A common question from first-time cruisers is “What to pack for your Alaska cruise? Do I need to buy a tuxedo, a ballgown, what should I wear walking around the ship during the day and how many toiletries are included in the cabin?” But even experienced cruisers find themselves unsure of what to pack for their first Alaska cruise. With its staggering snowcaps, untamed glaciers and icy-waters, the sights passengers witness from the decks are breath-taking, but require a woolly jumper. But how warm does the jumper need to be, what is the temperature like on land, and do I need to work a warm coat into my formal dinner outfit? If you’re boarding your first Alaskan cruise soon, we’ve covered what to pack below.
1. Hiking Boots
Depending on the excursions you choose, you might find yourself heading up some rocky terrain. If you’re likely to head out on one of the nature trails remember to pack some sturdy hiking boots – and even if you’re not planning to venture too far packing a pair of supportive high-quality trainers will make exploring the coastal towns of Alaska more rewarding.
2. Sun screen
Don’t let the cooler temperatures of Alaska fool you. Sunscreen is still important to protect your skin from the sun’s rays (which reflects off the snowy peaks).
3. Super-zoom camera lens (or strong binoculars)
The scenery you’ll witness as you glide up the Alaskan coast will mirror a Winter Wonderland, so make sure you pack some binoculars so you can zoom in on the details. If you’re hoping to capture the perfect picture of a humpback whale or orca, have your high-zoom lens or camera at hand. These wild creatures don’t always swim close to the boat.
4. Waterproofs and warm clothing
When on an Alaskan cruise you should definitely brave the cooler temperatures and stand on deck to breath-in the crisp atmosphere. The air here is some of the freshest you’ll inhale but it won’t be the warmest. Remember to pack a waterproof, fleece and some gloves.
5. Swimming costume
Even though you’re not heading to the tropics of Hawaii many cruise ships still have an indoor pool and spa that will entice you. Cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises and Holland America have a spa and inside pool on board their ships as standard.
6. Summer clothes (if travelling in the warmer months)
We’re about to contradict some of what we’ve just said, but if you’re cruising the Alaskan coast during the summer months pack some outfits you’d wear during the British summer. Alaska enjoys pleasant sunshine during the summer, that mimics the UK climate, so pack one or two summer outfits for your excursions (but we’d still recommend packing a fleece – it still gets chilly on deck while out at sea).
7. An outfit for formal dinner nights
How many formal outfits (or how formal they need to be) will depend on what cruise line you’ve chosen. However, like all holidays, it’s always a good idea to pack at least one formal outfit for evening dinner or drinks. For men, dress shoes with trousers and a nice shirt are acceptable (a few cruises expect a tuxedo) and many female cruisers pack a pair of nice shoes and two simple but formal dresses. The formal nights on an Alaskan cruise will be held inside – so no need to work a jacket into your outfit.