Embarking on an Alaskan cruise is an experience like no other, offering you the opportunity to experience breathtaking glaciers, endless wildlife, and stunning scenery.
This is a chance for you to connect with the absolute best the state has to offer, and to create memories that will last a lifetime.
However, trying to work out what you’ll need to bring to be prepared for all the cruise has to offer can be a daunting task. With ever-changing weather conditions, often depending on location, you’ll have a lot to consider and it is important that you are prepared for all different types of situations.
How can you know what to pack on an Alaskan cruise? If you’re wondering about this, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’re going to provide you with a comprehensive guide that will teach you everything you’ll want to know about this topic, including clothing, essential items, items that will enhance your experience, and anything else that you might not already be considering.
We’ve also included some additional information about Alaskan cruises, and an extensive FAQ to answer some of the questions you might have left over at the end.
Packing For An Alaskan Cruise: An Overview
Packing for a cruise can be overwhelming, especially if you have never been on one before. Cruises are often all-inclusive vacations, offering you a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the landscape without having to worry about travel arrangements or hotels. To get you started, we’re going to give you some general tips that will get you in the right mindset.
One of the first things you’ll want to check out is whether or not the cruise line that you’re going with has specific rules regarding luggage. The cruise you’re on will likely have weight or size limits for both checked and/or carry-on luggage. This is the first important step, as it will set the parameters for what you will be able to take with you.
Consider The Weather
We’re going to go into more detail about this in the next section, but you’ll need to consider the weather of the locations you’re going to, especially the time of year. Layers are probably a good idea because temperatures can vary throughout the day.
Cruise lines like to have dress codes for certain areas/occasions on the ship, for example, formal nights. Make sure to check with your cruise before you head off so that you can see what kind of clothing you’ll need to bring with you.
While you’ll find that most cruise ships are safe and secure, you may want to leave any expensive jewelry or valuable items at home. Just remember that anything you bring has a chance of becoming lost.
You’re going to need to make sure you pack any important documents in your carry-on, this includes items such as visas, cruise tickets, and passports. You’ll want to have all of these in an easy-to-access location, which can be especially important if your luggage gets lost.
The Types Of Alaskan Cruise
Alaska offers a range of cruise options, from small ships all the way up to large, luxury liners. Each one will offer you a unique experience. Some of the most popular cruises are the seven-day Inside Passage voyages, which will take you through the protected waters of Southeast Alaska.
These cruises most frequently depart from Seattle or Vancouver, and will check in at ports such as Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau.
Another popular choice is a one-way cruise, which will start in Anchorage and take you through the dazzling Gulf of Alaska. Some of the most commonly visited ports on this trip are Seward, Glacier Bay National Park, and Hubbard Glacier. These cruises usually last between seven and ten days, offering stunning views of the rugged, wild coastline.
It’s worth noting that the weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from the 50s up to the 70s. You should know that rain is always a possibility no matter what time of year it is.
So then, it’s important that you pack for all eventualities, regardless of the time of year you’re traveling. The summer months are the most popular for cruising, with long daylight hours and warmer temperatures. However, even in the summer, you should be prepared for cooler temperatures and the chance of rain.
Best Clothing To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise
Now that we’ve outlined some of the difficulties you might face when packing for an Alaskan cruise, let’s take a look at the different types of clothing you might want to pack. This is one of the most vital things you’ll want to get in order before embarking.
There’s nothing worse than showing up to your cruise, only to realize you’ve left some vital items of clothing at home. In this section, we’re going to break down some of the most important items of clothing that you will want to consider bringing with you.
Packing clothes for an Alaskan cruise requires some careful thought and planning. Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to pack clothing suitable for all of the ports that you’ll be calling into.
The Importance Of Layers
Laying is essential when packing for an Alaskan cruise. Multiple layers allow you to adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day. A Lightweight jacket, sweater or fleece, and a raincoat or poncho are all excellent options that can be removed or added as needed.
The jacket and sweater can be worn together for warmth, or individually depending on the weather. The raincoat or poncho is particularly important to keep you dry during those unexpected downpours.
