What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise: Your Complete Packing List

what to wear on an Alaskan cruise

Get cruise ready with these tips on what to wear on an Alaskan Cruise!

Congratulations! Usually, if you are thinking about what to pack for an Alaskan Cruise, chances are you have already booked your trip and are getting super excited about it. If you haven’t booked yet… well then what are you waiting for?

Alaskan cruises are one of those things you hear about all the time. And you think “Yeah, that sounds nice.” But when you start really looking into it and planning, the excitement will hit you like a ton of bricks!

With that planning comes the most important question you will ask yourself… what should I wear on my Alaskan cruise?

It’s true that an Alaskan cruise is a vacation like no other. And packing can be really tough. You go to different cities and you will probably go on different kinds of adventures.

You also have time on the ship, both relaxing and for dressier times like formal night.

Before you know it, you have 10 suitcases worth of stuff you want to bring. Not to mention those big coats and boots take up a ton of room in your suitcase!

But relax! You came to the right place.

You’ll find all the information here about what you REALLY need to bring on your Alaskan Cruise and what you don’t. So you can concentrate on other things.

Check out the review of my 7-day cruise to Alaska with Princess Cruise Line HERE!

Packing for an Alaskan Cruise… you need to bring all the things!

Packing for my Alaskan cruise was one of the hardest things I had to do! Every review you read talks about how it can be hot, it can be cold, it can be rainy, etc. And that’s just at the ports.

Then you need to think about what to wear on the ship which includes everything from casual wear to dressy dinner attire.

So where do you even start. And that’s just the clothing. Then there’s a whole list of essential items you need to bring on your Alaskan cruise too! Arrgghh!!

I got you covered there too! For packing tips on what items you NEED to bring on your cruise, check out: Cruise Packing Essentials.

What to pack for an Alaskan Cruise

Every review you will read will tell you to wear layers… and this is so true!

My Alaskan cruise ranged from 85 degrees and sunny to bitter cold and freezing. You just never know what the weather will be like, and it’s drastically different in the towns then it is on the ship.

I’m a list person and I found it to be very helpful to make a few lists of what you’re doing or where you’re going and plan your outfits from there.

Start a list of 4 categories

  • Ship Attire (casual and formal)
  • Ketchikan
  • Juneau
  • Skagway

Make a separate list for each place you stop. One for ship attire, and then one for each port (Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway).

Hopefully, by now you’ve chosen what excursions you are going to do or what your plans are for each port. This is almost necessary before you can choose what to wear!

Walking around town doing some light shopping will require WAY different clothing than taking a helicopter to a glacier and playing with sled dogs (Yes, that IS an actual excursion!)

Don’t forget to follow on PINTEREST for more cruising tips and advice!

Cute Outfits for an Alaskan Cruise

I had anticipated the towns in Alaska would be the coldest part of my trip but I was SO wrong. Your time on the ship is way colder. Being out at sea made for some very cold and windy days.

For this, I’m glad I packed a couple of hooded sweatshirts and casual pants.

Fleece-lined leggings were my savior! I wore these as regualr leggins all around the ship. They worked great as a comfortable option that kept me warm (not to mention they are super compact to pack!).

The fleece-lined leggings were also thin enough to layer underneath a pair of jeans or jogger pants in case it got REALLY cold outside.

You’ll also want to add a comfortable pair of shoes for just walking around the ship. These shoes are my go-to for any traveling I do. They are super comfy for airports and pretty much match with anything.

what to pack for an Alaskan cruise. Ship attire, excursions, formal night

Bring a swimsuit on your Alaskan cruise

Don’t forget to pack a bathing suit and cover-up. Yes, it’s Alaska! You may think it will be too cold to swim but I actually used my bathing suit quite a lot.

Our first day leaving Seattle was 88 degrees and sunny outside and we spent that day laying by the pool having some drinks. We were able to board at noon and didnt set sail until 40m. It was pretty much warm and sunny all the way until the sun went down that night. So we got in a lot of sun (and a lot of drinks!) that bery first day.

