10 Must Haves on an Alaska Cruise

Alaska cruises certainly aren’t anything like a day at the beach. So when it comes to packing, what ends up in your luggage won’t likely resemble the bikinis and Hawaiian shirts you’d choose for a tropical getaway. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things you can’t leave home without. For anyone planning a journey to the 49th state, be sure to heed this valuable packing advice.

1. Hiking Boots: You’ll need a sturdy pair of hiking boots or shoes to tread upon Alaska’s mountainous terrain. We recommend “a pair of waterproof hiking shoes (they look like tennis shoes but the Gore-Tex makes them absolutely waterproof).

2. Alarm Clock: You wouldn’t want to miss wildlife sightings or be the last off the ship in port, so it’s important to rise and shine early on port days. If you don’t like wake-up calls, take an alarm clock with you (most cabins don’t include one) — after all it’s the early bird that gets the worm!

3. Collapsible Backpack (Gym Sack): Many of our members suggested taking a backpack that folds up and can be stored in your pocket until you need to use it (to store extra clothing layers that are peeled off or souvenirs bought in port). The sacks are very lightweight and have a drawstring to keep your belongings safely tucked away.

4. Motion Sickness Medicine: The waters along the Pacific Coast and in Alaska can be particularly choppy, so if you get seasick, be prepared with a remedy like gravol.

5. Sunscreen: Don’t let the chilly temperatures fool you — the sun’s UV rays are strong in Alaska. Definitely don’t forget the sunscreen if you are going on a tour to one of the glaciers. The sun off of the ice can be very intense.

6. Extra Memory Cards for the Camera: Make sure to bring plenty of memory for all of the beautiful scenery you’ll encounter in Alaska. Not only should you have back up memory cards, but you should also have a good zoom lens or high-pixel camera so you can crop and enlarge pictures – especially for great wildlife shots.

7. Insect Repellent: You must remember to bring insect repellent in the pump bottle as airlines will confiscate the spray bottle. The mosquitoes are huge, so bring the repellent and make sure it’s the pump.

8. Rain Gear: Things like umbrellas, ponchos, raincoats with hoods, and extra socks are advisable in case you get caught in a downpour. Wait to buy these in Ketchikan. They have excellent quality jackets for much less than you pay at home, and they have nice, simple Alaska logos on them. There are tons of stores right off the dock.

9. Binoculars: While many members suggest taking binoculars with you on your Alaska cruise, the quality of them is the key. Take the strongest binoculars that you have. You will see so much more of the wildlife that is farther away.

10. Layers: Take light jackets, fleece clothing, a warm hat, and gloves for layering in unpredictable weather. Since weather varies even if you get the best, bring all possible options from short sleeves and shorts to long sleeves and rain gear on your cruise. Don’t buy fleece and windbreakers before you go. All of the ports sell jackets and fleece very inexpensively. They are nice souvenirs, but remember to leave room when you are packing to bring them home.

1 Response
  1. Thanks for posting this. My wife and I booked an Alaskan cruise for next year, and there were a few things on the list I hadn’t thought of yet!