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Look no further for the most comprehensive guide on what to wear on an Alaksa cruise!

Having recently returned from an Alaska cruise, I’m here to tell you what you absolutely should (and should not) include on your Alaska cruise packing list!

Whether you’re enjoying a relaxing day on the ship, or venturing out on an outdoor land excursion, it can be very tricky figuring out what to wear on an Alaska cruise.

In this article, I explain the clothing and gear you’ll need, as well as include several other Alaska cruise essentials that you’ll be glad you learned about ahead of time. 

Stick around until the end where you’ll find a massive photo collage of my daily Alaska cruise outfits!

What to wear on an Alaska cruise - family photo
Juneau, Alaska in June

Alaska Cruise Intro

Chances are, you’ve been dreaming of and saving up for an Alaska cruise for quite some time now.

If you’re like me, perhaps an Alaska cruise tops your family’s bucket list of places that you absolutely want to experience in your lifetime.

With that said, Alaska isn’t a typical place you probably travel to, and the thought of cold weather, rain, glaciers, and the backcountry wilderness might leave you wondering what to wear.

That too, was me.

And for that reason, I kept track of and photographed literally every article of clothing and accessory that we used during our recent Alaska cruise – to help future travelers know what to pack.

For perspective, our Alaska cruise took place June 11th – 18th when temperatures were in the low to mid-50s. Be sure to check the forecast for when you’re planning to visit.

We were on the Norwegian Encore and stopped in ports in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan in southeast Alaska, and Victoria, B.C.

What to wear on an Alaska cruise - family on the ship deck
Juneau, Alaska – Whale Quest Excursion

Best Time To Go To Alaska

Yes, its notoriously chilly climate, frequent rainfall, and various weather patterns make it tricky to determine what to wear in Alaska to have an enjoyable trip.

Before deciding what to wear on an Alaska cruise, however, you need to first decide when you’re going to visit.

The best time to visit Alaska is mostly based on your priorities.

Do you want warmer weather to explore outdoors, or is your goal to get better views of the Northern Lights?

The most popular time to go on an Alaksa cruise is during the months of June, July, and August as they offer both the warmest weather and longest hours of daylight.

The shoulder seasons of April–May and September–October are growing in popularity, however, as they boast of fewer crowds, lower prices, and seasonal attractions like the Northern Lights.

Alaska cruise excursion
Ketchikan, Alaska – Backcountry Jeep and Canoe Excursion

Alaska Weather By the Month

It’s very important to consider the temperatures and precipitation levels depending on when you’re traveling to Alaska.

While I recommend warm, waterproof layers on Alaskan cruises year-round, you’ll need much heavier coats if cruising during October and April versus in July or August.

In addition, though Alaska can experience frequent rain showers, you’ll want to prepare for the most significant precipitation from July – October.

In summary:

  • June, July, and August have the warmest temperatures, with lows of 47°F and highs of 70°F, making this the most popular time to take an Alaska cruise
  • May & September temperatures range between 39°F and 55°F. 
  • October – April experiences the coldest weather, with lows ranging between 9-29°F and highs between 22-44°F. 
  • Rain comes fairly evenly throughout the year throughout Alaska. Expect, almost daily rain, in Ketchikan, however.

When in doubt, assume it’ll be colder and wetter than predicted. My #1 tip when packing for an Alaska cruise is to pack plenty of waterproof LAYERS

What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise: Top 8

For quick reference, here are links to my “Top 8” recommendations of what to wear on an Alaska cruise. (Keep reading, as much more specific information and my photo collage follow this list.)

These are some of the exact items that I purchased and actually wore on our Alaska cruise in June. You’ll see them frequently in the photos below.

What to wear in Alaska: Top 8

  1. Warm, waterproof jacket with layers
  2. Warm beanie hat (I own the black and honey mustard color)
  3. Waterproof gloves – with touchscreen technology for taking photos!
  4. Packable rain jacket
  5. Waterproof footwear (and these ones for men)
  6. Disposable rain ponchos (to have on hand for quick rain showers during excursions)
  7. Comfortable cruise attire for sea days (my husband brought 2 pairs of these pants, and I own 3 different colors of these pants – we love them!)
  8. Travel binoculars – have them with you at all times for wildlife sightings!