Not to mention the Ruby Princess has several hot tubs that you should take advantage of throughout your Alaskan cruise!

Especially for your two days at sea, you can’t really use the pool. But having a glass of wine in a hottub while looing out over the ocean is a pretty great way to spend your ship days!

Dinners on the cruise ship

Dinners on your Alaskan cruise can be anything you want them to be. There will be two formal nights but you are not required to participate.

If you choose not to do formal night, you can still eat at the buffet (just not the dining rooms). If you choose to participate in a formal night (I do recommend at least one as they are fun) you can wear anything from a formal cocktail dress to dressy pants and a nice top.

In order to not overpack, I chose this pair of shoes to bring for dinners. A good pair of classic black heels worked with a nice dress for formal night.

They also helped dress up a pair of jeans with a nice top for dinners on other nights. So all I needed was this one pair of shoes for any dinner.

Formal nights

Nights on your Alaskan cruise that are not formal nights, you can just go to the dining room with what you wore that day in port. By the time you get back to the ship, you’ll be tired and hungry. You will want to just go straight to eat and not worry about changing!

But if you do decide to dress up a little, keep your jeans on and just dress them up with a nice top and those black heels. A good pair of jeans took me from a scooter ride in Skagway to the dining room at night.

Alaskan Cruise

What to Wear on Port Days

What to wear on port days depends a lot on what you do. I’ll share some of the essentials I think anyone would need for an Alaskan cruise. This is where layers really are suggested!

Unless I was doing a specific excursion, I tried to remember the layering rule.

So most outfits started with a basic tee shirt, paired with a flannel button-down or lightweight thermal. Jeans or leggings are great for walking around or sightseeing.

I personally love leggings because they are warm and take up barely any room in my suitcase. And if it’s bitter cold, you can put jeans over leggings and have double the warm layers.

What Boots are best for Alaskan cruise excursions

Boots! No matter where you go in Alaska, you need a good pair of boots. I highly highly recommend Hunter Boots. They are SUPER comfortable and obviously waterproof.

Pair your Hunter Boots with some wool socks and they kept my feet warm and dry even on the coldest days. I loved having a pair of rain boots because they worked everywhere we went whether it be snow or rain or lakes or streams.

They also have a great tread on them and made hiking easy. My Hunter boots were hands down my best pick for an Alaskan Cruise!

When we visited the Mendenhall Glacier, everyone was standing on the solid ground and I was the only one walking around and splashing through the water because I had on my rain boots!

I was worried these wouldn’t be comfortable enough to walk around all day in but after wearing them 2 days in a row my feet never hurt.

You will also need a good pair of winter boots. I love these boots by Sorel. They are warm, waterproof and easy to walk around in. These boots are definitely a must if it’s really snowy or you walk on a glacier.

If you choose to go hiking, you’ll need a good pair of hiking shoes. Something water-resistant is best as most of southern Alaska is a rainforest and very wet.

I loved these hiking shoes, they kept me dry and were great to hike in. I also purchased a pair of these pants for my hiking trips. They are flexible, lightweight, and perfect for outdoor adventures. Not to mention the camo ones are super cute!

The best outerwear for an Alaskan cruise

Jackets! Start with a lightweight jacket. You’ll want something lightweight that will also keep you warm. I love this North Face jacket and it was well worth the cost. It’s water-resistant, insulated, and really thin which helped when you need to take it off to carry it around.

Read Post  Are Barefoot Shoes Good for Hiking?

You’ll also want a raincoat. Not only for rainy days in town but you get wet on the ship pretty easily too with spray from the ocean. I chose this really lightweight raincoat. It was thin so it could go over my lightweight jacket, and folded up to be the size of a wallet which made it easy to pack and carry with me around the towns.

