How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May

Thinking about going on an Alaska cruise in May? With breathtaking glaciers, stunning wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery, it’s no wonder why this destination is a favorite among travelers. But before you set sail on your adventure, it’s crucial to make sure you pack everything you need to stay comfortable and prepared for any weather conditions. In this article, you’ll find essential tips and tricks to help you pack smart for your Alaskan cruise, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. From layering clothes to packing the right accessories, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive into the details of how to pack for an Alaska cruise in May.



When packing for an Alaska cruise in May, it’s important to prepare for a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. Layering is key to staying comfortable throughout your trip. Start with a lightweight base layer made of moisture-wicking material, like merino wool or synthetic fibers. This will help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry. Over this, add a mid-layer such as a fleece or sweater for insulation. Finally, top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from rain and chilly winds. With this layering system, you can easily adjust your clothing according to the changing weather.

Warm Weather Clothing

While Alaska may be known for its cool temperatures, May can bring some surprisingly warm days. To prepare, pack a few items of lightweight and breathable clothing, such as t-shirts, shorts, and skirts. Opt for materials like cotton or linen that will keep you cool and comfortable in the sun. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit if your cruise ship has a pool or if you plan to visit any hot springs along the way.

Cool Weather Clothing

Even though May is technically springtime, Alaska can still experience chilly temperatures, especially in the mornings and evenings. Be sure to pack long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and pants to stay warm during cooler days. Consider packing thermal underwear or leggings for extra insulation. Additionally, a lightweight and packable down jacket or vest can provide excellent warmth without taking up too much space in your luggage.

Formal Attire

Many Alaska cruises have formal nights, so be sure to pack some dressier clothes for these occasions. A cocktail dress or a nice suit for men is suitable for most cruise ship dress codes. Pack dress shoes to complete your formal attire. It’s always a good idea to check with your cruise line ahead of time to see if they have any specific dress requirements for formal nights.


Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable footwear is essential for exploring the various excursions and ports of call on your Alaska cruise. Choose shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for walking long distances. Sneakers or walking shoes are a good choice, as they offer comfort and stability. Make sure to break in your shoes before your trip to avoid discomfort or blisters.

Hiking Boots

If you plan on participating in any hiking or outdoor activities during your cruise, don’t forget to pack a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Look for boots that provide ankle support and have good traction on different terrains. Waterproof or water-resistant boots are also recommended in case you encounter wet or muddy conditions during your hikes.


While sandals may not be your go-to footwear choice in Alaska, it’s always good to have a pair for lounging around the cruise ship or relaxing on deck. Opt for sandals with adjustable straps and cushioned soles for maximum comfort. You can also choose a pair that doubles as water shoes, allowing you to explore rocky shorelines or participate in water-based activities without worrying about slipping or hurting your feet.

Waterproof Boots

Alaska’s unpredictable weather means that rain is a possibility, even in May. To keep your feet dry and comfortable, pack a pair of waterproof boots. Look for boots that are specifically designed to resist water and provide insulation. These boots will come in handy during rainy days or when exploring areas with wet or damp conditions.

How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May


Rain Gear

As mentioned earlier, May in Alaska can bring unpredictable weather, so it’s essential to pack rain gear to stay dry. A lightweight and packable rain jacket with a hood is a must-have item. It’s also worth considering rain pants or a rain poncho to ensure full coverage in case of heavy downpours. A small umbrella can also come in handy to protect you from rain showers during shore excursions.

Sun Protection

Even though Alaska is known for its cooler temperatures, the sun can still be intense, especially when reflecting off the water or snow. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. It’s also a good idea to bring lip balm with SPF and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun.


A hat is a versatile accessory that can provide both sun protection and warmth. Pack a lightweight, wide-brimmed hat to shield your face from the sun’s rays. Additionally, consider bringing a beanie or a warm hat to keep your head warm during cooler days or when visiting higher elevations.


