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Fresh home from majestic Alaska, I’m sharing what I packed vs. what I wore on our back-to-back Alaskan cruise. We embarked in Seattle and sailed through the inside passage north to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and then headed south to Victoria before disembarking in Seattle (twice). The first week it was just my husband Steve and I (Ann) on the cruise. The second week, we welcomed 84 guests who were part of our second Postcard Jar Friends Cruise.

Packing for a trip

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How I planned what to pack for our Alaskan cruise

About a month before our May 2024 cruise, I made a list of everything I thought I would need for two weeks at sea and in Alaska. In fact, we made a FREE printable to share with you, so you can use our list, too.

Next, I did an inventory of my closet and tried on absolutely everything I was planning to pack to make sure it fit and felt comfortable. I’m glad I did. A dress I ordered in the same style but a different color than one I already had fit very differently. Even though the sizes on the tags were exactly the same, the new colored dress was too small. So glad I tried it on first!


what to pack for a cruise to alaska

There were a few things I didn’t already have that I thought I might need in Alaska. I ended up ordering some lightweight gloves, a pair of waterproof pants, and a dry bag on Amazon. You can see our entire Amazon packing list for Alaska HERE. And, read more about the things we considered when packing for an Alaskan cruise HERE. Later, I also purchased a pair of moisture resistant hiking pants/joggers at Athleta. Then, I started gathering things for our trip in our guest room.

Pack for Alaskan cruise clothing for women

What I packed in my checked bag for our Alaskan cruise

I filled one and a half checked bags and my husband used the other half plus a bag of his own. What can I say? We both like to have options. Plus, the clothing for Alaska is a little bulkier. In addition to our clothes, we also packed a lot of supplies for our group cruise guests.

what to pack for alaskan cruise

For the most part, I packed everything that was on our list, including lots of layers. I packed four long-sleeved undershirts, two sweaters, and four nicer shirts to wear around the ship. To be honest, I was so unsure about what to pack for pants that I took four pair of leggings, each with different thicknesses for warmth. I also took three pairs of joggers, including the resistant ones I got at Athleta. And, just in case it was extra warm, I packed a pair of nice shorts.

What I packed for outwear

I had the most difficult time deciding on which coats/outerwear to take, so I took a bunch! I packed my lightweight puffer coat, a mid-length waterproof jacket, a fleece jacket, a lightweight windbreaker, a puffer vest, and a hoodie. Yes, I know, too much, too much, too much.

Ann Teget at Dawes Glacier in Alaska

To save space in my bag, I put most of my outerwear in a compression bag and sucked all the air out. It worked great!

The shoes I packed for our cruise to Alaska

Here’s what I packed for shoes:

  • Waterproof hiking shoes (not boots)
  • HOKA tennis shoes
  • White Kizik tennis shoes
  • EVA Birkenstock sandals
  • Black sandals
  • Glitzy sandals

What bags I packed for our Alaskan cruise

Don’t judge: I packed at least seven bags. I have a bit of an obsession with bags, so this was nothing new for me. Here’s what I took:

  • Calpak waterproof crossbody (pictured below)
  • Lightweight crossbody
  • Athleta small fanny pack
  • Small crossbody purse
  • 2 clutches for evenings on the ship
  • Aloha pool bag

Ann in Ketchikan, Alaska with her Calpak crossbody bag

What else I took with me

In addition, I took a small carry-on bag (on top of the pile below) that had all my medications, jewelry, an extra outfit or two, and some first aid supplies. For my personal item on the plane, I took a shoulder bag. Inside that bag, I packed a small cross-body purse, my laptop, electronics cords, a few toiletries, compression socks, headphones, and a few other personal items.

Suitcases packed for a trip

Since medical equipment does not count as a carryon, I also took my C-PAP in it’s carrying case.

What I actually wore/used on my Alaskan cruise

Let me begin by saying that I actually used (at least once) most of what I packed for my 14-night cruise to Alaska. So, here’s what I used most and least.

rain jackets in victoria

What I used most on my cruise to Alaska

Despite having packed lots of leggings, joggers, and even shorts, the pants I wore most on this trip were the new Athleta ones I bought the day before our trip. They were comfortable, warm and pretty moisture resistant, which is always a plus on rainy or misty days in Alaska. I also wore them underneath the waterproof rain pants I purchased for $25 on Amazon.

fishing in alaska what to wear

I layed both pairs of pants for our day trip in Ketchikan, our fishing boat expedition, a whale watching tour, and even our helicopter trip to the top of a glacier. They were perfect and I just loved them. And since I had complimentary laundry as part of my Captain’s Club benefits package, I was able to have them laundered a few times.