(The rain jacket also comes in several colors and is SUPER affordable!)

And don’t forget a good winter coat for your Alaskan cruise. Especially if you go on an excursion to a glacier! But surprisingly, I needed my warm down coat the most on the ship.

Being out at sea is COLD! Even just sitting on the balcony of my Alaskan cruise was freezing. I ended up wearing my warmest winter coat on the ship more than anywhere else.

This winter coat was a lifesaver during those chilly days on the ship and is well worth the investment.

You will also want some basics… a good pair of gloves, a hat, and a scarf are always a good idea too!

Alaskan Cruise. what to wear on an alaskan cruise, jackets, outerwear, boots, cruise attire

Enjoy your Alaskan Cruise!

Read more about my 7-day Alaskan cruise on the Ruby Princess HERE! And Don’t forget to check out my other posts on the best things to do while in:

And don’t forget to download my super amazing 5-page cruise planner. It’s absolutely FREE And easy to download and print out. It’ll make planning your cruise a whole lot easier.

It includes pages to keep track of all your airfare, pre-stay hotel, and embarkation information. As well as pages to keep track of all your excursions and port information.

There is a LOT to keep track of when going on a cruise and this fun Cruise Planner makes your whole vacation more organized and stress-free! So you can sit back and enjoy those cruise cocktails!

Are you looking for outfits that are functional AND cute for your Alaskan Cruise? Check out my updated post with Cute Outfits For Your Alaskan Cruise!

Have any questions about my Alaskan Cruise? Whether it’s about the ship, the excursions, what to wear on an Alaskan Cruise or even the food… I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or email me at [email protected]

Head over to my updated post for more of my Alaskan Cruise Packing List and to see MORE of what I wore on my Alaskan Cruise!

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what to wear on an alaskan cruise

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About Jenny

My name is Jenny and I’m a Mom to a little girl named Abby. I love finding new ways to connect with other moms. I share my parenting wins and fails. And try to bring back the fun we used to have before we became parents!

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Comments

Janice McGrath says

When did you take your Alaskan Cruise? We are going in July and was just wondering if I need the heavier clothing then.

I took my Alaskan Cruise in June. We had unseasonably warm weather (80 degrees at all the ports) but even with as warm as it was in town, on the boat we were freezing! I would definitely recommend a warm coat. When you are out to sea, the wind and temps make it very cold. I ended up wearing my warmest jacket every time I stepped out of my cabin.

Nobia Williams says

My son and I are going on the Emerald Princess out of Seattle on June 3, 2018. Our first port is Ketchikan also. We are going on the Bearing Sea Crab Fishing Excursion. We will arrive in port at 6:00 am. Our excursion is 9:45. How early did the shops in Ketchikan open for business? We will only have about an hour to do any shopping after the excursion. It would be nice to have some time to look and shop around town before the excursion if the stores open early.
Loved your cruise report. Thank you for the information.

Hi Nobia! The shops all open really early because they are used to the cruise ships times. And the chair ships are a lot of their income. BUT… the totem poles and historical parts of Ketchikan are easily able to walk around and look at even early in the morning. And we enjoyed that stuff way more then the town itself (which is mainly jewelry shops)

Nobia Williams says

What did you do in Victoria?

Victoria was such a quick stop, we honestly didn’t do too much. It’s a beautiful town to just walk around in. Do we took in some sights, went on a horse and carriage ride, and did some shopping (bought souvenirs).

Excellent information and tips. Planning on taking a cruise with my 3 young adult children in June. WooHoo!
Thanks for making it easier for me to plan!!

The best information I have received so far for my Alaskan cruise in May, thanks. The dress attire suggestions and the links are awesome!

SO glad you liked it all! Enjoy your trip!

Tuesday Rubsam says

This has helped soo much… I thought we would have to dress fancy the whole time on the ship.. and Im far from fancy..

You definitely do NOT, lol! I thought I would dress fancier but so many times, I was just too tired!

