Getting ready for your Alaskan cruise? Before you start daydreaming about those stunning landscapes and cool ocean breezes, let’s focus on packing. You see, Alaska’s beauty is as vast as its weather is unpredictable.

I learned the hard way that dressing right is key to enjoying everything from those stunning glacier views to wildlife sightings. Think layers. Seriously, the weather can change in a blink. From my personal experience, the right clothes really do make all the difference on an Alaskan cruise.

So, what exactly should you bring? We’ll dive into the details in this guide, making sure you’re ready for whatever Alaska throws your way.

Friends in winterwear smiling

What to Consider Before Packing for an Alaskan Cruise

Climate and Weather Variability

Alaska, with its vast expanse, boasts a myriad of climates ranging from coastal rainforests to icy fjords. You might wake up to a misty morning and find yourself basking under a sunlit sky by noon. Alaska’s climate varies greatly, with coastal areas experiencing milder temperatures and more precipitation, while inland regions can be significantly colder.

Girl covered in a blanket in front of snowy mountains

Due to the fluctuating temperatures and ever-changing weather, layering is crucial. Opt for a system of clothing that includes moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and waterproof, windproof outer layers. This allows you to adapt to temperature shifts throughout the day.

Activities You Will Participate In

three skiers having coffee on top of a snowy mountain

When charting out your Alaska cruise outfits, it’s pivotal to consider the activities you’ve penned down for your journey.

  • On-board Activities: These might include elegant dinners, themed nights, or casual lounging. While a pair of heels and a cocktail dress might be apt for a formal night, you’d want more relaxed attire, like a long-sleeved t-shirt and khaki pants, for the days you plan to unwind.
  • Off-board Activities: Stepping off the cruise ship offers an array of experiences. Whether it’s a glacier hike in Skagway,  visiting a museum in Sitka, or a stroll through the quaint towns of Ketchikan, your attire needs to match the adventure. Special gear like waterproof hiking shoes for those treks or a chic rain jacket for unexpected drizzles will ensure you’re both stylish and prepared.

What to Wear on an Alaskan Cruise

Fashion meets function when you’re sailing through Alaska’s captivating landscapes. Packing for this journey isn’t just about throwing clothes into a suitcase. It’s about curating a wardrobe that ensures comfort while reflecting the elegance of your surroundings.

Basics: Your Daily Casual Outfits

Unlike tropical cruises where swimwear and flip-flops suffice, cruising Alaska’s icy waters and rugged terrains calls for a multifaceted wardrobe. Here’s a breakdown of some outfit basics you shouldn’t overlook:

Fruit of the Loom Mens Recycled Waffle Thermal Underwear Crew Top 1 and 2 Packs

Thermal Underwear

While Alaska’s beauty is breathtaking, the chill can sometimes be equally gasp-worthy. Thermal Underwear acts as your cozy secret weapon. Layer it beneath your outfits to keep the cold at bay.

Fashion tip: Opt for sleek, snug-fitting thermals that can be concealed effortlessly under jeans or dress pants.

Casual Wear for Days at Sea

Comfort is key. Picture this: a Soft Cashmere Sweater paired with black pants, or perhaps a laid-back Long-Sleeve T-shirt combined with water-resistant khaki pants. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes for those deck strolls.

Then, add a pop of color with scarves or accessories, turning even your casual days into stylish affairs.


Columbia Mens Powder Lite Jacket

Alaska’s climate is as unpredictable as it is enchanting. One minute you’re sailing beneath a tranquil sky, and suddenly, you find yourself in an unexpected light rain.

This is why you need some cozy insulation. A stylish Insulated Jacket or a Snug Fleece not only keeps you warm but also adds texture and layering to your look.

Fashion tip: Choose jackets with cinched waists or unique collar designs to add a touch of flair to your functional outerwear.

Casual Footwear

Shoes have the power to either enhance or ruin both your ensemble and, crucially, your overall experience. Onboard, comfort is paramount.

Columbia Mens Newton Ridge Plus Wp Hiking Shoe

Be sure to bring Plush Loafers, Ballet Flats, or even Stylish Sneakers that let you wander the ship’s decks with ease. It’d be much better if they were waterproof. If you intend to use the ship’s spa or pool, don’t forget a pair of Flip-Flops.

Fashion tip: Metallic finishes or embellishments can elevate your casual shoes, adding a dash of glam to your relaxed days.


In the world of fashion, accessories are the cherries on top. Alaska’s cool breeze calls for warm Gloves, Hats, and Scarves. They’re perfect for keeping you warm through those days and nights at sea.

Loritta 3 Pieces Winter Hat Neck Warmer Touchscreen Gloves Set Knit Thick Scarf Beanie Hat Scarves Set Gifts for Women

While it might not always feel scorching, its rays can be harsh. This is why I always tell people that the Alaskan sun can be deceptive.

Keep Sunscreen readily available to safeguard your skin. Complement it with a pair of chic Sunglasses, ensuring your eyes are protected while you’re making a fashion statement.

