Alaska's Inside Passage and Alaska Dream Cruises Baranof Dream

Hi, my husband and I are booked on the Alaska Inside Passage cruise on June 8th - June 17th.  The ship is ADC's Baranof Dream, and we're in one of the A cabins.  Packing for our first trip Alaska and our first cruise on a ship this size.  Alaska Dream Cruises recommends soft-sided luggage.  Looking at the cabin floorplan, there's no wardrobe or close in the A cabins, but there are some built-in drawers under the beds and in a bulkhead wall.  Has anyone here sailed on the Baranoff Dream and can give recommendations on luggage?  

Would rolling duffle bags be a problem because of the wheels and fitting them into whatever storage space there may be for luggage?  Or should we opt for plain rugged duffles that can collapse and fit into a drawer?

Our regular luggage is soft-topped/rigid side Rick Steves/Travelite carry-ons.  If these can be pushed under a bed, perhaps they would work?  

We try to travel light and are looking at one suitcase or duffle each, camera bag, and maybe a small tote type of bag.


Jackie & Lucien Lane

  • Hope you have a great trip -- we're taking the same trip June 1-10. If you hear anything on this I would appreciate you sharing it with us. Unfortunately they re-designed the RS chat boards a couple of years back & they've lost a great deal of the functionality -- previously one could read posts from previous travelers + connect with current travelers -- Too Bad -- I've let RS know about this several times & they do not appear very interested in fixing it, -- Mike B =
  • Hello Barbara & Mike,

    I emailed Alaska Dream Cruises about storage space in the A Cabins, and described our 21" Rick Steves & Travelite rolling bags. I was told that there is a storage closet or wardrobe in the cabin and that the luggage we have will be fine. I'm thinking of us using one 21" rolling bag, which we'll check, and two medium duffle bags (non-rolling) which we'll carry on.

    Would love to get information about what the weather might be like in this area in early to mid-June. A friend was in Fairbanks in the last week of May last year and told me it was 90 degrees. LOL!

    The RS forums are a bit of a dissapointment. I would have thought each trip (or tour, regardless of date) would have its own discussion. That's how it looks when I check my account, but when I try the link, the discussion doesn't exist. So I started this thread.

    I hope you both enjoy your Alaska trip.

    Jackie Lane
  • I also E-mailed Alaska Dream Cruises & rec'd the following response on the Weather from Alison + she attached a 3 Page word document title "Know Before You Go" detailing other info on the cruise. -- here's the text from her letter

    -- The weather typically does range from about 55-65 degrees during the day and about 5 degrees cooler at night. While on the water, the wind does add to the coolness. I would highly recommend packing in layers as you mentioned. Base layers are great to layer with t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and coats. We recommend bringing your favorite waterproof jacket which will be great for cruising and any excursions, kayaking included, that you may do. There will also be a rain gear jacket provided for your use. Living in Southeast Alaska myself, where I spend a lot of time on boats, I would also highly recommend wool socks which are great for in hiking and rain boots (SmartWool & Darn Tough are some of my favorites). Also, a stocking cap or headband, a baseball cap, and a pair of gloves are necessities in my opinion. Basically, being prepared to layer and un-layer is your best bet!

    I hope you are getting excited to experience Southeast Alaska firsthand, please give us a call or send an email if you have any other questions. Any one of us would be more than happy to help!

    Allison Dohman | Sales & Reservations Specialist

    Alaskan Dream Cruises

    1512 Sawmill Creek Rd.

    Sitka, AK 99835

    Toll Free 1-855-747-8100

    e-Fax 855-747-8100 Ext. 112
  • Hi,
    We are on the trip with you - 3 of us from San Diego and one from Connecticut. - Vanessa
  • Looking forward to meeting you -- We will be getting to the hotel in Juneau late evening on 5/30 - 1 day b4 the program starts --
  • Thanks for starting the thread. RS does seem to have orphaned the discussion groups.

    My husband and I will be on the June 21 - July 1 sailing of this trip so I'm looking forward to learning about your experience! Our luggage is hard-sided and worked well on another river cruise, but I'll give some thought to the soft-sided issue. Every trip we seem to travel just a little lighter.