How did you find room in your suitcase to pack all your shoes. Seems like you need a suitcase just for shoes. Although they all seem necessary I’m just not sure about the packing.

I used the space inside my boots to pack all my socks, underwear and some tee shirts. Basically anything I could find in there! But I did pack 2 suitcases. One full sized one, and a carry on size. Luckily, my down jacket can really be smushed down so I was able to smush it and roll it into a boot.

Was your Nano Puff Jacket your heaviest coat you took? We are going Aug 1st, 2020.

Yes! But I did layer it with a sweatshirt when it got really cold on the boat. Layers are key!

What did your husband wear? My husband usually wears cowboy boots for formal night on previous cruises but we’ve always drove to the terminal. This time we’re flying and don’t want to pack his heavy cowboy boots. I was thinking some sort of dressy sneaker or loafers. But not finding any pictures to get a vision of what It would look like.

Ive definitely seen men with everything from dress shoes to just nice sneakers. Try something like this all-black sneaker that is both comfy and looks dressy enough… https://amzn.to/3zHFv28

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What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise [and what to leave at home]

What to wear on an Alaskan cruise

Are you planning an Alaskan cruise vacation this summer? Congratulations, you are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Chances are this is something you have been planning for a while and you want to make sure everything goes perfectly by picking the right cruise excursions and figuring out what to wear on an Alaskan cruise to be prepared for activities and events both onboard and on land. I get it, I felt the same way before we went on our Alaska cruise.

Alaska weather tends to be wet and rainy in the summer and temperatures along the southern coast, home to many cruise ports, can range from the 40s to the 60s. You may have a few sunny, warm days, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t encounter at least some rainy days as well. All of these variants make it tricky to figure out what to wear on an Alaskan cruise. Particularly when you need to balance the chilly, wet outdoors with the climate-controlled ship’s interior.

My recommendations on what to wear on an Alaska cruise are based on our trip on the Norwegian Bliss in August. On our journey, we cruised the Inside Passage and stopped in ports in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan in southeast Alaska, and Victoria, B.C.

cruise ships in port in Juneau

Of course, what you wear is also dependent on what shore excursions you choose. If you are visiting Alaska, I’ll assume that you are doing more than just shopping in the cruise port or staying on the boat, and therefore need to be properly outfitted for excursions.

Alaska cruise excursions usually include activities such as hiking, kayaking, glacier hikes, visiting dog musher camps, and wildlife viewing. On our cruise we did a mix of activities on and off the boat including:

Luckily, an Alaskan cruise is a bit more casual than a Caribbean cruise or other cruises. Our cruise on the Norwegian Bliss did not include a formal night, but I’m pretty sure other cruise lines like Princess Cruises and others do have at least an optional formal night.

If you plan your Alaskan cruise packing list carefully, you can easily fit everything into one suitcase (each person) and those small cruise cabins don’t seem to have much room, they are designed to fit a surprising amount in all their nooks and crannies. After you unpacking, you can shove those suitcases under the bed for the rest of the trip.

How Should I Dress on an Alaskan Cruise?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

So what should you wear on an Alaskan cruise? That was something I stressed about a lot when planning our Alaskan cruise. After all, if you forget something you are kind of out of luck, at least until you get to the first port. If you are having similar worries, hopefully, this guide will help.

Read Post  Trails: Laugavegur

I have also created a printable Alaskan cruise packing list and guide to what to pack for Alaska that includes things for the cabin, toiletries, and things like a good camera, zoom lens, cell phone chargers, battery packs, extra storage cards, plastic bags or Ziploc bags, bug spray, motion sickness meds, and more. Make sure to check out that article too for all of those extras that you might otherwise forget.

What to Wear on Days at Sea

spa lounge chairs on Norwegian Bliss

During days at sea, you will spend time enjoying the ship’s facilities. Be prepared for the outside decks and balconies to be windy and chilly, unless you get lucky with a burst of sunshine.