Here’s an example of a great waterproof jacket for the coldest of Alaskan days. It’s waterproof, good at fighting off snow or sleet, and offers you with the correct levels of insulation.
It’s worth noting that layers are mostly important for when you’re out in ports or day trips, or when you’re out on the deck of the cruise ship. If you want to know more about clothing for the interior parts of your cruise experience, check out the sections below.
Waterproof boots are a must-have item. Exploring the various ports you’ll call into means that you could be walking through wet or muddy areas, and waterproof boots offer you a chance to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Consider packing a pair of boots with a sturdy sole that gets a good grip on slippery surfaces.
Alternatively, you may want to take some comfortable walking shoes. If you are on a cruise that encourages excursions, then you’ll want to make sure you have comfortable shoes that offer your feet good support. Closed-toe shoes are recommended to protect your feet from any hazards.
Even during the summer months, it is important to pack warm accessories, like a hat and gloves. Alaska’s temperatures can suddenly dip, especially when you’re out on the water, so making sure you have a hat and gloves on hand can be a lifesaver for you.
A scarf or shawl is a good accessory to pack, as it can provide additional warmth and be used to cover up when the sun goes down and the temperature drops.
Here’s an example of a great hat that comes with a thick fleece liner, as well as an included neck warmer. It comes in a variety of colors and can be a lifesaver, especially if the weather is looking especially dark out.
For gloves, check out these cheap but effective pairs by ihuan. They offer you a lot of protection and insulation from the elements but are also understated and very cozy. They’re suitable for a range of different activities, making them a good choice for day trips or hikes across the Alaskan coastline.
Cruises often like to put on lavish events. In this case, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve packed something that looks good and formal. This can include a suit and tie for men, and a cocktail dress or gown for women.
How much you want to dress up can depend on a few things, for example, the cruise in question, your personal style, and any dress code regulations that might be in place.
We’d recommend checking in with your cruise line to see if they have any formal nights booked for when you’re on the cruise. You can also inquire about the dress code, and if there are any specific things you’ll need to bring. Doing this ahead of time can prevent any worry/stress when you’re out there on the open ocean.
If you plan to take a dip in the pool or hot tub, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit. Many cruise ships have indoor or outdoor pools, so you should take advantage of this if you can. A cover-up or sarong is also a good item to pack, as it can be used to cover up and keep you warm when going to and from the pool or beach.
When you’re not attending formal events, casual attire is appropriate, and what you will be wearing for the majority of your time on the cruise. Because of this, you’re going to need to make sure you’re dressing comfortably.
Comfortable pants, shorts, and t-shirts are all great options. You’re going to want to make sure you pack clothing that you can move around in, particularly if you plan on going on any active excursions like hiking or kayaking.
Many cruise ships have gyms or offer exercise classes, so make sure to pack exercise clothing if you plan on working out. Athletic shoes and comfortable workout clothing are all you need to take advantage of any onboard fitness facilities.
Accessories such as sunglasses, hats, or sunscreen are also important items to pack for an Alaskan cruise. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s UV rays can still shine through the clouds, so it’s important to protect both your skin and eyes. Additionally, sunglasses can come in handy when exploring the ports, particularly if you plan on going out on a glacier or wildlife excursion.
Important Items To Pack For Alaska
Whenever you’re out on a trip, it’s going to feel like you have forgotten something. With so many impressive landscapes and day trips to experience in Alaska, there are as many items that you’ll need to pack with you. In this section, we’re going to take a look at some of the most important items you can take with you to Alaska, including things that will help to enhance your experience.
Alaska is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes and wildlife. A pair of binoculars can help you get up close and personal with nature, whether you’re watching whales, eagles, or other wildlife. It’s also a great tool for spotting glaciers and other landmarks from a distance.
For a good pair of binoculars, check out these from Adorrgon, which will allow you to see clearly, in a variety of different scenarios. It comes with a tripod and tripod adapter that will help you get the most out of your day trips.
Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, and rain is always a possibility. Packing a compact, travel-sized umbrella can be a lifesaver when exploring the ports or taking a stroll on the deck. Look for an umbrella that is lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand the wind.
A good choice for an umbrella is to buy a compact one. They allow you to make the most out of your packing space. This umbrella from SY COMPACT is a great little companion that is sturdy enough to withstand some of the difficulties the elements might throw your way and ultimately keep you dry.
A day pack is a great accessory to have when exploring Alaska’s ports. It allows you to carry your essentials, such as your camera, binoculars, raincoat, and water bottle, without having to lug around a bulky backpack. Look for a pack that is comfortable to wear and has multiple compartments for easy organization.
Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re spending long days exploring the Alaskan wilderness. A reusable water bottle is not only eco-friendly, but it can also save you money on drinks while on the ship or in port. Look for a durable, insulated bottle that can keep your drinks cold or hot for several hours.
You don’t have to go too fancy with the water bottle you choose to bring. This stainless steel water bottle with a spout lid from AmazonBasics is a great choice and will serve you well on your travels.
With all the photos, videos, and social media updates you’ll be sharing on your trip, it’s important to keep your phone and other devices charged.
A power bank can ensure that you have enough battery life to capture all the amazing moments of your Alaskan adventure. You can get a power bank relatively cheap from Amazon, so check out this one here.
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, and it’s always better to be prepared. Packing a small first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers can help you deal with minor injuries and illnesses.
It’s also a good idea to bring any prescription medications you may need. Consider a mini first aid kit that includes an emergency foil blanket, scissors, and important medical supplies.
Mosquitoes and other insects can be a nuisance, especially during the summer months. Packing a good quality insect repellent can help keep them at bay and make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.
You could also consider purchasing a mosquito-repellent bracelet, that you can simply wear when you’re out and about. You can purchase these in packs of 50, so it could be a good choice to bring along with you if it’s the summer and you’re out on day trips.
If you’re traveling from outside of North America, you’ll need a travel adapter to plug in your electronic devices. The United States and Canada use different electrical outlets than many other countries, so make sure to bring a compatible adapter to avoid any power issues. You can get a travel adapter that has universal ports and up to 4 USB slots without having to spend too much money!
The Best Camera To Bring With You On An Alaskan Cruise
An Alaskan cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you’ll want to capture all of your memories so that you can relive them. Taking photos can be an enriching experience.
From stunning landscapes to unique wildlife, there are endless photo opportunities that you won’t want to miss. In this section, we’re going to be discussing the best types of cameras to take on your Alaskan cruise, as well as lenses and other accessories that can enhance your photography experience.
Types Of Cameras
There are several types of cameras to choose from when it comes to capturing your Alaskan adventure. Here are some of the most popular options:
1. DSLR Cameras
DSLR cameras are popular among professional photographers and enthusiasts because of their superior image quality and ability to swap lenses. They’re also great for capturing wildlife and landscapes, as they offer more control over aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
2. Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly popular because of their compact size and high-quality images. They’re a great option for travelers who want the image quality of a DSLR camera without the bulk.
3. Point-And-Shoot Cameras
Point-and-shoot cameras are small and easy to use, making them a popular choice for casual photographers. They’re also affordable and often have built-in zoom lenses.
Choosing the right lens can make a big difference in the quality of your photos. Here are some of the best lenses for an Alaskan cruise:
1. Wide-Angle Lens
A wide-angle lens is great for capturing expansive landscapes and sweeping views of glaciers and mountains.
2. Telephoto Lens
A telephoto lens is essential for capturing wildlife from a distance. Look for a lens with a focal length of at least 200mm for the best results.
3. Macro Lens
A macro lens is ideal for capturing close-up shots of flowers, insects, and other small details.
In addition to your camera and lenses, several accessories can enhance your photography experience on an Alaskan cruise. Here are some of the most important ones to consider:
A tripod is essential for capturing sharp, steady photos, especially in low-light situations. Look for a lightweight and compact tripod that is easy to carry around.
