What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

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Are you going on an Alaska cruise and wondering what to pack? You’re not alone!

Packing for an Alaskan cruise is very different than packing for a Caribbean cruise. After all, the weather in Alaska can be cool and rainy or sunny and warm, all in one cruise!

This can make it a challenge, even for experienced cruisers. It’s important to be prepared for Alaska weather on shore excursions, plus have what you need for the days and evenings on your cruise.

In this post I share a comprehensive Alaskan cruise packing list, including clothing, gear and cruise essentials to bring on your cruise. I also go over some common questions about how to pack for a cruise to Alaska, so you can be totally prepared!

Glacier National Park

Alaska Cruise Packing List: Clothing

For an Alaska cruise, you’ll need to pack clothes for your days and evenings on the cruise ship (including formal night), as well as activities on land. Something to note is that generally, Alaska cruises are a bit less dressy than Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises.

Depending on the month you sail to Alaska, the temperatures and rainfall can vary, which will affect what clothing you should bring. However, since Alaska weather is unpredictable, you should always pack rain gear and warm clothing to layer.

Typically, June and July are the warmest months of the Alaska cruise season. You can expect some warm days, and many people find this to be the best time of year.

May is cool, however you’ll have less chance of rain. The chance of rain increases by August and the coolest months are September and October.

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Alaska Cruise Packing List for Women

Alaska cruise woman

Here’s a list of clothing to bring on a 7 day Alaska cruise. You may decide to bring more of some items and less of others depending on your preference and the time of year you’re traveling.

Something to note is that 

  • short sleeve shirts
  • long sleeve shirts
  • sweatshirts or fleece sweaters
  • comfortable pants
  • fleece lined leggings
  • warm socks
  • undergarments
  • thermal undergarments
  • lightweight lined jacket or puffer coat
  • hooded waterproof rain jacket or windbreaker
  • hat
  • thin gloves
  • scarf
  • sleepwear
  • active wear (gym)
  • casual or smart casual dresses
  • pants or nice jeans
  • blouse or sweaters
  • cocktail or formal dresses
  • bathing suits
  • swimsuit cover ups
  • shawl or pashmina
  • evening bag
  • jewelry (optional)
  • dress shoes
  • flip flops (for indoor pool or hot tub)
  • Hiking boots or waterproof shoes
  • comfortable shoes
  • sneakers
  • polarized sunglasses

Related: 25 Gorgeous Swimsuit Cover Ups for a Cruise

Alaska Cruise Packing List for Men

Cruisers viewing glacier on Alaska cruise

  • short sleeve shirts
  • long sleeve or flannel shirts
  • sweatshirts or fleece sweaters
  • comfortable pants
  • shorts or cargo pants/convertible pants
  • warm socks
  • undergarments
  • thermal undergarments
  • lightweight lined jacket or puffer coat
  • hooded waterproof rain jacket or windbreaker
  • hat
  • thin gloves
  • scarf
  • sleepwear
  • gym clothes
  • bathing suit (for indoor pool or hot tub)
  • smart casual wear (evening)
  • khakis or nice jeans
  • Nice shirts or sweaters
  • Suit or tuxedo
  • dress shirts
  • tie
  • belt
  • dress shoes
  • hiking boots or waterproof shoes
  • comfortable shoes
  • sneakers
  • baseball cap
  • polarized sunglasses

Related: Cruise Wear for Men: Men’s Packing List for a Cruise

Things You Need for an Alaska Cruise

Sitka Alaska

What else do you need for an Alaska cruise? Perhaps you’re going whale watching in Juneau, dog-sledding on Mendenhall Glacier or walking around the town in Skagway.

These are the must-haves to pack for shore excursions and day trips in Alaska.

Binoculars

Bringing your own pair of compact travel binoculars is an Alaska cruise must-have! Whether you’re on an excursion or looking out at the incredible scenery and wildlife from your balcony on the cruise ship, make sure to have one per person. You don’t want to share, as you may just miss something!

 

 

Recommended: Folding travel binoculars (check price & see over 8000 Amazon reviews here)

Thermal Undergarments

When people say to dress in layers for Alaska, it starts with thermal undergarments. If you plan on visiting the glaciers, you can expect if to be cold and chilly. If you wear a base layer, you’ll keep warm and comfortable.

Base layer for women

 

Recommended: Base layer thermal wear (receives excellent reviews)

Base layer for men

This base layer for men is a best-seller that really should be on your Alaska cruise packing list.

Recommended: Thermal base layer for men

Alaska Helicopter excursion

Puffer Coat

While you won’t need a jacket every day in Alaska, if you are cruising during the colder months, there will be times you’ll be happy to have a thin warm puffer coat. 

Puffer jacket for women

This puffer jacket is lightweight, but is made with thin insulation and heat reflective lining. 

 

Recommended: Puffer jacket for women (check price & Amazon reviews here)

Men’s puffer jacket

This men’s puffer jacket is very lightweight and packs up small and tight, while still being insulated and warm.