Items that I bought and did not end up using were a Merino wool base layer and waterproof rain pants. I also brought a portable shoe dryer which we did not need to use.

If you’re visiting during times of colder weather or larger amounts of rainfall, these may come in handy, however.

Alaska cruise outfits while in Juneau
Skagway, Alaska in June

Alaska Cruise Packing List

The following Alaska cruise packing list includes both what to wear, as well as other various items that we always bring with us when we cruise.

1. Clothing

When choosing what to wear on an Alaskan cruise, you need to keep in mind both the clothes you’ll be wearing on the cruise ship as well as during onshore excursions. 

In general, you’ll want to pack comfortable layers that are easy to move in, whether it be for lounging or an active experience. 

Rainy weather clothes 

Alaska’s weather is generally dry, though the state receives the most precipitation between June and September, with August being the rainiest month.  

To be safe, I recommend packing waterproof clothing year-round to prepare for the potential of rainy days.

Alaska packing list for rain:

*We packed but did not use an umbrella while in Alaska. We did, however, use our travel umbrellas when we were walking around Seattle before our cruise.

3 boys standing in front of mountains
Glacier Bay National Park – It’s chilly on the bow of the ship

Cold weather clothes 

You should prepare to get a little chilly on your Alaskan cruise.

Even the warmest months will have cold days!

Alaska packing list for cold weather:

  • Long underwear or Merino wool base layers
  • Warm hats
  • Insulated gloves (prefer ones with touchscreen technology for taking photos)
  • Fleece jackets (for layering)
  • Warm, waterproof jacket (with appropriate temperature rating)
  • Puffer vest
  • Thick wool socks 

*We packed but did not use, thick puffer-type winter coats while visiting Alaska in June. The weather wasn’t as cold as we had anticipated.

Sunny weather

Regardless of temperatures, Alaska gets plenty of sun throughout the summer months. 

While it may not be shorts and t-shirt weather, you’ll want to pack a few lighter layers if you’re traveling during this time. 

Alaska packing list for sunny weather:

  • Tee shirts (for layering)
  • Lightweight pants or leggings 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Baseball cap
  • Cotton socks 
  • (We did not wear shorts on our Alaska cruise except for on embarkation day.)

Formal wear 

Depending on the cruise line you choose, there will likely be formal nights where you’re expected to dress in formal wear for dinner. 

If traveling with Princess Cruises, they have a fairly strict dress code for these nights. On Norwegian Cruises, you’ll want to dress up when dining at specialty restaurants.

Alaska packing list for formal nights:

  • Dress shirt and pants
  • Dinner jacket/blazer
  • A dress
  • Closed-toe shoes

*For our 8-day, 7-night cruise I packed 2 dress-up outfits.


Whether you’re going into town at one of the Alaska cruise ports or relaxing on board, you’ll want some comfortable basics to get you through the day.

Your cruise ship should also come equipped with a hot tub to warm up in, so a bathing suit is also good to bring along!

Alaska packing list for days on the ship:

  • Bathing suit (for the pool or hot tub)
  • Shirts with long sleeves
  • Comfortable pants and jeans
  • Sweatshirt and sweatpants
  • Pajamas 
  • Cross-body purse
  • (Again, we did not need shorts on our Alaska cruise)

*For our 8-day, 7-night cruise I packed 4 pairs of pants, 2 t-shirts, 2 long-sleeve shirts, 1 sweater, and 1 sweatshirt. I packed 8 pairs each of socks and underwear.


You’ll need various types of footwear when considering what to wear on an Alaskan cruise.

Shoes take up a lot of room in a suitcase, however, so limit yourself accordingly.

