What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise: A Comprehensive Guide

What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise: A Comprehensive Guide


When embarking on an Alaskan cruise, the thrill of the adventure is matched only by the challenge of packing appropriately. Unlike tropical cruises, where swimsuits and sun hats dominate, Alaska’s climate demands a thoughtful and layered approach. In this guide, we navigate the intricacies of dressing for an Alaskan cruise, offering insights for both daytime excursions and evening activities.

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Daytime Attire: Embracing Layers

Layers are Key

Alaska’s weather can be as diverse as its landscapes, ranging from mid-40s to mid-70s. To tackle this, plan your attire around layers. A mix of short and long-sleeved shirts under a fleece jacket or hoodie provides flexibility as temperatures fluctuate throughout the day.

Casual Comfort with Sweatshirts, Jeans, and Leggings

Daytime calls for practicality. Opt for comfort with fleece sweatshirts and versatile blue jeans or leggings. These choices proved invaluable during excursions, offering both warmth and ease of movement, even during outdoor activities like canoeing on Harriet Hunt Lake in Ketchikan.

3 Pack Fleece Lined Leggings with Pockets for Women, High Waisted Thermal Warm Winter Yoga Pants

Women’s fleece lined thermal leggings feature super soft fleece inside to keep warm when temperature drops.

Hats, Gloves, and the Essential Puffer Jacket

Don’t underestimate the need for accessories. A hat and gloves, along with a lightweight puffer jacket, are essential for chilly mornings and evenings. Thin touch screen gloves are a smart choice, allowing you to use your smartphone without freezing your hands.

Rain Gear: An Alaskan Necessity

Alaska’s weather can be capricious, with drizzles or mist common. Ensure you pack rain gear, including a poncho, wind-proof travel umbrella, and a reliable rain jacket. Waterproof boots or hiking boots are also recommended for exploring Alaska’s rugged terrains.

Thermal Wear for Extra Warmth

Prepare for cooler days with thermal wear or Long John’s. In May, thermal wear, especially fleece-lined leggings, are invaluable, ensuring comfort in temperatures ranging from 50-55°F.

Evening Elegance: Navigating Cruise Dress Codes

Cruise Casual Evenings

Alaskan cruises tend to be more casual, with smart-casual evenings dominating. Feel at ease in nice jeans and a top, suitable for the main dining room, buffet, and casual restaurants.

Dressing for Formal Nights

While most evenings are casual, a 7-day cruise typically includes one or two formal nights. For these occasions, a black dress or formal attire is appropriate. However, the overall atmosphere is less formal compared to other cruise itineraries.

Essential Accessories and Packing Tips

Footwear Essentials

Packing wisely means selecting the right footwear. Sneakers or walking shoes, dress shoes for evenings, casual shoes, and flip flops for pool and hot tub areas cover all your bases.

Must-Have Cruise Accessories

Invest in travel essentials like binoculars for wildlife viewing, a large water-resistant Day bag for excursions, and a waist pouch or crossbody bag for hands-free convenience.

Addressing Common Queries

  • Shorts for Alaska? Pack at least one pair for warmer days or gym workouts.
  • Is it Cold on the Ship? Generally comfortable but bring a light jacket for glacier viewing days.
  • Coat for Alaskan Cruise? Consider a puffer jacket for cooler seasons.
  • Bathing Suit Necessity? Absolutely. Even with outdoor pools, a bathing suit is a wise inclusion.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the nuances of what to wear on an Alaskan cruise involves finding the delicate balance between comfort and style. Whether braving the outdoors during the day or enjoying casual elegance in the evening, strategic packing ensures you’re prepared for the adventure that awaits.

Happy Cruising!

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Cruise Guide

Lonely Planet Cruise Ports Alaska is an excellent travel companion, offering a wealth of information to enhance your cruise experience. From general insights to specific details on what to see, eat, and do at each port, it ensures you won’t miss out. Packed with captivating photos and a small fold-out map, it’s the perfect guide to carry along on your Alaskan adventure.