Protecting your eyes from the sun’s glare is important, especially when surrounded by snow or water. Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses that offer UV protection. This will help reduce eye strain and protect your eyes from harmful sun rays. Choose a durable and lightweight pair that fits well and provides adequate coverage.



Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is crucial, even in Alaska. Pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to ensure full coverage. Apply it generously and frequently, especially on exposed areas like your face, arms, and legs. Don’t forget to pack travel-sized sunscreen for reapplication during shore excursions.

Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be present in certain areas of Alaska, particularly during spring and summer. Pack a reliable insect repellent containing DEET or another effective ingredient. Apply it to exposed skin and clothing according to the product instructions to keep those pesky bugs at bay.


If you take any prescription medications, be sure to pack an ample supply to last throughout your cruise. It’s also a good idea to carry a small first aid kit with essentials like pain relievers, antihistamines, and any other medications you may need. If you have specific medical conditions, consult your healthcare provider before your trip for any additional recommendations or precautions.

Personal Hygiene Products

Don’t forget to pack your usual personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, and any other items you use on a daily basis. While most cruise ships provide basic toiletries, it’s always more comfortable to use products you are familiar with. Consider using travel-sized containers or refillable bottles to save space in your luggage.

How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May

Outdoor Gear


Alaska is known for its breathtaking wildlife and scenic landscapes. To fully appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, pack a pair of binoculars. Look for compact and lightweight binoculars with good magnification to bring distant landscapes and wildlife up close. You’ll be grateful to have them when spotting whales, eagles, and other wildlife from the deck of your cruise ship or during shore excursions.


A sturdy backpack is a must-have item for any outdoor activities or excursions you may participate in during your cruise. Look for a backpack with multiple compartments and comfortable shoulder straps. This will allow you to carry essential items like water bottles, snacks, extra layers, and your camera conveniently and comfortably.


Capture the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife encounters by bringing a quality camera. Whether you prefer a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a compact point-and-shoot, make sure to pack extra batteries and memory cards. You never know when you might find that perfect shot.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential, especially when exploring outdoor destinations. Pack a reusable water bottle to ensure you have access to drinking water wherever you go. Look for a durable, insulated bottle that can keep your beverages cold for extended periods.


Phone and Charger

Your phone is not only essential for communication but also as a tool for capturing and documenting your Alaska cruise experience. Don’t forget to pack your phone charger, as well as any additional charging cables or accessories you may need. Consider downloading useful travel apps in advance, such as GPS maps or language translation tools, to enhance your trip.

Camera and Charger

In addition to your phone camera, bring a dedicated camera to capture high-quality photos and videos. Whether you prefer a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or a compact point-and-shoot, make sure to pack extra batteries, memory cards, and a charger. It’s always a good idea to bring a portable backup charger for your camera batteries as well.

Portable Battery Charger

With all the electronic devices we carry nowadays, having a portable battery charger is incredibly useful. It will ensure that you can recharge your phone or camera when you’re on the go, especially during long days of exploration or when outlets may not be readily available. Look for a charger with multiple USB ports and a high capacity to keep all your devices powered up.

Electrical Adapters

If you’re traveling from a country with different electrical outlets, make sure to pack the necessary electrical adapters. This will allow you to plug in your devices and charge them without any issues. Research the type of electrical outlets used in Alaska beforehand to ensure you have the correct adapters.

How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May


Travel Documents

When embarking on an Alaska cruise, it’s essential to have all the necessary travel documents easily accessible. This includes your passport (if traveling internationally), driver’s license or ID, cruise itinerary, boarding passes, and any other documents provided by your cruise line. Keep these documents in a secure and waterproof travel organizer or folder for easy access.

Cash and Credit Cards

While many places in Alaska accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially for smaller establishments or tips. Be sure to have a mix of small bills for convenience. Additionally, notify your bank or credit card company about your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with card usage during your trip.


