What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Are you planning an Alaska cruise and wondering what to pack? Look no further! This article will guide you through the essential clothing items you should bring along for your adventure on the high seas. Whether you’re exploring the majestic glaciers or observing wildlife in their natural habitats, dressing appropriately is crucial to make the most of your experience. From layering options to waterproof gear, we’ve got you covered so you can enjoy your Alaskan adventure in comfort and style.

What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Choosing the Right Clothing

When preparing for your Alaska cruise, it’s important to choose the right clothing that will keep you comfortable and prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your cruise wardrobe.

Consider the Season and Weather

The season and weather in Alaska can vary greatly depending on the time of year you plan to visit. Summer months typically range from June to early September and temperatures can range from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to bring a variety of clothing options to accommodate potential temperature fluctuations.

Layering is Key

Layering is essential when it comes to dressing for an Alaska cruise. By wearing multiple layers, you can easily adjust your clothing to suit changing weather conditions. It’s recommended to pack lightweight base layers, insulating mid-layers, and water-resistant or waterproof outerwear. This way, you can add or remove layers as needed to stay warm and comfortable throughout your cruise.

Opt for Moisture-Wicking Fabric

During your Alaska cruise, you may experience some rainy or damp weather. To stay dry and comfortable, opt for clothing made from moisture-wicking fabric. This type of fabric is designed to pull moisture away from your skin, helping you stay dry even in wet conditions. Look for clothing made from materials such as polyester or merino wool, which are known for their moisture-wicking properties.

Bring Waterproof and Windproof Outerwear

Since Alaska is known for its unpredictable weather, it’s important to have waterproof and windproof outerwear. A water-resistant or waterproof jacket with a hood will protect you from rain showers, while windproof layers will shield you from chilly gusts of wind. Be sure to choose outerwear that is breathable and lightweight, so you can easily layer it over your clothing without feeling too bulky.

Don’t Forget About Accessories

Accessories can make a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment during an Alaska cruise. Here are some key accessories to consider:

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes to explore onshore excursions and enjoy long walks on the ship’s deck.
  • Casual Daytime Clothing: Choose casual daytime clothing that allows you to move freely and comfortably. Opt for breathable materials and clothing suitable for outdoor activities.
  • Swimwear and Cover-Ups: If your Alaska cruise includes stops at destinations with hot springs, pools, or jacuzzis, be sure to pack swimwear and cover-ups.
  • Sunglasses and Hats: Protect your eyes and face from the bright sunlight by bringing sunglasses and hats with wide brims.
  • Backpack or Tote Bag: A small backpack or tote bag is handy for carrying essentials such as sunscreen, water bottles, and a camera, during day trips and excursions.

Daytime Attire

During the daytime on your Alaska cruise, you’ll want to be comfortable and ready for various activities. Here are some clothing items and accessories to consider for your daytime attire.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

Exploring the scenic ports of call and participating in shore excursions are some of the highlights of an Alaska cruise. To fully enjoy these activities, make sure to pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Opt for shoes with good arch support and cushioning to keep your feet happy throughout the day.

Casual Daytime Clothing

For casual daytime activities, such as sightseeing or onboard activities, choose clothing that is comfortable and suitable for outdoor adventures. Consider packing items like lightweight pants, shorts, skirts, and breathable t-shirts or blouses. Natural fabrics like cotton or linen are great options as they allow your skin to breathe.

Swimwear and Cover-Ups

If your Alaska cruise includes stops at destinations with swimming opportunities, don’t forget to bring your swimwear and cover-ups. Whether you plan to relax by the pool on the ship or take a dip in the hot springs, having swimwear on hand will ensure you don’t miss out on any fun water activities.

Sunglasses and Hats

The sun can be intense, even in Alaska. To protect your eyes and face from harmful UV rays, pack a pair of sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim. Not only will they shield you from the sun, but they will also add a stylish touch to your daytime outfits.

Backpack or Tote Bag

Carrying a small backpack or tote bag during your daytime excursions can be incredibly useful. It’s handy for keeping essentials such as sunscreen, water bottles, snacks, and a camera. Look for a bag with comfortable straps and multiple compartments to keep your belongings organized and easily accessible.