    Wishing you a wonderful sailing!
  • We took this trip last year on the Alaskan Dream. It's a little smaller than the Baranoff Dream but I'd imagine the rooms are similar. My wife had no problem sliding her hard sided suitcase under the bed. The rooms are not large but they are adequate. The cruise was beyond extraordinary. Be prepared to have an amazing time. If you're a bit crazy bring a swimsuit.
  • We are on the Road Scholar program which begins on July 20, 2018, and boards the BARANOF DREAM ON JULY 21, 2018. We took a (very different type of) cruise around the tip of South America 8 years ago, and found the Cruise Critic boards very helpful in preparing for that trip.
    Given the size of this ship, the small group, and the limited flexibilItyof port stops, Cruise Critic may not have the same overall value for this trip, but, should you wish to check it out, I've started a new "Roll Call" for this trip, which is titled:
    Baranof Dream Sitka to Ketchikan July 21, 2018 to - July 31, 2018
    I'd invite you to visit that Roll Call, and add to it if you wish.
    See you in Alaska in July!
  • That board doesn't appear yet, I'll check for it tomorrow. Rick
  • I was there in august .. rain rain rain and it is always very cold (25 degrees) in glacier bay and tracy arm (as you are surrounded by ice :)
  • Hi Rick,

    I had to do a search on BARANOF to find your topic. You might want to put a link to it here. I've thought of posting questions in the Alaska destination sub-forum, or in the Small Ship subforum. Just haven't had time to do that though.

    Sitka this morning--45F, 35 wind chill, 11MPH winds. Rain. Sounds like January! LOL!

    Jackie & Lucien Lane

    June 8-17th Cruise

  • Anyone else booked on the Aug 30-Sept 8 trip? That one is starting in Sitka and ending in Juneau. The trip discussion doesn't seem to be active yet, and my past experience with RS is that the board for the exact trip we are on won't be active until very close to departure.

    I am traveling solo and staying a couple extra days in Juneau. Don't know exactly how much longer, as I'm working with RS to book my flights. Anyone else staying over?
  • Following responses from "experienced" RS travelers - 1st timer here for May 9-19th Sitka --> Juneau trip. Usual Weather? Any special "handy to have items"? Rely on ship rain gear or have your own? Thanks!
  • Juneau at the port is very touristy. I suggest going further off the main street to explore. Found some native artists on side streets and totems in yards. Very hilly so be prepared. Hangar on the Wharf good place for lunch and local brews.
  • I have never been to Juneau, but I've been to other Pacific NW areas of North America, including coastal BC. "Layers" is the key. Avoid cotton, if you can. It will stay wet, and if it's at all chilly, you will be cold and miserable.

    From what I've read, May is still chilly in Alaska. Actually, every month has the possibility to be a bit chilly, and you will likely encounter at least some rain or drizzle. You're going to be close to glaciers and cold water, after all.

    My favorite travel items for changeable and possibly wet weather are below. these are also what I use in Wisconsin for cool/cold and/or wet outdoor days:
    * Silk or other thin, fast-drying long underwear/liners. Take up very little space, and can be slipped on under pants or shirts. Can be removed and stuffed in your pocket if the weather warms up. I even wear the bottoms under shorts sometimes for cool mornings. (Did that in Death Valley in February and Vancouver Island in September.)
    * Quick-drying pants and shirts. No jeans. Especially nice are long-sleeve shirts that you can roll up the sleeves. Something like hiking pants from an outdoor store.
    * Fleece or thermal lycra hoodie, jacket, or pullover. Preferably something thinner, so you can take it off and stuff it in your bag if the weather turns nice. I also have a zip-up bicycling jersey that is insulated and warm because of its dense fabric.
    * Smart-wool or other merino wool socks. No matter what else you are wearing, you will be miserable with wet, cold feet. Wool will keep your feet warm, even when wet, and the chance of blisters is less. Yes, even in warm weather, wool is comfortable.
    * Outer wind/rain jacket. Because I spend 6 months of the years with the possibility of rain, snow, or cold wind, I have a very nice Gore-tex jacket. It has no insulation; it's just an outer shell. But you don't have to go high-end. Having a jacket that feels comfortable to you will be useful for cool evenings, walks on shore, or sudden drizzle. The crew has heavy rain gear, but a lightweight wind and rain jacket will make you much happier when it's not raining hard, but you want something to keep the wind from cutting through your sweater. Doesn't have to be fully waterproof -- that will make you sweat unless it's a high-end breathable fabric like Gore-tex.
    * Lightweight gloves. Just something to slip on if the wind is a little raw. I carry full-finger biking gloves, but almost any cheap gloves from the dollar store will probably be enough.
    * Headband for your ears. Fleece is nice, because it will dry fast.
    * Knit hat if it gets a little colder.
    * Scarf for your neck, or to cover your head.

    Then, make sure you have some small binoculars, a notebook, a camera (even on your phone), extra charging battery for your phone (if you are using it as a camera), sun hat, and download any travel guides or nature books that might interest you onto your tablet or phone, because internet might be hard to come by.