Are you planning an Alaska cruise? Packing for a trip is never easy and so often we end up bringing all the things we don’t need and leaving behind all the things we wish we had!
Packing for an Alaska cruise can be especially difficult, given the unique weather conditions and activities. But don’t worry, based on my experience taking an Alaska cruise, I have you covered with this list of essential items to bring!
Type Of Luggage To Pack For A Cruise
First things first, what type of luggage should you bring on a cruise? Most people have a few different bag choices, including hard shell suitcases, soft duffel bags or a large backpack. With relatively small cabins you might be worried about storing your luggage, but there is plenty of room to fit any size bag.
The cruise cabins are designed with large wardrobes and several drawers and cupboards so you will easily be able to store a large hardshell suitcase or two in the wardrobe. I would recommend a maximum of one large bag each and you should have plenty of space on board.
Elegant Evening Outfits For A Cruise
Most cruises, including the Alaska Cruise I did, have elegant evenings, so come ready to impress with your elegant evening outfits. Everyone on board makes an effort on elegant night, with men wearing a suit and tie or a tux and women in their best dresses.
Bring at least two elegant evening outfits, and bring along some extra outfits if you want to have an on-board professional photo shoot to take some wonderful pictures with your loved ones to take home. The boat will have professional photographers so you can take high quality pictures with beautiful backdrops and get your Christmas card finished early!
Toiletries To Bring On A Cruise
Depending on the cruise company you choose, you will probably find the bathrooms have shower gel, shampoo and soap and on board there are plenty of shops that have basic toiletries should you need to stock up. I suggest that you bring all your own favourite toiletry items with you, there is plenty of space and shelving in the cabin bathrooms for you to store everything.
There are hairdryers in the bathrooms, but the voltage is relatively low so you might want to consider bringing your own. Because of the cold weather in Alaska and the cold wind on the upper deck on sailing days, you may find your skin becomes a little dry so bring along your favourite moisturisers, hand creams and chapsticks to keep your skin dewy!
Windbreaker, Raincoat & Umbrella
Depending on the time of year of your cruise to Alaska you may encounter some cloudy skies and rain. There are plenty of areas on the ship to sit inside and outside under cover, but I recommend packing a raincoat and umbrella so that the weather doesn’t get in the way of you enjoying the deck and all of your excursions.
Your raincoat should also double as a windbreaker, and if it doesn’t I suggest bringing a jacket that will keep you warm in the wind – the upper deck can get a bit breezy on sailing days but you will still want to be up there to enjoy the views so make sure you come prepared!
Essential for your trip to Alaska are a pair of binoculars, especially for the wildlife lovers who are excited to see whales, dolphins, eagles and otters from the deck!
There are lots of opportunities to spot wildlife during the cruise and your on-board naturalist will be guiding you and letting you know throughout the trip when there is something to see from the ship. You can also buy binoculars on-board or at one of the shore stops, but it is likely cheaper to bring your own.
Did you really go to Alaska if you don’t have a photo of you in front of a glacier to prove it?! Alaska is one of the most photogenic places on Earth and you will absolutely want to bring home a memory card full of photos.
So bring along your camera, extra batteries (as camera batteries can deplete faster in cold weather) and extra memory cards. You can easily charge your camera in the room so bring an adapter if your plug is not a typical US style plug.
There are a huge number of shore activities to choose from, and many of them are active and require a good pair of shoes, trainers or walking boots. Activities include hiking, helicopter and glacier walks, dog sledding, whale watching and so much more.
Even if you don’t choose an activity with lots of walking, the towns of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Victoria are all great to walk around and explore so a good pair of comfy shoes will make this even more enjoyable.
Warm Weather Outfits & Layers
When you imagine Alaska, you are probably thinking of crisp cold days, but actually you can get some great weather! Full sunshine and blue skies are often seen and you may be peeling back the layers and just wearing a t-shirt some days.
Layers are the best thing, so you can change according to the changing weather throughout the day.
A swimsuit is absolutely essential for your Alaska cruise! Why? So you can hit one of the many on-board hot tubs and swimming pools!
What better way to relax and enjoy your cruise than with a cocktail in hand, with your friends and family enjoying a warm hot tub overlooking some of the most beautiful passages in Alaska.
Gym & Workout Clothes
Most cruises will have an on-board gym, walking / jogging circuit around the outside of the boat and lots of fitness classes to choose from. So if you can’t miss a day at the gym then bring along your workout clothes and you will be running on a treadmill in one the most beautiful gyms in the world overlooking the glaciers!
Please note, I don’t have a photo of me at the gym because I spent more time on deck taking in the views than I did working out!
A Good Book
Whilst there are loads of activities on board, one of the really relaxing things to do is head to our adults only Serenity lounge at the back or the ship. If you are an avid Kindle user, make sure to download some of your favorite books beforehand because wifi can be spotty.
Take a cup of tea or coffee and curl up in one of the sheltered sun loungers with a good book!
What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise Wrap Up
This list should have you ready for your Alaska cruise adventure, but don’t worry if you forget something. There are shops on board the ship and there are plenty of places to buy warm weather items on the shore day stops.
Taking a cruise though Alaska is truly an unforgettable, bucketlist adventure that you’ll cherish forever. If you need more convincing read 10 Reasons To Visit Alaska On A Cruise. Happy exploring!
I hope that this article has helped to plan your own trip to Alaska. If you have any questions, comments or tips for our readers please share in the comments below.
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