Figuring out what to pack for an Alaska cruise is a tricky endeavor. Unlike most cruises, which typically require you to bring clothes for a consistent temperature throughout the trip, on an Alaska cruise, you’ll encounter varying climates.
During a cruise through the Last Frontier, travelers can be exposed to temperatures that drastically change from morning to noon to night, so it’s essential to be prepared for all kinds of weather.
When you’re packing for a cruise to Alaska, make sure to bring all the essentials you would need on any other trip, like casual clothes, dinner attire, technology accessories, and toiletries.
If you’re about to embark on a cruise to Alaska and have no idea what to wear or where to begin, here is the ultimate Alaska cruise packing list.
Alaska Cruise Packing List: Clothing
Since the weather in Alaska can vary from warm to cold on a daily or even hourly basis, it’s 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, you’ll 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.
Short and long sleeved T-shirts
Since the weather can change drastically in the same day, especially during the Alaska cruise season’s summer months, bringing a mix of short and long-sleeved T-shirts will allow you to adapt to the day’s forecast easily. Those traveling during the shoulder seasons (May and September) will want to bring a few more long-sleeved tees than short.
A puffer or fleece vest is a small item of clothing that can make a big difference in keeping you warm and cozy during your cruise. Layer it over a long sleeve T-shirt during sunnier days when you don’t necessarily want to bring a jacket outside, or wear it under your coat when the weather turns cooler and you want an extra bit of warmth underneath.
As temperatures in Alaska can vary from a toasty 70 to a cold 30 degrees Fahrenheit, we recommend you bring an insulated jacket to your trip. These lightweight jackets work double duty as they’ll keep you comfortable during chillier days, but won’t have you sweating it out during warmer days you might encounter during your trip. If you can pack a lightweight jacket that also happens to be water resistant, even better.
Waterproof rain jacket or windbreaker
Alaska’s summers can see their fair amount of rain. Don’t get caught unprepared during a rainshower and make sure to bring along a waterproof jacket or windbreaker in your suitcase. Also, look for rain jackets that can easily be rolled up and tossed into a backpack so you can bring them along to all of your outdoor excursions.
While sweaters and jackets are important, it’s smart to bring along a few base layers to wear underneath your clothes, too. These thin tops and bottoms are usually made from a special type of insulating fabric, which will keep you warm but will also manage moisture, so you don’t have to worry about sweating underneath all those layers you’ll be piling on.
Don’t underestimate the utility of a scarf. While it may seem like one more accessory to fit into your suitcase, a wool scarf will come in handy during those cooler days of your cruise when the breeze will pick up and you’ll want to have something on hand to cover your neck and chest.
You’ll want to keep your legs covered since you’ll be spending a lot of time outside, either while on deck or in the beautiful Alaskan outdoors. We suggest bringing at least one pair of water-resistant nylon pants in your suitcase, which will go a long way in keeping you dry during more rugged excursions.
If you’re traveling during some of the hotter months of the season (July and August) you might want to consider bringing a pair of convertible zip pants that can easily transform into shorts. You’ll be grateful you packed them on those not-so-rare days in Alaska, when the mornings can start off with a chilly 40 degrees and by lunchtime the temperature has climbed up to a toasty 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wool and wicking socks
For days onboard when you want to enjoy some rest and relaxation, a pair of wool socks will keep your feet nice and warm. Enjoy the view from your balcony with a hot chocolate on hand and comfortable socks on your feet.
For outdoor excursions, we recommend packing a pair of wicking socks, which will keep your feet dry while you’re busy hiking or running outside.
Waterproof shoes or boots
A pair of waterproof footwear is a must in order to fully experience the best excursions that an Alaskan cruise has to offer. Pack a pair of water resistant hiking boots or waterproof boots to take with you as you hike through the rugged wilderness or participate in some other type of outdoor activities including ziplining, fishing, and kayaking in Alaska.
A warm sweater is an easy and versatile item of clothing you should always try to carry around during your cruise, especially when walking around town or enjoying time on the ship’s deck. Wear one underneath your jacket if you’re feeling chilly or just as easily shrug it off when the sun comes out and you start feeling warm.