2. Polarizing Filter
A polarizing filter can help reduce glare and enhance the colors in your photos, especially when shooting landscapes and water.
3. Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
You’ll likely be taking a lot of photos on your Alaskan cruise, so it’s important to bring extra batteries and memory cards to ensure that you don’t run out of power or storage space.
4. Camera Bag
A good camera bag is essential for protecting your camera and lenses from damage during travel. Look for a bag that is sturdy, waterproof, and has plenty of padding to keep your gear safe.
So now you might be wondering – what is the best choice of a camera to bring with me on my cruise? When it comes to choosing the perfect camera, you should consider everything else about your trip.
In short, we would suggest you select a DSLR camera with a zooming lens, as this will provide high-quality images and versatility in capturing both wide-angle landscapes and close-up shots of wildlife.
One specific camera that we recommend for an Alaskan cruise is the Canon EOS Rebel T7i. This camera offers excellent image quality and features a 23.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and DIGIC 7 image processing. It also has a fast and accurate autofocus system that can track moving subjects, making it a great choice for taking photos of wildlife.
Another thing that makes this camera a great choice for your cruise is its lightweight and compact size, making it easy to carry around with you on excursions. It also features a user-friendly interface, making it perfect for beginners, or for those who just want a simple camera to use.
Comfort And Other Essential Items
When packing for an Alaskan Cruise, it’s very important to remember that you will be spending a significant portion of your time on the ship. To make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable, there are several comfort items that you should consider bringing with you. Below is a list of these, so make sure to keep these in mind and consider which will be helpful for you.
1. Alarm Clock
An alarm clock is an essential item to have on an Alaskan cruise, as it will help you stay on schedule for all the activities and excursions. While many ships have wake-up calls, having your own alarm clock can be a helpful backup.
2. Freezer Bags
Freezer bags are a versatile choice that can be used for many purposes on an Alaskan cruise. They’re great for storing snacks and keeping them fresh, as well as for storing wet clothes or items that might leak.
3. Coffee Flask
If you’re a coffee lover, a coffee flask can be a lifesaver on an Alaskan cruise. Most ships have coffee available, but it’s often not the best quality. Having your own flask will allow you to bring your favorite coffee with you and keep it hot for hours.
4. Night Light
A night light is a small but essential item to have in your cabin, as it will help you navigate in the dark without disturbing your roommates or partner. It’s also helpful for finding your way to the bathroom during the night.
As with comfort items, you might want to bring some entertainment for you to enjoy while experiencing some downtime on the ship. Let’s take a look at these below.
Whether you’re lounging on the deck or relaxing in your cabin, bringing a good novel can be a great way to pass the time on an Alaskan cruise. Look for books that are set in Alaska or that feature themes of adventure, nature, or exploration. You might also want to consider bringing a book that’s been on your to-read list for a while, as you’ll have plenty of uninterrupted time to dive into a new story.
2. An E-Reader
If you’re an avid reader, an e-reader can be a great alternative to packing several physical books. With an e-reader, you can store hundreds of books on one device, making it easy to switch between titles and find something that suits your mood. Many e-readers also have backlit screens, which can help you read in low-light situations.
3. Portable Speakers
If you enjoy listening to music or podcasts, bringing a portable speaker can help you enhance your listening experience. You can use your speaker to play music in your cabin or on the deck or to listen to podcasts while you’re relaxing or doing other activities.
4. Laptop Or Tablet
While you might not want to spend your entire Alaskan cruise staring at a screen, having a laptop or tablet can be useful for staying in touch with loved ones, accessing work documents or emails, or editing photos or videos that you’ve taken on the trip.
Whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie, or just trying to block out noise while you sleep, having a good pair of headphones can make a big difference in your comfort level on an Alaskan cruise. Look for headphones that are comfortable to wear for long periods and that have good sound quality.
Another thing you’re going to need to make sure to bring is any essential documents. These documents not only ensure that you’re able to board the ship and enter foreign ports of call, but they also serve as a backup in case of any unforeseen circumstances occurring. Let’s take a look at a general list of essential documents, but bear in mind that not all of these may be relevant to you.
