What To Pack For A Cruise To Alaska Faqs
You can bring as many suitcases as you like on to Queen Elizabeth for your Alaska cruise, although there is a 20 kg weight limit on all individual pieces of baggage checked.
Cunards on-board accommodation is among the most spacious at sea. Each stateroom is equipped with closet hanging space and a safe for your valuables, as well as drawers for your clothes and accessories. In addition, your staterooms bathroom has counter space beside the sink where you may wish to keep your toiletries, while select Grills Suites on board also feature dedicated in-suite dressing areas.
You are welcome to bring water, soft drinks and light snacks on board, although we encourage you to take full advantage of our dining options. These include indulgent fine dining, hearty gastro fare, an informal buffet, and 24-hour complimentary room service.
For all complimentary on-board activities, your equipment is included at no extra charge. Youll find an ever-changing program of classes and activities to try each day, including fencing, table tennis, paddle tennis, shuffleboard, quoits, golf , hoopla, darts, croquet and short mat bowls, to name but a few.
Irons are available in our laundry rooms, so you wont need to bring an iron with you. Please note, you are not permitted to bring irons on board with you.
No, we will provide fresh beach, pool and bathroom towels for you throughout your stay.
Youll find both self-service laundry rooms and specialist cleaning services on board.
Best Time Of Year For Your Alaska Cruise
There are a lot of variables to consider when selecting the best time to take an Alaskan Cruise.
First off, the price. If you choose your Alaska cruise in July, know that it is the busy season and will be more expensive. Attractions will also be more crowded if you choose your Alaska cruise during the high season.
Secondly, the weather. While the shoulder seasons of early spring to late fall will offer the most affordable prices, the weather will undoubtedly be chillier.
If you refer to my Alaskan cruise packing list and suggestions, you will not have to worry about the weather!
Thirdly, your family and friends traveling with you will probably need to arrange time off work, and this is certainly a huge consideration in the early planning stages of an Alaskan cruise.
What is most important is that everyone is able to accompany you on your dream Alaskan cruise, so giving credence to others schedules is of paramount importance!
Best Time Of Year For An Alaskan Cruise
The best time to visit Alaska by sea is from June to August. The longest days of the year occur around June and July and the weather is warmer than usual. If youre hoping to catch Alaskas Northern Lights during cruise season, youll want to book your vacation around mid-September.
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Daves Alaskan Cruise Packing List
- 1 dark suit
- 3 dress shirts for under suits.
- 4 ties
- 4 smart shirts for dinners
- 1 pair trekking pants
- 1 set of work out clothes
- 2 pair shorts
What Dave Would Have Changed
Should have brought:
Would have left at home
- Bulky Down jacket
- 1 dress shirt
- 2 ties
- 1 pair casual shoes
- 1 suit
- 1 trekking shirt. Didnt need two as the excursions are short and not strenuous.
An Alaskan Cruise requires a little more planning than a Caribbean or even European river cruise when it comes to packing. You need many more layers and a lot more luggage.
What Should I Pack For An Alaska Cruise In June
A to Alaska is popular for two reasons: the long daylight hours and the low chance of rain. In June, daylight lasts between 18 to 20 hours and the average temperature varies from a high of 40 degrees to mid 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring along at least one pair of polarized sunglasses and a good sleep mask .
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Essentials You Need To Pack For Alaska
You cant be cold youre from Alaska! Whenever the weather gets cold, no matter where in the world Im living, someone feels the need to point out that I cant feel cold because I grew up in Alaska. Untrue, my friends. I do feel coldI just also know how to dress for cold weather.
Whether youre planning an Alaskan cruise or heading on a land tour between 5 days, 7 days, or even 10 days exploring Alaska, heres what years of living in and traveling to Alaska have taught me about how to pack for travel in Alaska.
Note: Throughout this post, Ive added photos of me in Alaska over the years, so you can see Im actually wearing the items I recommend!
This post was originally published in August 2014, and was updated in July 2017, March 2019, and June 2021.
What To Wear For Excursions
If you are doing anything too adventurous, check with the outfitter to see what gear they provide. For example, when we went sea kayaking it was raining pretty hard when we arrived and they provided everyone with rain boots, rain slickers, and a waterproof kayak skirt. Likewise, our hiking tour guides provided everyone with a hiking pole but rain gear was up to us.
Most importantly, you want to be prepared for cold weather and rain. Of course, the weather is fickle and you may end up warm so dress in layers that can be added or shredded as needed.
What to wear on excursions:
- Long sleeve t-shirt or thermal
- Flannel shirt or second layer
- Baseball hat or knit hat
- Day bag to fit your camera, water bottle, wallet, and other necessities
- Refillable water bottle
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Clothing To Pack For Cruise To Alaska
Now lets talk about clothes to pack for an Alaskan cruise. My Princess Cruises trip to Alaska was in mid-September, which can be considered the rainy season. Luck have it we had almost no rain at all, but you really need to be prepared and pack for it.
