How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise

It’s time to set sail on your much-anticipated May Alaska cruise, and you’re wondering what to pack in your suitcase. The weather can be unpredictable in Alaska during this time of year, so it’s important to be prepared for a variety of conditions. From layered clothing options to waterproof gear, this article will guide you through the essentials of how to dress for your adventure on the high seas in May.

How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise

Choosing the Right Attire for an Alaska Cruise in May

Planning what to wear for an Alaska cruise in May can be quite a task, especially when you have to consider the unpredictable weather conditions and the variety of activities and excursions available. However, with a little research and preparation, you can ensure that you are both comfortable and stylish during your cruise. Here are some tips to help you choose the right attire for an Alaska cruise in May.

Research the Weather Conditions

Before you start packing your bags, it’s crucial to research the weather conditions in Alaska during the month of May. While it may be springtime in other parts of the world, Alaska can still experience chilly temperatures and even snowfall during this time. It’s important to find out the average temperatures, precipitation levels, and wind conditions to get a better idea of what to expect. This will help you pack accordingly and ensure that you have the right clothing to stay warm and dry throughout your cruise.

Consider the Activities and Excursions

Another important factor to consider when choosing your attire is the activities and excursions you plan to participate in during your Alaska cruise. Alaska offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife watching, which may require specific clothing and gear. It’s essential to research the activities you’re interested in and find out if there are any specific dress requirements or recommendations. This will help you pack the appropriate clothing and accessories to fully enjoy your planned adventures.

Pack Layering Options

Layering is key when it comes to dressing for an Alaska cruise in May. The weather can be quite unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from chilly to mild throughout the day. By packing a variety of clothing options, you can easily adjust your attire based on the weather conditions and your comfort level. Layering also allows you to add or remove clothing as needed, ensuring that you stay comfortable throughout the day. Now, let’s take a closer look at the clothing essentials you should consider packing for your Alaska cruise in May.

How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise

Clothing Essentials for an Alaska Cruise in May

Waterproof Outerwear

Alaska is known for its breathtaking scenery and stunning landscapes, but it’s also known for its rainfall. To stay dry and protect yourself from the elements, it’s essential to pack waterproof outerwear. A high-quality rain jacket or a waterproof shell will serve as your first line of defense against rain, snow, and wind. Look for jackets with adjustable hoods and sealed seams to ensure maximum protection. Investing in waterproof pants or a rain poncho is also a wise choice.

Insulated Jacket or Fleece

While May in Alaska may bring milder temperatures, it’s still important to bring a warm insulated jacket or fleece. Layering a lightweight insulated jacket or fleece under your waterproof outerwear will provide additional warmth when necessary. Opt for jackets that are lightweight and easy to pack, so you can easily toss them into your bag when you don’t need them.

Long-Sleeve Shirts

Long-sleeve shirts are a versatile and practical option for an Alaska cruise in May. They provide protection from both cool temperatures and the sun’s rays, and can easily be layered under your jacket or fleece. Look for shirts made from moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day. Pack a mix of lightweight and slightly heavier long-sleeve shirts to cater to varying weather conditions.

Comfortable Pants

Comfortable pants are a must for any cruise, and an Alaska cruise is no exception. Opt for pants made from quick-drying and breathable fabrics, such as nylon or polyester blends. These materials will not only keep you comfortable but also dry quickly if you happen to encounter rain or snow. Choose pants that allow for ease of movement, such as cargo pants or hiking pants, as you may be engaging in outdoor activities that require flexibility.

Jeans or Denim

Including a pair of jeans or denim in your suitcase is always a safe bet, as they are versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Jeans provide an extra layer of warmth, making them an excellent choice for cooler days. However, keep in mind that jeans may not be the best option if they get wet, as they take longer to dry compared to other materials. It’s always a good idea to pack a backup pair of quick-drying pants just in case.

Base Layers

Base layers are a secret weapon when it comes to staying warm and comfortable in cold conditions. These thin, moisture-wicking garments are designed to be worn next to your skin and provide excellent insulation. They regulate your body temperature by wicking away moisture and retaining heat. Consider packing both long-sleeve and short-sleeve base layers to accommodate different weather conditions.

Swimwear and Cover-ups

Don’t forget to pack your swimwear for the Alaska cruise! While you may picture Alaska as a cold destination, many cruise ships offer heated pools and hot tubs for passengers to enjoy. Having a swimsuit on hand will allow you to take advantage of these amenities and relax in the warm water while taking in the stunning views. Additionally, pack a stylish cover-up or wrap to throw on when you’re heading to or from the pool or hot tub.

