What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May

Heading off on an Alaska cruise in May? As you embark on this breathtaking adventure, it’s important to ensure you have all the essentials packed for this unique destination. From layers to protect you from the changing temperatures to gear for outdoor activities and must-have accessories, we’ve got you covered with everything you’ll need to make the most of your Alaskan experience. So, grab your suitcase and get ready to make unforgettable memories in this beautiful part of the world.

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May


When it comes to what to pack for an Alaska cruise in May, layering is key. The weather can be quite unpredictable, ranging from cool temperatures to sudden rain showers. By layering your clothing, you can easily adjust to changes in the weather throughout the day. Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry and comfortable. On top of that, add a mid-layer such as a fleece or sweater for extra warmth. Finally, don’t forget to pack a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from rain and chilly winds.

For casual wear during your Alaska cruise, opt for comfortable and versatile clothing. Pack a few pairs of jeans or trousers that you can easily mix and match with different tops. T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, and lightweight sweaters are great options that can be layered. Don’t forget to bring a couple of warm sweaters or hoodies for cooler evenings on the ship or during shore excursions.

If you’re planning to attend formal events or dinners during your Alaska cruise, it’s important to pack appropriate formal wear. Most cruise lines have specific dress codes for these occasions, so make sure to check beforehand. For men, a suit or tuxedo, along with dress shirts and ties, is usually required. Women can opt for elegant dresses, cocktail dresses, or dress pantsuits. Don’t forget to pack a pair of comfortable dress shoes to complete your formal attire.

When it comes to footwear, comfort and versatility are key. Pack a pair of sturdy walking shoes or sneakers for shore excursions and exploring ports of call. It’s also a good idea to bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops for lounging by the pool or walking on the ship’s deck. If you plan on more adventurous activities like hiking, consider bringing a pair of hiking boots with good traction and ankle support.

Accessories can enhance your overall cruise experience and provide practicality. Don’t forget to bring a hat to protect you from the sun, along with sunglasses and sunscreen to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. A small backpack or tote bag can be handy for carrying essentials during shore excursions. Additionally, packing a scarf or shawl can be useful for layering or protecting yourself from the cold when out on deck.

Outdoor Gear

As you embark on your Alaska cruise in May, it’s important to be prepared for the unique outdoor experiences that await you. In terms of rain gear, pack a lightweight and waterproof jacket or raincoat to protect yourself from the occasional showers. It’s also a good idea to bring waterproof pants and a poncho to ensure you stay dry during outdoor activities.

If you’re planning on indulging in some hiking during your Alaska cruise, make sure to pack suitable hiking gear. Sturdy hiking boots with good traction are essential, along with comfortable moisture-wicking socks. Don’t forget to bring a day backpack to carry your essentials, such as water bottles, snacks, a map, and a compass. Dress in layers so you can adjust your clothing as you work up a sweat or the temperature changes.

For nature enthusiasts, binoculars are a must-have item on an Alaska cruise. Spotting wildlife, such as bald eagles, whales, and bears, is a highlight of any Alaskan adventure. Invest in a good pair of binoculars to enhance your wildlife viewing experience. They will allow you to get a closer look at these magnificent creatures and appreciate their beauty.

If you’re a photography enthusiast, packing the right camera equipment is essential. Alaska’s stunning landscapes and wildlife provide countless opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots. Consider bringing a DSLR camera or a high-quality point-and-shoot camera with a zoom lens. Make sure to pack extra memory cards, batteries, and a tripod to ensure you’re always ready to capture that perfect shot.

Alaska is known for its abundant insect population, especially during the summer months. To protect yourself from pesky mosquito bites, packing insect repellent is essential. Look for a repellent that contains DEET for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing can help prevent insects from being attracted to you.

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May

Personal Care

Taking care of your personal hygiene and health during your Alaska cruise is important for a comfortable and enjoyable trip. Bring a travel-sized toiletry kit containing essentials such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and any other personal care items you may need. Many cruise ships provide basic toiletries, but it’s always a good idea to have your own on hand.

If you take any medications, make sure to pack an ample supply to last for the duration of your cruise. It’s also a good idea to bring a small first aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, antacids, and any other medications you may need. Consult with your doctor before your trip to ensure you have all the necessary prescriptions and medical advice.

