Aging Expectations

Worries About An Alaska Cruise

50th wedding anniversaryMy in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! Can you believe it? 50 years…it’s amazing!

They are a great couple and deserve a big celebration.

We are going on an Alaskan cruise!

Exciting, right?

Fun fact…

My mother-in-law lived in Alaska for a few years when she was growing up.

In case you’re wondering, after the cruise they are taking a side trip to visit the area of her youth.

alaska cruiseFor the cruise, we booked Norwegian Cruise Lines leaving in June from Vancouver and ending in Whittier. We’re stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.

We’ve booked three excursions. In Ketchikan we’re going to the Lumberjack show. In Juneau we’re going on a helicopter ride to a glacier and then dogsledding. In Skagway, we’re going to take a train ride and visit a suspension bridge.

Even more exciting, right?

But…I am a little nervous.This is a big trip. I want it to be great!

Maybe you can help?

I’m going to tell you my worries and if you have any experience, you can give me some advice! Okay? Okay.

Here we go:

How cold is it going to be?
I think temperatures are 40-70 degrees. I love summer and it’s just starting. Am I going to be unhappy because it’s chilly?

What clothes should I pack?
Okay, so no shorts, right? And, light jackets and sweaters, right?

Should I pack warmer stuff just in case?
I tend to the cold side. How stupid am I going to look with warm pants, my winter coat, gloves, and scarves?

We will get sick of the food?
We tend to take short trips:

Quick Trip to Cancun
24 Hours in Phoenix
24 Hours in Baltimore
How to Spend 48 Hours in Nashville, TN
48 Hours in Barcelona

This is seven days on a ship! I might get sick of everything and everyone, especially the food!

Should we have purchased the upgraded meal package?
You can purchase the upgraded meal package in order to eat in the speciality restaurants. So far, we decided not too because we’re not sure how often we’ll want to eat in those restaurants. Right decision?

Should we have purchased the beverage package?
Similar to the above question. We decided against the beverage package because we didn’t think we could drink THAT much EVERYday. Thoughts?

How exciting will the glaciers actual be?
Seeing glaciers in Alaska is on my bucket list. Is it really all that? I’m expecting one of those awe-inspiring, life-changing moments. 

Will I or anyone on the trip get sea-sick?
I’m leaning toward no but I’m worried.

Should I prepare for getting sea-sick just in case?
Probably, right?

Will the excursions be worth it?
We booked the helicopter tour, which is very expensive but we decided it’s a once in a lifetime experience. 

Will my in-laws really like the cruise?
This is suppose to be a great event for them. I’m worried they won’t have the best time.

Will we all get along on a ship for seven days?
I’m hoping because it’s a big ship, we’ll all be able to fun individual things and still love each other by the end.

Will we have any problems boarding?
The paperwork we need and the stories we’ve heard about people being denied boarding makes me nervous. How horrible is the process?

Am I going to pack the right stuff in my carry-on bag?
So, I guess because we have to give up our luggage at the start and end, we have to pack a carry-on to have some things while the luggage is away from us. What things should I consider packing?

Will we make our flight back once the ship disembarks?
I’m worried the port will be far from the airport and with the “disembarking process” we’ll never make our flight.

Will the balcony be worth it?
We splurged on the balcony. Worth it? 

Will I (we) be bored?
How much fun are we going to for seven days on a ship?

Should I do a spa treatment?
Again, more money but…

How much weight am I going to gain on this trip?
Since January, I’ve been doing so good getting healthy. I’m hoping I can keep it up…

How early is too early to get a drink?
Like, right now?


Any feedback is appreciated!



  1. Okay, I’ll do my best.

    Last summer, we went to Alaska on Disney Cruise Lines and that year, Alaska experience a completely atypical summer. It was hot: 75-85 every day. Normallly, Alaskan summers are cool and damp, so pack a raincoat and a hoodie. Take one pair of shorts, just in case.

    On DCL, there is no upgraded food package – it’s all included, but if you can upgrade while on the ship, it may be worth checking out the restaurants. Skip the beverage package. This isn’t Club Med.

    The glaciers left me speechless and breathless. Any expectations you have of glaciers is completely wrong. Everyone has a different reaction to them and they are all great reactions. We took a float plane over the glaciers and it was amazing.

    Pack Gravol, just in case someone does get seasick. But the stabilizers are so good, we only felt the ship moving a couple of times.

    The excursions are totally worth it. Alaska is called the Last Frontier for a reason. Unspoiled, untouched, untrodden. That is something you will only see from the air.

    Cruising isn’t for everyone, but there are usually a wide variety of activities on board so everyone can find something entertaining.

    It’s a big ship. You can disappear for 3 hours before someone starts to wonder where you’ve gone.

    We had no issues boarding, but we are Canadians, and generally widely accepted everywhere. If you have any concerns about paperwork, ask a travel agent, or better yet, call the cruise line.

    In your carry on have some snacks, some water, sunscreen, a camera and something to read. Once you are on the ship, you are free to roam around.

    Anything can delay you getting to your flight on time, but I don’t know why you are worried. Who ever wants a vacation to end? Oh wait, you are going with the in-laws.

    Balcony in Alaska might be waste for most of the trip since there is generally a lot of cloud cover. However, if you are going to swing by Tracy Arm, your balcony will be the best place to see the glacier. And the views into and out of Vancouver are amazing (I am a little biased though).

    How much fun will you have? That depends on how keen you are to find the fun. For me, sitting and reading in peace while my kids were entertaining themselves was the most fun I’d had in nearly 10 years. No wait, watching someone else clean up after my husband and kids was the most fun.

    Skip the spa treatment. Always overpriced and not really mind-blowing.

    Expect to gain 5 lbs, unless you can get up early and walk/run laps around the deck (add that to my fun list!).

    When the caddy comes by your pool lounge at 9 am, that is your green light. Screwdrivers and mimosas are a good start to the day.

    Hope that helps! Have a wonderful trip.

    PS – the lumberjack show is pure cheese, but the kids will love it!

  2. I lived in Juneau in Summer of 2012. You definitely should not miss the helicopter tour of Mendenhall Glacier. If you have time close to the ship, stop in the Red Dog Saloon or go up to the top of Mount Roberts and have a beer or buy a souvenir then the ride is complimentary.
    As far as attire, no shorts, but do bring a raincoat. It rains a lot on the Ketchican to Skegway area. Also, bring plenty of memory for your camera. It is breathtaking.

    1. So glad you said no shorts…it’s been one of my big worries! And, I just bought a new raincoat – thank you!

      Thanks for the other recommendations too!

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