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17 Top Alaskan Cruise Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for an alaskan cruise
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Alaska is one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, no matter the time of year. With a population of approximately 700,000, you’ll find yourself amongst stunning natural landscapes and local wildlife. Crystal-clear lakes, glaciers, fjords, towering mountain peaks, and various National Parks await you.

One of the best ways to experience Alaska is through an Alaskan cruise. However, in order to make the most of your cruise, it’s important to bring along the essentials. We have all of them right here for you, so you can focus on having fun and enjoying all this jaw-dropping state has to offer.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise - 17 Essentials

  • 1. Packing Cubes

    Alaska is a place that requires you to be prepared for any type of climate. From tank tops and flip-flops to waterproof jackets and boots – you may need them all! Quickly locate your warmest socks or that T-shirt perfect for hiking thanks to these durable packing cubes. They even come with an index card label on the back of each cube so you don’t have to go opening and closing each one to find out where everything is.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 2. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    No matter the time of year, you are probably going to see some rain on your Alaska adventure. It can get pretty windy – especially if you’re out on a boat or hiking the trails. This windproof travel umbrella is nice and compact but capable of shielding 2 people from the elements once opened!

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 3. Wildlife Binoculars

    Trust us when we say you’re going to want a pair of binoculars while exploring the Alaskan wilderness. From birds and fish to moose and bears, there are critters all around. This model is as affordable as it is durable, with multi-coated lenses and a waterproof design.

    Wildlife Binoculars

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  • 4. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Sure, the cruise line will offer plenty of towels. However, if you’re going out on a 3rd-party excursion or your own adventure, you’ll need something else. This microfiber towel is the cream of the crop and ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, and just about any other outdoor sport. It’s soft against the skin and soaks up moisture incredibly fast to leave you cool and comfortable the entire time.

    travel towel

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  • 5. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    When you’re out on the water, you’re surely going to want to take photos of the aquatic wildlife you come across. However, there’s a good chance it gets wet, with all the glaciers, snow, and bodies of water around! Thanks to this 100-foot, IPX8-certified waterproof pouch, you won’t have to worry about your phone getting damaged. Just focus instead on having a good time! Not to mention, you can even take photos and videos underwater!

    Universa Waterproof

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  • 6. Neck Wallet

    You’ll be able to fully relax and have peace of mind knowing all of your important documents are safe with the HERO Neck Wallet. This hands-free pouch holds passports, IDs, cards, cash, all models of iPhones, tickets, notes, and more. Not only does it hold them safely, it even includes multi-RFID layers which protect credit cards and passports from e-theft.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 7. Lipstick-sized Portable Charger

    Instead of sitting back in your cruise cabin waiting for your phone to charge up, get out and explore Mother Nature with a portable power bank! It holds multiple charges for both smartphones and tablets and includes a Micro-USB cable. However, USB-C and Lightning cables are available as well. With the small, cylindrical shape, you can easily stow it away in a jacket pocket just in case.


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  • 8. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Whether I’m traveling across the world or across the country, I always use luggage locks to secure my bags. They give me the extra piece of mind that even while all of my travel belongings are out of sight, they will be secure until I retrieve my luggage. This two-pack of luggage locks is super tough but also TSA-approved, so you won’t run into any trouble with airport security.

    luggage locks

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  • 9. Mineral Sunscreen

    No matter the season, sunscreen is important to wear up here. Between the sun’s rays reflecting off of the snow and water, there’s a good chance of you getting sunburnt without proper protection. The Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral formula offers SPF 50+ broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is eco-friendly to boot.

    Mineral Sunscreen

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  • 10. Insect Repellent

    Ideally, you’ll have applied this repellent before any insects get to you. If not, it also serves as an anti-itch cream so you are focusing on the gorgeous Alaskan wilderness instead of your bites. Their natural formula smells great, lasts up to 4 hours, and is gentle on sensitive skin. The tin configuration is easy to open, and won’t get all over your belongings during travel.

    Insect Repellent

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  • 11. Travel Insurance for Alaska

    In this day and age, travel insurance is a must. It’s not even uncommon to experience canceled flights or emergencies that may require rescheduling. It’s better to plan ahead, so you don’t end up paying exorbitant fees on top of what you’ve already paid for between flights and your cruise. We always use to compare policies from top companies and find the right plan for us. Hopefully, you don’t have to, but in case you “cancel for any reason” at least you’ll be taken care of.

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  • 12. Daypack

    Well-known for its outdoor products, Thule is a brand that consistently produces quality. Their EnRoute 14L Backpack is no exception, with a spacious main compartment that protects a 13” laptop and 10” tablet. Keep water bottles handy in the mesh side pockets, and gain access to an extra jacket or flannel with a U-shaped opening.


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  • 13. Universal Travel Adapter

    While most modern ships include more than enough outlets for charging devices, older ships are more limited. You don’t want to alternate between a dead laptop or phone just because there weren’t enough plugs available. That’s why I would consider bringing a travel adapter. This one has two built-in USB plugs, so you to charge three devices simultaneously. And, of course, it will be handy if you’re coming from outside of the US and need a plug adapter for your appliances. We love a multi-purpose travel item!

