Alaskan Cruise Packing List: Travel Essentials for Alaska 2023

snow capped mountain next to lake under blue sky
Photo by Errin Casano on

The spectacular scenery and chance to see wildlife in its natural setting make an Alaskan cruise a once-in-a-lifetime experience. An Alaskan cruise is certain to leave a lasting impact, whether you are traveling through Glacier Bay National Park or stopping in at the quaint fishing village of Ketchikan. Alaska is a place that should be on every traveler’s bucket list because of its untamed natural beauty, enormous glaciers, and varied wildlife. We’ll cover everything you need to know to plan the ideal Alaskan cruise in this blog post, from the best time to travel to what to bring and what to anticipate on board. So join us as we explore the wild and majestic beauty of Alaska and discover why it’s one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.

Explore our recommended gear and items by clicking on the linked words and phrases below, to ensure you have everything you need for your next trip.

Quick Jumps

Know Before You Go

  1. Cost: Alaska cruises can be expensive, with costs for the cruise, shore excursions, and onboard activities. Be sure to budget accordingly, and consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment.
  2. Cruise itinerary: Alaska cruises typically depart from Seattle, Vancouver, or San Francisco, and offer different itineraries, such as the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay, or the Gulf of Alaska. Consider the length of the cruise, the ports of call, and the activities offered when choosing your itinerary.
  3. Cruise ship amenities: Alaska cruises typically offer a variety of onboard activities, such as live entertainment, dining options, and a spa. Be sure to research the amenities offered on your chosen cruise ship, and consider purchasing a drink or dining package to save money.
  4. Local culture: Alaska is rich in Native American and Alaskan Native culture. Consider taking a shore excursion to learn about the history and culture of the people who have lived in Alaska for thousands of years.
  5. Health and safety: Alaska can be a remote and rugged destination. Be sure to bring any necessary medications, and consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself in case of an emergency. Also, be prepared for the risk of motion sickness and pack remedies if needed.
  6. Packing: Pack warm layers, as temperatures can vary greatly, especially on deck and during shore excursions. You’ll also want to pack waterproof gear, as rain is common in Alaska.
  7. Shore excursions: Alaska has a wide variety of shore excursions, including whale watching, glaciers, wildlife viewing, and cultural experiences. Be sure to book your excursions in advance, as popular options can sell out quickly.
  8. Water activities: Alaska has a wide variety of water activities, including kayaking, fishing, and rafting. Be sure to bring appropriate gear, and consider booking an excursion to experience these activities.
  9. When to go: Alaska cruises are usually available from May to September, with the peak season being June to August. Consider the weather and activities you want to experience when deciding when to go.
  10. Wildlife: Alaska is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including whales, seals, bears, and eagles. Be sure to bring a good camera, as you may have opportunities to see and photograph these animals up close.


  • Warm and Heavy layers: Bring a variety of warm layers, such as a fleece jacket, insulated pants, and a waterproof jacket, as the weather in Alaska can be unpredictable and temperatures can drop quickly.
  • Waterproof boots: It’s important to have waterproof boots as you’ll likely be doing a lot of hiking and exploring on your cruise.
  • Long sleeved and short-sleeved shirts to wear underneath your sweaters and jackets.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen: Even though it’s cold, the sun can still be strong, so don’t forget to bring sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your skin.

Gear and Accessories

  • A small backpack or waist pack to carry essentials for the day or shorter excursions.
  • Gloves: Keep your hands warm on the ship or on shore excursions.
  • Travel Binoculars to use while cruising. The Alaskan wilderness is beautiful. You may get lucky and catch sightings of beautiful Alaskan wildlife within he wilderness.
  • Lightweight and breathable jacket or sweater: Lightweight clothing and the use of layering helps stay the perfect temperature throughout the day as it changes with the sun.
  • Portable travel pillow: For a comfortable sleep on long flights, car rides, train rides Portable travel pillow for a comfortable sleep on long flights or boat rides – preferably one that folds up for easy transportation.


  • Camera: Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all the beautiful scenery and wildlife you’ll see on your cruise.
  • Extra batteries and memory cards: Make sure to bring extra batteries and memory cards for your camera, as you’ll likely be taking a lot of pictures.
  • Power bank/Portable Charger: Bring a power bank to ensure that your phone and other devices stay charged throughout the trip.

Toiletries and Medications

  • Travel-size toiletries: Pack travel-size versions of your favorite toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste, to save space in your luggage.
  • Insect Repellent or Insect Repellent Wipes for quick use. Alaska has a significant mosquito population.
  • Sunscreen with at least SPF 30: Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays with a high SPF sunscreen.
  • Medications: Make sure to bring any necessary medications, as well as any over-the-counter remedies you might need, such as motion sickness pills.
  • Basic first aid kit including band-aids, painkillers, and any necessary medication to be prepared for any minor accidents or injuries.

Travel Documents

  • Passport: Make sure to bring your passport and any other necessary travel documents.
  • Cash and credit cards: Bring cash and credit cards for any incidentals or souvenirs you might want to buy.
  • Travel insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself in case of any unexpected events.

Make sure you bring all the necessary gear and items for your Alaskan cruise with this comprehensive packing list. With this guide, you can focus on enjoying your trip and creating unforgettable memories, rather than worrying about what you forgot to bring.

Pack right, travel well!

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