Gloves, Hats, and Scarves

Protecting your extremities is crucial during an Alaska cruise in May, as the temperatures can still be quite chilly. Pack a pair of warm gloves, a beanie or hat, and a scarf to keep your hands, head, and neck warm. Consider choosing gloves that are touchscreen-friendly, so you can easily use your phone or camera without having to remove them. Hats with ear flaps or scarves with built-in neck warmers are also excellent options to provide extra warmth and protection.

Comfortable Shoes

Having comfortable shoes is essential for any cruise, but it becomes even more crucial for an Alaska cruise where you may be walking on uneven surfaces or participating in outdoor activities. Opt for sturdy, supportive shoes that provide excellent traction. Waterproof or water-resistant shoes are also recommended, as you may encounter wet or muddy conditions during your excursions. Make sure to break in your shoes before the cruise to avoid any discomfort or blisters.

Formal/Evening Attire

While Alaska cruises are generally known for their casual dress code, it’s important to consider any formal or evening events that may take place during your cruise. Some cruise lines have formal nights or special events that require slightly dressier attire. Packing a few formal outfits, such as a dress or a suit, will ensure that you’re prepared for any event that may arise. However, keep in mind that comfort is still key, so choose formal wear that is both stylish and comfortable to wear.

How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise

Accessories and Essentials for an Alaska Cruise in May

In addition to clothing, there are several accessories and essentials that will enhance your Alaska cruise experience. These items will help you capture beautiful memories, stay hydrated, and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Here are some accessories and essentials to consider packing for your Alaska cruise in May.


Alaska is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, with opportunities to see majestic creatures such as whales, bears, and bald eagles. Packing a pair of binoculars will allow you to get a closer look at these incredible animals and capture moments that you may otherwise miss. Look for compact and lightweight binoculars that are easy to carry around. Having a pair of binoculars will enhance your wildlife viewing experience and make it even more memorable.


An Alaska cruise offers stunning landscapes and breathtaking views that you’ll want to capture and cherish forever. Don’t forget to bring a high-quality camera to document your journey. Whether you prefer a DSLR camera or a compact point-and-shoot, having a camera with you will ensure that you can capture the beauty of Alaska in all its glory. Consider bringing extra memory cards and batteries to avoid running out of storage or power during your cruise.

Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re exploring the outdoors and participating in activities. Pack a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Look for one that is lightweight and easy to carry, and preferably insulated to keep your water cool. Most cruise ships have water stations where you can refill your bottle, reducing the amount of single-use plastic waste generated during your trip.

Sunscreen and Sunglasses

Even though it may not be the peak of summer, sun protection is still vital during an Alaska cruise in May. The sun’s rays can be strong, especially when reflecting off glaciers and snow-covered landscapes. Pack a high SPF sunscreen and make sure to apply it regularly, especially on exposed areas such as your face, arms, and neck. Don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare and prevent any damage.

Insect Repellent

While Alaska is not known for its insects, it’s always a good idea to pack insect repellent, especially if you plan on participating in outdoor activities or exploring wooded areas. Mosquitoes and other biting insects can still be present, and it’s better to be prepared than suffer from itchy mosquito bites. Choose a repellent that is effective against mosquitoes and ticks, and follow the application instructions carefully.

Backpack or Daypack

Having a backpack or daypack is essential for carrying your essentials during your excursions and activities. Look for a backpack that is comfortable to wear and has enough storage space for your camera, water bottle, extra layers, and other personal belongings. Choose one that is water-resistant or comes with a rain cover to protect your belongings in case of rainfall. Having a backpack will ensure that you have everything you need within reach while keeping your hands free.

Travel Adapter

If you’re traveling from a different country, it’s important to pack a travel adapter to ensure that you can charge your electronic devices. Alaska uses the same electrical outlets as the rest of the United States, which have a voltage of 120V and a frequency of 60Hz. Make sure to check the voltage and frequency requirements of your devices and bring the appropriate travel adapter to avoid any issues.

Medications and First Aid Supplies

It’s always a good idea to pack any necessary medications and a basic first aid kit for your cruise. Make sure to bring any prescription medications you may need, as well as over-the-counter medications for common ailments such as headaches, motion sickness, and allergies. It’s also wise to include items such as band-aids, antiseptic ointment, and pain relievers in your first aid kit. While cruise ships have medical facilities onboard, having these essentials readily available can save you time and discomfort.

