What to wear to ALASKA?

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Cruise Fashions & Beauty

Deck yourself out for your next cruise! What clothes should you bring, and what should stay at home. Offer up packing tips, and savvy shopping info, too
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#1
SoCal Gal
5,009 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
We're going next year and I'm so unsure of what to pack. We'll be flying, so I have to be careful of weight. Any of you gals experienced Alaska cruisers who can give me some warm but lightweight ideas?
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#2
Western PA
864 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
What month? What itinerary?
We went last year, early June, SF departure. We wore long pants and long sleeves every day, although I've read other posts that said they wore shorts some of the time. I packed my down jacket and sweaters in compression bags from the dollar store; worked great. Since we spent most of our waking hours out on deck (much better viewing than from our balcony), we were glad to have warm enough layers.
Like any trip, it's hard to know in advance exactly what weather you'll have. We looked up the forecast each day, before we went, to get an idea of the range at that time.
#3
Florida
1,779 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
I packed jeans and other long pants , nylon t shirts , cotton sweaters , a fleece pull over , gloves and a lined rain jacket that had a hood . For evenings I had a few knit dresses that I wore with pashminas and wearever travel separates . I also packed casual knit separates for travelling .We spent a few days in Vancouver before the flight so I did send out some laundry . Alaska is casual .
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#4
Virginia Beach, VA
4,673 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Lots of layers! It's cold on the ship, but if you go into the towns it can get warm. I mostly wore jeans and long sleeves with fleece jacket/vest. The fleece vest was probably my favorite piece of clothing. I wore it under jackets on the ship and with a long sleeve shirt and no jacket on some excursions. Bring gloves and a head covering of some sort. The ship is comfortable inside, so for dinner no need for warm clothes.

The most important thing is for everyone to have their own pair of binoculars!
#5
Columbia, MO
95 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
My husband and I are heading out for our first criuse in May. We are going from Seattle through the inside passage. I am so excited. I have been working on a packing list. I probably will start gathering some things this week. I keep watching the local forcasts and it seems to be in the 50's mostly and since we are used to the cooler weather I think we will not have as much trouble keeping warm, but I will be bringing fleece sweaters to keep layered up. Thanks for the suggestions.
#6
California
21,297 Posts
Joined May 2002
It looks like you're going in May of 2013???

Averages can run from the low 50's to the high 60's, you may get some rain in some towns. The reason people can wear different types of clothing is that some areas of Alaska are warmer/drier than others and the weather can be tricky. You really need to check each port town a couple days before leaving to get an average and an idea of rainfall.

If I were planning a trip this time of year I'd pack 3 pair long pants, wear one and take a pair of shorts. Shirts would be - 3 or 4 long sleeved, a few tank tops and a couple short sleeved. A good longer length rain coat with a zip out lining and a warm jacket for non-rainy days. A pair of gloves and a warm hat can be used on the day you're at the glacier, otherwise it's not cold enough (unless you get cold easily). Laundry charges for a couple pair of the pants/shirts are a whole lot less than excess/extra baggage fees, you don't need to send out everything you take, just a few items.

I'd only take one pair of water resistant shoes for port calls...we took 2 pair each and ended up with a whole lotta extra shoes to store in the closet.

Evenings are the same as any other cruise, you dress for dinner and there are usually formal nights. The inside of the ship is temperature controlled, it will be the same as if you were anywhere else in the world.
#7
Oklahoma City, OK
11,283 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Where do you live right now? The reason I ask is that if you live in FL, anything below 85 is cold and requires a jacket. I can wear shorts if it's sunny and 60. Other posters are right in that (thin) layers are best. But you are going in the early part of the season so it will be cooler and possibly more rain than June/July/Aug. Waterproof light weight jackets (with a hood) and shoes would be good. Ideally, the jacket should be big enough for a couple layers of clothing to be worn underneath and long enough to cover your bum. The ship itself has a controlled temperature, but out on deck and on excursions is where you'll want to be warm & dry.
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Carmen

Celebrity Galaxy 11/04
Grand Princess 2/06
Carnival Conquest 10/06
Celebrity Mercury to Alaska 9/07 very cool - literally!
Vegas, baby! 11/08
NCL Spirit 1/09, where everybody knew my name (which was strange and a little fun at the same time)
NCL Pearl 3/10
HAL Oosterdam 5/2011, back to Alaska we went!
RCCL Mariner OTS 3/2012 - another 1st!
NCL Star 12/2012 - more firsts!
NCL Jewel 12/2013 - Christmas on the water
NCL Jewel 11/2014 - and a few more firsts!
NCL Sun 5/2015 - North to Alaska, this time into Denali!
NCL Dawn 11/2015
NCL Dawn 11/2016. I'm really getting used to not cooking on Thanksgiving!
NCL Pearl 11/2017


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#8
SoCal Gal
5,009 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Yes, we're sailing in May of 2013. We'll be going to Tracy Arm Fjord, Skagway, Ketchican, Juneau, and Victoria, BC. I currently live in the Mojave Desert. In the winter, temps can drop to about 20 degrees, but rarely get much lower than that. I'm not used to a wet cold, that's for sure!