What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Evening Attire

Evenings on an Alaska cruise offer a chance to dress up and enjoy some of the ship’s more formal events. Here’s a breakdown of what to consider when choosing your evening attire.

Dress Code on Formal Nights

Many Alaska cruises have one or more formal nights, where passengers are expected to dress up for dinner and evening events. On formal nights, you’ll want to wear elegant and sophisticated attire. For women, this can mean a cocktail dress or dressy separates, paired with heels and accessorized with statement jewelry. Men should opt for a suit and tie or even a tuxedo for a more formal look.

Semi-Formal or Smart-Casual Clothing

On non-formal nights, a semi-formal or smart-casual dress code is typically observed. This gives you a bit more flexibility in your clothing choices. Women can opt for dressy pants or skirts paired with blouses or elegant tops. Men can wear dress pants or khakis with a collared shirt. It’s always better to err on the side of being slightly more dressed up rather than underdressed for evening events.

Casual Attire for Non-Formal Nights

Some evenings on your Alaska cruise may have a casual dress code, particularly if there are no formal events or special dining occasions scheduled. For these nights, you can dress in comfortable and casual clothing options. Consider packing items like jeans, pants, or skirts, paired with t-shirts or blouses. Light sweaters or cardigans are also useful for layering in case the temperature drops.

Dress in Layers for Unpredictable Temperatures

Alaska’s weather is known for its unpredictability, and evenings can often get chilly, especially when on a cruise ship. It’s a good idea to dress in layers during the evenings, so you can adjust your clothing to your comfort level. Bring a lightweight sweater or cardigan that you can easily throw on if it gets colder. Layering also allows you to remove clothing if the temperature rises or if you find yourself in a warmer indoor environment.

Outdoor Gear

Alaska’s stunning natural landscapes offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Whether you’re planning to hike, kayak, or embark on a wildlife excursion, it’s important to have the right outdoor gear with you.

Water-Resistant or Waterproof Jacket

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, and rain is always a possibility. To stay dry and comfortable during outdoor activities, bring a water-resistant or waterproof jacket. Look for one with sealed seams and a hood to fully protect you from the rain. You’ll appreciate having this essential piece of outerwear when exploring the beautiful landscapes of Alaska.

Insulating Mid-Layers

Layering is crucial for outdoor activities in Alaska, as temperatures can vary throughout the day. Insulating mid-layers, such as fleece jackets or synthetic down jackets, provide warmth and insulation without adding too much bulk. Choose mid-layers that are lightweight and easy to pack, so you can easily adjust your clothing to the changing weather conditions.

Moisture-Wicking Base Layers

Base layers are important for regulating body temperature and keeping you comfortable during outdoor activities. Opt for moisture-wicking base layers, such as thermal tops and bottoms, made from synthetic materials or merino wool. These fabrics will help keep you dry by wicking away sweat from your skin, preventing you from feeling clammy and uncomfortable.

Warm Hats and Gloves

Protecting your extremities from the cold is essential for staying comfortable during outdoor adventures. Be sure to pack warm hats and gloves to keep your head, ears, and hands warm. Opt for hats that fully cover your ears and gloves that provide insulation without hindering your dexterity. Consider bringing both lightweight gloves for milder weather and heavier gloves for colder temperatures or higher altitudes.

Sturdy Walking or Hiking Boots

Having appropriate footwear for outdoor activities is crucial. Invest in a sturdy pair of walking or hiking boots that provide good ankle support and traction. Look for boots that are waterproof or water-resistant, as you may encounter wet conditions during your Alaska cruise. It’s also a good idea to break in your boots before your trip to ensure maximum comfort and avoid blisters.

Backpack for Outdoor Activities

Explore Alaska’s stunning landscapes with ease by carrying a backpack specifically designed for outdoor activities. Choose a backpack that is lightweight, has ergonomic straps for comfort, and offers sufficient storage capacity for your essentials. It should have compartments to keep items organized and accessible, such as a water bottle holder and a designated spot for a rain cover or waterproof bag.

