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Taking an Alaska Cruise with Toddler Tips

Taking an Alaska Cruise with Toddler Tips

Are you taking an Alaska Cruise with toddlers and looking for tips and tricks to help make your sailing easier and more enjoyable. Well look no further! In this guide we will not only tell you some of our general cruising with a toddler tips but tell you how to enjoy and what to do in Alaska Cruise ports with toddlers and of course what to pack for an Alaskan Cruise with toddlers. 

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

Alaska Cruise with toddler tips and tricks 

Alaska has to be one of the top cruise destinations in the world. The reason for this is because it is hard to visit Alaska without a cruise and involves long journeys and difficult terrain Certainly with a toddler, a cruise is the easiest way to visit Alaska with a toddler. 

However, how can you make sure you pick the right cruise line and cruise ships for toddlers going to Alaska. In this section of the guide we will tell you everything you need to know for booking, selecting and enjoying your Alaska cruise with a toddler. 

Norwegian cruise ship in Alaska - Taking an Alaska cruise with toddlers tips

Norwegian cruise ship in Alaska – Taking an Alaska cruise with toddlers tips

So probably the first question you have about taking your first cruise to Alaska with toddlers is “Can toddlers go on Alaskan cruises?”. And the good news is for the most part the answer is absolutely yes. 

If you are thinking about doing an Alaska cruise with baby instead of toddlers you may be more restricted. This is because babies under 1 year of age are not usually permitted on cruises whose itineraries contain two or more consecutive cruise sea days (i.e. days where you don’t dock in port). However this rule does not apply once children reach the age of 1. 

Therefore the only reason a toddler couldn’t go on a cruise if it is an adults only cruise line or sailing but these are usually limited to the following lines only:

  • Virgin Voyages 
  • Viking Cruise Lines

Probably the number one question we are asked by people considering their first cruise vacation with kids is “Is it safe to take a toddler on a cruise?”

In our opinion cruises are a safe vacation for toddler providing you supervise your child at all times and if you decide to book a balcony cabin that you ensure all furniture is kept away from the edge to prevent climbing etc. But are there any additional dangers to be concerned about if your cruise is to Alaska?

I would say there are no additional safety concerns on a cruise to Alaska however there are some extra precautions you may want to take in ports. 

For example if you want to go on a hike while in an Alaskan cruise port you should make sure you have cowbells with you as there are bears in Alaska etc. 

However overall I don’t think there are any more risks for toddlers on an Alaska cruise to a cruise elsewhere in the world. 

Note: For more information on other cruise destinations with toddlers check out our other guides too such as cruising in the South Pacific.

What is the best cruise line for families going to Alaska? 

docked cruise ship - Can you Cruise Holland America with kids

Can you Cruise Holland America with kids

Possibly the biggest factor that will determine how much you will enjoy a cruise with a toddler is the line you select. 

There are some cruise lines that have more of a reputation for being toddler friendly than others and there are cruises which may offering more interesting and unique itineraries. So really you need to balance out what is most important to you. 

Cruise lines that have reputations as being more family friendly that also have ships in Alaska are:

  • Disney,
  • Royal Caribbean Line,
  • Carnival and
  • Norwegian

Things to consider when you are looking for both a toddler friendly cruise line and toddler friendly ship are the facilities that your toddler will be able to use such as:

  • kids clubs
  • babysitting

On other cruises to warm weather destinations we would also suggestion looking for cruise ships with splash pads. This is because toddlers and babies can’t swim on cruise ships if not potty trained. However in our experience of cruising in Alaska, the water is too cold in pools for toddlers to swim or splash in. 

On top of that as a parent I like to be on a ship with a laundry just in case of accidents and spills. 

Disney Cruise Lines is perhaps has the most toddler friendly cruise ships in their fleet as they are geared particularly at the family audience! If there are any cruises designed specifically for toddlers in mind I would say this is it. However they are much more expensive than other cruise lines. If Disney are out of your budget or you don’t fancy a Disney cruise the other lines listed above are also all family friendly. 

