Home » Make the Most of Your Alaskan Cruise: Travel Itinerary and Must-Have Items

Make the Most of Your Alaskan Cruise: Travel Itinerary and Must-Have Items

We recently went on an Alaskan Cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit! This is definitely a bucket list cruise and I’m still in absolute awe of the beauty that is the Alaskan coastline. 

We saw tons of wildlife – bears, whales, eagles, mountain goats, seals, and wolves! It’s a week I’ll never forget and I would love the opportunity to go back someday. You can see even more of my trip in the Alaska highlight on my Instagram page.

I’ve rounded up all of the highlights and need-to-knows of the week!

I’ve rounded up all of the highlights and need-to-knows of the week – including on board activities, our itinerary, excursions, cruising essentials (and one item I wish I’d brought), and reading recommendations! 

Other Summer Travel Guides:

Ultimate Summer Guide to a Week in Idaho Springs, Colorado

Everything You Must do in Mid-Coast Maine: A Four Day Itinerary

Planning for summer travel? Please consider using my embedded links to purchase. I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Activities On Board

One of the best parts of cruising is the wide variety of options aboard. Whether you’re looking for quiet and serene or high energy and social activities, there is plenty for you to do! 

I lean more toward the quiet side of enjoyment but my family loves group activities, so cruising gave us a great balance of both. 

Some of my favorite activities were a couples massage in the spa, cocktail tasting at the Alchemy Bar, reading on the Serenity deck (21+), and booking a Chef’s Table meal. 

Details for all activities aboard can be found on the Carnival Hub app during your trip.

Alaskan Cruise Itinerary

We had five days of excursions! Here’s what our schedule looked like:

Day 1: Embark from Seattle, WA 

Day 2: Day at Sea 

Day 3: Cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord

Day 4: Skagway, AK

Day 5: Juneau, AK

Day 6: Ketchikan, AK

Day 7: Victoria, BC

Day 8: Disembark in Seattle, WA

Alaska Excursions

We booked all of our Alaskan excursions through Carnival! We were really impressed with the variety of options. While we really enjoyed high-energy activities like hiking and helicoptering, my parents were able to opt for easy-going activities like whale watching. 

These are the activities we booked each day:

Tracy Arm Fjord: We booked a small cruise through the fjord, where we got to explore several inlets that our cruise ship couldn’t access. We saw lots of wildlife, floating ice, glaciers, and even a bear! 

Skagway: White Pass Summit Excursion: We took a passenger train from Skagway through the original Klondike Gold Rush trail into Yukon, CA. This was a great group activity that everyone in the family enjoyed. The train cars were heated with gas stoves and we had access to the outdoor platforms. 

Juneau: Helicopter Flightseeing & Glacier Walkabout: We took a TEMSCO helicopter from the Juneau airport to Mendenhall glacier. Along the way, we flew through mountaintops and got a bird’s eye view of the glacier. The sights were unreal! We hiked a portion of Mendenhall glacier and learned about the glacier’s history. Once we returned, we went to Tracy’s King Crab Shack for lunch and it was 10/10!

Ketchikan: Rainforest Island Adventure: We boated to an island in the Tongass National Rainforest, where we hiked to observe wildlife and plantlife. We ended with a campfire and snacks at base. 

Victoria: We didn’t book an excursion in Victoria. We docked at around 8pm and decided to stroll the downtown area. We went to the Empress Hotel and drank Empress 1908 cocktails. The hotel released the gin to celebrate 100 years. We love this gin, so having drinks in the hotel felt very special! 

Cruise Essentials

We are pretty well-versed travelers and have learned what we’ll need and what we can leave behind. We got some surprised reactions when people saw us arrive for Alaska with just a carry-on and backpack! 

Here are the items I found most helpful and one item I wish I’d brought on the cruise!

  1. This portable charger – this was small enough to keep in a pocket or belt bag and came in handy multiple times throughout the week. Especially if you’re using your phone to take photos and videos, that battery life goes quick!
  2. These Cushionair shoes – they are perfect socially acceptable comfy shoes to wear while walking around the boat. They also make the perfect deck shoes if you plan to spend your time at any of the pools onboard. Pro tip: round up a size.
  3. This small tripod + bluetooth remote – this tool made taking group photos a breeze and fits easily in your carry-on!
  4. This hanging toiletry bag – this is my new favorite travel item! If you get anything from this list, it needs to be this bag. I got the MEDIUM size and it fits all of my bathroom and makeup essentials with room to spare. It comes with a hook that you use to hang it up on a door or towel hook and it keeps the counters clean and clutter free (my ultimate stress).
  5. This waterproof wallet – this is such a simple and practical item. You’re going to be around water for an extended amount of time, your chances of a water encounter just went up significantly. (Also, being in a temperate rainforest, we were exposing ourselves to bouts of rain at any moment.) 
  6. These fleece-lined leggings – I wore these multiple times and they served me very well! Depending on the weather and our excursion, I wore them by themselves or underneath thermal sweatpants. I loved that they also have pockets!
  7. These extra long charging cables – we use these regularly at our house, but boy, was I glad we had them on our cruise! We were on an older ship (no shade) and there was only ONE outlet in our entire cabin. These cables made it possible to charge our phones, while still using them as we rested in bed. 

That last one leads me to the one item I wish I’d brought:

This multiplug outlet extender – We could definitely have used more outlets in our cabin. I know on newer ships this is no longer a problem, but we chose based on the destination not the ship. This tool would have allowed us to charge both of our phones and our portable charger at the same time. 

Click here to see all of my travel essentials!

Reading Recommedations

I chose two “themed” books for our Alaskan Cruise. 

The first was The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker, a romance set in Alaska. It was wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next! 

The second a young adult thriller based on a cruise ship. The trapped thriller vibes were too perfect not to bring this one along. Ultimately, I didn’t enjoy it but that doesn’t mean you won’t! Linking it here if you’d like to read the synopsis. I’m a firm supporter of trying a book for myself, rather than sheltering to others’ opinions. 

I also brought our Bookcase Beauty Book Club pick, Have I Told You This Already? By Lauren Graham. It was delightfully funny and insightful! She is the only narrator I’ve ever had to slow down the speed to understand! 

If you’re looking for other summer reading, check out this list of all of my five-star reads (so far)  in 2023!

The Reunion by Kayla Olson

The Twyford Code by Jannice Hallett

Maame by Jessica George

On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel

Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

The Housemaid by Frieda McFadden

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

Happy Place by Emily Henry

Finding Me by Viola Davis

Leave me a note and let me know if this article was helpful or if you’d like more information on any specifics! I’d love to chat! 

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