Attire on board is pretty casual during the day: jeans or leggings, hiking pants, or exercise clothes are all appropriate. On top, you probably want to dress in layers with a long-sleeve t-shirt topped with a sweater, light fleece jacket, or a down vest. I would still bring one or two short-sleeve t-shirts and a pair of shorts just in case it is warm enough to enjoy the sun deck or your balcony.

Since you don’t want to have to pack too many shoes, stick with either sneakers, flip flops, hiking boots, or flats which can be interchanged between the gym, spa/pool, outdoors, and dinner.

Whether you are sitting outside in the cold wind or in the observation lounge, you will probably want to have something cozy to snuggle up in. If you have room to pack a thin blanket, you will enjoy having that to curl up in while you are relaxing outside (or in the lounge.)

girl sitting wrapped in blue and black blanket

  • Pair of jeans / hiking pants / exercise pants / leggings
  • Sweat pants to lounge in or to throw over your bathing suit or exercise clothes as you walk back to your room
  • Warm socks
  • Long sleeve t shirts / base layer
  • Flannel shirt
  • Fleece / sweater / down vest / sweatshirt
  • Warm PJs / lounge wear
  • Bathing suit + something warm to cover up to walk from the hot tub / spa to your room
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers / comfortable walking shoes
  • Slippers — you will enjoy having these in the cabin
  • Blanket scarf or wrap
  • Possibly: short sleeve t-shirt and shorts (to save room if you plan to use the fitness center just bring exercise shorts/t-shirts and use those if you have a warm day. You can always use one of the laundry rooms if you need during your cruise.)

See my complete Alaska cruise packing guide and printable Alaska cruise packing list!

What to Wear on Nights at Sea

Father and daughter dressed for dinner on the cruise ship

You can leave your cocktail dresses at home if your cruise ship doesn’t have a formal night. However, many restaurants do have a “no jeans or shorts” dress code policy in the evenings, although I’m not sure how tightly enforced these are, so you will need some dress pants or skirts and nicer tops and button-down shirts. If you really don’t like dressing for dinner, most ships will have a more casual option. On our cruise, with the exception of the embarkation night, most people did dress a bit for dinner.

Expect to see a mix of dresses, dress pants, dress shirts, and blouses. Get as fancy as you would like, but to minimize your packing list, you can get away with just a couple of pairs of nice pants, a few nice tops/sweaters, and one pair of dress shoes that go with everything.

We found the restaurants and main dining room to be chilly and it is a good idea to bring a sweater or wrap in the evenings. Keep in mind that the ship photographers are available to take family photos so you may want to coordinate one nice outfit for each.

dining room with tables set on the Norwegian bliss cruise ship

Some cruises do have theme nights or themed dance parties. On our cruise, we weren’t aware of these in any of the pre-cruise information we received but those “in the know” on board came prepared.

There was a country and western night in the BBQ restaurant and bar one evening. I was surprised to see people decked out in cowboy boots, hats, and western gear. Even more surprised that they bothered to pack all of that just for one event. But if you love a good theme party, find out in advance what is happening during your sailing.

What to wear at night:

  • Nice dress pants or a skirt that can be worn multiple times or casual dresses (black pants are great because they go with so much)
  • Guys can wear dress pants or khaki pants
  • A few sweaters or nice tops (long sleeves are preferable) with button-down shirts for guys
  • A jacket or wrap
  • Comfortable dress shoes (you can bring a pair of heels but I prefer flats for walking around the ship and climbing all the stairs)
  • A small evening bag to fit your phone, key card, and necessities

What to Wear for Excursions

family hiking in Alaska

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. I know sometimes people are reluctant to invest in gear that they may not use again. I felt that way when we went to Iceland and everyone suggested that we buy rain pants. We were so thankful we had made that purchase and we have since appreciated having them on this trip and many others. The difference between warm and dry and wet and cold is the difference between happy and miserable.

