Alaska Cruise Packing List: Cute and Practical for Sailing North (2024)

Just booked an Alaska cruise and thinking about what to pack? Welcome to your essential Alaska cruise packing list. In this guide you’ll find everything you need to pack to have a successful cruise to Alaska. The best part, all of these items can fit in a carry-on suitcase! Taking a checked bag? That’s great too! You’ll have lots of room for souvenirs.

All of these items may be able to fit in a carry-on, but don’t worry, we’re not compromising on outfits. You’ll be able to fit everything you need (and more!) for a 7-10 day sail.

Packing for an Alaska cruise can seem daunting – the weather is crazy, right? But don’t worry, here you’ll find all of the items you’ll need for a great trip.

Alaska Cruise Packing List: Overview

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Summer Weather in Alaska

Alaska cruises usually operate from May to September, meaning that you’ll be getting Spring and Summer weather. Don’t expect that Alaska will always be freezing, especially when getting into July and August, you can get temperatures in the high 80s. However, you can also get 60 degrees and a solid week of rain – it just depends.

Pro Tip: The biggest piece of advice I can give for packing for an Alaska cruise is: pack layers. Layers are so important in Alaska because the weather can be a *bit* unpredictable.

When I visited Alaska in July, we had some days that were 85 and sunny, others that were 55 and rainy, and nighttime temperatures could get below freezing. Additionally, when you’re on land there is often much less wind than when you’re at sea. So you’ll want to have sweaters and jackets handy.

Most places in Southeast Alaska get between 130-230 days of rain each year. So you should definitely be prepared for rainy days.

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Casual Daytime Outfits

A big part of an Alaska cruise is exploring the great outdoors. Because of this, you’ll definitely want to pack outfits that are suitable for outdoor adventures such as zip lining, hiking, biking and whale watching.

The daytime temperatures were very warm when I visited in July (80ish degrees), so I mostly wore shorts/skirts and t-shirts. Workout sets, matching sets or jeans are also great options, as is a cute, casual dress. Having a sweater handy to throw on if you get chilly is a great idea, too.

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If you see rain in the forecast, add a light rain jacket to your bag or backpack when you head out for the day.

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In terms of shoes, sneakers that you can walk, hike, bike and explore in are the best option. I wore my Nikes on the whole trip, and they were perfect.

If you’re going to be doing some intense hiking, hiking boots are good to have. However, most travelers can skip these to save room in their suitcase. I brought hiking boots, and even though I went biking, hiking, and on lots of walks, I didn’t use them once.

For the pool, you’ll want to have flip-flops/sandals. Putting wet feet back into sneakers is definitely not fun.

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Nighttime Outfits

Some cruises have formal nights that guests choose to take part in. On our Royal Caribbean cruise, people dressed up to varying degrees. Some people attended formal dinners in very casual outfits, like jeans and t-shirts, while others wore fancy gowns and full suits. On most cruise lines, formal nights are optional, so you can choose how dressed up you’d like to be.

A good middle ground is a dress and heels/dressy sandals for women and khakis and a button down for men. That way, these fancier clothes don’t take up too much extra room in your suitcase – like a formal gown and full suit would.

I really like silk/satin dresses, as they take up very little space in suitcases and are very cute. You can find both casual and more formal options.

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Important to know: Once the sun sets and you’re out at sea, it’s very cold outside. You’ll want long pants and a sweatshirt for the evening. Even if the sun is still out (as it sets very late in Alaska during the summer), the wind is often strong.

Leave These at Home

While packing for an Alaska cruise definitely requires more items than a typical vacation, you don’t need as much as you think. You can leave the following items at home and save some room in your suitcase.

  • Hat, scarf and gloves
    • Unless you usually get very, very cold.
  • Blankets
    • The ship has plenty!
  • Fancy clothes
    • Unless you’re taking part in formal night.
  • Hiking boots
    • Sneakers work just fine, unless you’re going on an intense hike.

Q&A: Alaska Cruise Packing List

  • Is it cold on a cruise ship in Alaska?
    • The ship is air conditioned, so having a sweater is a good idea. Outside, especially when you’re at sea, it’s often windy, so you’ll definitely want extra layers.
  • Is it warm enough to swim on an Alaska cruise?
    • Sometimes! We had quite a few 85+ degree days. On these days, people were definitely swimming in the outdoor pool. At night, or when you’re at sea, it will be much colder and at that point the hot tubs are the best options.
  • What should I wear on a cruise ship during the day?
    • Casual outfits are perfect for daytime on an Alaska cruise. Think jeans, long sleeve shirts, sweaters or cute matching sets.
  • What month is best to cruise Alaska?
    • July and August have the warmest weather for an Alaska cruise. Having nice weather made the cruise even more enjoyable!
  • Do I need hiking boots for Alaska cruise?
    • I brought hiking boots and didn’t use them at all. I went on hikes, bike rides and did tons of walking and sneakers were perfect. I don’t think they’re necessary – but it’s up to you!
  • Where do Alaska Cruises start and end?
    • Many start in Vancouver or Seattle and end in Anchorage. Some go round trip and start and end at the same port.
    • If your cruise starts or ends in Vancouver, be sure to check out my guide for one day in the city!

So there you have it! I hope you found this Alaska cruise packing list to be helpful. If you have any questions, or anything to add to this list, let me know in the comments.

Lastly, I appreciate you sharing this post on social media, or with someone you know who is planning an Alaska adventure. I hope you have a fantastic cruise!

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♡Kate

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Alaska Cruise Packing List: Cute and Practical for Sailing North (2024)

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