Packing for an Alaska cruise is really, really easy.*
Like if you forget anything, it’s not like you’re backpacking in the middle of nowhere. The cruise ship and ports have everything, and the crew is always trying to make your life easy. If you need anything, they will make sure you find it. Even if you do super exciting adventurous stuff on your excursions, they’ll typically provide any extra gear.
You really don’t need to pack much except for the right outfits. And packing the right outfits is easy to do!
To help make sure you have the right stuff, here’s my Alaska cruise packing list! Clothes to pack, outfits that I personally love, and some other things you won’t want to forget. This felt like the perfect amount of stuff for our trip, but I did add a couple of things I wish I packed.
*Disclaimer: I was coming from Seattle, and you need to pack basically the same outfits for your Alaska cruise as what people usually wear in Seattle.
PS: If you’re looking for general things you should know before your cruise, check out my Alaska cruise travel tips.
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Alaska cruise packing list: Outfits
When we went on our Alaska cruise in May, the high was always in the 50s with light drizzles. Definitely not cold enough where you need those special fancy wools to stay warm that, like, regular winter Alaska packing lists talk about. But it’s also not the shorts and sundress weather like you might think of on a cruise.
The nights did get chilly and the wind chill was sometimes there. Plus, while we were lucky to have stable weather when we went, usually you hear about temperature swings on an Alaska cruise. That’s why we packed layers!
But double check the weather before you go. If you’re doing your Alaska cruise in a warmer month, you might not need to pack as many outer layers for the day, but still make sure you’re prepared for potential drizzles and cooler nights!
This is a picture from a road trip in Alaska in September, but not during the Alaska cruise. I basically wore the same type of outfits though. The cruise had very few millenials so all my pictures looked a little funny!
Loose tanks and shirts for layering
If you’re anything like me, you will gain 10 lbs on this cruise because the food is too good and we have self control! My family was making fun of me on our last stop in Victoria because my food baby was showing in my tight clothes. So you might want to bring some loose pieces too. Also I packed a couple Heattech shirts from Uniqlo, which I love because they keep you warmer than regular tanks/shirts!
Long sleeves shirts
I brought one regular cloth long sleeve, one fake wool one, and one Heattech one from Uniqlo. They were all helpful, and especially the last two on the cooler days or on a hike.
These are my favorite thing to layer with! They make your outfit so cute and make it easier to adjust to changing temperatures. I brought lighter ones because I’m really used to these temperatures, but if 50s sounds too cold for you, you might want a thicker one.
You don’t need flannel plaid shirts, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to bring yours to Alaska because it feels appropriate with the wild mountain scenery. Plus, flannel is warm! You might be surprised, but my favorite one is from Uniqlo. Full disclosure now: my sister used to work at Uniqlo, so I have a ton of their products. But I’m still obsessed with them because they are so high quality at a reasonable price!
I’m in love with these leggings because they keep you slightly warmer than regular leggings, and they last relatively long compared to the price point.
Jeggings or Jeans
For bottoms that look more put together than leggings, I prefer jeggings to actual jeans because they’re more comfortable, but it’s up to you!
Socks, including a pair of wool socks
I love wool socks because they’re warm and comfy, even if you’re not doing anything intense like they’re intended for. If you are hiking, these will decrease the chance of blisters.
Something I didn’t realize before my first cruise is you actually do a lot of walking! Bring some comfortable, casual shoes for when you’re hanging around the ship. For me, this means Sam Edelman flats (aka the comfiest flats ever!) and fake Toms from Payless (which are memory foam and the comfiest shoes at a reasonable price point!).
Water resistant shoes
For this, I just used my hiking shoes. Not that I did intense hikes on my Alaska cruise excursions, but since they’re super comfortable and make you feel like you are exploring the rugged terrains- even if you’re just on a cruise ship with a beer.
But water resistant shoes in general are nice because over time with the drizzles and being on the deck, your toes will get wet. Even light rains build up!
Bringing my favorite beanie was perfect for the wind chill and is super cute in general. When people think about packing for chilly weather, usually it’s just jackets and warm pants, but something that can get overlooked is your ears also get cold!
Light rain jacket
For those drizzly days and in case there’s actual heavier rain. I love this super packable one from Uniqlo- even though I found it after the cruise, it packs so much better than the Northface jacket I brought on the cruise! But if you want to have the same jacket as everyone else in the Pacific Northwest, bring a Northface instead (mine is red but virtually everyone else’s is black if you want to blend in better).