The temperatures in Alaska can vary greatly, especially in the true summer months, so it is all about layers.
Living in Phoenix my extent of layering is throwing on a cardigan, so I wasnt totally sure at first what this whole layering thing was about. Thankfully its easy, and you can probably work with whats in your closet. If you dont already have everything you need, check with family an friends to see if you can borrow things like rain jackets.
Heres what my Alaska outfit layers looked like almost every day
Thats a LOT of layers, especially for a girl who lives in jeans and short sleeve t-shirts. But I have to say, it worked very well. I usually left the ship wearing everything on that list. It was easy to pull off layers or add back layers as needed.
While I brought a number of camis and t-shirts, I only brought two vests, one lightweight jacket, one warm jacket, one rain jacket and one scarf. This helped save space for packing, though I do look like Im wearing the exact same outfit the entire time, and when you are wearing 834 layers it adds some bulk to you. BUT YOU ARE IN ALASKA, so who cares!
Borrowed rain jacket was big, but did its job.
Example Of What I Wear On A Shore Excursion
Heres what I might wear on a shore excursion, especially to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Up close at Mendenhall Glacier is not only icy-chilly but theres also spray off the water.
First, I layer a silk or silk-like top underneath a crew neck or turtleneck sweater or sweatshirt . Then
Over the lightweight sweater or sweatshirt, Ill either wear a thin, loose-fitting waterproof rain jacket or my usual down, water repellent puffy jacket with hood, depending on if its a sunny or rainy day.
Then I either wear or bring along a sleeveless puffy vest with a zipper. This is almost a must-have item to pack. It comes with a little carrying bag to squish the vest into for travel.
Puffy vests are great to toss on in the morning to go to the Lido buffet or for a summers morning walk around the deck with a cup of coffee.
Make sure that it has outside zip pockets and maybe an inside pocket or two. You can put your room card in the zippered pocket and not worry about it falling out when you sit down for breakfast, too.
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Basic Items You Should Also Pack For Alaska
Most people know that they need to pack some pants and warm clothes when they head to Alaska, so for the most part weve focused the list above on those items that arent as well-known.
Need some ideas for basic items to bring as well? Use the list below as a starting point:
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Clothes for formal night
- Phone/Tablet Chargers
What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In September
By the time September rolls in, its shoulder season in Alaska, meaning theres less tourists but chillier weather. Temperatures will continue to drop, with highs only reaching the mid 50s and lows going down to the mid 30s. Therefore, if you booked a to Alaska, make sure to bring heavier layers of clothes, such as thick wool sweaters, socks, hats, a warmer jacket, and a sturdy pair of gloves.
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What To Pack For Your Cruise
Regardless of when youre cruising, layers are essential. Start with a solid base layer thatll keep you warm without adding too much bulk under warmer clothes. Youll also want a hoodie, short- and long-sleeved tops, a warm jacket, a scarf, hat, and gloves, particularly if you plan to spend a significant chunk of time outside gawking at glaciers.
Casual clothing will cover most of your needs on and offboard, though most cruises have a formal dinner event. Princess Cruises suggests cocktail dresses, formal gowns, and tuxedos for its formal dinners though a suit will suffice.
Some ports may be warm enough to shed a few layers before disembarking from the ship, so plan your wardrobe accordingly.
Bring a swimsuit to take advantage of the ships pools and spas and something comfortable to lounge around in on the ship. If you dont want to let your workout routine slip too much while youre on board, pack some gym clothes and shoes. Most cruise lines offer exercise classes as well as gyms.
Alaskan temperatures may be colder than the average sunny summer cruise destination, but youll still want to pack sunscreen and bug spray. You may encounter mosquitoes on excursions, especially if youre traveling during the peak of June through August.
For those excursions, youll also want a daypack and sturdy hiking shoes with good tread. After all the work it takes it to get up close and personal with a glacier, youre most definitely going to want to take the opportunity to explore it.
Toiletries First Aid Supplies
In addition to the toiletries you’d carry along on any vacation, you’ll want to take some additional items on your Alaska cruise. A basic first aid kit with bandages antibiotic ointments, carried in a waterproof container, is a good idea if you will be participating in outdoor activities. Sunscreen is essential even if the temperatures are just in the 70s. Bring sunglasses and binoculars for enjoying the scenery.
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What To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise In May
May marks the beginning of cruise season in Alaska, when the weather’s still a tad chilly. Daily highs peak at around 55 degrees F in both the Inside Passage and in south-central Alaska, so a jacket is a must. Pack clothing that works well in layers, such as thin, long-sleeved shirts, warm sweaters or hoodies and hooded wind- and rain-blocking outerwear that fit well over a bulky sweater or sweatshirt. Keep in mind that the air may feel even cooler on the ship’s deck, thanks to windchill. Pack gloves and a hat if you plan to spend much time on the deck it’s better to have them and not need them than to miss the view because it’s too cold outside.