Adventure-Ready Attire: For Excursions and Other Activities

As we discussed earlier, you’ll need attire that stands up to the elements while complementing your personal style. Let’s break it down:

  1. Active Wear: Opt for moisture-wicking, Quick-Drying Fabrics when choosing your base layers for outdoor activities. This keeps you comfortable, whether you’re hiking up a glacier or kayaking through fjords.
  2. Footwear: A pair of Water Resistant Hiking Boots are a must-have for any outdoor excursion. Look for options with solid traction to handle various terrains.
  3. Rain Jackets and Waterproof Pants: Alaska’s frequent rainy days necessitate a reliable Waterproof Rain Jacket. Opt for a chic, sleek design that doesn’t just shield you from the rain but also complements your outfit.

    Pair it with Waterproof Pants, ensuring you’re ready for an unexpected downpour during your off-board explorations.

  4. Accessories: A hat, preferably with a Wide Brim, and a Scarf serves dual purposes of protecting against both the sun and unexpected rain showers.
  5. Backpack: A sturdy, Water-Resistant Backpack is essential to carry essentials like water, snacks, and a first-aid kit.
  6. Formal Wear for Special Occasions: A cruise presents ample opportunities to dazzle, especially during formal nights. For the ladies, a floor-length gown paired with Elegant Heels or an A-line Cocktail Dress with embellished flats is a showstopper.

    For the gents, a well-tailored suit or tuxedo, accompanied by polished dress shoes, will ensure you’re the talk of the evening.

Optional Items to Consider on an Alaskan Cruise

Not every item is a must-have, but some can significantly enhance your cruise experience, adding layers of comfort and style.

CUPSHE Women V Neck One Piece Swimsuit Wrapped Mesh Tummy Control Bathing Suit with Adjustable Spaghetti Straps

For Onboard Pools and Saunas

Even in chilly Alaska, cruise ships offer the luxury of warm pools and relaxing saunas. Don’t forget to pack a Stylish Swimsuit. Whether you prefer a one-piece, bikini, or trunks, ensure it reflects your personal style.

Lounging Outfits

There will be days when you just want to relax, read a book, or enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck. For these moments, have a set of leisurewear. Think Soft Joggers, Relaxed Tees, or even Elegant Kaftans.

Packing Tips for an Alaskan Cruise

Undertaking an Alaskan cruise is an unparalleled travel experience that surpasses all others. The majestic glaciers, pristine waters, and the allure of the northern lights make it a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

a set of black packing cubes

Here are some tips to make your Alaska cruise packing list efficient and stylish.

  1. Use Packing Cubes. Packing Cubes can help segregate your cruise outfits, from casual wear for the ship to the formal wear needed for those special formal nights in the main dining room.
  2. As you prepare your Alaska cruise packing list, it’s essential to be aware of Luggage restrictions. Streamline your wardrobe, prioritizing pieces like rain jackets for rainy days and comfortable hiking pants for active excursions in ports like Southeast Alaska.
  3. Focus on essentials like thermal underwear for colder days and versatile pieces that can be paired differently.


In essence, when you’re determining what to wear on an Alaskan cruise, it’s all about blending function with style. By being thoughtful about your choices, you’ll be ready to enjoy everything from the breathtaking glaciers to the vibrant onboard activities.

Remember, the right outfit can enhance your experiences, whether you’re capturing the beauty of the northern lights, participating in active excursions, or simply soaking in the views from the deck. So, as you plan what to wear on an Alaskan cruise, prioritize both practicality and personal style. After all, every moment on this cruise deserves to be both memorable and fashionable. Safe travels and happy packing!


What is the dress code for an Alaskan cruise?

On an Alaskan cruise, the dress code typically ranges from casual to semi-formal. Daytime attire is casual with cruise outfits like jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters. Evenings might require smart-casual or semi-formal wear, especially for special events or formal nights. However, specific dress codes can vary based on the cruise line. So, while you’re planning your Alaska cruise itinerary, it’s important to include layers and outdoor gear to fully enjoy the scenic excursions and diverse weather conditions you may encounter.

What do I wear to dinner on an Alaskan Princess cruise?

For dinner on an Alaskan Princess cruise, smart-casual is the norm. This can include dresses, skirts, or slacks for women and khaki pants with collared shirts for men. On formal nights, cocktail dresses, suits, or tuxedos are recommended. Always check your specific cruise itinerary for themed or special event nights.

Can you wear jeans to dinner on an Alaskan cruise?

While daytime attire is relaxed and jeans are acceptable, evening dinners, especially in the main dining room, often require a more polished look. Jeans might be accepted in some casual dining areas, but for formal dining settings and special events, it’s best to opt for dressier alternatives.

Should I bring a bathing suit on an Alaskan cruise?

Absolutely! While Alaskan cruises sail through cooler climates, most cruise ships are equipped with heated pools, hot tubs, and spas. Adding a bathing suit to your packing list for Alaska ensures you’re ready to relax and unwind in these amenities, especially after a day of exploring.