Princess cruise ship in Alaska - Taking an Alaska cruise with baby tips

Princess cruise ship in Alaska – Taking an Alaska cruise with baby tips

However if you are less worried about toddler friendly amenities and are interested in more unique itineraries you may want to consider something like Holland America with kids, or even Princess.

These lines have a reputation for being slightly more adult but have really unique itineraries around the world. We have done both with our toddler and enjoyed even if they aren’t as overtly toddler friendly. 

Best Cabin on Alaska Cruises for Families

Cruising with infant tips - what stateroom should I book?

Cruising with infant tips – what stateroom should I book?

It is always a dilemma choosing the type of cabin on a cruise line but I think this dilemma is amplied when cruising with a toddler and in places such as Alaska. 

The things you need to consider when booking your cruise cabin on an Alaska cruise when traveling with toddlers are:

  • safety – are you happy to have a balcony
  • scenery – Alaskan cruises often have scenic cruise bys and amazing landscapes to see on sea days and between ports. Are you happy to see this only when on deck or do you need a balcony or a window to enjoy. 
  • Brightness – if you are doing an Alaskan cruise in midsummer, the sunlight hours in Alaska are long. If your toddler struggles sleeping when it is light a porthole or balcony cabin may not be right for you. 

Personally for an Alaska cruise I would always choose to have a porthole or balcony cabin so that we as adults can enjoy the scenery even once your little ones are in bed. But it really is a matter of personal choice. 

For more information on room types check out our post here

And if you want to know more about cruise suites you can see our review here!

How to pick the best Alaska cruise itinerary for families

Ketchikan street Things to do in Ketchikan on Cruises

Ketchikan street Things to do in Ketchikan on Cruises

All cruise itineraries are good but some are better than others when you are thinking about cruising with toddlers.

My advice for picking an itinerary with a toddler is to think about what sort of activities your family enjoys doing and select ports that align with that.

For instance are you hoping to do more outdoorsy things such as visiting glaciers and hiking in the rainforest? Or are you more about wildlife and want to do go on whale watching tour? Or maybe you have a train mad toddler and want to Skagway White pass Railway. 

Whatever you decide you would like to do research your ports before booking to ensure you get the right mix of ports for your family. Keep reading for some of our favorite Alaska cruise ports and the excursions that could be great with toddlers. 

Also you should consider whether you want to do a closed loop cruise. A closed loop cruise is where you stay in the same country. 

One way to do an Alaska closed loop cruise is to go from and return to Seattle. This way your whole cruise stays in the USA and therefore there is less documentation involved. 

So now you know why some tips for booking we will turn our attention to packing for toddlers on a cruise to Alaska.

What to Pack for toddlers on a cruise to Alaska

Cruising with toddlers / toddler cruise packing list

Cruising with toddlers /toddler cruise packing list

Now that hopefully I have helped you book your toddler friendly cruise, what should you pack for a cruise with a toddler

We have a full toddler cruise packing list here but some of the things that I would like to draw your attention to here are the following essentials that are needed for a cruise to Alaska. 

Layers and lots of them

The thing about Alaska is even if you are traveling in the summer it can be cold, especially for toddlers if they are sitting in a stroller. 

Layers for toddlers are important in Alaska firstly on the ship itself where the air conditioning especially in restaurants can be very cold. But more importantly you will spending lots of time on deck especially if your cruise does a scenic cruise of Glacier Bay. Being next to those glaciers gets really chilly especially for toddlers so you will want fleeces, coats, scarfs and gloves etc. 

Also in port, there are many excursions where toddlers may feel the cold i.e. at glaciers or out whale watching so layers are important for port and sea days. 

Formal nights

Unless you are cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line, there will be a cruise formal night on your Alaska cruise. Therefore you may want to pack a cute outfit for your little for those important formal night photos.

Waterproofs

Alaska is a rainy place, be sure to have plenty of waterproofs for all the family.