    Universal Travel Adapter

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  • 14. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    These bags are a crowd favorite! Made of long-lasting, water-resistant polyester, they won’t fade and allow for proper ventilation. The attached hook lets you hang it on the bathroom door, shower/closet rod, etc. securely.

    Multiple compartments easily hold everything from makeup, toothbrushes, lotions, and all other toiletries you want to take along for the ride.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 15. Dramamine

    There’s always one person in every family that gets motion sick! Of course, you don’t usually know it until it’s too late. Play it safe and carry some Dramamine with you! Made with natural ginger, it is great for both preventing and treating motion sickness. This way everyone can enjoy the entire experience.


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  • 16. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Keep all of your devices protected on board while using public Wi-Fi, thanks to the NordVPN malware blocker and VPN service. No one will be able to see your online activity, too. While many VPNs slow down internet connection, this one keeps things quick – perfect for streaming or downloading all those photos you took on your latest excursion.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 17. Magnetic Hooks

    Did you know that the doors of cruise cabins are magnetic? Maximize your storage space and keep your nice dinner jacket looking crisp with heavy-duty magnetic hooks. These can hold up to 22 pounds, so when you’re at home, you can use them to organize everything from pots and pans to grill accessories.

    Magnetic Hooks

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What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise

As mentioned previously, when in Alaska, prepare for any kind of weather. While there’s a lot of overlapping in clothing, there are still trends in seasons. Summer in Alaska can be cool and even a bit warm, but never “hot”. If you are going more north, however, it could easily require you to bring a warm jacket.

Regardless of the season, however, you need to bring various layers. This is because it can get colder or hotter quickly, and this is the easiest way to keep yourself comfortable. Always remember that your base layers (ideally all layers) should be moisture-wicking to keep you dry and comfortable.

What Should Women Wear on an Alaskan Cruise?- (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list.(All items link to for your convenience).

Jeans are very popular in Alaska, so on colder days, you definitely won’t stand out wearing them. Just keep in mind that when the weather is wet and you have plans to be outside, jeans are not what you want to be wearing. Instead, opt for waterproof hiking pants or something that will dry quicker. A flannel or winter coat with insulated boots is the perfect combination. In the summertime, shorts, leggings, tank tops, and athletic tops are perfectly fine. If you aren’t going hiking or on a boat, flip-flops are great to wear, too.

What Should Men Wear on an Alaskan Cruise?- (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list.(All items link to for your convenience).

You’ll typically find men wearing jeans in Alaska, too. Outside, strolling around town, out for a nice dinner – they’re a great article of clothing to bring along. A button-down or sweater for more formal settings with some loafers are just fine, too. For more casual settings, a t-shirt and shorts are more appropriate for warmer weather. Sneakers or flip-flops are equally as popular.

When it’s colder, breathable wool socks and hiking boots along with hiking pants and a winter coat are essentials.

Packing for the Seasons for an Alaskan Cruise

SPRING – March, April, May

Spring tends to be very wet, and notably cold. Much of the wildlife will start making an appearance, but you’ll avoid a good majority of tourists during the spring. If you can deal with the cold, wet weather, you’ll find that it’s more than worth it.

Get yourself a warm hat that covers the ears, waterproof gloves, insulated hiking boots, various types of wool socks, and waterproof pants and jackets. We recommend steering away from jeans, as you will get wet and they will be uncomfortable.

SUMMER – June, July, August

Summer is the most enjoyable season for most people. Temperatures tend to stay around 65 to 75 degrees, making it perfect for heading outdoors to see wildlife in full splendor. While it doesn’t really get hot, you’ll definitely need to bring bug repellent.

Bring plenty of pants and a rain jacket, along with shorts, tank tops, and other lightweight clothing. You’ll see a lot of locals wearing jeans, which are great on dry days.

FALL – September, October, November

Fall in Alaska is pretty similar to springtime. Rain starts really making an appearance again, though the quantity depends on which part of the state you’re in. Rather than going for a full-on winter coat, you’ll want to focus more on thinner, breathable layers with a waterproof shell. A warm hat, gloves, wool socks, boots, sweaters, and a lightweight rain jacket will serve you well.

WINTER – December, January, February

Winter in Alaska looks fairytale-like, but the weather is not to be taken lightly. Even if you think you’ll be warm enough in a regular winter coat and typical winter accessories like a hat and insulated shoes, you’ll want to go further than this.

The winter jacket ideally will have multiple layers, so you can remove or add them as weather conditions change. Thermal underwear or other warm base layers are essential, and some kind of eye protection is a good idea as that snow and ice can really reflect sunlight!

Dressing appropriately for the activity– (Click to expand)
Nightlife: Nightlife in Alaska is relatively laidback, in that you could easily just wear a button-down and jeans and you’ll be fine for a club, nice dinner, bar, etc. For women, jeans work perfectly well, too. Pair them with a nicer blouse and shoes, and you’re ready to go anywhere!