I have a hooded Gortex coat I can bring and a pair of waterproof pants I can wear over jeans if I have to. What I don't have are water-resistant shoes.

DH and I are talking about skipping the formal nights to save on weight. Carnival is pretty casual, so I could do the slacks and nice top and DH could do slacks and collared shirt. Jeans for sure when we go off the ship. Binoculars are a must! I'm listening, ladies, and appreciate all your sound advice!
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#9
Kingston, ON
2,418 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
We went in mid-June and packed those lightweight zip/off pants with light dri-tech golf shirts. Everything could be washed in the bathroom and dried very quickly. I took a silk turtleneck, a cotton cardigan and a light waterproof jacket that folded into its own pocket. You may think about pantyhose that can be worn under the pants. Be sure to have earcovering, light gloves, and water resitant shoes. As others have said, layering is the answer. As for formal nights, a dressy pair of pants and some silky tops and light sandals are the answer. We are from central Ontario, so are used to quite cold weather, and were never cold.

Ciao,
Nikki
#10
Oklahoma City, OK
11,283 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Comparing mid-May to mid-June isn't really comparable. Mid-June would be 15-20 degrees warmer on average.

And don't forget gloves (more for warmth) and possibly a hat - if you view Tracy Arm from outside (which I recommend if photographing), you'll want them - along with warm layers.
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Carmen

Celebrity Galaxy 11/04
Grand Princess 2/06
Carnival Conquest 10/06
Celebrity Mercury to Alaska 9/07 very cool - literally!
Vegas, baby! 11/08
NCL Spirit 1/09, where everybody knew my name (which was strange and a little fun at the same time)
NCL Pearl 3/10
HAL Oosterdam 5/2011, back to Alaska we went!
RCCL Mariner OTS 3/2012 - another 1st!
NCL Star 12/2012 - more firsts!
NCL Jewel 12/2013 - Christmas on the water
NCL Jewel 11/2014 - and a few more firsts!
NCL Sun 5/2015 - North to Alaska, this time into Denali!
NCL Dawn 11/2015
NCL Dawn 11/2016. I'm really getting used to not cooking on Thanksgiving!
NCL Pearl 11/2017


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
#11
New Jersey
2,625 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Check the average amount of rain and temps. for your ports of call for the month of May. We were lucky when we went to Alaska...........only a couple of days of rain each time, and it didn't rain all day. Our first Alaska cruise was a 7 night round trip from Vancouver in early July. The second time we went to Alaska was for a 12 night cruisetour in May (5 night land and 7 night south bound cruise).

We wore jeans most of the time. We layered t-shirts under long sleeve shirts, topped with windbreakers. My husband wore a cap and I carried a small folding umbrella in my purse. We wore sneakers. We didn't bring fleece but bought sweatshirts in Alaska. We knew that we would want them as souvenirs. We didn't bring gloves or hats and didn't miss them. However, we didn't do any glacier landing tours. It was so warm in some of the ports that we stripped down to t-shirts in the afternoons. Many of the locals were wearing capris and shorts. Mornings were chilly (in the low 50's) so we needed our layers. Long sleeve cotton t-shirts are also great for casual evenings.

As someone else posted, make sure to bring binoculars. Also bring extra memory for your camera. We couldn't believe how many pictures we took. The scenery is breath taking.
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Madeline
#12
NC
1,025 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We brought a large umbrella that folded small and dollar ponchos. We have been twice and had rain both times but also had great weather.

Inside the ship we wore shorts and flops on sea days...very comfortable.

Binoculars are a must...you will see whales, maybe seals, we did...
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#13
Michigan
191 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
I would go with wool pants over jeans. They look nicer, are lighter and will stay drier (which means warmer) than jeans, and if they get wet, they'll actually dry. Cotton (particularly denim) is just evil stuff when it's wet.
#14
Central MO
440 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We are going to the fjotds in two weeks so I'm glad I found this. I'm assuming the weather should be about the same in Norway in mid May as in Alaska, does anyone know from experience?
#15
California
21,297 Posts
Joined May 2002
You really have to check the weather and make adjustments just before leaving. Weather in Alaska can't be predicted long in advance, just like weather anywhere.