Hats and gloves
Hats and a warm pair of gloves are small accessories that are essential to include in your Alaska cruise packing list which thankfully won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Warm beanies and caps will work on cold days if the temperature dips below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As for gloves, consider buying a pair of touch gloves that will let you swipe and type on your phone while wearing them.
Bringing a swimsuit on your cruise to Alaska might sound unnecessary, but remember, all of our ships have solariums with heated pools, spas, and hot tubs. Bring at least one swimsuit just in case you feel like taking a dip during your vacation.
Aside from packing a good sunhat and a bottle of sunscreen, don’t forget to bring along a pair of sunglasses to your cruise. A pair of polarized sunglasses will keep your eyes safe from the sunshine and will protect them from its glare, which can get quite bright when you’re surrounded by snow and ice. It’s a good idea to pack a sunglasses cord so your favorite pair of shades will always remain safely hung around your neck even when you’re not wearing them.
Dinner or “Smart Casual” clothes
Aside from the comfortable and sports clothing you’ll wear during the day and on excursions, you’ll also want to pack dressier attire, too. During dinner in the ship’s main restaurant, cruisers will dress according to Celebrity Cruises’ dress code.
Women can wear a smart dress, skirt, pants, or jeans with a casual top, and men can dress in pants or jeans with a short-sleeve sport shirt.
As for shoewear, the only rule is that flip flops are never allowed during evenings on the ship.
Evening Chic clothes
Depending on the length of your cruise, you’ll have one or more formal dinner nights in which you’ll need to adhere to Celebrity Cruises’s “Evening Chic” dress code. For women, the Evening Chic dress code includes cocktail dresses, skirts, pants, or designer jeans with an elegant top. Men will wear pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirt, or sweater, with the option of a sports coat or blazer.
During your cruise, you can take advantage of our state-of-the-art fitness center and fun exercise classes. Bring at least one workout outfit in case you want to work up a sweat in between ports of call.
Aside from all of your clothes, don’t forget to bring some of your favorite accessories, including jewelry, an evening bag, hair accessories, and evening shoes.
Alaska Cruise Packing List: Non-Clothing Essentials
Now that you know what you need to bring from your closet, it’s time to go through all the other items you won’t want to leave out from your Alaska cruise suitcase.
In addition to clothes, there are a few extra items that will go a long way in making your cruise to Alaska a memorable experience. For example, one of the highlights of traveling to Alaska is spotting wildlife in its natural habitat. Therefore, we recommend travelers bring a handheld camera and a good pair of binoculars, in order to fully experience the wonder of Alaska’s nature.
Sure, you can take pictures with your phone, but do you really want to capture all those gorgeous landscapes and wildlife on a tiny phone? You’ll be thankful you packed your best camera on your trip to Alaska once you catch your first glimpse of a majestic glacier or humpback whale.
One of the highlights of taking a cruise to Alaska is all the wildlife you’ll be exposed to during your trip. But in order to fully experience the animals of the Alaskan wilderness from your balcony or the ship’s deck, pack a pair of binoculars that will help give you the best view, regardless of how far away you are from the action.
If you’re considering going on any of the many outdoor adventures an Alaskan cruise has to offer, you might want to consider packing a waterproof bag in your suitcase. This will allow you to kayak, fish, or engage in any other water activity without worrying about your valuables, such as your passport, wallet, or camera, getting wet.
You might think because you won’t be lounging on the sand, you won’t need to pack some sunscreen for your cruise to Alaska. But keep in mind, you’ll be participating in many outdoor activities or standing out in the sun for a good amount of time while taking in glaciers and wildlife. Even if you’re covered up, you’ll want to make sure to pack a bottle of SPF to keep your face and neck safe from sun rays.
Spending some time outdoors is par for the course during a trip to Alaska. While you might think the cold weather means you’ll be safe from mosquitos, think again. The Alaskan outdoors can be quite wet, so protect yourself from mosquito bites by packing a bottle of bug spray in your suitcase.
