What To Bring On A Cruise To Alaska

Heading on a cruise to Alaska? Well, get ready for an adventure surrounded by breathtaking glaciers, stunning wildlife, and jaw-dropping landscapes. But before you set sail, it’s important to know what to pack for this unique journey. From layering essentials for unpredictable weather conditions to binoculars for spotting humpback whales, this article will provide you with all the necessary tips and tricks to ensure you’re fully prepared for the trip of a lifetime. So grab your suitcase and let’s make sure your Alaskan cruise is the experience you’ve been dreaming of.

Clothing and Accessories


When planning your wardrobe for a cruise to Alaska, it’s important to pack layers of clothing. The weather in Alaska can be unpredictable, with temperatures fluctuating throughout the day. By bringing layers, you can easily adjust to changing conditions and stay comfortable throughout your cruise. Consider packing items such as long-sleeved shirts, sweaters or fleeces, and a lightweight jacket or coat. This way, you can add or remove layers as needed to regulate your body temperature and stay cozy during your Alaskan adventure.

Waterproof Gear

Alaska is known for its breathtaking glaciers and abundant wildlife, but it’s also known for its rain. To stay dry and make the most of your outdoor excursions, be sure to pack waterproof gear. A good quality rain jacket, waterproof pants, and sturdy rain boots are essential items to keep you protected from the elements. Don’t forget to also pack a compact travel umbrella for those unexpected showers. With the right waterproof gear, you can explore the beauty of Alaska without worrying about getting drenched.

Comfortable Shoes

Exploring the ports of call in Alaska often involves walking or hiking, so comfortable shoes are a must-have. Opt for sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots that provide support and grip for various terrains. Look for shoes with waterproof or water-resistant features to keep your feet dry while venturing through wet areas. Comfortable shoes will not only make your daily excursions more enjoyable, but they will also prevent discomfort or blisters from ruining your cruise experience.


Although Alaska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of swimming or sunbathing, many cruise ships offer heated pools and hot tubs on board. Additionally, some shore excursions, such as whale watching or kayaking, may also provide opportunities for water activities. Packing a swimsuit will ensure that you can take advantage of these amenities and activities. You never know when you’ll want to take a dip or soak in a hot tub while surrounded by the stunning Alaskan scenery.

Formal Attire

Most cruise ships have at least one or two formal nights during the voyage, where passengers have the opportunity to dress up for elegant dinners and social events. Make sure to pack at least one formal outfit, such as a cocktail dress or suit, for these special occasions. It’s also a good idea to bring accessories like ties, scarves, or jewelry to add a touch of glamour to your formal attire. Additionally, check the dress code guidelines provided by your cruise line to ensure you comply with their requirements.


Accessories can enhance your cruise experience and make your time onboard and ashore more convenient. Consider bringing items like sunglasses, a hat, and a reusable water bottle. Sunglasses and a hat will not only protect you from the sun’s rays but also add style to your outfits. A reusable water bottle is a practical accessory that will keep you hydrated and help reduce waste. Additionally, you may want to bring a small backpack or tote bag for carrying essentials during your excursions. These accessories will add convenience and functionality to your journey.

Health and Personal Care

Prescription Medications

If you take prescription medications, it’s crucial to bring an ample supply for the duration of your cruise. It’s always a good idea to pack extra medication in case of any unexpected delays or changes in your travel plans. Remember to keep your medications in their original containers and bring a copy of your prescription. In case of any medical emergencies, it’s also advisable to have a list of your medications and dosages with you.

Motion Sickness Remedies

Motion sickness can affect some individuals when cruising, especially if they are not accustomed to being on a ship. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, consider packing motion sickness remedies such as over-the-counter medication, ginger candies or lozenges, acupressure wristbands, or natural remedies. It’s always better to be prepared and have these remedies readily available, even if you’ve never experienced motion sickness before.

First Aid Kit

Having a basic first aid kit is essential for any trip, including a cruise to Alaska. It should include items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, antihistamines, and any other specific medications or supplies you may need for minor injuries or ailments. While cruise ships have medical facilities onboard, having your own first aid kit will allow you to quickly address any minor issues without having to rely solely on shipboard resources.