Hiking boots

If your toddler is walking and you plan on doing hikes or visiting glaciers we recommend packing some hiking boots for toddlers. 

Toys

We usually go for low irritation toys that can be used outside the stateroom such as colouring, sticker books and jigsaws which can help keep your toddler entertained on cruises at dinner etc without having to use electronics. 

Umbrella Stroller or compact stroller

Space is a premium on cruise ships so make sure your stroller is compact.

For a full guide on what the best stroller for cruise travel is click here! 

Carrier

Whenever we are traveling with a toddler we  also think what is better for the destination a carrier vs a stroller. For Alaska we recommend taking both. This is because strollers are great for towns and for toddlers who need a nap but there are also lots of places in Alaska where you can’t use a stroller i.e. in the Tongass Rainforest in Ketchikan.

If you plan on doing a longer hike you may want to consider having a more robust hiking backpack carrier but it depends on the activities you want to do. 

The surfaces here are uneven and involve steps so you will not want a stroller. For this reason we advise packing both a carrier and a stroller (though a compact one) for an Alaskan cruise. 

Diapers, Bottles, Formula and other toddler essentials

Any parent of toddlers will tell you that there are a lot of toddler travel essentials you need. From nappies, to bottles, pacifiers and formula for instance. 

One of the differences about cruising to Alaska is that in the towns you will not find toddler essentials easily and you may have to drive out of town to a supermarket to get these things and you will play a premium for them too. 

Therefore we recommend that before you embark on your cruise that you have enough diapers and formula etc with you to last the entire cruise plus some extras just in case. 

Note: cruise ships will sometimes have these items but again you will pay a premium for them and you can’t guarantee they have brands and sizes you require. 

Important note: when you embark on a cruise your bags will be take away and returned to you at the end of the day (hopefully) in your stateroom. 

It can take awhile to get your bags back so be sure you have all your essentials to last you through the day and overnight by packing your cruise embarkation day bag properly. 

Should I take a car seat on a cruise?

Whether or not you should take a car seat on an Alaskan cruise will largely depend on what type of excursions you are planning on doing and who you are doing them with.

If you plan to take any excursions by car this is going to be necessary unless your private tour operator can supply these. 

However you will also need to consider the size of the car seat. Staterooms on cruise ships are small so having a more compact car seat to reduce the space it takes up in your room. 

You can read about our favourite car seats for toddler travel here! 

Best Alaska Cruise ports for toddlers

The main cruise ports for Alaska cruises are: 

Skagway

Train in Skagway - Best Things to do in Skagway

Train in Skagway – Best Things to do in Skagway

Perhaps the biggest appeal in Skagway for toddlers and families is to jump on the train and go to the Skagway White Pass and Yukon Railway. This is perfect if you have a toddler like mine who loves trains. 

However other great family friendly excursions here include going dog sledding. 

For more information on family friendly Skagway cruise excursions click here. 

Juneau

Juneau is the capital of Alaska and is almost on all Alaska cruise itineraries. However the main things to do with toddlers in Juneau are:

  • the Mendenhall Glacier 
  • whale watching

For more information on family friendly cruise excursions in Juneau click here. 

Ketchikan 

When we visited Ketchikan the main thing we wanted to do was the beautiful Tongass Rainforest and we decided to go on a hiking excursion. 

However if this isn’t for you there are also options such as 

  • whale watching excursions
  • lumber jack displays 
  • opportunities to leave about Native American history and
  • duck tours

to name but a few. 

For more information on the best cruise excursions to take in Ketchikan click here. 

Glacier Bay Scenic Cruising 

Please note if Glacier Bay is on your itinerary this is not a port day but a sea day involve scenic cruising. 

Other ports

Other ports an Alaskan cruise may stop at that aren’t in Alaska are:

  • Victoria
  • Seattle
  • Vancouver

The most important thing for you to decide is whether you want 

  • a closed loop cruise
  • whether you want to embark and return to the same port. 

Do you have any other questions about cruising to Alaska with toddlers? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.