To keep you warm and cozy. I prefer zip up ones since my internal temperature changes so frequently.
Optional outfits for your cruise
Ultra down jacket
Optional because I was warm enough with just light long sleeves and a rain jacket, but I’m also used to this weather. My mom on the other hand was coming from Southern California and needed the extra efficient layer for warmth. She brought like a heavy duty coat, but I love these ultra down jackets because they take basically no room in your luggage and keep you super warm. Bring it depending on you!
Note: It’s also a little cooler in September or May, which is when we went, than in the summer. The summers can get between 60-70 F.
Some cruises have a dress up dinner day, so double check about yours and pack if you wanna participate. It wasn’t, like, black tie dress up on our cruise. I just wore a nicer black tank, jeans, and flats. My mom is more fancy though and wore a nice dress and pearls.
Cute dress and tights
I wish I packed this for when we went to Victoria’s Butchart Gardens! There’s just something about flowy dresses in flower fields (I blame instagram). Though the gardens are beautiful and must see if you love flowers, I did have a little FOMO because all my outfit was like emo kid layers and not like Instagram flower girl.
I didn’t pack or use this because I hate water and had no intention of using the pools or jacuzzis on the ship, or swimming in glacial Alaskan water. Maybe you’re more of a water lover, in which case, don’t forget yours!
These are another great way to layer and keep your neck warm. I’m also obsessed with cute scarves though, and I know not everyone else is!
These are the types of pictures I have from the cruise. LOL.
Alaska cruise packing list: Everything else
Honestly, I’m pretty much a minimalist when it comes to packing things that aren’t clothes. I try to pack as few things as possible. Usually it bites me in the butt when I’m traveling abroad because I forget something necessary, but for this Alaska cruise, I really didn’t feel like I forgot anything that was a must have. Here are the other key things I packed and the one thing I wish I did pack!
If your Alaska cruise stops in Canada, you’ll need this to get back on the ship. I almost didn’t bring mine because I’m so used to only needing it for planes!
I always pack this. You might think it sounds funny for Alaska, but the sun ages your skin anywhere and even if it’s cloudy. Plus, we did a couple of anti-aging treatments at the spa, and you do not want to be around any sun after that!
This medicine helps with any seasickness. Technically, I didn’t need this, and I’ve heard stories that the crew usually has this anyway, but I like to be prepared.
So your phone stays alive at all times, in case there are not outlets around. Even though the ship is huge, you might not be around an accessible outlet all the time!
This will help keep you prepared especially if you’re leaving the boat. Like if you want to bring extra snacks or more layers on any of the excursions.
Reusable water bottle
Not necessarily for the boat since there are water cups literally everywhere, but for excursions, so you don’t need to bring single use plastic bottles.
GoPro / Nicer Camera
This was the one thing I really wish I brought. I’m usually a cell phone camera type of girl, but the landscapes in Alaska are absolutely gorgeous and we saw so many bears and eagles, but my phone did not capture any of them well! I also wish I learned a little more photography before this trip to really put the nicer camera to use.
Like, this probably my best bear picture from the cruise, even though it looked so much cooler in real life!
Optional: Power strip
If you’ll be bringing a lot of electronics, many people recommend bringing this on the cruise so that you’re able to charge everything. I personally only had to charge my phone and reusable battery, so I didn’t need this and was perfectly fine, but adding this in case you’ll be traveling with more electronics.
Optional: A book
I’m a nerd, and I loved finding all the secret corners of the ship where I could read. Our cruise also had a library with great book selections in case you don’t want to bring your own, but adding this in case theres a book you have that you want to get read on the ship.
If you’re like me and the ones typically provided by cruises or hotels are not moisturizing enough, plan to pack your own. And obviously you’ll need your own deodorant, etc. And remember, they have to be under 3 fl! If you forget, you can always buy some on the ship or at the regular shops at the port.
What I wish I didn’t bring on the cruise
I get paid hourly, so I wanted to work from the cruise so my paycheck would be less sad when I got back. But I didn’t use it at all because the wifi was expensive and not reliable! Plus I just preferred being in the moment and not on the laptop. Added this in case your situation is different though, and maybe the wifi situation will improve by the time your ship sails.