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Need a checklist in order to pack for your cruise to Alaska? We have you covered.
Sailing to Alaska is like no other vacation that we can think of. In fact, even if you’ve cruised before to somewhere like the Caribbean, what you pack to visit this region of the world can be very different.
That’s because Alaska presents more different situations that you’ll encounter than just about any other vacation you can think of.
Consider that in the course of a day, you might wake up in the morning, and head to a hot tub in your swimsuit to take in the stunning views of Alaska. Then you might head back to the cabin to dress for a day that’s rainy and cool while you explore a port like Juneau.
That afternoon the weather could clear out, giving you a day that’s 75 degrees and sunny, meaning short sleeves and shorts are ideal. Back on the ship, it might be formal night, where you want to get dressed up for a nice evening around the ship.
And then there are all the other items to consider bringing, from binoculars to see wildlife to magnetic hooks that help you organize the cabin.
Remember, you can’t easily run out for something you forgot to pack, so having a full checklist to serve as a reminder of what to bring on an Alaska cruise is ideal. That’s why we’ve put together a printable list to help you plan. It has everything you need to consider bringing, all put into easy sections.
Download the Printable Alaskan Cruise Packing Checklist
Our checklist of things to pack for a cruise is completely free. While we cover all the items in detail below, you can click the image (or click this link) to download the printable PDF.
Cruise Packing Checklist: Clothes
Clothing will make up the bulk of what you’ll bring on a cruise, and rightly so. With so many different scenarios to dress for when sailing to Alaska, just know that you’re going to want a little of everything.
We’ve constructed this list with the idea in mind of a typical 7-day round trip cruise. Remember that it’s ok if you wear the same thing twice on a cruise. For a 7-day cruise, having 3-4 outfits is a good idea.
- T-Shirts (at least one for every two days of your cruise)
- Shorts (at least one pair for your cruise)
- Long pants (at least 2-3 pairs)
- Long-sleeve shirts (great for adding layers)
- Swimsuit (At least one should you decide to hit the hot tub or heated pool)
- Light jacket or hoodie (this will be worn often)
- Rain jacket/poncho (rain jackets are ideal as they can keep you dry)
- Sleep clothes
- Athletic shorts (for hitting the gym)
- Flip-flops (won’t be worn much, but ideal for heading to the pool/hot tub)
Formal Clothes for Men
- Dress shirt
- Dress pants
- Dress belt
- Dress shoes
- Blazer (optional, if you want to be more formal)
- Tie (optional)
Formal Clothes for Women
- Evening gown or cocktail dress
- Dress pants
- Dress blouse
Cruise Packing Checklist: Items For the Cabin
Think you only need to pack things to wear? The following items are ideal for a cabin to make it more comfortable during your cruise. Don’t think you have to pack all of these items, but those that catch your interest should be brought along.
- Small fan (cabins don’t have fans to circulate air)
- Nightlight (interior cabins are especially dark)
- Magnetic hooks (to hang from the ceiling to dry swimsuits)
- Outlet adapter (to provide more outlet spaces in the cabin; those with surge protectors aren’t allowed)
- Shoe organizer (hangs over the door for storage of small items)
- Alarm clock
- “Poopouri” or air freshener (bathroom smells can linger)
Cruise Packing Checklist: Personal Items
In addition to clothes, you need to pack a few other items with you to make your cruise to Alaska a success.
- Boarding documents
- Luggage tags
- Passport/birth certificate
- Vaccination card (if needed)
- Covid test results (if needed)
- Emergency contact numbers
- Cash (we’ve written about how much you need here)
- Backpack (a light backpack is perfect for taking into port)
- Prescription medicines
- Over-the-counter medicines (headache, stomachache)
- Motion sickness pills/patches
- Ear plugs
- Ziploc bags (these bags have numerous uses)
- Cotton swabs
- Feminine products
- Hair straightener/curling iron
- Hair products
- Glasses/contact lenses
- Wet wipes (cabin toilet paper is thin, 1-ply product)
Cruise Packing Checklist: Kids Items
Cruises to Alaska don’t draw as many families as trips to the Caribbean but it’s certainly an awe-inspiring place for a family vacation. If you are packing for a family, then there are some things that good to bring. See our full list of ideas here.
- Silicone place mat
- Umbrella stroller
- A new toy (great for when kids are fussy and need a distraction)
- Bottles/water bottle
- Diapers and wipes
One thing to know is that cruise lines will provide a crib for sleeping in your cabin at no charge. Just let the staff know you need one.
- Handheld video games
- Playing cards
Cruise Packing Checklist: Other Items to Bring
While we’ve covered a number of things to pack for your cruise, there are some other miscellaneous items that are a good idea to bring when you sail to Alaska.
Cruise Packing Checklist: Not Needed/Not Allowed
The following items may be tempting to bring, but cruise lines either take care of these for you or they aren’t allowed on the ship.
- Hair dryer (already provided in each cabin)
- Homemade snacks (not allowed; pre-packaged snacks are ok)
- Towels (beach towels are supplied on the cruise)
- Clothes iron
- Weapons (including small knives and pepper spray)
- Marijuana (even if legal in Alaska)
Alaskan Cruise Packing Tips
Want some more tips on how to pack for a cruise to Alaska? Here are a few ideas that can better help you prepare when it comes to getting ready.
Luggage Rules Are Fairly Lenient (So Don’t Stress)
We’ve talked about how you have to pack for a lot of different scenarios when sailing to Alaska on a cruise. The good news is that unlike traveling on a flight, cruise lines are very lenient on luggage. There are no fees for bringing luggage. There aren’t real limits on how much you can bring (within reason). Liquids are allowed in your bags, and there are even porters that will take your bags at the terminal and then they are delivered to your cabin.
In other words, yes, there is a lot to pack for but it shouldn’t be a point of stress.
Remember the Flight When Packing
While cruise lines are more relaxed in what you can bring, many people fly into port cities like Vancouver or Seattle to head to Alaska. Due to their location in the northwest, driving simply isn’t an option for many travelers.
In that case, you want to keep the flight in mind when packing. That means bringing less stuff to avoid baggage fees, being careful of liquid rules, and resisting the temptation to pack heavy suitcases as you’ll be carrying them around an airport.
Versatile Clothing Is Great
Have a jacket that really only goes with one set of clothing? Leave it at home. Versatile clothing that can be worn in several different situations is ideal as it allows you to pack less. For example, instead of bringing one heavier coat in case it gets cold and windy, it’s a better idea to bring something lighter that can be worn with layers. This way you aren’t packing bulky items you’ll only wear once or twice.
For more things to pack, don’t miss our 29 Must-Have Things to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise (11 You’d Never Think Of).