rubber sole as you explore the shores of Alaska.
The Early Bird Cruiser Gets the Worm
Whatever time the cruise line tells you to get there for embarkation, get there sooner. As cruise ships refine their onboard operations, standing in line for anything has become less frequent, but you will stand in line to get on the ship. Arriving early may mean that you'll sit around the boarding lounge for a few extra minutes, but it'll pay off because you'll get on board more quickly.
Patience Is a Virtue
Likewise, with disembarkation, you may have to wait because you will probably be coming home through customs, and that often takes a while. Cruise lines will try to make it easier on you by sorting your disembarkation order by numbers, usually arranged according to the time of your airline flight out of the port of entry, but it will take several hours for all the passengers to get off, so don't fret. Holland allows its guests stay in their stateroom until they have been called for disembarkation, as most other cruise lines request you leave your stateroom and wait in a public area.
Remember You Are on a Ship
On every cruise, there's a few minutes when you will have to stand around feeling foolish, with flotation gear hanging around your neck, and listen to a ship officer tell you about dire emergencies. Lifeboat drills are mandatory and will be enforced. It's better to feel foolish up on deck with a bunch of other people than to feel really stupid when the room steward flushes you out of your stateroom like a naughty child. Anyway, the lifeboat drill offers a good opportunity to make friends.
You Don't Have to Take a Tux
Even if the cruise itinerary says there are formal nights, usually "formal" means a business suit or a sport coat and tie, which will be fine in Alaska. If taking a vacation means you refuse to see a tie or cocktail dress in your closet, there are almost always alternative dining spots that won't require much more than a bathing suit.
You're on Vacation, but They Aren't
Include tipping in your travel budget. The tipping policies vary from cruise line to cruise line; but in the majority of cases, tips are automatically added to your bill and pooled among the staff. Typically you should count on US $10 - $12 per person per day, although as with any tipping policy, the amount of the tip should be based on the quality of service rendered. A must tip are your dining room waiter and their assistant as well as your cabin steward as well as any other staff that has given you exceptional service.
||A Stateroom the Size of Texas?
Don't expect spaciousness. It's a ship. Holland America Line offers the largest staterooms available, which are about 200 square feet, with mini suites about 290 square feet. Amazing things are done to make the rooms seem bigger, such as the ample use of mirrors, artwork and windows. Pack accordingly, and plan to be out on deck a lot. It's great up there.
Wal-Mart, K-Mart Sell It for Less
Your pre-trip checklist will include several things that you can buy on the ship but will pay more for there. Bring along your binoculars, camera, film, batteries and walking shoes. Remember, keep all valuables with you in your carry-on luggage at all times.
All US Citizens are required to carry a passport when visiting Canada. Other Nationals: Most foreign nationals will be required to have a passport and Visa to enter the US and Canada. Please note that it is the passenger’s responsibility to provide the acceptable proof of citizenship documents. There are no refunds to passengers denied boarding due to lack of documents.
Always Check with THE CRUISE COMPANY on Questions and Concerns.
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