The shoes I wore most

The shoes I wore for almost every excursion were my waterproof hiking ones I got several years ago at a Columbia outlet store. These shoes were comfortable for walking, warm, and kept my feet dry, even on the rainy days. Boots were really not necessary on this trip, so I’m glad I opted for these easier-to-pack hiking shoes.

train ride in skagway

Around the ship, I typically wore my HOKA tennis shoes during the day. For dinner and evening events, I wore one of the two pair of sandals I brought. They were both slip on sandals – one pair black and the other metallic so those went with everything.

Evening chic night on the Celebrity Edge

The outerwear I wore most in Alaska

The coat I wore most days was my Charles River waterproof rain jacket that we had customized with our blog logo. I absolutely LOVED this jacket!

Charles River waterproof rain jacket on Alaskan Cruise

It was light weight, soft and flexible. And most importantly, it kept me both warm and dry. A travel tip – if you get this coat, be sure to order a size a bit bigger that what you normally wear so you have room for layering. The other coat I wore most was my white puffer coat.

white puffer coat on alaskan cruise

When we were out on the ship’s deck on cool mornings, it was nice to have something a bit warmer. I also wore my puffer coat for our dogsled excursion and I wished I hadn’t. With the sun shining down on us and reflecting off the white snow, it was actually quite warm there and I was hot!

What I wore on excursions in Alaska

For most of our excursions, I wore my Athleta joggers, waterproof rain pants, and my waterproof hiking shoes.

whale watching

One day, I wore my fleece lined leggings and almost immediately regretted it. Once we got to walking a bit, they were too hot. I never wore the shorts I packed. However, I did wear my swimsuit several times. It was nice to swim at the indoor pool in the Solarium and we even braved the cooler temps to enjoy some time in the outdoor hot tubs.

hot tub on celebrity edge retreat pool deck

What I wore to dinner on our Alaskan cruise

As for my hanging clothes, I wore every single dress (I brought seven) for dinner and evenings around the ship. Some were casual and I brought a few that were dressier for evening chic nights.

Celebrity Cruises evening chic attire

I did find that many people dressed more casually on this Alaskan cruise from the U.S. I know it’s a controversial topic, but I actually enjoy dressing up when we’re going out to a nice restaurant like the ones on the ship. That’s especially true on evening chic nights when I’m being served lobster at a white-clothed table by a waiter dressed in a suit and tie.

celebrity edge luminae with basha

If we got back to the ship late from an excursion and didn’t want to change clothes, the buffet was always another option.

Other stuff we packed (and used) on our Alaskan cruise

The other items we used most on our cruise to Alaska included those listed below. You can find links to most them on our Amazon storefront.

  • High-quality binoculars
  • Magnetic hooks to hang hats, jackets, or lanyards, etc.
  • Sunglasses
  • External battery for my phone (I took so many photos)
  • Waterproof daypack
  • Ballcaps

Packing for Alaskan cruise essentials

What I packed but didn’t use on my Alaskan cruise

Admittedly, I took too many coats. I never wore the lightweight windbreaker I brought or the fleece. I only wore my puffer vest once – when we hiked in Ketchikan the first week on what turned out to be a warm and sunny day. A scarf wasn’t necessary, which is good, because I forgot to bring one.

puffer vest in alaska cruise what to pack

We brought two bottles on sunscreen which we never used. I guess I didn’t think about the fact that most of our bodies would be covered in sun-resistant clothing. My husband and I both used moisturizers with SPF on our faces daily, and didn’t wear short sleeves outside, making the sprays unnecessary. We also never used the insect repellant we brought. Maybe it’s because we were in Alaska in early summer (late May), or maybe because we weren’t out and about at dusk, but we never saw a bug.

I used my hat a just couple times and my gloves only twice.

A few other items I packed but didn’t use

I packed a couple waterproof cell phone holders for our boat excursions but we didn’t need them. I suppose if you were kayaking to a glacier they may have been useful, but we just needed think they were necessary. I also didn’t use the sleep mask I packed. I was thinking it would be difficult to sleep with it being light so many hours a day in Alaska. Fortunately, our shades were room darkening and getting a good night’s sleep was never an issue.

The only pair of shoes I didn’t wear

The only pair of shoes I didn’t wear on the cruise were my white Kiziks. I wore them for our plane ride and for boarding the ship on embarkation day. But other than that, they sat in the closet. It’s often rainy (and little muddy) in Alaska, so white shoes were not a good option for an Alaskan cruise.

white shoes on embarkation day

I wore most of the tops I brought but probably didn’t need so many nicer long sleeved shirts. What would have been more useful was an extra sweatshirt. So, I bought one in Alaska early in the cruise at one of the ports. (Great souvenir, and the price was very reasonable!)

sled dogs in alaska

All in all, our printable packing list was get guide for this cruise. I really did have everything I needed (and a little more). How about you? Have you been to Alaska or are you planning to go? What did/will you pack?

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