Waterproof hiking boots and a simple, lightweight backpack are also a good idea, since many cruises offer hiking opportunities at land-based stops. Pack extra socks in case your feet get wet during one of your excursions.
Binoculars, a good camera and chargers for your portable electronics are also items to add to your packing checklist, along with the day-to-day clothing and grooming gear you usually pack for any trip.
Sunscreen and polarized sunglasses acome in handy on dry, clear days. Even with cool temperatures, the sun’s rays pack a powerful punch, especially when reflecting off the water.
Preparing For Your Cruise
One of the smartest ways to prepare for your Alaskan cruise is to invest in travel insurance. When it comes to cruising, travel insurance is crucial because many cruise lines offer only basic coverage. If youre booking a trip far in advance, Trip Cancellation coverage can reimburse you if a certain unexpected event causes you or your traveling companions to cancel your trip. Consider adding travel insurance from a reputable provider, such as Generali Global Assistance. We offer three plans, so you can find one that best fits your needs.
Alaska made the list of the 10 Most Popular Trips Covered by Travel Insurance. Find out why.
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Alaska Cruise Formal Nights
Although Alan and I love dressing up for formal nights, we leave the dinner jacket and long gown at home when cruising to Alaska. In fact, wed do the same on any 7 to 14-day cruise. During port-intensive cruises, theres not enough time on ship to make bringing the formal wear worth it.
Ill pack a pair of dressy black pants, sparkly top and shoes, especially if Ive adhered to the two pants/five top/1 par of shoes list I mentioned for casual nights in the packing list that follows. If you really want to cut down on clothing, wear the black pants from elegant casual night in place of an additional pair of dressy pants.
For an Alaska formal night, Alan wears a sport coat and dress pants or khakis, perhaps without a tie as they are usually optional. Hell bring one, though, just in case he changes his mind.
No need to worry about formal nights on an expedition cruise because there arent any.
What To Wear On An Alaskan Cruise: Excursion Outfit
In Alaska, dressing in layers is the key. That means you can wear tops, making air layers in between. This creates a specific effect to keep you warm. You do not need to wear a thick and heavy jacket. This way makes you more comfortable and relaxing. On top of the layers, put a waterproof jacket on. If you can add windproof effect, that can be the best. This way, even its rain, the jacket will keep you dry and protect you from the chilly wind.
lightweight windbreaker / Slicker
If you are looking for something for outdoor activities, a light-weight or thin slicker is handy. It keeps you warm. If it is hot, you can take it off and put it into your rucksack. If its waterproofed, it keeps you dry. You can make the layers inside and cover them by the slicker on top. This is the best to keep you warm and comfortable.
So what is best for the layers? Fleece can be the best item to make the mid-layer in Alaska. Its just comfortable and light. It does not absorb water and keeps you dry. If it is sunny and in the mid-summer, you do not need a mid-weight waterproof jacket. Fleece is an alternative to a sweater but is light-weight and comfortable.
Keep warm. Thermal underwear is a must item. Its a type of clothing you can put under a fleece. This is a special material to protect against the cold. The best fabric is merino wool or silk. Its ultra-lightweight and flexible. You can make further layers by wearing one more thermal underwear.
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Alaska Cruise Packing List: Clothing
Since the weather in Alaska can vary from warm to cold on a daily or even hourly basis, its important that your clothing choices include items that can be layered on top of each other for warmth, or easily removed if the weather is hot.
Aside from varying temperatures, you might book Alaska shore excursions that are more adventurous than sightseeing and beach-oriented activities. For this reason, youll need to pack specific activewear clothes in your suitcase for a variety of experiences, such as kayaking through fjords, spotting wildlife outdoors, and ziplining through forest trees.
Top Alaska Cruise Itineraries
Most Alaskan cruise lines stop at multiple port cities, giving you an opportunity to connect with local culture. Here are some popular port destinations to choose from:
- Denali: View the sharp peaks of Denali , the highest mountain peak in North America. Hike through the arctic tundra in Denali National Park or tour the park by bus.
- Sitka: This national treasure sits just outside of Alaskas capital city, Juneau. Kids will love to see the sea otters and whales. Classical music fans should attend Sitka Summer Music Festival, which hosts lunch and dinner events through the month of June.
- Glacier Bay: Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve is home to a number of wildlife and seven tidewater glaciers. Those looking for family vacation ideas should check out boat tours of Sebree Island.
- Tracy Arm: Known for its rugged landscape, Tracy Arm Fjord has stunning waterfalls and cliffside views. Dont miss a chance to view the famous harbor seals.
- Ketchikan: For those looking to explore local culture, Ketchikan is known for its totem poles including a number of parks that house the massive artwork.
- Haines: Adventure travelers flock to Haines to explore activities like hiking and fishing. The moderate weather combined with gorgeous views make for the perfect spot to kayak. In less than an hour, the ferry can transport you from Haines to nearby Skagway
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