Best Alaska Cruise Packing Tips

Packing for travel can be a little tricky, but packing for an Alaskan cruise is especially confusing, especially if you’re a first timer.

Not only is this my first time to travel to Alaska, it’s my first cruise. Adventure on land, fine dining at sea…  how do you pack for such a diverse trip?

I’ve been receiving a lot of advice for this 11-day adventure and would love to share some of what I have found to be the best Alaska cruise packing tips:

Marcia Miller of You Go Girls! Designher Travel:

Hands-free bag: “You must carry your cruise card everywhere you go and a big purse is not necessary. So a fanny pack or small backpack or cross body bag will do. It only needs to carry the card, your tissues, sunglasses, daily activity schedule, etc.”

Bring something warm to wear at dinner: “The public rooms on ships are notoriously freezing. I have many of photos of me in my evening gown with my husband’s tux jacket over my shoulders.”

Vivienne Chapleo & Jill Hoelting, Co-Founders of

Layers and more: “For daytime wear we suggest packing clothing that can be worn in layers. The Alaskan weather is unpredictable at any time of year, so layers are the best way to go.

A rain/windproof top layer is ideal so that even if the weather is gnarly, you can still venture out on deck for viewing whales and passing scenery.

A polar fleece sweater would also be a good idea to add warmth on days that can be quite chilly even in the height of summer.

Of course, comfortable walking shoes are the best way to go for daytime use. Gloves and a hat of some sort are also a good idea.

No need to over pack, but the right gear/clothing is essential – we could easily do a 10-day Alaska cruise with just carry-on luggage.

Donna Zabel of DreamMaker Destinations:

Do not stress over evenings. “That little black something with several scarves, or a filmy beaded pullover, or an embroidered shawl, or some funky jewelry, is all you need.

I have a black skirt that should have its own passport by now, a favorite silk blouse that gets paired with a beaded belt one night and a shawl the next, a black camisole under a filmy beaded top for other nights.

Then just repeat the sequence, or add a just-bought addition.  Black pumps and you are all set for formal/informal/casual elegance or whatever other creative names the cruise line may use to describe that evenings attire.

With a little planning you can pack it all in a carry-on.  Let someone else pay the baggage fees – you want to keep that extra money for those wonderful Alaska souvenirs!”

Finally, Margaret Harding offers a laundry tip:

BYOD (Bring Your Own Detergent). Take packets of Woolite and something to hang clothes on. On board laundry services can be expensive. Washing your own socks and underwear leaves more money for fun.

Thank you to everyone for offering Alaska cruise advice and tips. See you at sea!

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Packing for travel can be a little tricky, but packing for an Alaskan cruise is especially confusing, especially if you're a first timer. In a few weeks I'm setting sail aboard an Princess Cruises Alaska Cruisetour.

5 Comments on "Best Alaska Cruise Packing Tips"

  1. This simply couldn’t have come at a better time — my parents just booked a July cruise on Norwegian to Sawyer Glacier. This will be their first Alaska cruise, so thanks for providing a great resource for them!

  2. Alabama Vacation Rentals | May 25, 2010 at 1:38 am |

    It is a most important to me because form last 2 days I search this kind of blog and now I got your blog it helps me very much.

  3. I’m really looking forward to following your Alaskan cruise adventures!

  4. Holly's going cruising | May 22, 2012 at 9:50 am |

    Thanks for your advice. My husband and I are leaving on our first cruise to Alaska in a week and want to be prepared for the best and worst. Just can’t wait, let the fun begin!

  5. lisa r. paramore | June 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    my husband and i are going on a cruise to alaska land and sea . we cer curious what to wear in july 2013?
    help us, becky and julian paramore

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