In the summer of 2018, we visited Alaska and, since it’s so different than Florida, I did some research prior to going. Adam, who had been there once before, attempted to offer me a lot of tips for packing for an Alaskan cruise. Although he ended up being right about all that I learned, I still tried to discover something he didn’t know.
It was to no avail. Experience does trump research at times. Although we want to separate our tips based on who is giving them, we drafted this post together. Continue reading to discover some of the things we learned (from both research and experience) about packing for an Alaskan cruise.
our packing tips:
Layers are Key
When conducting research, there was one, overwhelming theme: layers. I should have known, since Adam was harping on about it the whole time I was shopping.
Why layers? Well, in Alaska the weather varies, starting off quite cold in the mornings and heating up in the afternoons. Of course, this also depends on whether it’s raining and where in the state you are, but it’s always best to be prepared.
We (and Adam more often than me) took off and put on clothes throughout the day. To be honest, I assumed this would happen on our hiking excursions but kind of thought that it would be cold all other times.
It wasn’t – not after the sun rose.
It is, however, important to note that, while cruising, the ship was kind of cold (because of the breeze). We both recommend wearing a coat while on the decks.
Don’t Forget Rain Gear
So Alaska is either beautiful, sun-filled, and warm…or it’s cold and wet. When packing for an Alaskan cruise, be sure to include waterproof items.
I took a thin waterproof jacket – I chose this North Face one – and that pair of waterproof pants that Adam insisted I take (I carried them in my backpack and put them on when needed). I tried to pick out a petite pair but found that they were still too big – even in the waist – so I grabbed some children’s pants.
Adam did the same but was a bit smarter and also took a nice, wool coat. He looked a lot better when we were walking to dinner (especially on formal nights) for sure!
Oh, and Adventure Gear Too
Waterproof gear is important but so are things needed for adventuring. We both brought athletic-wear, including leggings/workout pants and joggers.
Included in this so-called adventure gear are hiking boots and other comfortable shoes, including sneakers and waterproof boots. Oh, and I also picked up a Fjallraven Kanken backpack, which ended up being super useful for holding all those removed layers.
Be Sure to Pack Insect Repellant
The mosquitos are nuts in Alaska. I was a bit worried because mosquitos love me – and I seriously mean love me. They love me so much that my mom jokes about wanting to stand next to me when we’re outside…because, if she does, the mosquitos ignore her. I guess I’m just too sweet. Haha!
Adam was prepped though…his dad is an entomologist. Oh, and he likes to stand next to me too…I guess I am pretty sweet!
Oh Gosh, and Sunscreen
Adam did warn me about needing to carry around and pack tons of sunscreen. I didn’t hesitate either because the one time I got a sunburn that peeled, I was in Wisconsin on a boat in the middle of a lake on a cloudy, cool day.
And, last but not least, don’t you dare forget the most important thing of all.
Bring that Camera
Alaska is beautiful. You’ll want to capture amazing shots of the glaciers and wildlife. If you adventure into an ice cave, you’ll want the snaps to prove it (and remember it too, right?!).
We took our Canon 80D and Sigma lenses, along with our Go Pro, which definitely made an appearance during our kayaking excursions. The one thing we did bring but couldn’t ever use? Our drone. Most of the places we visited were no drone zones…and if drones were allowed, we were in the middle of the water!
However don’t base whether you’re bringing a drone on our experience. We went to quite a few smaller ports and ended up seeing a few “popular” spots since I hadn’t been before. Next time we head back though, we plan on heading inland in search of some more wildlife, epic views, and some drone zones too!
If you’re heading on an Alaskan cruise this summer please feel free to comment or reach out. We’d love to help with packing questions or concerns.