Cruising to Alaska – hints and tips for cruisers and shopping scams!

Disney Wonder in Alaska
Disney Wonder in Alaska (image from Disney Parks Blog)

After recently cruising to Alaska from Vancouver, these tips maybe of use to someone else.

  • Think layers for clothing – including wind/rain protection.  We were lucky with the weather in mid-July but the earlier cruises had been drizzly and overcast.  Even so, at times it was very cold on the outside decks, Tracey Arm and in Skagway.   Consider thermal underwear, leggings, gloves, scarves and depending on your excursions even waterproof pants.
  • Forget the umbrella, it was too windy for one
  • Take a hat/beanie that covers your ears to protect from the icy wind
  • Waterproof shoes are expensive and probably heavy – consider using plastic bags – wear them between your socks and shoes.  Tie the handles around your ankles.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses – if you are lucky enough to see the sun, you will burn, but not notice it due to the cold breeze.
  • Consider splashing out on a balcony – it’s a very scenic cruise and it’s worth the extra.  Also it’s very cold on the outer deck, the balcony often gives you shelter from the cold wind – particular when viewing the glacier.
  • Take an eye mask if you have an outside cabin.  Daylight hours are very long so it can be very bright late into the evening and again very early in the morning
  • Glow sticks and/or torch/flashlight for inside cabin – these are very dark and maybe of use to find the bathroom at night
  • If an adult sleeps on the pull out sofa, ask for a topper pad – usually the mattress is very firm
  • If you want something, just ask, they will try to cater to your every whim

Beware of the “scams” with the shopping in ports.  Many stores advertise “free gifts” if you go in.  This is BS – you have to make an effort and ask.  IMO if they say free gift if you go in, they should hand it to you as you walk through the door.

Also one shop in Skagway, right near the ship said “come in a see if you are our $100 shopping spree winner”.  The winning cabin from our ship was cabin 5040.  Yay them… well that would be if that cabin actually existed on the Disney Wonder.  I wish I had taken more notice of the cabin numbers from the other two ships in port and checked their deck plan to see if this was a genuine mistake or a deliberate ruse.  I suspect the later.



  1. On Alaska cruises, we always take a long our Helly-Hansen foul weather jackets. Absolutely waterproof, they are also windproof. With a sweater or polar fleece pullover or jacket underneath, they will always keep you warm or dry. The brand doesn’t have to be Helly-Hansen, any good quality foul weather jacket will do.

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