If you are doing any active excursions, make sure you bring along a waterproof jacket and a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes, plus another pair of sneakers or casual slip on shoes to wear around the ship when you return in case your day shoes get wet or muddy.

woman getting onto train in blue vest and flannel shirt

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What to wear on excursions:

  • Waterproof shoes or waterproof hiking boots with good traction (don’t wear jeans — those take forever to dry!) to slip over your hiking pants
  • Wool or synthetic hiking socks or waterproof shell (something small and packable that doesn’t take up much space is ideal)
  • Long-sleeved t-shirt or thermal base layer
  • Flannel shirt or second layer
  • Baseball hat (waterproof if you can) or a warm hat
  • Day pack / waterproof backpack / dry bag to fit your essential items, camera, water bottle, wallet, portable chargers, and other necessities
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Umbrella
  • Thin gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray / insect repellent

What to Leave at Home

So with all that stuff that you have to bring, what can you leave at home on a cruise to Alaska?

  • Black tie attire — double check with your ship but many Alaska cruise ships don’t have a formal night and if they do, it is optional. So you can leave the cocktail dress, tuxedo, and heels at home, unless you want to get dressed up.
  • Shorts — ok, maybe bring a couple of pairs of easy-to-pack exercise or hiking shorts in case it is warm, but unless you get lucky with a warm week, you probably won’t need them. And if you are brave enough to jump into the hot tub out on the deck or use the pool and waterslides, you will probably want to cover up and duck inside as soon as you get out of the water.
  • Straightening iron / curling iron / hair dryer — unless you really want to get dressed up for dinner, I would suggest leaving your straightening and curling iron at home. When you walk on deck, your hair is going to whip around in the wind. Also when you are outside, the rain or humidity will bring on the frizz. Plus you are likely going to have a hat on for part of the day. So do yourself a favor and just put your hair up and leave the products at home. If you really like to have your hair looking nice, go ahead and bring them or book an appointment at the salon, just be prepared to fight the mist, wind, and rain to keep your do looking fresh.

What do I pack for an Alaskan Cruise?

Looking for a full Alaska cruise packing list? Check out my full guide on what to pack for an Alaskan cruise and download a printable packing list! I hope you have a great trip and I’d love to hear if you found something to suggest or add to this list!

What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise [and what to leave at home]

What to wear on an Alaskan cruise

Are you planning an Alaskan cruise vacation this summer? Congratulations, you are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Chances are this is something you have been planning for a while and you want to make sure everything goes perfectly by picking the right cruise excursions and figuring out what to wear on an Alaskan cruise to be prepared for activities and events both onboard and on land. I get it, I felt the same way before we went on our Alaska cruise.

Alaska weather tends to be wet and rainy in the summer and temperatures along the southern coast, home to many cruise ports, can range from the 40s to the 60s. You may have a few sunny, warm days, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t encounter at least some rainy days as well. All of these variants make it tricky to figure out what to wear on an Alaskan cruise. Particularly when you need to balance the chilly, wet outdoors with the climate-controlled ship’s interior.

My recommendations on what to wear on an Alaska cruise are based on our trip on the Norwegian Bliss in August. On our journey, we cruised the Inside Passage and stopped in ports in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan in southeast Alaska, and Victoria, B.C.

cruise ships in port in Juneau

Of course, what you wear is also dependent on what shore excursions you choose. If you are visiting Alaska, I’ll assume that you are doing more than just shopping in the cruise port or staying on the boat, and therefore need to be properly outfitted for excursions.

Read Post  Ichetucknee Springs Tubing Guide

Alaska cruise excursions usually include activities such as hiking, kayaking, glacier hikes, visiting dog musher camps, and wildlife viewing. On our cruise we did a mix of activities on and off the boat including:

Luckily, an Alaskan cruise is a bit more casual than a Caribbean cruise or other cruises. Our cruise on the Norwegian Bliss did not include a formal night, but I’m pretty sure other cruise lines like Princess Cruises and others do have at least an optional formal night.

