Shopping and packing for the Alaska cruise

I am 1,000% influenced by those Buzzfeed shopping lists featuring primarily Amazon products and with a terrible amount of repetition and clickbait headlines. I know there isn’t much new, but I scroll through it anyhow like a guilty pleasure and every other time, I’m adding another item to my wishlist!

As an “homage” to those lists, I’ve created a small one involving items I picked up for travel on our eight-day cruise to Alaska from Vancouver.

Power bar – small power strip with electrical and USB plugs with long enough cord (a Lightening Deal on Amazon recently). I read on forums that power bars are not exactly acceptable on cruises and at customs I saw the signage indicating to declare it and I did, informally, verbally and then I was flagged to see an officer and when I was chatting with two men also flagged, one got me worried that the power bar in my luggage was the reason I was flagged. (It was not.)

Compostable floss picks for kids (no toothpick) – after several 200-packs of compostable floss picks for adult with super sharp toothpick ends, I looked for and found the kids version that is even more expensive

Pack Towel from MEC – recently acquired after recommendations from my sister and SIL. I even ordered the “Luxe” model but it turns out to be that microfiber fabric my dry hands can’t stand the feeling of! It was great to have a reasonably comfortable, fast-drying towel to confidently towel off with.

Water shoes (also for walking around in our stateroom) –
For me: $4 garden clogs from Dollarama (similar from Amazon)
For Kiddo: new Joybees clogs from Costco
For Baby: Native shoes Jefferson Child – I did buy a pair of Joybees for her but they are much too big and unsafe so she continued to wear her Native shoes

Sea-Bands for the kids (Amazon) – it was pretty cute to see Baby wearing her pair in pink camo. Generally, I have an affinity to camo so I like Kiddo’s green camo pair, too. but wasn’t it either super tight on Kiddo or too loose on Baby as it was one size?

I eschew buying packing cubes because I don’t travel all that much and some of these just live in the suitcases. Between the super eclectic mix of pouches and laundry mesh bags, I make due and each time am pleased that I didn’t cave on packing cubes (yet).

I’m packing for myself and two kids. I have to (look or) be super-organized. Google Sheets and my usual column format for each of us with the juicy solid-filled cells along the first row.

To NPY and MIL’s chagrin, I used the Ikea Frakta 20-gallon zippered storage bag, for the stuff that wouldn’t fit in one international-size (30″) suitcase. It survived handling by get onto the ship but I wouldn’t push it more times when filled and heavy. I’d be sad if it did break down but know it didn’t cost much at all. NPY and in-laws love to hate on Ikea.

These are the things I packed that I thought were conscientious and representative of where the kids and I are at in life (e.g., Baby is just recently potty-trained):

  • Dress up/down Cristina B tunic from Costco – I’m almost tempted to buy another colour but the options aren’t great. I’m thrilled with this purchase. I have the striking blue colour.
  • FIL told us to bring a rain jacket and winter coat and I hated that idea. I still brought winter coats for the kids but for myself with only a giant knee-length puffy coat as a winter jacket, I brought my lined Mountain Warehouse jacket and a packable Uniqlo down jacket to wear under to turn it into a winter coat. It worked out brilliantly. For Kiddo, I brought his thin Ripzone rain jacket and his Paradox “down” jacket to wear under … and the winter jacket for the optics for the in-laws.
  • I filled a silicone travel bottle (similar on Amazon) with body wash and felt like it was an accident waiting to happen, ripping the whole lid off or squeezing it off. Suffice it to say, I packed it in a plastic bag in case of explosions during transit.
  • In-laws advised us, as they never do otherwise now, to pack our own pillowcases and flat sheets. I have previously scrounged for and packed fitted sheets but it’s far easier to fold tidily and be assured it fits, a king flat sheet of which we have several. A fitted sheet implied having to lift up the mattress to tuck while a flat sheet you can loosely wedge in.
  • “Hanger clips” – MIL bought a multi-pack from Daiso these secure plastic loop clips so you aren’t draping your face towel on the towel holder or hanger. I can’t get the right search term to pull up the exact item on Amazon so hanger clips kind of do the trick too.
  • Meds: I brought all of the following and used all but the decongestant- Gravol, Tylenol, Advil, Neilmed nasel gel spray, Dayquil & Nightquil capsules. You know that if you forget to bring them, will be the time you need it and pay a premium for it.
  • A solid phone stand – the kids were spoiled and assuaged all day with phone usage. I just switched to a new phone so there was a spare one. While I like a phone case with built-in stand, not all our phones have it and a good phone stand is better than leaning it against a napkin dispenser or beverage cup.
  • Portable toilet seat for little bums (similar on Amazon) – we usually keep this in the car truck and brought it for a trip to my parents’ way back for Kiddo and now on the cruise for Baby.
  • A few Ikea Kalas tumblers for the kids toothbrushing – sure, there were glass tumblers in the bathroom I didn’t want them handling and I didn’t want to use them either so the third one was for my use!
  • Dish soap and half-sponge – given I also brought a few pieces of kid cutlery, I always travel with dish soap and, after a cute Airbnb in Seattle, half a new sponge. Because you don’t need a full sponge when you’re travelling and not heavy-duty dish-washing.
  • Pro-tip: I didn’t know so I wasn’t prepared, but you hand over your luggage the night before disembarkation so you have to set aside what you need overnight and the next morning. I kept the Ikea Frakta and filled it and it was a bad idea. So maybe we’ll do a rolling carry-on and I’ll take more care to really reduce what we need.

On this day..