Sunscreen and Bug Repellent

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is important, even in Alaska. The sun’s reflection off the water and glaciers can intensify its effects, so pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Additionally, Alaska is known for its mosquitoes and other biting insects, especially in certain areas. Bring a bug repellent that is effective against the local pests to ensure your outdoor adventures are not spoiled by itchy bites.


When it comes to toiletries, it’s a good idea to pack travel-sized versions of your essentials to save space. Remember to bring items such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap or body wash, and any other personal care products you use daily. It’s also a good idea to bring any special toiletries or skincare products that suit your specific needs. Cruise ships usually supply basic toiletries, but having your preferred products will ensure you have everything you need to feel refreshed throughout your voyage.

Travel Documents and Money


A valid passport is an absolute necessity for any international travel, including cruises to Alaska. Before your trip, ensure that your passport has at least six months of validity remaining. Keep your passport in a secure and easily accessible place during your journey, as you will need it for embarkation, disembarkation, and any international ports of call.


In addition to your passport, it’s always advisable to carry a secondary form of identification. This can be a driver’s license, government-issued ID, or any other identification document that is recognized and accepted. Having an extra form of ID can be helpful in situations where your passport may not be required or when you prefer not to carry your passport with you at all times.

Cruise Itinerary and Tickets

Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your cruise itinerary and tickets. These serve as important references and will help you stay organized throughout your trip. It’s also a good idea to have electronic copies of these documents saved on your phone or tablet as a backup.

Credit and Debit Cards

Ensure that you bring your credit and debit cards for your cruise. While it’s generally advisable to notify your bank and credit card company about your travel plans, it’s especially important for international travel. Informing them in advance will help prevent any unexpected blocks or holds on your card due to suspicious activity. It’s also a good idea to have more than one credit or debit card in case of any unforeseen circumstances.


While credit and debit cards are widely accepted on cruise ships and in most ports of call, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for small purchases or emergencies. Make sure to have some local currency as well, especially if you plan to explore beyond the main tourist areas. ATMs are usually available onboard cruise ships and in ports of call, but they may charge additional fees, so plan accordingly.

Electronics and Gadgets


Capturing the stunning landscapes, wildlife, and memorable moments during your Alaskan cruise is a must. Be sure to bring a camera with you to document your adventures. Whether you prefer a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or a smartphone, having a reliable camera will help you preserve the memories of your cruise for years to come. Don’t forget to pack spare batteries or a charger, as well as memory cards with sufficient storage capacity.


Alaska offers incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, and having a pair of binoculars will greatly enhance your experience. Binoculars allow you to get a closer look at the majestic whales, eagles soaring overhead, and other wildlife you encounter during your cruise. Opt for a compact and lightweight pair that is easy to carry around during your excursions.

Chargers and Adapters

With the number of electronic devices we rely on these days, it’s essential to bring chargers for your phone, camera, tablets, or any other gadgets you plan to bring. Most cruise ship cabins have outlets available, but it’s always a good idea to bring a multi-port USB charger to charge multiple devices simultaneously. Additionally, don’t forget to pack any necessary adapters or converters to ensure your chargers will work with the ship’s outlets.

Portable Power Bank

While cruise ships provide outlets in the cabins, having a portable power bank can come in handy during your shore excursions or long days exploring the ports. It will allow you to charge your devices on the go, without having to rely on finding an available outlet. A power bank with multiple USB ports will enable you to charge multiple devices simultaneously, keeping you connected and ensuring you never miss a photo opportunity.

Entertainment and Leisure

Books or E-readers

Cruising to Alaska provides ample opportunities for relaxation and leisure. Bringing a book or an e-reader is a great way to unwind while enjoying the stunning scenic views. Whether you prefer the feel of a physical book or the convenience of an e-reader, having something to read will help you pass the time during sea days or while lounging onboard.

Music and Headphones

Having your favorite music playlists or podcasts can make your cruise experience even more enjoyable. Whether you prefer to relax in your cabin or unwind on deck, having a pair of headphones will allow you to immerse yourself in your chosen audio entertainment without disturbing others. Make sure to download your favorite songs or podcasts before your journey, as Wi-Fi access can be limited or expensive onboard.

