Not all cruises take you to balmy islands with crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches, and that’s a good thing. A cruise to a colder destination, like Alaska or Northern Europe, can be a fantastic way to see some of the most beautiful places in the world. Cruising to a cold-weather destination is a very different experience than cruising in the tropics, however, and even cruise veterans might need a little help switching gears. If you’ve got a cold-weather cruise coming up, consider the following tips.
– Bring layers. Given the need to pack bulky warm clothing, optimizing suitcase space becomes very important on a cold-weather cruise. To do so, think in terms of layers. You don’t need six different fuzzy sweaters to keep warm. Instead, bring a couple, and include a range of lighter shirts you can wear underneath if you need to bundle up.
– Prepare for the weather. Even on a cold-weather cruise, everyone hopes for clear skies, but you’ll still want to prepare for rain, sleet, or snow. Make sure you don’t leave home without a warm winter coat and rain gear. You’ll want them on hand so that you can explore your port destinations and see sights from the deck even if it’s raining.
– Watch out for hypothermia. Given the safe, sheltered environment of a cruise ship, it’s unlikely you’ll develop hypothermia, a condition in which the body’s internal temperature drops to dangerous levels. However, you should still be aware of it, particularly if you strike out on your own. Dress warmly and stay dry, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Keep an eye out for uncontrolled shivering, loss of motor control, and signs of diminished cognitive ability like mumbling as well. If you do experience hypothermia, drink hot liquids and get yourself warm and dry as quickly as possible.
– Take care of your skin. Just as you need to watch out for sunburn on a warm-weather cruise, you need to practice good skin care in cold weather. Bring moisturizer to counteract the effects of cool, dry air, which can irritate the skin. Fragrance-free options are your best bet for relief.