 

Recommended: Lightweight men’s puffer jacket (see details & price on Amazon here)

Waterproof Jacket

Wear a waterproof jacket (not water resistant) with a fleece or warm sweater underneath on rainy days!

 

Recommended: Men’s Columbia waterproof jacket (well made – excellent reviews)

Thin Gloves

The best gloves you can bring on your Alaska cruise are one touch gloves. These thin gloves will keep your hands warm, but also allow you to use your smart phone and take photos and videos.

 

Recommended: One touch gloves (for men & women)

Warm Hat

A warm hat is an Alaska must-have! Consider a Carhartt knit hat, literally everyone’s favorite hat! It’s warm, comfortable and actually looks good on both men and women!

Recommended: Carhartt Warm hat (see colors & over 100,000 5* Amazon reviews)

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Convertible Pants

Consider packing a pair of convertible pants (cargo style pants). These versatile pants are great for the outdoors, especially if you’re cruising to Alaska in June or July when you just may want a pair of shorts.

 

 

Recommended: Convertible pants (see colors & reviews on Amazon)

Rain Poncho

Some rain is common in Alaska. Even on milder days, packing a light rain poncho in your backpack just in case, is a smart idea.

 

Recommended: Unisex rain poncho (check price & Amazon reviews here)

Ketchikan Alaska

Insect Repellant

Bring insect repellant on your Alaska cruise. You’ll definitely need it for any hiking tours and excursions, as well as other times.

 

Recommended: Insect repellant (protects for 10 hours)

Polarized Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t only for Caribbean cruises. When the sun reflects off the glaciers, polarized sunglasses will be essential. Even on sunny sea days on a cruise, these will come in handy.

 

Recommended: Polarized sunglasses (durable with protection rope)

Waterproof Dry Bag

A waterproof dry bag is great for all cruises where you may have water based or active excursions. If you get one for your Alaska cruise, you can keep it on your Caribbean, Bahamas or Bermuda cruise packing list as well!

 

Recommended: Waterproof dry bag (check price and 5* Amazon reviews)

Waterproof Backpack

A lightweight waterproof backpack is a must for excursions and day trips in Alaska, but also makes a handy embarkation day carry on bag for your first cruise day. Due to the potential for heavy rain in any of the Alaska cruise ports, make sure your backpack is waterproof and not water-resistant.

 

Recommended: Waterproof backpack (see price details & color options here)

Waterproof Shoes

An Alaska cruise packing list wouldn’t be complete without waterproof shoes. Make sure your waterproof hiking shoes are comfortable, breathable and have support for your feet.

Ladies waterproof shoes

 

 

Recommended: Columbia waterproof hiking shoes (womens)

Men’s waterproof shoes

 

Recommended: Columbia waterproof hiking shoes (men)

Hiking Socks

During any month, it can rain in Alaska, which means the potential for wet feet. Make sure to pack some moisture control socks (hiking or wicking socks). These are perfect for keeping your feet drier and supported.

 

Recommended: Moisture control socks (highly rated 150,000+ reviews)

Sunscreen

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen. These travel size sunscreens are easy to pack for your Alaska cruise, and can be used on future cruises as well.

Recommended: Sunscreen

Lip Balm

Make sure to bring along some chap stick or lip balm for warm sunny days in Alaska, as well as the windy ones.

 

Recommended: Lip balm

Waterproof Phone Case

A waterproof phone case dry bag is an Alaska cruise essential. You’ll be able to take photos and use your touch screen, while your phone stays clean and dry.

 

Recommended: Waterproof phone case dry bag (compatible with most cell phones)

Portable Charger

Make sure to bring a fast charging portable phone charger on your Alaskan cruise. This will come in handy before, during and after your cruise as well.

 

Recommended: Portable phone charger (for newest phones)

Reusable Water Bottle

Consider bringing collapsible refillable water bottles, to save space in your backpack.

Recommended: Collapsible water bottles (leakproof)

Collapsible Hiking Polls

If you’re planning on hiking in Alaska, packing a lightweight walking stick or collapsible hiking polls will be very useful.

  

Recommended: Ultralight collapsible hiking poll (check price & 1500+ Amazon reviews)

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Camera Equipment

There’s no question, you’ll be able to take some amazing photos in Alaska. Nature and wildlife is at it’s best!

Consider bringing along a good camera and lense to capture whales, bald eagles and bears.

 

Recommended: Lumix long zoom camera (great value for price – see reviews)

Compact Travel Umbrella

A small foldable umbrella is a useful accessory to have for your Alaska cruise. This compact umbrella is durable and windproof, which is what you need.

 

Recommended: Compact umbrella (windproof – see details)

Seasickness Medication & Prevention

Motion sickness is a possibility on all cruises, including cruises in Alaska. However, there are effective ways to prevent seasickness, hopefully before it starts.