A friend went to Alaska in May a few years ago. They had no rain and the temps were in the high 70's low 80's. All they had packed was long sleeves and jeans plus jackets. Almost everyone on their cruise did the same and they all roasted. She said she really envied the few who checked and brought along shorts and short sleeved shirts.

You also have to consider each port, weather can be quite different in each. We had rain in Ketchikan and Juneau, wasn't really cold. Sitka was in the 70's. Vancouver was lovely in the mid 70's both pre and post cruise. We only had cold weather one day at the glacier. We went in August.

Alaska has seasons just like anywhere else, they do have a spring and a summer! About the only thing you can count on is you probably will get some rain.
#16
Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
21,555 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by fyree39
Yes, we're sailing in May of 2013. We'll be going to Tracy Arm Fjord, Skagway, Ketchican, Juneau, and Victoria, BC. I currently live in the Mojave Desert. In the winter, temps can drop to about 20 degrees, but rarely get much lower than that. I'm not used to a wet cold, that's for sure!

I have a hooded Gortex coat I can bring and a pair of waterproof pants I can wear over jeans if I have to. What I don't have are water-resistant shoes.

DH and I are talking about skipping the formal nights to save on weight. Carnival is pretty casual, so I could do the slacks and nice top and DH could do slacks and collared shirt. Jeans for sure when we go off the ship. Binoculars are a must! I'm listening, ladies, and appreciate all your sound advice!
Hey Neighbor, we live in San Bernadino. We've been to Alaska twice. One year it was t-shirt and shorts weather, the next it was 40F and rainy. It was a steady rain. not like a desert storm at all.
Thin layers is the way to go.

For the rainy cruise we wore pretty much what we wear down here with another layer or two. I wore jeans, t-shirt, thin hoodie, rain coat and sneakers. DD and DH only wore Tshirts and raincoats. I also brought some silk long underwear. Locally I bought those at BassPro at Victoria Gardens and REI in Rancho Cucamonga (15 & Foothill). It can be cold out on deck so bring gloves for glacier viewing. The 2pr for $3 at Target are good enough.

One cruise I wore the same black skirt and changed out the top every night. DH wears dockers everyday and wears a button down shirt.

Waterproof shoes do not breathe. Water resistant shoes do. Another idea is to get the water resistent spray. It is either in the shoe department or the sporting goods section.
#17
Southern California
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi Sadie.... another neighbor here in the Inland Empire! I'm leaving 2 weeks from today for my 2nd cruise to Alaska. Off work today and heading to REI for some last minute needs. Will be going on a hike so hiking shoes are on my list.

Can't wait to get back to Alaska!!!

Marilyn
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Previous Cruises....
Ruby Princess, West Coast Getaway, Sep/2016
Ruby Princess, Vancouver to Seattle, May/2016
Crown Princess, Pacific Coastal, April/2016
Caribbean Princess, Western Caribbean, Feb/2016
Ruby Princess, Alaska, June/2015
Grand Princess, Hawaii, March/2015
Caribbean Princess, New England/Canada, Oct/2013
HAL Volendam, Alaska, June/2012
Golden Princess, Alaska, June/2010
RCCL Enchantment of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean, 1998

Future Cruises....
Ruby Princess, Alaska, May 2017
Ruby Princess, Mexican Riviera "Steve Moris Cruise" Jan 2018
#18
9,407 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Mare10
Hi Sadie.... another neighbor here in the Inland Empire! I'm leaving 2 weeks from today for my 2nd cruise to Alaska. Off work today and heading to REI for some last minute needs. Will be going on a hike so hiking shoes are on my list.

Can't wait to get back to Alaska!!!

Marilyn
Get good, comfortable, warm, natural-fiber SOCKS too
#19
So Cali
749 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
So glad for this thread...I've been planning my clothes for Alaska mid-June. I live in the Southern California desert (Palm Springs area). I think I'm okay for the layers, but my question is, should I take the silk longjohns for under the jeans? And, should I pack hiking shoes (I have them) or will tennies do? I have lightweight black canvas Allrounders by Mephisto http://www.zappos.com/allrounder-by-...ack-suede-mesh Do you think they'll be okay? I won't be hiking necessarily, I will be on a floatplane, dog mushing, and on a train, and I figured I'd wear 'em for morning walks around the deck. Thanks for your reply.
#20
9,407 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
I strongly recommend that you take the silk longjohns. They take up nearly zero space, and you're MUCH better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them. I've made 6 trips (or 7??) to Alaska and after the first trip, have taken silk longjohns every time. I desperately needed them the first time, and nearly froze without them Won't make that mistake again.

If your hiking shoes are water proof, take them. Cold wet feet suck (my first trip to Alaska, again )