Cruising to Alaska is one of the best ways to see everything The Last Frontier has to offer.

From the comfort of the cruise ship, you can see glaciers jutting into the sky, whales breaching off the deck and parts of the state that are inaccessible any other way than by water.

However, cruises are different than other forms of travel, and they require a little know-how to make your trip the best it can be. Here are some Alaska cruise tips that will help you make the most of your vacation.

Pacific Cruise Ships May Sway

The first thing you need to know is that cruise ships tend to sway a little in the Pacific Ocean. The difference is minimal, but it is still more than you might experience in the Atlantic. Typically, on cruise ships, the rule of thumb is to get a balcony room or one with a window so you can see the movement of the water.

However, when traveling to Alaska, you may be more comfortable in a lower room in the middle of the liner. Just make sure the room isn’t directly above or below the entertainment venues.

Pack for the Weather (and Dinner)

Next, make sure you pack appropriately. No matter what time of year you travel, remember the weather will be damp and windy when the cruise ship is in motion. Plan to bring a waterproof coat, as well as a hat and gloves, so you can enjoy any time you spend outside. Keep in mind, this includes the balconies.

Additionally, remember to pack some nicer or more fancy attire for dinner, as many cruise liners offer formal meals throughout the entirety of the excursion. You’ll also want to bring your bathing suit. Just because you can’t tan on deck doesn’t mean the cruise ship won’t have a pool or hot tub.

Other Packing Essentials

There are a few other essentials you’ll want to pack and bring along. First, keep in mind many rooms on cruise ships have few outlets, so bring a power strip that will allow you to charge all your devices. Second, most cruises offer all-inclusive meals but charge for alcohol, and many people like to get around this by bringing their own wine.

You may also want to have a dry bag with you. Cruises to Alaska can be very damp. Thus, having a dry bag will keep your belongings safe from the elements. Finally, if you’re a coffee connoisseur, you may want to bring your own brew and French press.

Understand Costs

You’ll also want to make it a point to understand all costs associated with your cruise getaway. As mentioned earlier, alcohol may incur extra fees above the fare price. However, that’s not the only extra. Wi-Fi will cost you extra on most cruise ships, so build this into your budget. You might also find certain meals or entertainment options increase your tab as well. None of these items are prohibitively expensive, but they do add up, so just be aware.

Consider Activities

The activities aboard various cruise ships tend to vary. Do some research before you embark on the open sea, so you book a cruise that offers you the experiences you ultimately desire, including off-boat excursions. It often costs a more to enjoy certain excursions — and that’s okay.

Many of those side trips, especially in Alaska, are once-in-a-lifetime adventures that are priceless additions to your trip. Find out the costs and create a budget so you can get the most bang for your buck. Also, be mindful of the time of year you’re traveling, as certain seasons make it more likely for you to see the Northern Lights.

Bringing the Family

One of the top advantages of cruises is that they are family friendly. They have tons of activities to keep little ones busy as well as older children. Further, they offer rooms at a variety of price levels and options to customize your experience so everyone in your family can come along and get exactly what they want. Plus, some cruise lines offer group discounts.

Planning Your Best Alaska Cruise

Ultimately, you can book and enjoy the best Alaska cruise when you understand what to expect. Know how your room selection will impact your trip and pack accordingly. Additionally, understand your costs, so there are no surprises. Finally, consider the activities being offered. Many of them are family-friendly so that everyone can have a wonderful time on your trip.