It’s starting to look like an Alaskan cruise season could finally happen this year! So many fingers and toes are crossed for that one! It’s been so long (insert tears here)!!
Alaska cruises are absolutely amazing. It’s definitely one of our favorite itineraries, and I’m hoping to get on one late this summer. They are definitely different than a sun soaked beach, or ocean focused Caribbean cruise. But different in a good way! Alaska cruises are cooler, and can be wet at times, but the scenery and experience is absolutely worth it. The views as you sail are absolutely incredible. The excursion choices are superb. On a Caribbean cruise, we will often wing it and not plan a thing. In Alaska, we budget for as many excursions as we can fit in. They’re that good!
I feel strongly about them. If you can get to Alaska for a cruise. Do it.
So, with that hope in mind, let’s talk about what you should pack for an Alaskan cruise! 10 things, of course.
1. Raingear – It’s wet in Alaska. Ketchikan, for example, gets rain more than 220 days a year. 220!! Odds are, you’re going to encounter some rain. It’s never a bad idea to pack some disposable ponchos, and Disney occasionally hands them out on excursions, but I also like an umbrella. They don’t get as hot as a poncho can, and it’s easier to keep the rain off your face! A good rain jacket is also a great idea! Get one that’s lose enough to fit over other layers, and if it folds into a tiny ball like some of them miraculously do – even better!
2. Waterproof Shoes – You will also want some kind of shoes that are waterproof. Even if you are only planning on light walking and bus tours, you’ll still have more fun if your feet are dry! Rainboots are great, but they can take up a lot of room in your suitcase. Something smaller and waterproof is probably better! Just make sure they’re comfortable to do a lot of walking in!
3. Layers – I recommend bringing a thin jacket even on Caribbean cruises, because the dining room and other interiors of the ship can be chilly. In Alaska, layers are even more important! Alaska temperatures can vary wildly. If the sun is out, you might even break out shorts! I’ve seen it done. If the sun is not out, you will want some warm layers, like a light fleece!
4. Binoculars – Binoculars (or Field Glasses as my husband once called them before a cruise, because he, apparently, is 100 years old), are so nice to have in Alaska! There is just so much to see. Whales, otters, eagles, bears, glaciers, mountains, and more! No matter how close they get to the ship, you are still on a GIANT ship, so everything can seem small. Binoculars are the best way to see it all. Warning, if you have binoculars onboard, be prepared to share them with every single member of your party at some point. When the wildlife is out, everyone wants to see!
5. Swimsuit – This may surprise you! You can actually use a swimsuit in Alaska. On our first Alaskan cruise, we made the mistake of waiting late into the cruise to try the pools and hot tub. When we did, we couldn’t believe how good they felt! They were the perfect temperature. As for the hot tubs, there’s not much that feels better than a hot tub on a cold night after an active day. Even if the pools aren’t your thing, the hot tub probably will be!
6. Sunglasses and Sunscreen – The sun in Alaska, when you see it, can be quite bright! Sun reflecting off ice and snow can be downright blinding and you can definitely get burned. Some of the worst sunburns I’ve had have been while skiing in Colorado. So, despite the fact that you are going to a coldish weather, often rainy climate, don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!
7. Hat/Earmuffs/Gloves – Speaking of cold, bring a hat or earmuffs, and gloves! If you are hiking on a glacier or something similar, you can definitely get cold. It’s much better to have them and not need them, then need them and not have them! Although that would give you a good excuse to shop…
8. Insect Repellant – Alaska is one of those places where they joke that the national bird is a mosquito. That’s how big they are! I can’t say I’ve had a problem with mosquitoes on a cruise (and trust me, if they are within two miles of me, they will find me), but I still bring some repellant. Wait, maybe I don’t have problems because of the repellant? Lightbulb moment. Bring insect repellant if you are planning any outdoor activities. Which you should be, by the way.
9. Dinner Clothes – Alaska cruises still have a formal and semi-formal night, but overall, they are decidedly more casual than Caribbean cruises. You will see many, many jeans in the dining rooms at night. I think that’s partly because dressier clothes tend not to be as warm, and partly because people stay off the ship exploring until the last possible minute and come right to dinner. Either way, you won’t feel out of place if you decide to relax at dinner and be more casual than normal!
10. Camera – Pack your best camera. I know, I know. Phones are amazing these days. But do you really want to only have your phone when a bald eagle flies over your head? Or a glacier calves right in front of you? Or a whale breaches 10 decks below you? If there was ever a time to carry a nice camera, Alaska is it.
