Mid-summer is the high season for Alaskan cruises. I just returned from the Celebrity Solstice 7-day Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise and must say, it was the trip of a lifetime. I highly recommend it. But trying to PACK for it was a bear! Here’s what I learned about packing for an Alaskan Cruise.
Packing For An Alaskan Cruise
Updated March 1, 2019
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“Dress in Layers” They Said
When I asked people who had been what to take, everyone said “dress in layers”. What did that mean? Did it mean long underwear, ski pants, heavy sweater, thermal socks, fur lined boots, parka, hat, gloves and a scarf? Those are the layers I dressed in on a trip to Germany in December.
Or did it mean, capris, t-shirt and a vest?
Not knowing, I packed EVERYTHING and ended up paying a $100 heavy bag charge. And I only ended up wearing about 1/3 of what I took.
Here’s what you should know about what to wear on Alaskan Cruises:
- When you are inside on the ship, you can dress like you do at home because you are in a climate-controlled environment.
- When you are outside on the ship, it will be colder. It’s windy and you will be sailing past glaciers. To just take a walk outside, jeans, sweater and a jacket (I had a leather jacket) will be fine. If you are spending a lot of time outside, bundle up a little more. Maybe a hat, gloves and a scarf.
- Evenings. If you are eating in the dining room with the scheduled seating, there is a suggested dress code each night. My regular evening wear consisted of black pants and a nice top – much like I would wear at home to eat out at a nice restaurant. My husband wore slacks and a button down.
- Most cruises have done away with the “formal night”. Celebrity designates two nights as “evening chic” where a cocktail dress or dressy pants and fancy top are acceptable. I wore nice black pants and a lace top. My husband wore slacks, a button down and sport coat.
- Shore excursions. On all our shore excursions, the temperatures were mild, ranging from about 55 – 70 degrees. It was windy, so it did feel a little cooler at times. I was fine in jeans and a long sleeved tee with my windbreaker. The windbreaker added a little extra warmth, shielded me against the wind, could have served as raingear if needed and was easily folded up and put in my purse when I took it off. This is my favorite windbreaker because it folds up into its own little pocket. So easy to carry in your bag until you need it without a lot of bulk.
Here is what I packed for our cruise, including a pre-cruise overnight stay in Seattle.
|What I packed||What I wore||Notes|
|4 light sweaters||3|
|3 heavy sweaters||1|
|4 long sleeved tees||4|
|1 heavy hoodie||0|
|3 pairs cropped pants||2|
|1 light weight vest||1|
|4 pairs jeans||4|
|2 pairs black slacks||1|
|3 dressy tops for dinner||3|
|1 flat sandals||1|
|1 strappy heels||1|
|1 pair wedges||1|
|2 pairs tennis shoes||1||I took 2 in case of rain and one pair got wet. I would do this again.|
|1 pair black flats||1||Really didn’t need – could have worn tennis shoes.|
|2 sets workout clothes||1||Only worked out once.|
|1 warm scarf||0|
|1 warm hat||0|
|1 set long underwear||0|
|15 pairs of socks||7||Was afraid of my feet getting wet. 🙂|
|1 leather jacket||1|
|1 Windbreaker||1||Used for every shore excursion.|
Other Items to take on an Alaskan Cruise
- Good camera – YES . I’m glad I didn’t rely on just my iPhone to get some great pictures of the breathtaking scenery we saw. Here is the updated version of the camera I bought: Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm STM Lens – WiFi Enabled
- Laptop – YES.
- Chargers – phone, Ipad, Fitbit, laptop & camera – YES.
- Power Strip – YES . There will only be a couple of plugs in your stateroom. My husband had 2 phones in addition to all my electronics. The couple we travelled with both used a C-Pap Machine, so definitely needed a plug on each side of their bed. The Power Strip is a must.
- Downy Wrinkle Release – Depending on what clothes you take, this may come in handy. We didn’t need it.
- Garbage Bags – YES. We used for dirty clothes.
- Evening Purse – YES. I used mine on “evening chic” night.
- Backpack – YES. Great for shore excursions when you are carrying a camera, bottled water, snacks and will be bringing back souvenirs. This is a lightweight one with two bottled water holders on the outside. Very convenient, especially if you are hiking or doing other outdoor activities.
- Insect Repellant – Was recommended, but we didn’t need it.
- Headphones or earbuds – Yes. One of the reasons my husband and I have managed to stay married for 33 years is that we have our own TV’s at home. We had to actually SHARE one for 7 days and since there is not one show in the entire universe that we both like, he could watch what he wanted on the room TV and I watched Netflix on my iPAD with the headphones.
Other things to remember:
- We were blessed to have absolutely perfect weather and no rain. Not having any rain during a cruise to Alaska is unusual. It was recommended that we take two pairs of walking shoes in case it rained and 1 pair got wet.
- If you are taking shore excursions where you will be riding outside on a boat or hiking on a glacier, you will need to take some very warm clothes.
- You will not sweat, so unless you spill something on your clothes or just can’t bring yourself to wear an outfit twice, you CAN wear your clothes twice.
- You are only wearing your evening clothes for a couple of hours every night, so you can wear them again. Believe me – no one will notice.
- I wore the same “evening chic” outfit both nights.
If you’ve been on an Alaskan cruise, is there anything I missed?
If you’ll be taking an Alaskan cruise, are you wondering about something you are planning to take?
Leave your responses in the comments! I respond to all comments.
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