The sun can be quite strong in Alaska, even in May, so don’t forget to pack sunscreen. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply it generously and reapply frequently, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. Additionally, bring a lip balm with SPF to keep your lips moisturized and protected from the sun.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, packing remedies such as motion sickness bands or over-the-counter medications can greatly alleviate any discomfort. Consult with your doctor to determine the best solution for you. It’s also a good idea to avoid heavy meals before sailing and to maintain a balanced diet throughout your trip to minimize the risk of motion sickness.

Finally, don’t forget to pack a small first aid kit with basic medical supplies. Include items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers, and any prescription medications you may need. This first aid kit will come in handy in case of minor injuries or ailments during your Alaska cruise.

Documents and Money

Ensuring you have all the necessary documents and money is crucial for a smooth and hassle-free Alaska cruise in May. Don’t forget to pack your passport, as it is the most important document you’ll need for international travel. Make sure it is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your cruise. Keep it in a safe and easily accessible place, such as a passport holder or a secure pocket.

If you plan on renting a car or participating in certain activities during your Alaska cruise, having your driver’s license with you is essential. Make sure it is valid and readily accessible. Having a photocopy of your driver’s license as a backup is also a great idea in case your original document gets lost or stolen.

Cruise tickets are a staple when it comes to what to pack for an Alaska cruise in May. Ensure you have printed copies or electronic versions of your cruise tickets readily available. It’s a good idea to keep them in a secure and easily accessible place, such as a travel wallet or a dedicated folder in your email inbox.

When it comes to money, credit cards are widely accepted on cruise ships and in most ports of call. Make sure to bring at least two credit cards and inform the issuers about your travel plans to avoid any potential complications. It’s also advisable to bring some cash, especially small bills, for tipping, small purchases, or in case of emergencies.

Carrying a small amount of cash in the local currency of the ports you’ll be visiting can be convenient for small purchases or situations where credit cards might not be accepted. However, avoid carrying large sums of cash and keep your money secure at all times.

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May

Electronics and Gadgets

In today’s digital age, electronics and gadgets have become essential travel companions. When packing for your Alaska cruise in May, make sure to bring these essential items.

Your cell phone is a must-have device that will keep you connected and provide various useful functions throughout your cruise. Make sure to bring your charger and any necessary adapters to ensure you can charge your phone while onboard or in port. However, keep in mind that cellular coverage might be limited or expensive, so it’s wise to check with your provider beforehand.

Chargers for all your electronic devices are essential to keep them powered throughout your Alaska cruise. Don’t forget to pack chargers for your cell phone, camera, and any other gadgets you plan on bringing. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra charging cable or portable power bank, especially if you’ll be using your electronics frequently.

If you enjoy photography, packing a camera is a must. Whether you prefer a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a high-quality point-and-shoot, make sure to bring the necessary lenses, batteries, memory cards, and a tripod. Capture the breathtaking landscapes and memorable moments of your Alaska cruise in May.

In addition to binoculars for wildlife viewing, consider bringing a small pair of binoculars for general use. They can enhance your overall experience, allowing you to observe the magnificence of Alaska’s scenery, wildlife, and even glaciers from afar.


While an Alaska cruise offers countless opportunities for adventure and exploration, it’s also important to have some downtime and entertainment options. Packing a few books and magazines can be a great way to relax and escape into different worlds during your cruise. Choose genres and authors that interest you, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or travel-related literature.

Travel games are a fantastic way to keep yourself entertained during the cruise. Compact board games, card games, and puzzle books can provide hours of fun, whether you’re playing by yourself or with fellow passengers. Look for travel-sized versions to save space in your luggage.

Playing cards are a classic and versatile form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by individuals or groups. They’re easy to pack and can be used for a variety of card games. You never know when a game of poker, rummy, or solitaire might come in handy during your Alaska cruise.

If you enjoy listening to music, consider bringing a portable music player or an iPod loaded with your favorite tunes. It can be a great companion while relaxing on deck or during long flights. Don’t forget to bring a pair of comfortable headphones to ensure a high-quality listening experience while also respecting the peace and privacy of other passengers.

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May

Health and Safety

Taking care of your health and safety should be a top priority when packing for an Alaska cruise in May. Consider the following items to ensure a worry-free journey.

If you require prescription medications, make sure to pack enough for the entire duration of your cruise, along with a few extra days in case of unexpected delays. It’s wise to keep your medications in their original containers with clear labels to avoid any potential issues with customs. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a copy of your prescriptions as a precaution.