If you’ll be heading out on several different outdoor excursions or simply walking around at each port, a zipped-up backpack or crossbody bag is one of the best ways to carry around daily essentials including your wallet, travel documents, camera, cosmetics, and more. We recommend packing a water-resistant bag just in case.
Cell phone dry bag
There will be moments when you’ll want to document your Alaskan adventures on your phone. Minimize the risk of getting it soaked when sailing near a waterfall or kayaking around a lake by bringing a cell phone dry case, which will keep the water out while still allowing you to use it.
One of the most important items when traveling is your phone charger, and yet it’s one of those things people always seem to forget back at home. Here’s a friendly reminder to pack it in your suitcase!
Speaking of chargers, a portable charger is also a good item to have on hand during your cruise to Alaska. Odds are you’ll be taking a lot of photos and videos during your trip, which can quickly drain the battery on your phone. Remove all chances of running out of battery life just as you’re about to capture footage of a group of humpback whales splashing in the water by bringing a travel charger with you.
Outlet adapter with USB ports
While all staterooms have at least one outlet, we recommend bringing an adapter (or one that comes with USB ports) so that everyone in your room will be able to charge their phones, tablets, and other tech items all at the same time.
Hydration is key when you’re hiking or engaging in some other active excursion outdoors. Bring along your favorite water bottle to keep on hand during your trip.
Miscellaneous Alaska cruise packing list items
- Magazine or books
- Ear plugs
- Travel documents
Alaska’s cruise season begins in May and ends in September, and though those summer months are the warmest, the weather can still vary from month to month—temperatures are known to drop drastically even on a daily basis.
Always consider layering items when packing for an Alaska cruise, regardless of the time of year you’ll be sailing. If you have already booked your cruise and know what dates you’ll be traveling, here are some extra tips on what to wear on an Alaska cruise during specific months of the year.
What should I pack for an Alaska cruise in June?
A June cruise 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 (to protect your eyes from all that sunshine) and a good sleep mask (in case you need absolute darkness to fall asleep).
What to pack for a cruise to Alaska in July
July enjoys the warmest average temperatures of the summer (they can go from low 50s to high 60 degrees), which is why it’s one of the best times to cruise to Alaska. Be sure to pack a mix of short and long-sleeved T-shirts and waterproof pants that can convert into shorts, in case you get extra sunny and warm days during your cruise.
Chances of rain also increase as the summer months go by, so don’t forget to bring all of your rain-related gear, including a light roll-up waterproof jacket, when you cruise in July.
What to wear in Alaska in August
By August, the chance of rain in Alaska goes up to over 50%, meaning you can expect to encounter a fair amount of showers during your visit. Temperatures will also begin to dip as the month progresses, with lows near 40 and highs in the low 60s.
On an August cruise to Alaska, remember to pack all of your waterproof gear—rain jacket, poncho, waterproof shoes, and water-resistant pants—in order to come as prepared as possible. Consider bringing warmer sweaters, scarves, and hats, as there’s a heightened chance you’ll be exposed to colder weather, too.
What to pack for an Alaska cruise in September
By the time September rolls in, it’s shoulder season in Alaska, meaning there’s 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 September cruise 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.
September is appealing to travelers not only for the reduced amount of visitors, but also because there’s a better chance to see more wildlife than ever, since animals begin to migrate and hunt in preparation for the winter hibernation. You might also have the opportunity to see the breathtaking aurora borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Lights, a spectacular natural light display that colors the sky in a number of different hues at night.
In order to fully capture wildlife and this natural phenomenon, you should bring your best camera instead of relying on your phone to take photographs and videos. If you want to go above and beyond and get some great shots, a travel tripod should make it into your packing list, too.
Book your Alaska cruise vacation
Now that you know what to pack for an Alaska cruise, it’s time to book that vacation. Browse our Alaska cruise itineraries and start planning your cruise today. If you’ve already booked your Alaska cruise, start reserving your shore excursions today in order to guarantee your spot on the most popular excursions before they fill up.