Alaskan cruise-- a couple of questions...

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Feb 3rd, 2009, 11:41 AM
  #1
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Alaskan cruise-- a couple of questions...

We are going to Alaska this summer and are going to book our cruise on Royal Caribbean as it looks like they do a great job in catering to children. We however have a few questions and would love your advice.

A couple of questions:

* I noticed that they have 2 "dress up" nights-- how dressed up do we have to be? Does my husband/children have to wear a jacket (or even a tux?)?? Can I get away w/ a nice skirt or even nice jeans w/ a fancy top? (I notice another post on jeans in the dining room which indicated that it is not acceptable-- wondering if it is different on an Alaskan cruise?) We are going to spend a second week exploring other parts of Alaska and would love NOT to have to pack any dressy clothes since we wouldn't use them elsewhere (and the airlines now charge for practically every article of clothing). Also are these dress up nights done when we are in port? We may well chose to eat in the port instead if this is the case...

* Which excursions should we be sure not to miss? My boys are well behaved (most of the time at least) and love adventures.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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We cruised Princess and have been on 3 other warm-water cruises. Dress was far more casual on this cruise than any of the others.

On Princess "formal" night a jacket, dress shirt and tie (and of course, pants) was what most of the men wore. A nice dress or skirt and top wored for woman - think something between cocktail dress and dressy office-wear. I do not think jeans and a nice top would work.

We had the same problem of luggage and different clothing requirements for 2 parts of our trip. We solved it by bringing a 5th piece of luggage (we each had our own suitcase) and using it for all dress-up clothing we would not need on land portion. That way it sat in the rental car untouched - we did not need to haul it in and out of hotels.
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Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Great suggestion about putting the dressy stuff in a separate suitcase!

For the other non formal dinners, what was everyone wearing?

Any recommendation on excursions that we shouldn't miss?

Thanks.
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Feb 4th, 2009, 12:20 AM
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Can he rent a ship's tux?
regards - tom
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Feb 4th, 2009, 01:19 AM
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Non-formal nights attire. Still no jeans, but non-denim jean-style pants with nice top was fine. You probably could "get away" with jeans, but I did not find them appropriate. I brought a pair of light black pants and a few tops. I picked a couple that looked decent but were comfortable enough to wear as the bottom layer in outdoor activities later in the trip.

Bring one pair of non-sneaker/hiking shoes for each person - flats are fine.

Don't stress too much - although in all my travels, my Alaska land/cruise trip was the most difficult to pack for and the one I ended up most feeling over-burdened with luggage. I think that is one reason we did the land portion in a rental car rather than by train - we had a rolling storage locker.
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Feb 4th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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I started a lot of comment when I questioned formal nights in this space a few months ago. I still feel that this aspect of cruising causes way too much anxiety and should be abandoned. In the meantime, I take a blazer, shirt and tie. I wear the blazer on the plane, and it can serve as a light cool weather jacket. For women, I think anything but jeans would work. Carrying an extra bag at an extra fee for the airlines is not practical.
On the land tour, take the longest Denali tour and if available, a boat ride down the Kanai Peninsula. Both are great for wildlife that you will nowhere else.
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Feb 4th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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I always bring eighter black pants or black skirt with a nice top. Skirt/pants for every day, the top is for formal nights only.

My husband brings a jacket and a tie - never a tux. The jacket doesn't have to be a part of a suit, many men wear black pants with any color jacket.

No need to eat on shore just to avoid the formal night. You can always go to the buffet wearing jeans or whatever you like. The formal nights do not apply to the buffet.

You can also rent formal night clothing on the ship, but honestly I'd rather spend the money on drinks or souvenirs.
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Feb 4th, 2009, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for your comments. Have you noticed if the children also wear jackets on formal nights? Or just collared shirts? The boys all have them, but if I don't need to bring them, I would prefer not to do so...

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Feb 5th, 2009, 12:13 AM
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Kids will not need jackets on formal night - a dress shirt and decent pants is fine - if you add a tie when they come around to take photos you will have a great opportunity to see them dressed up if you buy the photo. Cruises are a great time to gently prod kids into dressing appropriately rather than what they can get away with.
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Feb 7th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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My DH took his suit on our cruise last year. The fold up garment bag it was in fit in the suitcase and did not take up a large amount of room.
I took two light weight very dressy black dresses for the formal nights. Again, neither took up a lot of room. For the other nights, I wore a pair of dressy but light weight knit black pants with a couple of dressy tops. Again, these did not wrinkle and took up very little room in the suitcase.
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Feb 8th, 2009, 02:03 AM
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Jeans are not appropriate on formal nights. There are alternative dining options as well.

What RCI cruise are you looking at?? Overall the Rhapsody has a very poor itinerary, the one ways are superior.

You need to do your homework, there are 100's of tours to pick from. Look over a shore excursion list and narrow down your interests. You need to list your ports as well. Determine your budget, there is no point in recommendations if you have no interest or funds.
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Feb 15th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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It's my understanding that most of the large cruise lines have multiple dining venues. We cruised on Holland America in Alaska, and there was the formal dining room, the extra price restaurant and a "Lido" restaurant that was casual dress at all times. If you are traveling with children, the casual restaurant would be your dining venue of choice. I'm sure Royal Carribean, which caters to families, would have alternate dining venues that do not require any coats, ties, cocktail dresses. You will also have room service available, and kids often LOVE that: pick up the phone and Voila! take out is delivered. It gives them a feeling of power, and it costs you nothing additional.

Check out your ship's information as to the dining venues and then make your plans based on that information.

Unless you two as a couple want to do fine dining, using a sitter one night, stick with the casual restaurants and leave the "formal" clothes at home.
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Feb 19th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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All good suggestions here. DH has rented a tux several times and it is very handy since you don't have to tote a suit plus it's delivered to your room. Order ahead of time. Runs about $100 and comes with 2 white shirts.

The casual dining in the buffet is an excellent choice, however, you will miss out on the lobster and/or fancy beef dishes that way. So it's a trade off. I would prefer the casual dining, but DH wants the special dinner that is served only in the dining room on formal nights.

Formal nights are usually on sea days.

My suggestions for excursions:
Ketchikan- Lumberjack show & totem poles
Skagway- Train up the White Pass and mini-bus back, or vice versa. No need to book w/ship for this, lots of locals run this excursion better. Liar's Camp is fun. Shopping is too!
Juneau- We always go whalewatching with www.OrcaEnterprises.com. I would skip the jet boat tour. Lot's of things to do here. A stop at Mendenhall Glacier would be interesting, educational, and doesn't take long at all. Buses run between town and glacier every 20 minutes or so.
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