Your passport is your primary form of identification when traveling internationally, and it’s essential for boarding your cruise ship and entering foreign ports of call. Be sure to double-check the expiration date of your passport and make sure that it will remain valid throughout your trip.
Your cruise tickets are essential for boarding the ship, and you’ll need to keep them in a safe place until it’s time to embark. Make sure that you print out your tickets or have them easily accessible on your phone or other electronic devices.
Depending on your nationality and the ports of call on your itinerary, you may need to obtain a visa in order to enter certain countries. Be sure to research visa requirements well in advance of your trip and obtain any necessary documents before you leave home.
Travel Insurance Documents
While travel insurance is not mandatory for an Alaskan cruise, it’s highly recommended in case of any unforeseen medical emergencies or trip cancellations. Be sure to bring your travel insurance documents with you and keep them in a safe place.
Credit Cards And Cash
While you may not need to bring large amounts of cash with you on your Alaskan cruise, it’s a good idea to bring some in case of emergencies or situations where credit cards may not be accepted. Be sure to bring enough cash to cover any incidental expenses, such as gratuities, souvenirs, or extra excursions.
If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescription medications, it’s a good idea to bring copies of your medical records and a list of your medications with you on your Alaskan cruise. This can be helpful in case of any medical emergencies, and can also make it easier to refill your prescriptions if needed.
General Packing Tips For Your Cruise
Packing can feel like a never-ending task, but with the right preparation and tips, it can be a breeze. Below are some tips for packing that will help you save space, avoid overpacking, and ensure that you have everything you’ll need for a comfortable trip.
1. Create A List
Preparation helps make everything easier. The first thing you’ll want to do is write a list of all the things that you will need. This will allow you to work methodically through the list and check items off to make sure that you haven’t missed anything.
2. Pack Light
Remember that space in your cabin may be limited, so it’s important to pack light. Focus on versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched, and consider packing clothing that can be worn in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.
3. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a great way to stay organized and save space in your luggage. They help to compress your clothing and keep everything neatly organized, making it easier to find what you need when you arrive at your cabin.
4. Roll Your Clothes
Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save a lot of space in your luggage. It also helps to prevent wrinkles and makes it easier to fit more items in your bag.
5. Pack In Layers
Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to pack clothing items in layers. This will allow you to adjust your clothing throughout the day to stay comfortable, whether you’re exploring a glacier or relaxing on the deck of your cruise ship.
6. Leave Room For Souvenirs
It’s always tempting to bring back souvenirs from your Alaskan cruise, so be sure to leave some extra space in your luggage for any items you may want to purchase along the way.
We hope that this guide has told you everything you wanted to know about what to pack for your Alaskan Cruise. As you can probably tell by this point, there are a lot of things you’re going to want to consider before you set off on your incredible journey. As long as you consider all of these categories, you’re likely to be able to bring everything you’ll need to enjoy your trip.
If you still have some questions, make sure you keep reading for our extensive Frequently Asked Questions section, for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions around this topic.
We wish you the best of luck with your cruise preparations and hope that it becomes an experience you will remember for the rest of your life! Happy packing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Pack clothing that can be worn in layers, including warm jackets, rain gear, and comfortable shoes.
Yes, be sure to pack your passport, cruise tickets, and any necessary visa documents.
Yes, but be sure to check your cruise line’s packing restrictions before you pack any electronics.
A DSLR camera with a zoom lens is ideal for capturing the stunning scenery of Alaska.
Yes, a small backpack or tote bag is perfect for carrying essentials like a camera, water bottle, and sunscreen on shore excursions.
Avoid overpacking and leave out items that are not allowed on board, including weapons, illegal drugs, and fireworks
Pack light and leave extra space in your luggage for any souvenirs you may want to purchase along the way.
Most cruise lines do not allow passengers to bring their own alcohol on board, so be sure to check your cruise line’s policy before you pack any alcohol.
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