If you plan your Alaskan cruise packing list carefully, you can easily fit everything into one suitcase (each person) and those small cruise cabins don’t seem to have much room, they are designed to fit a surprising amount in all their nooks and crannies. After you unpacking, you can shove those suitcases under the bed for the rest of the trip.

How Should I Dress on an Alaskan Cruise?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

So what should you wear on an Alaskan cruise? That was something I stressed about a lot when planning our Alaskan cruise. After all, if you forget something you are kind of out of luck, at least until you get to the first port. If you are having similar worries, hopefully, this guide will help.

I have also created a printable Alaskan cruise packing list and guide to what to pack for Alaska that includes things for the cabin, toiletries, and things like a good camera, zoom lens, cell phone chargers, battery packs, extra storage cards, plastic bags or Ziploc bags, bug spray, motion sickness meds, and more. Make sure to check out that article too for all of those extras that you might otherwise forget.

What to Wear on Days at Sea

spa lounge chairs on Norwegian Bliss

During days at sea, you will spend time enjoying the ship’s facilities. Be prepared for the outside decks and balconies to be windy and chilly, unless you get lucky with a burst of sunshine.

Attire on board is pretty casual during the day: jeans or leggings, hiking pants, or exercise clothes are all appropriate. On top, you probably want to dress in layers with a long-sleeve t-shirt topped with a sweater, light fleece jacket, or a down vest. I would still bring one or two short-sleeve t-shirts and a pair of shorts just in case it is warm enough to enjoy the sun deck or your balcony.

Since you don’t want to have to pack too many shoes, stick with either sneakers, flip flops, hiking boots, or flats which can be interchanged between the gym, spa/pool, outdoors, and dinner.

Whether you are sitting outside in the cold wind or in the observation lounge, you will probably want to have something cozy to snuggle up in. If you have room to pack a thin blanket, you will enjoy having that to curl up in while you are relaxing outside (or in the lounge.)

girl sitting wrapped in blue and black blanket

  • Pair of jeans / hiking pants / exercise pants / leggings
  • Sweat pants to lounge in or to throw over your bathing suit or exercise clothes as you walk back to your room
  • Warm socks
  • Long sleeve t shirts / base layer
  • Flannel shirt
  • Fleece / sweater / down vest / sweatshirt
  • Warm PJs / lounge wear
  • Bathing suit + something warm to cover up to walk from the hot tub / spa to your room
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers / comfortable walking shoes
  • Slippers — you will enjoy having these in the cabin
  • Blanket scarf or wrap
  • Possibly: short sleeve t-shirt and shorts (to save room if you plan to use the fitness center just bring exercise shorts/t-shirts and use those if you have a warm day. You can always use one of the laundry rooms if you need during your cruise.)

See my complete Alaska cruise packing guide and printable Alaska cruise packing list!

What to Wear on Nights at Sea

Father and daughter dressed for dinner on the cruise ship

You can leave your cocktail dresses at home if your cruise ship doesn’t have a formal night. However, many restaurants do have a “no jeans or shorts” dress code policy in the evenings, although I’m not sure how tightly enforced these are, so you will need some dress pants or skirts and nicer tops and button-down shirts. If you really don’t like dressing for dinner, most ships will have a more casual option. On our cruise, with the exception of the embarkation night, most people did dress a bit for dinner.

Expect to see a mix of dresses, dress pants, dress shirts, and blouses. Get as fancy as you would like, but to minimize your packing list, you can get away with just a couple of pairs of nice pants, a few nice tops/sweaters, and one pair of dress shoes that go with everything.

