For most people, a cruise to Alaska is a once in a lifetime experience and an expensive one at that. By far, Alaska has been one of my favorite trips so far. It’s so different from your typical Caribbean cruise so I wanted to share these 9 Do’s and Don’ts on your Disney Alaska Cruise to help you make the most of this magical trip.
I was hosted as a guest of Disney Cruise Line onboard the Disney Wonder to Alaska. All opinions of this magical trip are my own.
DO BOOK THE TRIP
If you’ve ever thought about taking an Alaskan Cruise, I’ll be the first one to tell you DO IT! Our Disney Alaska cruise was unlike any vacation we’ve ever taken. Everything from the world class entertainment onboard the ship to the amazing excursions exceeded our expectations and left us with a desire to see more of Alaska.
DO SPLURGE FOR A VERANDAH
I’ve only ever cruised in a room with a verandah. I’m not opposed to staying a room without one and would absolutely do it, if the price was right, except on a cruise to Alaska. Since it’s an Inner Passage cruise, most of the trip you have amazing views day and night. With a verandah, you can see the sights right from your room.
One morning we woke up and saw some whales right outside. It was amazing and something we would have missed without the verandah.
Other times, it was nice to just relax out there and try to spot animals with our binoculars.
So while other trips you may want to consider other room types, on an Alaskan Cruise, I can’t recommend the verandah enough.
DO THINK ABOUT THE TIME OF YEAR YOU WANT TO TRAVEL
Take into account the kid’s school schedules and what would work best for your family. Alaska cruises typically sail from May to September each year. We cruised in September on one of the last Alaska Cruises in 2018. We had glorious weather on our trip. It wasn’t too cold and with the exception of one day, we didn’t have much rain either.
But weather is unpredictable and it’s important to pack for anything and book the time of year that works best for you family.
DO TRY TO SPEND SOME TIME IN VANCOUVER
We flew in a day early and I’m so glad we did. I ended up getting the worst migraine of my life on the second leg of our flight. When we landed, I had to sit and decompress for a bit and almost missed our driver to the hotel. I slept it off the rest of the night and thankfully, was fine for our cruise the next day.
Vancouver is a beautiful city with so much to do and see and I only wish I had more time to explore it. Next time, I’ll plan on a little more time in Vancouver either before or after the cruise.
We stayed in the Fairmount Hotel Vancouver which was the perfect hotel. It was directly across from the cruise terminal and all we had to do was walk across the street. The hotel made sure our luggage was transported and all we had to worry about was getting to the terminal on time.
DON’T TRY TO PACK LIGHTLY
I’m have a tendency to overpack for a trip and Alaska is one of those destinations that I’m so glad I did. While there is laundry machines onboard the ship, I’m in Alaska! The last thing I wanted to worry about was doing laundry. Not to mention, all the layers we needed.
I practically needed a suitcase for just our jackets! We each brought a heavier North Face type jacket and then lighter rain jackets and we ended up using both.
Layers are key for a Disney Alaska Cruise. When it came to shoes we all brought about two pairs. My daughter and I wore our Hunter Boots and my husband and son went with Nike Hiking Boots. Then we all brought a pair of sneakers or causal shoes for on the ship.
DON’T FORGET YOUR BINOCULARS
We did and it was an expensive mistake. We were so worried about getting clothes and gear for the trip, we forgot the binoculars. My husband suggested it, I made a mental note and we both forgot. There was even a booth in the cruise terminal selling them that we saw a little too late.
We ended up buying a pair on the ship at Shutters and one pair turned into two and then my toddler had to have a pair she could use, so almost $900 later we had our binoculars. Don’t be me. Pack them ahead of time and you’ll be good to go.
DO BUDGET FOR EXCURSIONS
Some ports in the Caribbean we didn’t even get off the ship. We stayed onboard to enjoy the lower crowds but Alaska is not the place to do this. Research the excursions and make sure you picked the ones that are perfect for your family and everyone in your traveling party.
If you only ever get here once, you want to be able to see Alaska and the best way to do that on a Disney Alaska Cruise is through the excursions, or Port Adventures as they’re called. You can view all the Port Adventures available here.
DO SPENT DAY OUTSIDE ON GLACIER DAY
When the ships makes it’s way through Endicott Arm or Tracey Arm, you want to make sure you’re awake and up on deck to experience this. This is another reason why I recommend the verandah. You can enjoy some of the view right from your room.
At the very least, you’ll see great views from your balcony. Up on deck is where you’ll want to spend a good part of the day taking the sites and sounds of these amazing view.
We scheduled our visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on this afternoon and since my daughter brought her Elsa costume for the makeover. I thought the photos would be perfect amongst the ice fields and they were!
DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL
You definitely want to schedule something at each port, but you want to take the time to enjoy each Port Adventure and not rush through to try and see as many as you can. This is why it’s so important to pick your favorite one at each stop so if you’re only doing one, it’s the one you want to do.
Some may even finish in time for you to explore the town you are in.
DON’T PLAN ON SEEING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
Typically the Disney Alaska Cruises don’t cruise far enough north to see the Northern Lights. In some groups I’m in people are disappointed to hear they won’t see them.
There is a Northern Lights calendar you can check but even though it showed one good night for visibility on our cruise, we didn’t see anything.
If you do end up seeing them, consider yourself lucky! Don’t be sad if you don’t, there are plenty of other magical sites you will see to make up for not seeing the Northern Lights.
DO TRY TO TAKE IN THE NATURALIST PRESENTATIONS
During the cruise there will be different Alaska presentations by naturalist. It was interesting and well done presentation. We learned a lot and were even able to tune in from our room on the tv while the little one napped.
Whatever you decide to do and see on your Disney Alaska Cruise, you’re in for a magical trip and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon!
DO TRY TO EAT AT PALO
This was my third Disney cruise and my first time eating at Palo. I had a chance to check out the brunch and the dinner option and I was sad I didn’t try it sooner. The food at both was amazing and it was nice to have a little date-night while we were on the cruise.
Learn more about an Alaska Cruise at DisneyCruise.com.