Preparing to take a cruise: I have questions!

April 1, 2014 in Inspiration


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Okay, People, I need your help!

In July, we’re taking a cruise as a family.

I know, we don’t exactly seem like cruising people, do we? We’re more of the boots and a backpack, hammock and a dusty truck, tent sleeping, chicken bus and train hopping, get there the hard way sorts of people, don’t we? Perhaps we are, which is why I need your help!

Ten years ago we committed to going on this cruise with chosen family, to celebrate a 25th anniversary. We agreed that it would be a lovely big family holiday, and “last hurrah” before the teenagers start leaving the nest. It seemed a great way to meet in the middle, do something that will be fun for everyone and see something new.

I always imagined myself taking a Caribbean cruise and island hopping, if I did one at all. Snorkeling in crystal clear water, drinking from coconuts on the beach and basking in the warm. Instead, we’re taking a cruise to Alaska, the one remaining state I’ve not set foot in. I can’t wait to see the glaciers from the ocean side, but I suspect there will be no swimming in the ice blue water!

Cruising is a new concept for us: fancy dinners (I’m buying up evening wear at resale shops at the moment!) endless food buffets and entertainment on the Lido deck. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with myself in that sort of travel! I have independent adventure travel with a tribe down to a science, but this cruising thing has left me feeling quite out of my depth. I don’t know what to expect, what to pack, or if we’ll even like it!!

So here are the challenges, and perhaps some of you, who have traveled this way before, can help me.

  1. Time. I need to get everything organized for the cruise (end of July) before mid-May when we all disperse for six weeks of solo adventures: Hannah is backpacking in Europe with her friend. Gabe is interning at a farm. Elisha has a job in the mid-west. The big boys are going sailing for a month with Gramps. Tony and Ez are camping out at an off the grid cabin in Canada May-July. We will reconvene only one week before the cruise. This makes logistics challenging.
  2. Clothing. WHAT do I need to pack for a one week Alaska cruise? We are the family of three outfits each and nothing too fancy.
  3. Laundry. Can I do laundry on board or do I need to pack for a whole week?
  4. Activities. What will there be available to do for the teens? There must be stuff, right?
  5. Health. I’m worried about the germ factor. Seriously. I’m worried. Should I be? How do we not get sick with thousands of our closest friends?
  6. Connectivity. Will there be any? Or should we just plan to be right off the grid for that week?
  7. Tips. I’ve never done this before. Do you have any tips or tricks that a newbie (like me) won’t know about?


Have you taken a cruise? Did you like it? I need some words of wisdom and encouragement here, people!