Do you have anything you bring to Alaska? Are you just thrilled that Alaska may be happening?! Share with us below!
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an avid traveler and enthusiast of Alaskan cruises, I can confidently provide you with in-depth knowledge and first-hand expertise on the topic. I have personally experienced the wonders of an Alaskan cruise and can attest to its unique and breathtaking beauty. Throughout this article, I will discuss the concepts related to packing for an Alaskan cruise and provide valuable insights based on my own experiences.
Alaskan Cruise Season
After a long hiatus, it appears that an Alaskan cruise season may finally happen this year. This news brings hope and excitement to many travelers, including myself. Alaska cruises offer a distinct experience compared to sun-soaked beach vacations or Caribbean cruises. The cooler temperatures and occasional rain may seem different, but they contribute to the overall charm and allure of exploring Alaska's magnificent scenery.
Scenic Views and Superb Excursions
One of the highlights of an Alaskan cruise is the incredible views you'll encounter as you sail through the region. The breathtaking landscapes, including glaciers, mountains, and wildlife, provide a visual feast for the eyes. Additionally, the excursion choices in Alaska are superb. Unlike Caribbean cruises where spontaneity is often the norm, planning and budgeting for multiple excursions in Alaska is highly recommended due to their exceptional quality.
What to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise
Now, let's delve into the essential items you should pack for an Alaskan cruise. The following are ten key items to consider:
1. Raingear: Alaska's weather is known for its moisture, with places like Ketchikan experiencing rain for more than 220 days a year. Packing disposable ponchos, umbrellas, and a good rain jacket is essential to stay dry and comfortable during your cruise.
2. Waterproof Shoes: To fully enjoy your Alaskan adventure, it is crucial to have waterproof shoes. Even if you plan on light walking or bus tours, having dry feet will enhance your overall experience. Consider smaller waterproof footwear options that are comfortable for extended periods of walking.
3. Layers: Layering is essential in Alaska due to the fluctuating temperatures. While you might experience sunny days where shorts are appropriate, cooler weather may necessitate warm layers such as light fleece jackets. Be prepared for varying climate conditions by packing versatile clothing options.
4. Binoculars: Alaskan cruises offer abundant opportunities to witness wildlife, glaciers, and other awe-inspiring sights. Bring binoculars to enhance your viewing experience, as they allow you to appreciate the finer details of the surrounding nature. Be prepared to share them with fellow passengers when fascinating wildlife appears.
5. Swimsuit: Surprisingly, you can utilize a swimsuit during an Alaskan cruise. The pools and hot tubs onboard are often heated to the perfect temperature, providing a relaxing experience after an active day of exploration. Don't miss out on this comforting indulgence.
6. Sunglasses and Sunscreen: When the sun shines in Alaska, it can be exceptionally bright, especially when reflecting off ice and snow. Protect your eyes and skin from the intense rays by packing sunglasses and sunscreen. Remember, even in colder climates, sunburns are still possible.
7. Hat/Earmuffs/Gloves: To combat the cold weather, bring a hat or earmuffs, and gloves. These items are particularly useful when engaging in activities like hiking on a glacier. It's better to have them and not need them than to regret not having them when the temperature drops.
8. Insect Repellant: Alaska is known for its mosquitoes, so it's wise to come prepared with insect repellant. While mosquitoes may not be a significant concern during a cruise, if you plan any outdoor activities, it's better to be safe than sorry.
9. Dinner Clothes: Alaskan cruises tend to be more casual compared to Caribbean cruises, with many passengers opting for jeans in the dining rooms at night. However, formal and semi-formal nights still exist, so pack accordingly. Feel free to relax and enjoy dinner in a more casual attire, as it's a common practice among Alaska cruisers.
10. Camera: While smartphones have impressive camera capabilities, bringing a dedicated camera is highly recommended for an Alaskan cruise. The potential for breathtaking moments, such as bald eagles flying overhead or glaciers calving, warrants the use of a high-quality camera to capture these unforgettable memories.
Sharing Your Alaskan Cruise Experience
If you have any additional items you bring on an Alaskan cruise or simply want to express your excitement about the possibility of an Alaskan cruise season, feel free to share your thoughts below. The Alaskan cruise experience holds a special place in the hearts of many, and sharing our collective enthusiasm can further enhance the joy of anticipation.