As previously mentioned in the outdoor gear section, Alaska is known for its insect population. Packing insect repellent is essential for protection against annoying mosquitoes and other insects. Look for a repellent that contains DEET and follow the instructions on the packaging. Applying it to exposed skin and clothing can greatly reduce the risk of insect bites.

Accidents and minor injuries can happen anywhere, including on a cruise. Packing a small first aid kit with basic medical supplies is a wise decision. Include items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers, and any necessary prescription medications. It’s better to be prepared in case of minor emergencies.

Travel insurance provides an extra layer of protection in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. Consider purchasing travel insurance before your Alaska cruise to ensure peace of mind and financial security throughout your journey. Review the terms and coverage options carefully to choose a policy that suits your needs.

In case of emergencies, having your emergency contact information readily available is crucial. Write down the contact details of a trusted friend or family member who can be reached in case of an emergency. Keep this information in your wallet or on your phone for easy access.


In addition to the essentials mentioned above, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your comfort and convenience during your Alaska cruise in May.

A reusable water bottle is an eco-friendly and practical addition to your packing list. Staying hydrated is important, especially in the cool and dry climate of Alaska. Fill up your water bottle before leaving the ship for shore excursions to ensure you have access to drinking water throughout the day.

Packing some snacks can be a lifesaver, especially during long excursions or when you simply need a quick pick-me-up. Choose non-perishable snacks that can withstand different weather conditions and provide the necessary energy. Granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit are great options.

Ziplock bags are incredibly versatile and useful for travel. They can be used to separate and organize various items in your luggage, such as toiletries, electronics, snacks, or wet clothing. They can also come in handy for storing small souvenirs, protecting important documents from water damage, or keeping your dirty laundry separate from clean clothes.

A laundry bag can keep your dirty clothes separate and prevent them from mingling with the rest of your luggage. Choose a lightweight and compact bag that can easily fit in your suitcase. It can also help you stay organized throughout your trip, making packing and unpacking hassle-free.

A travel pillow can significantly enhance your comfort, especially during long flights or bus rides to and from the cruise ship. Look for a portable and inflatable pillow that can be easily deflated and packed when not in use. It can provide much-needed neck and head support, ensuring a restful sleep during your journey.

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In May

Optional Gear

While not essential, the following items can enhance your experience during an Alaska cruise in May if you have the space and desire to bring them.

In addition to the previously mentioned binoculars for wildlife viewing, consider bringing a second pair for different purposes. A smaller and more portable pair can be useful for general observation and enjoying the scenic landscapes from the ship or during shore excursions.

If photography is one of your passions, consider bringing additional camera equipment to capture Alaska’s beauty in even more detail. Lenses, filters, a tripod, and other accessories can enhance your photography skills and allow you to capture breathtaking shots of wildlife, landscapes, and glaciers.

If you’re an avid fisherman or simply want to try your hand at fishing during your Alaska cruise, consider bringing your own fishing equipment. Research the fishing regulations and opportunities at each port of call to ensure you have the necessary permits and licenses. Keep in mind that some cruise lines provide fishing equipment for rent or offer fishing excursions.

Trekking poles can provide stability and assistance during hikes or walks on uneven terrain. They can reduce stress on your joints and improve balance, especially when navigating through rocky or slippery surfaces. Make sure to choose lightweight and collapsible poles that can be easily packed when not in use.

If you’re planning on participating in water activities or exploring glaciers up close, consider bringing a waterproof backpack. It will keep your belongings dry, allowing you to focus on the adventure without worries. Look for a backpack with waterproof zippers and sealed seams for maximum protection.

Tips and Suggestions

Here are some helpful tips and suggestions to consider when packing for an Alaska cruise in May:

  1. Check the weather forecast before your trip to get an idea of the expected temperatures and conditions during your cruise. This will help you determine the appropriate clothing and gear to pack.

  2. Use packing cubes to keep your clothing organized and maximize the space in your suitcase. They will help you find items quickly and make packing and unpacking a breeze.

  3. Pack versatile clothing that can be easily mixed and matched to create different outfits. This will allow you to pack lighter while still having plenty of outfit options.

  4. Consider the dress codes of your cruise line and plan accordingly for formal events. Bring appropriate attire, such as suits or cocktail dresses, to ensure you’re prepared for any formal occasions.

  5. Keep your valuables secure by using a safe deposit box in your cabin or carrying a small portable safe. Don’t forget to pack a sturdy lock for added security.

By following these tips and suggestions, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable Alaska cruise in May. Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, wildlife encounters, and unique experiences that await you on this incredible journey.