We found the restaurants and main dining room to be chilly and it is a good idea to bring a sweater or wrap in the evenings. Keep in mind that the ship photographers are available to take family photos so you may want to coordinate one nice outfit for each.

dining room with tables set on the Norwegian bliss cruise ship

Some cruises do have theme nights or themed dance parties. On our cruise, we weren’t aware of these in any of the pre-cruise information we received but those “in the know” on board came prepared.

There was a country and western night in the BBQ restaurant and bar one evening. I was surprised to see people decked out in cowboy boots, hats, and western gear. Even more surprised that they bothered to pack all of that just for one event. But if you love a good theme party, find out in advance what is happening during your sailing.

What to wear at night:

  • Nice dress pants or a skirt that can be worn multiple times or casual dresses (black pants are great because they go with so much)
  • Guys can wear dress pants or khaki pants
  • A few sweaters or nice tops (long sleeves are preferable) with button-down shirts for guys
  • A jacket or wrap
  • Comfortable dress shoes (you can bring a pair of heels but I prefer flats for walking around the ship and climbing all the stairs)
  • A small evening bag to fit your phone, key card, and necessities

What to Wear for Excursions

family hiking in Alaska

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. I know sometimes people are reluctant to invest in gear that they may not use again. I felt that way when we went to Iceland and everyone suggested that we buy rain pants. We were so thankful we had made that purchase and we have since appreciated having them on this trip and many others. The difference between warm and dry and wet and cold is the difference between happy and miserable.

If you are doing any active excursions, make sure you bring along a waterproof jacket and a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes, plus another pair of sneakers or casual slip on shoes to wear around the ship when you return in case your day shoes get wet or muddy.

woman getting onto train in blue vest and flannel shirt

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What to wear on excursions:

  • Waterproof shoes or waterproof hiking boots with good traction (don’t wear jeans — those take forever to dry!) to slip over your hiking pants
  • Wool or synthetic hiking socks or waterproof shell (something small and packable that doesn’t take up much space is ideal)
  • Long-sleeved t-shirt or thermal base layer
  • Flannel shirt or second layer
  • Baseball hat (waterproof if you can) or a warm hat
  • Day pack / waterproof backpack / dry bag to fit your essential items, camera, water bottle, wallet, portable chargers, and other necessities
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Umbrella
  • Thin gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray / insect repellent

What to Leave at Home

So with all that stuff that you have to bring, what can you leave at home on a cruise to Alaska?

  • Black tie attire — double check with your ship but many Alaska cruise ships don’t have a formal night and if they do, it is optional. So you can leave the cocktail dress, tuxedo, and heels at home, unless you want to get dressed up.
  • Shorts — ok, maybe bring a couple of pairs of easy-to-pack exercise or hiking shorts in case it is warm, but unless you get lucky with a warm week, you probably won’t need them. And if you are brave enough to jump into the hot tub out on the deck or use the pool and waterslides, you will probably want to cover up and duck inside as soon as you get out of the water.
  • Straightening iron / curling iron / hair dryer — unless you really want to get dressed up for dinner, I would suggest leaving your straightening and curling iron at home. When you walk on deck, your hair is going to whip around in the wind. Also when you are outside, the rain or humidity will bring on the frizz. Plus you are likely going to have a hat on for part of the day. So do yourself a favor and just put your hair up and leave the products at home. If you really like to have your hair looking nice, go ahead and bring them or book an appointment at the salon, just be prepared to fight the mist, wind, and rain to keep your do looking fresh.

What do I pack for an Alaskan Cruise?

Looking for a full Alaska cruise packing list? Check out my full guide on what to pack for an Alaskan cruise and download a printable packing list! I hope you have a great trip and I’d love to hear if you found something to suggest or add to this list!

Source https://www.seemamago.com/what-to-wear-on-an-alaskan-cruise/

Source https://we3travel.com/what-to-wear-on-an-alaskan-cruise/

Source https://we3travel.com/what-to-wear-on-an-alaskan-cruise/

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