I recommend bringing only 1 pair of the following:

  • Flip flops (for hot tub use)
  • Waterproof bootsthese ones were perfect (for excursions)
  • Sneakers/tennis shoes (for boat wear and excursions)
  • Closed-toe shoes (for formal nights)
What to wear in Alaska
Day at sea between Seattle and Alaska

2. Personal Items 

Beyond your weather-curated clothing, there are some essential packing items that you should bring with you on your Alaskan cruise. 


Remember to include your wallet along with: 

  • Credit card
  • Identification 
  • Travel insurance card 
  • Passport 

You may also want to print out confirmation and trip details to have a paper copy; you never know when technology will fail!

Personal care

To have the best trip possible, make sure you come prepared with all the personal care items you could need. 

This includes basic toiletries, everyday medication, and other emergency items. 

While your cruise will likely have some of these items available for purchase, you never want to be caught without them!

Personal care items to pack include:

  • Toiletries
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Prescription medication 
  • Pain reliever & cold meds
  • Vitamins 
  • Anti-nausea meds
  • Digestion aids 


Keep in mind that WiFii can be very spotty on an Alaska cruise due to its remote location.

In addition, most cruise lines charge an additional fee for either a set amount or an unlimited number of WiFii minutes – so this may, or may not be something that you want to invest your money in.

Electronics to pack include:

  • Smartphone
  • Camera 
  • Extra memory cards
  • Smartphone wall charger 
  • Portable charger

3. Comfort Items

Whether you’re a creature of comfort or always up for something new and exciting, bringing a little bit of home along the way is always nice. 

Here are a few comfort items I recommend adding to your Alaska cruise packing list. 

From helpful extras to entertainment options, these items will help round off your packing list and ensure you have everything you could ever need. 


While not essential by any means, a journal is a great item to bring along with you on a cruise.

Journaling at the end of a long day can help you unpack your experiences and remember them in the days to come. 

At the end of your trip, you’ll have a working keepsake as a reminder of your cruise. You’ll also have some great travel writing inspiration! 

Alaska cruise sea day playing games
Sea day on the ship


There is bound to be a bit of downtime on a cruise as you travel from port to port.

I recommend bringing a couple of versatile entertainment options to keep you from getting stir-crazy. 

An e-reader is a great option because you can pre-download endless books to read and enjoy. This is especially great if you’re dealing with spotty wifi. 

And when in doubt, things like a classic deck of cards and cribbage board can provide endless game options for the whole family.

Sleep aids

Sleeping in unusual quarters can be difficult.

Pack a couple of sleep aids to get the best night’s sleep possible, including:

  • Eye mask 
  • Warm fuzzy socks 
  • Ear plugs 
  • Melatonin

4. Cruise Essentials

Finally, here are the basic cruise essentials that we bring along with us every time we cruise!

Clicking on these links will take you to the exact items that we use and love!

Alaska Cruise Outfits

Here is a photo collage of my daily Alaska cruise outfits that may help with your planning.

Port locations and links to shop are included in the photos’ captions where applicable.

Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 2: Sea day (LOVE these pants that come in many colors)
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 3: Juneau, Alaska (CC beanie hat, and these Sperry boots)
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Specialty dining night (these earrings)
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 4: Skagway, Alaska (Athleta puffer vest)
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 5: Glacier Bay National Park
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 6: Ketchikan, Alaska (wore a winter jacket, gloves, and hat on the excursion, however)
Alaska cruise outfit photo
Day 7: Victoria, British Columbia (this Patagonia hat)

Conclusion: What to Wear on an Alaska Cruise 

The best way to enjoy your Alaskan cruise is to be prepared for any and every adventure offered to you – in any kind of weather.

I hope you’ve found our Alaskan cruise packing list useful in determining both what to bring, and what to wear on an Alaska cruise.

If you’ve been on an Alaskan cruise and have any additional packing tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Happy travels!

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Find out what to wear on an Alaska cruise from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Find out what to wear on an Alaska cruise from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

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  1. Great tips. Thank you very much. The links for packing lists are very helpful too. We are first time cruiser, family of 4 (2 teen boys), booked for Aug 2024 Encore 7 day cruise from Seattle. We are very excited.