Having some snacks on hand can be a lifesaver, especially during long excursions or for those times when you’re feeling hungry between meals. Pack some non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix, or dried fruit to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Just be mindful of any food restrictions or local regulations regarding bringing food into certain areas.

Laundry Bag

Keeping your clean and dirty clothes separate is essential for staying organized during your trip. Pack a lightweight laundry bag or a waterproof dry bag to store your dirty laundry. This will prevent any unpleasant odors from spreading to your clean clothes and make it easier to sort and manage your laundry when you return home.

First Aid


Minor cuts, blisters, and scrapes can happen during outdoor activities or day-to-day adventures. Pack a supply of adhesive band-aids in different sizes to take care of any minor injuries that may occur. It’s better to be prepared and address any small issues before they become bigger problems.

Pain Relievers

Headaches, muscle aches, or any other kind of pain can strike at any time. Bring a small supply of pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate discomfort. However, always read the instructions and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health conditions or take other medications.

Motion Sickness Medication

If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s a good idea to pack some motion sickness medication. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to find the best option for you. Whether it’s over-the-counter medication or prescription medication, having it on hand can provide relief and allow you to fully enjoy your Alaska cruise experience.

Prescription Medications

If you take any prescription medications, be sure to pack an ample supply to last throughout your entire trip. It’s a good idea to bring extra, just in case of any unexpected delays or itinerary changes. Keep your medications in their original labeled containers and don’t forget to bring a copy of your prescription in case any issues arise.

How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May



Pack some books to keep you entertained during downtime or when relaxing on the deck of your cruise ship. Whether you prefer novels, travel guides, or non-fiction, choose books that you’ll enjoy and that will enhance your Alaska cruise experience. Consider packing a mix of paperback books and e-books to save space in your luggage.


Magazines are a great option for shorter bursts of entertainment. They are lightweight and easy to flip through during your downtime. Choose magazines that align with your interests, whether it’s travel, nature, or your favorite hobbies. They can provide inspiration and relaxation while on your Alaska cruise.

Playing Cards

Playing cards are a versatile and compact form of entertainment that can be enjoyed alone or with others. They are perfect for playing a variety of games, from solitaire to poker, during your downtime or when socializing with fellow passengers. Don’t forget to bring a deck or two to keep boredom at bay.

Tablet or E-Reader

If you prefer a digital reading experience, consider bringing a tablet or e-reader. These devices allow you to carry an entire library of books in a compact and lightweight format. You can also download movies, shows, or games to keep you entertained during long travel days or when relaxing in your cabin.

Safety and Security


Protecting your belongings is essential, especially when traveling. Pack a few locks to secure your luggage, backpack, or any other bags you may be carrying. Also, consider using locks for your cruise ship cabin or hotel room to ensure extra security and peace of mind.

Copy of Important Documents

In addition to carrying your original travel documents, it’s a good idea to make copies of them and store them separately. This includes your passport, driver’s license or ID, cruise itinerary, and any other critical documents. Having copies can be helpful in case of loss or theft.

Travel Insurance Information

Travel insurance provides coverage and peace of mind in case of unexpected events, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. Make sure to bring a printed copy of your travel insurance policy with you. It should include emergency contact numbers, coverage details, and any necessary documentation for making a claim.

Emergency Contact Numbers

In case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances, it’s important to have a list of emergency contact numbers readily available. This includes important phone numbers like your country’s embassy or consulate, your travel insurance provider’s emergency hotline, and the contact information for your cruise line. Save these numbers in your phone and also carry a printed copy with you.

By following this comprehensive packing guide, you’ll be well-prepared for your Alaska cruise in May. Remember to consider the weather conditions and activities you plan to engage in while packing your essentials. With the right clothing, footwear, accessories, toiletries, and other necessary items, you’ll have a comfortable, enjoyable, and stress-free journey. Embrace the beauty of Alaska, capture lifelong memories, and relish every moment of your cruise adventure. Bon voyage!

How To Pack For Alaska Cruise In May