Alaska Cruise Packing List
This Alaska Cruise Packing List offers a well-thought-out list of essential items for Northern shipboard and land based travels.
From Glitz to gumboots, packing for an Alaskan cruise calls for a wide range of items to keep up with all of the onboard and ashore activities.
From the glamour of the captain's dinner to rugged hummer tours and lumberjack shows, Alaskan cruises are a "something for everyone" kind of vacation and it's easy to get carried away when deciding what to pack.
There are, however, a few things that you'll want to be sure you include on your packing list specifically for an Alaskan cruise.
Disclosure: Some links on this
page may be affiliate links. When you buy a product through one of these
links, for example at Amazon.com, we earn a small commission and that
helps to keep the site live. Thank you for your support.
It's Alaska - There'll be Weather
Alaska's official cruising season is May through September and you can expect almost any weather.
In general, the inside passage tends to be more cool and rainy and
gives way to warmer and sunnier weather as you move toward the interior.
That's not to say that it's always rainy on the coast and dry inland,
there are long strings of beautiful sunny days along the shore and
damp, foggy days in the interior.
In other words - prepare for anything, and bring along an easy to pack rain jacket.
Alaska Cruise Packing List Essentials
- Glitz -
Every cruise has it's romantic and glitzy side. Pack one smashing outfit
including accessories and shoes. Check to see if there's a Captain's
scheduled during your sailing, many require formal dress. Even
everyday cruise ship dining can be a dress up affair although most
evenings are "casual dressy".
- Umbrella & Rainwear -
No Alaska cruise packing list would be complete without including a collapsible umbrella, waterproof shoes and a rain jacket.
Choose an umbrella that can easily be stowed in your backpack, ready for anything and a rain jacket that's packable. You can buy them there - but you'll pay dearly for them.
You'll save a bundle if you plan ahead.
And bring shoes that won't get ruined if they get wet. A pair of
comfortable, waterproof, closed toed shoes will likely be your most worn
- Small Day Pack -
The day pack goes everywhere with us. Carry all of your layers and
needs and still have room for any purchases you make along your
I find that my husband is very agreeable about carrying the day pack
all day long without the slightest complaint, but if we only bring a
roomy purse ... not so much.
- Layers -
Pack light under-layers (like chemises and T shirts). Zip-up, long
sleeved tops (hoodies and sweaters) allow for lots of variations in
(leave it unzipped for mild weather; partially zipped for cooler and
all the way up with the hood on, for chilly). We love polar fleece for
layering, it adds a super-warm layer
that keeps you warm even if it gets wet.
Top everything off with a breathable, light, rain proof and windproof
layer (that has a hood).
Vests are a great layer because they add warmth to the torso without
bulking up in the arms.
You should easily be able to carry extra lightweight layers in a
small knapsack along with your binoculars and camera when the weather is
warm and mild.
- Binoculars -
Alaska is the land of some of the most stunning scenery on the planet
and you'll want a good pair of binoculars to get a front row seat when
sea life, black bears,
soaring eagles and shimmering icebergs appear. For traveling, we like the Nikon 7216 - Action series 8 X 40mm
because they're lightweight (1.7 lbs.) and powerful at a very good price
point. The 420 foot field-of-view at 1,000 yards, makes these glasses
ideal for spotting sea life and
scanning shorelines for wildlife from the deck of the ship.
- Camera -
The Canon PowerShot A2300
is my first choice in pocket sized digital cameras. I love everything
about it - picture quality, size, a screen that's 2.7 inches, it
has a combination zoom capacity of 20X and all the settings I'll ever
need, 28mm wide angle lens, digital image stabilizer.
A small and very portable camera that will likely see more action than
a 7 piece SLR. The photo quality that you lose is more than made up for
in the number of photos that
are taken with a small digital model.
Never will I dis the need for SLR or DSLR cameras with their
smorgasbord of lenses and attachments for crisp and stunning images -
but for sheer usability on an
active trip you can't beat the pocket sized digital.
Try a disposable camera or get one for every member of the family.
These cameras can be tucked into a bag and you never have to worry about
it. If you're looking for an
inexpensive way to record your cruise memories, the Kodak one use camera is a great alternative.
- Sunglasses -
You'll spend a good portion of your time on the water where the glare
and reflection can tire your eyes. The right sunglasses protect your
eyes, fit your face and
offer visual clarity.
Choose lenses that filter at least 99% of both UVA and UVB rays. For the most protection choose larger or wrap-around
styles. Polarized lenses reduce the glare from water so are a good choice for viewing icebergs and whales.
- Gloves, Hat, Scarf & Wool Socks - You may be lucky and
encounter nothing but fine sunny weather... but just in case, bring a
scarf, gloves and a hat and tuck a
pair of wool socks in too!
- Hand Held Radios -
Walkie Talkies can keep your group connected on the ship and on
shore excursions. A 35 mile range will work for shipboard and daytrips
keep you in touch with the kids, each other or traveling companions.
In areas where the signal is obstructed by stuctures and topographical
features a 35 mile radio
set will actually have about a 2.5 mile range.
Not too Hot - Not too Cold - Just Right
Layering your clothes allows you to dress in comfort in a wide range of weather conditions. Not only can you find the perfect level of warmth but the options for changing up the look of your ensemble are almost endless. Add a jacket, vest, sweater or
throw over a basic outfit to add flair while adding layers.
Pockets, particularly in the outer layers hold essentials and leave your hands free to fully enjoy the journey.
Check out our travel clothing section for some of the
travelin'ist clothing available. Comfortable, stylish garments that love to travel and wash, dry and pack like pros.
More Alaska Cruise Packing List Pages
Top of page - Alaska cruise packing list