Snow Sports: For snow sports, you’ll obviously want to wear more layers. The base layer is crucial to keeping warm and dry, along with some breathable socks. Due to the sunlight reflecting off the snow, it can get pretty bright while participating in snow sports. Not only that, but you need some sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from debris. A winter coat, hat, and gloves are also necessary!

Water Sports: Remaining comfortable during watersports requires quick-drying clothing that isn’t going to leave you soggy all day long. Fabrics should be lightweight, like a quality pair of board shorts and an athletic top aside from a bathing suit. You can wear either water shoes or snug sandals, but you probably don’t want to go barefoot. Don’t forget a good sunblock!

Hiking: For hiking, you need comfortable, stretchy or loose-fitting clothes. Hiking pants are the way to go, as they’re made of non-chafing materials that are oftentimes waterproof and very breathable. Opt for a quick-drying athletic top as well, that isn’t going to be sweaty and hot. Depending on the time of year, you’ll either need hiking shoes or boots.

Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is an activity many people engage in while in Alaska. Make sure you have on jeans, which offer protection and durability. Fitted clothing is ideal for safety purposes, but will also end up being more comfortable. Closed-toe shoes are an absolute must – after all, you’re going to be around horse hooves.

What NOT to Bring on an Alaskan Cruise

  • 1.DON’T Bring Books

    Rather, go for a Kindle instead. These are more compact, and you can bring a lot more reading material than if you were to bring physical books.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Unnecessary Valuables

    The more you can avoid valuables getting stolen or lost, the better. When it comes to valuables, just bring the essentials.

  • 3.DON’T Bring Too Many Clothes

    Don’t bring a lot of clothes, but do bring the necessary layers. At least one set of thermal underwear/warm base layers is important.

  • 4.DON’T Bring Gear You Won’t Use

    Most gear you’re likely to be able to rent in Alaska – especially if they’re outdoor sports/activity gear.

  • 5.DON’T Bring a Bath Towel

    Smaller microfiber towels are great, but a bath towel just takes up unnecessary space and holds a lot of water.

  • 6.DON’T Bring Lots of Cash

    Relating back to the unnecessary valuables, if you get cash stolen from you, there’s not much recourse to get it back.

What NOT to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise – (Click to expand)

While in Alaska, we recommend the vast majority of your clothing to be stretchy. Jeans we know are a bit more rigid and are great for activities that require less range-of-motion, lots of walking, or moving of your legs. As you’re likely going to be moving around quite a bit, you need clothes that will move with your natural movements. Heels are not the best idea, due to the wetness and iciness throughout the better part of the year. Always wear layers, as the weather can change so suddenly, that you’ll need to remove and add layers regularly.

Travel FAQs and Alaskan Cruise Tips

  • 1. What is the weather like in Alaska?

    What is the weather like in Alaska?

    There’s never really a time of year when Alaska is hot. Even in the summertime, it’s relatively cool and enjoyable with a light jacket. The weather is the most enjoyable during this time of year. There’s plenty of sunlight, clear skies, and warm weather. It’s also an excellent time to see wildlife. Winters, on the other hand, are long, frigid, and snowy. They can be great if you’re interested in snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, or dog sledding.

  • 2. When is the best time of year to visit Alaska?

    July is the best time of year. The wildlife are out in all their glory, all the best trails are accessible, days are longer, and this tends to be the warmest month.

  • 3. How can I get around Alaska?

    How can I get around Alaska?

    You can travel within Alaska by various modes of transportation: plane, cruise, ferry, train, car, motorcycle, or bus. If traveling between major cities like Fairbanks, Anchorage, or Juneau, you can go by air. A cruise is many people’s way to see Alaska as you get to see a little bit of everything and cover large distances comfortably. You’ll get to experience wildlife and tour quaint towns.

  • 4. What are the best places to go in Alaska?

    The aforementioned cities are all great options. Seward, Kenai Fjords, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park, Homer, Katmai National Park, and Denali are all top selections, too. They’re absolutely beautiful with their impressive flora and fauna.

  • 5. What are the best things to do around Anchorage?

    What are the best things to do around Anchorage?

    The options are endless! Check out glaciers, learn about native Alaskan cultures, ride the railroad, try biking down the coastal trail, go flightseeing over the natural scenery, fish Ship Creek, go whale watching, check out old gold mining/panning areas, hunt for the Northern Lights, try dog sledding, watch the midnight sun sunsets/sunrises, try the local fare (king crab, halibut, salmon), and visit national parks!

  • 6. What national parks are in Alaska?

    Denali, Kenai Fjords, Katmai, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St. Elias, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, and Kobuk Valley.

  • 7. How can I save money when visiting Alaska?

    How can I save money when visiting Alaska?

    First, select the right season. In summer almost everything is more expensive. However, May and September aren’t too frigid and you can still save some cash. Avoiding hotels in the city may save you some money, too. Plan activities that are close to one another. Try public transportation or try taking a bus instead of renting a car.

  • 8. What kinds of wildlife does Alaska have?

    Bears, moose, whales, birds, caribou, red fox, grey wolves, musk oxen, mountain goats, lynx, and much more.