In a previous post, we mentioned that an Alaskan cruise experience is quite different compared to other ocean cruises such as the Caribbean. So, what to bring on an Alaskan cruise to fully enjoy what could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, relive your memories and share them with family and friends?
Most people join a cruise to Alaska to appreciate nature, have closer encounters with wildlife, or explore adventures it uniquely offers. Learning from our experience, we recommend gadgets that you may want to bring to achieve the objectives you have set for the trip.
Onboard the ship or during onshore excursions, our old reliable pair of binoculars became indispensable. Landscape details along the shores of the Inside Passage were magnified for our viewing pleasure from the comfort of the ship’s viewing decks. In the open sea, we got a closer view of some of the marine life along the way.
During most of our onshore excursions, stunning landscapes greeted us, and wildlife sightings awed us. From a safe distance, we were able to observe wildlife at their natural habitats. Bald eagles perched on trees, a mama bear feeding her cub, sea lions frolicking on top of a marine buoy, and whales doing their tail flips were rewarding sights! We would have missed a lot of the Alaskan experience without our binoculars.
We recommend that you invest in one. Several options of good quality, reasonably priced binoculars that can meet the challenge of an Alaskan trip are available online.
Camera and Accessories
Cellphones have evolved such that most of them now have advanced cameras. They are convenient to use, lightweight, and won’t eat up space in your luggage. No wonder most people rely on them to take pictures or videos while vacationing, and we used to be one of them.
During our Alaskan cruise, we realized that there’s no substitute for a traditional camera to capture picturesque views. We were lucky that one of our friends who joined us brought her DLSR camera. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a high-quality record of our once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We have now decided to invest in a mirrorless camera and Zen has taken up an interest in travel photography. She took some of the pictures during our recent land trip to Montreal with this camera. Her photography skills will again be put to the test on an upcoming trip, so she continues to practice and learn. One thing we learned is that you should remember to bring essential accessories you need such as extra battery packs and SD cards.
Monopod for Camera
The picturesque scenes that the Alaskan landscape and wilderness offer something that you would not want to miss recording. As we were observing those with cameras struggling at times to steadily hold them, we thought that a monopod would have helped.
Monopods enable photographers to have a steady hold of cameras, allowing them to take sharp pictures at slower shutter speeds. They are easier to transport and quicker to set up than conventional tripods, making them preferable for on-the-go shots.
We highly recommend you consider getting one for your next trip to Alaska and other similar destinations. They can even double-up as a walking stick, especially when you explore rugged paths.
When we were at the Mendenhall Glacier, we saw a couple take out a flexible tripod. They wrapped the tripod’s legs around a tree branch, mounted their camera, and took their selfie shots, with the glacier as the background. Meanwhile, we struggled to get our pics with that breathless background.
Their flexible tripod was lightweight and versatile. The pliable legs also appear to be able to adjust to uneven surface, or can be attached to the handlebars of a bike, should one need to go cycling.
When we were on board the ship during our recent Alaskan cruise, we realized that we forgot to bring with us our selfie stick. At some of the attractions we visited (the Hubbard Glacier standing out), we had difficulty taking our selfie pictures because of the crowd. We were lucky that a kind couple offered to take our pictures.
Some people do not like selfie sticks. However, whether you are a fan or not, you have to admit that a telescoping selfie stick is a convenient and useful gadget to have on a cruise. There may be lots of situations that no one can take the pictures for you. In these cases, selfie sticks are invaluable, more so if it has a remote shutter button. Just be mindful that it doesn’t get in the way of others.
They normally come with SIM cards, preloaded with starter data plans that you can top-up anytime. It provides internet wireless connection to smartphones, tablets, personal computers. Portable WiFi establishes high-speed broadband connectivity that can be shared by multiple users at a time.
We brought a Portable WiFi with us and it saved us the need to buy the cruise ship’s internet package, which we thought was rather expensive. It served our purpose and provided us with internet access when we are close to/within the city limits.
Portable Power Bank
Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of not being able to use one’s electronic gadget when it runs out of juice? This situation makes a portable power bank a must-pack item. They come in handy, especially for onshore excursions, when you don’t have access to power plugs. Even on-board the ship, it allows you to quickly re-charge when you are enjoying its various facilities, without having to walk back into your room. These portable devices are highly recommended and convenient for charging devices with USB ports.
Some of the most beautiful places worth exploring come with travel risks, one of them being theft. Nothing spoils an adventure like getting your valuables stolen. You can always leave them in your cabin’s safe, but there are situations when you need them with you.
Keep your credit cards safe by putting them in an RFID wallet, which shields them from anyone trying to scan them illegally and your passport with an RFID passport sleeve. An online search before purchasing will provide you with lots of options to consider.
Most people join a cruise to Alaska to appreciate nature and wildlife or have a relaxing time on the ship. That was certainly our objective and our mirrorless camera (together with most of the gadgets discussed above) made our vacation more enjoyable, safe, and enabled us to vividly capture the experience. Do prioritize according to your needs and carefully choose what to bring so that you can still pack light.
There you have it! We hope this article helps you choose what gadgets to bring in your next cruise to Alaska or similar destinations.
If you have insights on this topic, we invite you to leave your comments below.
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