What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Indoor Essentials

While you’ll spend a significant amount of time enjoying the outdoor wonders of Alaska, it’s important to have comfortable and cozy clothing for indoor activities and relaxation on the cruise ship.

Comfortable and Cozy Clothing

When you’re not exploring the great outdoors, it’s important to have comfortable and cozy clothing to relax and unwind. Pack items such as soft sweatpants, hoodies, and cozy sweaters that will keep you warm and comfortable during your downtime on the ship. Opt for breathable materials like cotton or fleece that are comfortable for lounging or reading a book in your cabin.

Slippers or Cabin Shoes

Make sure to pack a pair of slippers or cabin shoes to wear inside the ship. Having a dedicated pair of footwear for indoor use will help keep your cabin clean and cozy. Look for slippers with sturdy soles that offer support and comfort for walking around the ship’s corridors.

Lightweight Robe

For added relaxation and comfort, consider packing a lightweight robe. A robe is perfect for lounging in your cabin or for a quick trip to the spa or fitness center on the ship. Look for a robe made from soft and breathable materials that won’t take up too much space in your luggage.

Comfy Loungewear or Pajamas

After a long day of exploring and enjoying Alaska’s scenic beauty, there’s nothing better than slipping into comfortable loungewear or pajamas. Pack your favorite set of cozy pajamas or lounge pants and t-shirts that allow you to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Choose fabrics that are soft, breathable, and appropriate for the indoor climate on the ship.

Formal Attire

During your Alaska cruise, you may have a few formal events or special occasions that require more formal attire. Here are some suggestions on what to pack for these formal occasions.

Cocktail Dresses or Dressy Separates

For formal evenings, women can choose to wear a cocktail dress or dressy separates. A cocktail dress in a classic silhouette or a skirt paired with an elegant top is a sophisticated choice. Opt for fabrics like silk, chiffon, or satin for an elegant touch. Choose a dress or separates that flatter your body shape and make you feel confident and comfortable.

Suit and Tie for Men

Men should pack a suit and tie for formal events on the cruise. Choose a well-fitted suit in a classic color such as black, navy, or charcoal gray. Pair it with a crisp and well-ironed dress shirt and a coordinating tie. Don’t forget to pack dress shoes and a belt to complete your formal look.

Formal Accessories: Jewelry, Ties, Belts

To elevate your formal attire, don’t forget to pack appropriate accessories. For women, jewelry like statement earrings, necklaces, or a bracelet can add a touch of glamour to your outfit. Men can accessorize with a tie clip, cufflinks, and a belt that matches their dress shoes. These accessories will add style and sophistication to your formal attire.

Polished Shoes

Shoes can make or break an outfit, so make sure to pack polished shoes that complement your formal attire. For women, high-heeled pumps or strappy sandals in a neutral or metallic shade can complete your look. Men should opt for formal dress shoes that match their suit color and style.

What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Casual Attire

Alaska cruises also offer plenty of opportunities for casual, relaxed attire. Here are some recommendations for your everyday casual outfits.

Jeans, Pants, or Skirts

Casual attire on an Alaska cruise can include jeans, pants, or skirts. Choose bottoms that you feel comfortable in and that are suitable for various activities and excursions. Dark wash jeans or pants in neutral colors are versatile and can be paired with different tops for multiple outfit options. For women who prefer skirts, pack a comfortable and casual option that can be paired with t-shirts or blouses.

T-Shirts or Blouses

When it comes to casual tops, opt for t-shirts or blouses that are comfortable and easy to layer. Pack a mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve tops to accommodate for changing weather conditions. Look for tops made from breathable materials like cotton or linen, which are great for keeping cool during warmer days.

Light Sweaters or Cardigans

Even during the summer months, evenings in Alaska can be cooler. It’s a good idea to pack light sweaters or cardigans that you can easily layer over your t-shirts or blouses. Choose lightweight options that won’t take up much space in your luggage, but still provide enough warmth when the temperature drops.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

For everyday activities on the ship or during shore excursions, comfortable walking shoes are a must. Choose shoes that provide good support and cushioning for long walks or hikes. Sneakers or athletic shoes are ideal for exploring the ship and its amenities, while sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are recommended for outdoor adventures.