These items are recommended:

Seabands

Bonine

Motion sickness patches

Tummydrops (ginger candies)

First Aid Kit

A cruise first aid kit with over the counter medications, bandages and other important items should be brought on every cruise. You can make your own, or purchase a first aid kit sold on Amazon.

 

Recommended: First aid kit

Coffee Mug

A insulated coffee mug is a great item to bring on your Alaska cruise. Just imagine enjoying a cup of coffee or hot chocolate as you sail through Glacier Bay.

 

Recommended: Insulated coffee mug (check price & reviews)

Cruise Essentials to Bring on an Alaska Cruise

Norwegian Jewel in Alaska

These cruise items and travel gadgets will help to make your cabin more organized and comfortable during your Alaska cruise.

Over the door organizer

Hanging toiletry bag

Save space in your cruise cabin bathroom by bringing a hanging toiletry bag.

 

Recommended: Hanging toiletry bag (over 25,000 5* reviews)

Magnet Hooks

Magnet hooks are a favorite cruise hack! Add extra storage space to your cabin by using super strong magnet hooks on your cabin walls (they’re usually metal).

 

Recommended: Strong magnet hooks

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a great way to stay organized, for before and during your cruise.

 

Recommended: Packing cubes (check price, colors & Amazon reviews here)

Luggage Tag Holders

Reusable luggage tag holders will save your time and aggravation.

Take a look for your specific cruise line here:

Princess 

Royal Caribbean

Celebrity 

Norwegian 

Carnival 

Holland America

Non-Surge Protected Power Strip

Cruise cabins are small, and often have only one or two electric outlets. It’s a good idea to bring along a non-surge protected power strip with USB outlets to charge all your devices. Note – you cannot bring a regular power strip from home as these are prohibited and will be confiscated.

 

Recommended: Non-surge protected power bar (cruise compliant)

Related: Why Can’t You Bring a Surge Protected Power Strip on a Cruise?

Pou-Pourri

Pou-Pourri is a unique product that cruisers swear by! Cruise ship cabins are small, and so are the bathrooms. Pou-Pourri is a “before you go spray” that works better than regular air freshener.

 

Recommended: Pou-Pourri

Travel Alarm Clock

Many cruisers like having a simple and reliable travel alarm clock that can sit on the bedside table. There’s nothing worse than being late for an excursion!

 

Recommended: Travel alarm clock (cruiser favorite 10,000+ reviews)

Electronic Organizer Case

These days, everyone needs a bag to organize cables, chargers, SD cards and more. This electronics organizer bag is a popular cruise item that’s very useful!

Recommended: Electronics organizer case (check price & over 5000 Amazon reviews here)

Alaska whale excursion

Alaska Cruise Packing FAQ’s

How to Layer Clothing for an Alaska Cruise

Since the weather in Alaska is unpredictable and can vary, the best way to dress for days on land is by layering your clothing. In this way, as the day warms up and you become more active, you can remove layers and be comfortable. 

Wear a base layer of thermal undergarments for colder days. On top of this, add a thick long sleeve shirt, fleece or sweater. A waterproof lined jacket or puffer coat can be worn on top as well.

On milder days in Alaska, you may be able to wear and t-shirt or long sleeve shirt. However, you’ll still want to dress in layers so you can put on a fleece sweatshirt or warm sweater as needed. A rain poncho should always be in your backpack for Alaska excursions and day trips.

What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise Formal Night

Although Alaska cruises tend to be less dressy than Caribbean cruises, most Alaska cruises have formal nights, elegant or chic nights. For ladies, a longer sleeve cocktail dress, gown or pantsuit is perfect. You can also wear a pashmina or shawl on your shoulders.

Men can wear suits, dress pants and a dress shirt or a tuxedo. Don’t forget to pack your dress shoes, socks, belt and tie.

Do You Need a Bathing Suit for an Alaskan Cruise?

Even though it’s fairly cold in Alaska, you should definitely pack a bathing suit. You’ll likely want to use the hot tub or perhaps even an indoor pool during your Alaskan cruise.

Related & Popular Posts

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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise

Getting ready and packing for an Alaskan cruise can be challenging. After all, warm and bulky clothes are needed, and you need to be prepared for the unpredictable Alaska weather.

In this post we went over what to pack for an Alaska cruise, which includes an Alaska cruise packing list for men and women and useful cruise accessories.

Have you been or are you planning to go on a cruise to Alaska? What are some items that you’ll be packing?

Happy cruising!

Ilana

P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

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4 Comments

  1. Ann
    April 14, 2022 / 9:17 pm

    My husband and I enjoy your YouTube videos so much. We have learned so much about cruising from you. Keep up the good work.

    • April 25, 2022 / 12:36 pm

      Thanks Ann! I really appreciate that and I’m so glad they’ve been helpful!

      Ilana

  2. Dave Carlton
    May 8, 2022 / 1:17 am

    Thanks, I find your information VERY helpful.

    • May 10, 2022 / 2:24 am

      Thanks Dave, I’m so glad the info is useful.

      Have a wonderful cruise!

      Ilana

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