Puzzles or Games

For days when you just want to relax and have some downtime, having puzzles or games can provide entertainment and mental stimulation. Pack a deck of cards, crossword puzzles, or your favorite travel-sized board or card games to enjoy during sea days or evenings onboard. These activities can also be great for socializing and connecting with fellow passengers.

Swim or Exercise Gear

Staying active during your cruise is important, and many ships offer fitness centers, swimming pools, and even sports courts. Pack your swimwear and athletic gear, such as workout clothes, sneakers, or yoga attire, to take advantage of these facilities. Swimming, exercising, or practicing yoga are excellent ways to stay fit and refreshed during your journey.

Safety and Security

Locks for Luggage

Ensuring the safety and security of your belongings is crucial throughout your cruise. Packing locks for your luggage can provide peace of mind, especially when leaving your bags unattended. Opt for TSA-approved locks that can be easily opened by security if necessary. These locks will keep your belongings secure while still allowing easy access if needed.

Travel Insurance Documents

Having travel insurance is highly recommended for any trip, especially for cruises. Before embarking on your Alaskan adventure, make sure to bring a copy of your travel insurance documents. This will ensure that you have all the necessary information in case of any unexpected events, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage.

Emergency Contact Information

While cruise ships have reliable communication platforms, it’s always a good idea to have emergency contact information readily available. Make a note of important phone numbers, such as the cruise line’s emergency contact, your travel insurance provider, and your designated emergency contact person at home. Having this information easily accessible will enable you to quickly reach out for assistance or support if needed.

Food and Drinks

Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important during your cruise, and having a reusable water bottle can be a practical and eco-friendly solution. Most cruise ships have water refill stations available throughout the ship, allowing you to fill your bottle whenever needed. A reusable water bottle will not only help you save money on buying bottled water but will also reduce plastic waste and support sustainable travel practices.


While cruise ships offer a wide variety of dining options, having snacks on hand can come in handy during long excursions or when you simply want a quick bite. Pack some non-perishable or individually packaged snacks like granola bars, nuts, or dried fruit. These snacks can provide a quick energy boost and curb hunger when you’re away from the ship or in-between meals.

Alcohol Policies

Each cruise line has its own policies regarding bringing alcohol onboard. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your specific cruise line’s policies before packing any alcoholic beverages. Some cruise lines allow passengers to bring limited amounts of wine or champagne on board, while others may prohibit any outside alcohol. If you do choose to bring alcohol, it’s important to check if there are any associated fees or restrictions.

Extras for Excursions

Outdoor Gear (e.g. hiking boots)

Alaska is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, and packing appropriate outdoor gear will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region. If you plan on engaging in activities like hiking or exploring rugged terrains, pack appropriate outdoor gear such as hiking boots, moisture-wicking clothing, and a lightweight day backpack. Having the right gear will ensure you can fully enjoy the stunning landscapes and wildlife encounters that Alaska has to offer.

Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing

Alaska is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including whales, eagles, bears, and more. Having a pair of binoculars specifically for wildlife viewing will allow you to observe these magnificent creatures up close without disturbing their natural habitat. Look for binoculars with a good zoom capability and image stabilization for the best viewing experience.

Waterproof Bag or Dry Pouch

If you plan on participating in water-based activities like kayaking or boat tours, it’s wise to bring a waterproof bag or dry pouch to protect your belongings. These bags will keep your personal items and electronics safe and dry, even if they accidentally get submerged or splashed. It’s a simple yet effective way to ensure you can enjoy your water adventures worry-free.


Laundry Bag

Keeping your cabin organized and clutter-free is essential to fully enjoy your cruise. A laundry bag will help you separate your dirty clothes from the clean ones and keep them stored neatly until laundry services are available. Choose a lightweight and collapsible bag that won’t take up too much space in your luggage.

Travel Pillow and Blanket

For those long flights or bus rides to and from your cruise embarkation port, having a travel pillow and blanket will help you stay comfortable and well-rested. Look for compact and inflatable travel pillows that can easily be packed. A lightweight, soft blanket or wrap will also provide warmth and added comfort during your journey.

Remember, this comprehensive list is just a starting point, and you may need to tailor it to suit your personal preferences and specific cruise itinerary. Packing wisely and thoughtfully will ensure that you have everything you need for a memorable and enjoyable cruise to Alaska. So, grab your layers, waterproof gear, and all the necessary essentials, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

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