Special Considerations

When packing for an Alaska cruise, there are a few special considerations to keep in mind. These will ensure you are well-prepared for your specific itinerary and the unique conditions you may encounter.

Alaska-Themed Clothing and Accessories

To fully embrace the spirit of Alaska and its rich culture, consider packing some Alaska-themed clothing and accessories. This can include items like a fleece jacket or hoodie with an Alaska logo, hats or beanies featuring local wildlife or scenery, or even socks or scarves with Alaskan motifs. These items can serve as great souvenirs and add a fun touch to your cruise attire.

Waterproof or Resistant Footwear

Since rain and wet conditions are common in Alaska, it’s advisable to pack waterproof or water-resistant footwear. This can include shoes or boots made with waterproof materials or those treated with a waterproof spray. Having waterproof footwear will keep your feet dry and prevent discomfort during outdoor activities or rainy days.

Layering for Temperature Changes

Alaska’s weather can be highly variable, with temperatures fluctuating throughout the day. Layering is key to adapting to these changes and staying comfortable. By packing a mix of base layers, mid-layers, and outerwear, you can easily adjust your clothing to meet changing temperature conditions. This way, you’ll be prepared for both chilly mornings and warmer afternoons.

Sun Protection

Although Alaska is known for its cooler climate, the sun can still be intense, especially during the summer months. It’s important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays by packing sunscreen with a high SPF rating. Additionally, bring a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and lightweight, long-sleeve clothing to shield your skin from the sun’s rays, especially if you’ll be spending extended periods of time outdoors.

Bug Repellent

If you plan on visiting more remote areas or partaking in outdoor activities during your Alaska cruise, it’s a good idea to pack bug repellent. Mosquitoes and other insects can be present in certain areas, particularly during the summer months. Consider bringing an insect repellent with high DEET content to protect yourself from potential bites.

What To Wear On An Alaska Cruise

Alaska Cruise Packing Tips

Packing efficiently for your Alaska cruise can make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free. Here are some helpful tips to maximize space and ensure you have everything you need.

Pack Versatile and Mix-and-Match Items

When choosing clothing for your Alaska cruise, opt for versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Look for items that can be dressed up or down, allowing you to create different looks with just a few key pieces. This will save space in your luggage and give you more outfit options during your cruise.

Coordinate Colors for Efficient Packing

To optimize space in your luggage, coordinate your color palette when selecting clothing items. Choose a base color, such as black, navy, or khaki, and pack tops and bottoms in various shades of that color. Additionally, select a few accent colors that complement your base color. By sticking to a coordinated color scheme, you can easily mix and match items without sacrificing style.

Roll Clothes to Save Space

Folding clothes can take up a lot of space in your suitcase. Instead, try rolling your clothes to save space and minimize wrinkles. Rolling clothing items not only maximizes space but also helps prevent creases. It’s a great packing technique, especially for bulkier items like sweaters or jackets.

Pack Extra Layers for Emergencies

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, and it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared. Pack a few extra layers of clothing, such as lightweight sweaters or long-sleeve tops, in case of unexpected drops in temperature. These additional layers will ensure you stay warm and comfortable, even if the weather takes a sudden turn.

Bring a Laundry Bag

Packing a collapsible laundry bag is a smart idea for keeping dirty clothes separate from clean ones. It will help you stay organized during your cruise and make unpacking and laundry sorting easier when you return home. Look for a lightweight and compact laundry bag that can easily fit in your suitcase when not in use.


Preparing for an Alaska cruise requires careful consideration of the clothing and accessories you bring. By choosing appropriate attire for various activities and adhering to any dress codes specified by the cruise line, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Remember to consider the season and weather conditions, dress in layers, and pack clothing made from moisture-wicking fabrics. Don’t forget about accessories like comfortable walking shoes, swimwear, and outdoor gear. With proper planning and packing, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your Alaska cruise and create lasting memories.