How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise

Tips for Dressing and Packing for an Alaska Cruise in May

Now that you have a better idea of what to wear and pack for an Alaska cruise in May, let’s explore some useful tips to help you make the most out of your clothing choices and ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Opt for Waterproof and Quick-Drying Materials

Given Alaska’s unpredictable weather, it’s essential to choose clothing made from waterproof and quick-drying materials. This will keep you dry and comfortable, even if you encounter rain or snow during your excursions. Fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and Gore-Tex are excellent choices, as they repel moisture and dry quickly when wet. Avoid packing cotton clothing, as it tends to absorb water and takes a long time to dry, leaving you feeling cold and uncomfortable.

Focus on Comfort and Function

While it’s important to look stylish during your cruise, comfort and functionality should be your top priorities. Alaska cruises offer plenty of outdoor activities and excursions, which may require active movement and flexibility. Choose clothing and shoes that allow you to move freely and comfortably, without compromising on style. Opt for breathable materials, adjustable features, and stretchy fabrics to ensure maximum comfort throughout the day.

Bring a Variety of Layering Options

Layering is key when it comes to dressing for an Alaska cruise in May. As mentioned earlier, the weather can fluctuate throughout the day, so having a variety of layering options will allow you to adjust your attire accordingly. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a long-sleeve shirt or a fleece for warmth, and top it off with a waterproof outer layer. This way, you can easily add or remove layers as needed, ensuring that you stay comfortable in any weather condition.

Pack Light and Efficiently

When packing for any cruise, it’s important to pack light and efficiently. Alaska cruises typically offer laundry facilities onboard, so you don’t need to pack enough clothing for the entire duration of your trip. Instead, focus on packing versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Stick to a neutral color palette, as it allows for easy coordination and makes it easier to pack fewer items. Also, consider wearing your bulkiest items, such as your waterproof jacket or shoes, during travel to save space in your suitcase.

Consider the Cruise Line’s Dress Code

While Alaska cruises tend to have a more casual dress code compared to other destinations, it’s still important to consider the specific guidelines set by your cruise line. Some cruise lines may have specific dress codes for certain areas or dining venues, especially in the evenings. Make sure to check the cruise line’s website or contact them directly to get accurate information about their dress code policy. This will help you pack the appropriate attire for any formal or special events that may take place during your cruise.

Check for any Specific Dress Requirements

In addition to the cruise line’s dress code, it’s also important to check for any specific dress requirements for the activities and excursions you plan to participate in. For example, some hiking trails may require closed-toe shoes, while certain wildlife viewing excursions may require muted or camouflage clothing. Research the requirements or recommendations for each activity beforehand, and pack accordingly. This will ensure that you’re prepared and ready to fully enjoy every aspect of your Alaska cruise.

Bring Extra Socks and Undergarments

It’s always a good idea to pack extra pairs of socks and undergarments for your Alaska cruise. This is especially important if you plan on participating in outdoor activities or excursions that may involve getting wet or sweaty. Having clean and dry socks and undergarments will keep you comfortable and help prevent any skin irritation or discomfort. Pack enough pairs to last the duration of your cruise, plus a few extras, just in case.

Wear Sunscreen and Protect Yourself from the Sun

Even though it may not be the height of summer, the sun can still be quite strong in Alaska, especially when reflecting off snow and glaciers. Apply sunscreen generously, and make sure to choose a high SPF and reapply as needed throughout the day. Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is crucial to prevent sunburns and long-term skin damage. Additionally, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection to shield your face and eyes from the sun’s harmful effects.

Stay Hydrated and Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is essential during your Alaska cruise, regardless of the weather conditions. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when participating in outdoor activities or excursions. Dehydration can happen quickly, and it can lead to fatigue, headaches, and other discomforts. Having a reusable water bottle handy will remind you to drink regularly and make it easy to stay hydrated.

Pack Proper Gear for Outdoor Activities

If you plan on participating in outdoor activities or excursions during your Alaska cruise, it’s important to pack the proper gear. This may include items such as hiking boots, waterproof bags, trekking poles, or even specialized equipment for activities like kayaking or fishing. Research the specific requirements for each activity, and make sure to pack the necessary gear to fully enjoy your adventures. If you don’t have the required gear, some cruise lines offer gear rental services onboard, so you can still participate in the activities without bringing your own equipment.

In conclusion, dressing and packing for an Alaska cruise in May requires careful consideration of the weather conditions, activities, and excursions. By researching the weather, packing layering options, and focusing on comfort and function, you can ensure that you’re ready for any adventure that comes your way. Don’t forget to pack essential accessories such as binoculars, a camera, and a reusable water bottle to enhance your cruise experience. Follow these tips, and you’ll be prepared to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Alaska in comfort and style.

How To Dress For May Alaska Cruise