Are you planning to go on an Alaska cruise with kids? If so, you might be wondering what to pack for your cruise. Alaska is a cruise destination that poses some challenges when it comes to packing. Unpredictable weather, outdoor shore excursions and limited luggage space makes packing for an Alaska cruise difficult.
Below, I will share with you some helpful tips on what to pack for an Alaska cruise with kids, based on my own experience. I have also created a free printable Alaska Cruise packing list that you can download and use for your own trip. I wish I had this packing list when I went on my first Alaska cruise, but now I’m happy to share it with you (scroll to the end for the packing list).
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What to Pack for Alaska Cruise
Packing for an Alaska cruise can be a daunting task, especially if you are traveling with kids. The weather conditions in Alaska are unpredictable and varied, so you need to be prepared for different scenarios. Even in the summer, the temperature can range from hot to chilly, so you need to pack in layers that you can easily add or remove.
You also need to bring waterproof clothes and shoes, as it can rain or snow at any time. Or you might be taking a shore excursion that is outdoors on a glacier so you will need snow gear!
To make matters worse, you have limited luggage space, as you probably have to fly to your cruise port and follow the airline luggage restrictions. And since Alaska cruises are usually long, you need to have enough clothes to last for the whole trip, or find a way to wash them on board. I always bring these travel detergent so I can do some light washing in my cabin.
Pro-Tip: Check if your cruise ship has laundry machines, so that you can do your laundry there and save some space in your suitcase.
Clothes to Pack on Alaska Cruise
When packing for an Alaska cruise, you need to dress in layers to cope with the changing weather conditions. Most Alaska cruises are in the summer, but the temperature can still drop to freezing levels, especially if you are visiting a glacier.
You need to have a jacket that is lightweight and waterproof, as well as sweaters and fleece that you can zip up or down. A hooded jacket is a great option, as it can protect you from the wind and rain.
You also need to bring hats, gloves, and boots that are waterproof, since you might encounter snow or rain on your shore excursions.
Don’t forget to pack your bathing suits and swim goggles, your kids will want to swim on the ship. And depending on your cruise, you might also need some eveningwear, such as dresses, blouses, jackets, and khakis, for the formal nights or special events.
Accessories to Pack on Alaska Cruise
When packing for your Alaska cruise, you will need to bring a lot of accessories. Bring a tote bag or a backpack to carry your accessories when you go on shore excursions, which can last for the whole day.
You will want to bring binoculars to admire the stunning views of Alaska (glaciers!) I always pack binoculars with a strap when I go on cruises. You will also want to bring a good camera phone or a camera to take pictures and videos of the beautiful scenery. I took my GoPro with me.
Don’t forget to bring chargers for your devices. Your kids might also want to bring their iPads and Nintendo Switches to play games or watch movies during the downtime.
Since you will be outdoors a lot in Alaska, you will need to bring sunblock and bug spray. And of course, you will need sunglasses and baseball cap.
Another item that I always bring on cruises are refillable, insulated water bottles without straws, since you will need water during your shore excursions. You can fill it up with water from the ship, and it will keep it cold for a long time. Bringing your own water bottles will also save you money because you don’t have to buy expensive water and drinks from the ship!
Check out: Best Alaska Cruises for Families
What to Pack in Your Overnight Bag
Another tip that I have for packing for an Alaska cruise is to have an overnight bag that you can carry with you on board. I usually use a small roller luggage that fits in the overhead compartment.
This is because you will not get your checked luggage right away when you board the ship. It might take a few hours for them to deliver your luggage to your room.
So I always pack an overnight bag with the essentials that I might need for the first day or night. I pack bathing suits and swim goggles for me and my kids, in case we want to jump in the pool right away.
I also pack a change of clothes for each of us, as well as any medication that we might need. My son has a nut allergy, so I always keep his epipen in my overnight bag. I also don’t forget to pack sunblock, as the sun can be strong in Alaska.
I also pack some entertainment for the kids in the overnight bag, such as books, toys, games, iPads, and devices. This way, they can stay busy while we wait for our luggage or when we are done exploring the ship that first day.
The roller luggage will also come in handy on your last night, because you will need a bag big enough to pack your overnight stuff for the next day. The cruise will ask you to give them your big luggage the night before, so that they can prepare them for disembarkation.
If you need to book Alaska tours, a great platform to book tours is with viator.
Download your Free Alaska Cruise Packing Checklist Printable
Download your Alaska cruise packing checklist, it will come in handy as you pack for your upcoming cruise. Bon Voyage!
Check out our other cruise packing lists with free printables:
Check out: When to Book a Cruise to Get the Best Deal
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