What to Pack for a Cruise to Alaska: 3 Necessities & Casual Outfit Ideas
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
A reader asked me what to pack for a cruise to Alaska, so I thought I’d give you some ideas about what you should wear on a cold-weather cruise in a wild and wooly part of the world. Here’s the exact question I received: “I'm doing my first ever cruise in June but we are heading north... Alaska. Norwegian, I believe, is our cruise line. What do you recommend for that?”
Here is what I learned from my own packing mistakes for my cruise to Alaska... and I've included a few ideas about what kinds of clothes smart women, like you, should bring on your trip.
My Honeymoon Was a Princess Cruise to Alaska
Ten years ago, I remarried, and our honeymoon was a Princess cruise to Alaska. It was my first cruise and I brought all the wrong stuff. I packed as if I were staying in a regular, big city hotel. (So, learn from my mistakes.)
For that trip, the first of many cruises, I brought boots with heels (unsteady, spindly heels), extremely dressy clothes (what was I thinking), and fashionable jackets (cute, but not waterproof). Well… just before leaving, I had an epiphany... I unzipped my bag and threw in a pair of jeans and some tennis shoes... just in case I might need them. It was a last-minute afterthought and it was just in the nick of time... right before we loaded the bags into the car.
Fortunately, my husband saved the day. It turned out that he had packed two waterproof jackets for himself. Without that extra jacket the whole thing would have been a disaster. His somewhat ugly, outdoorsy jacket was huge. It was miles too big for me... but it kept me dry… and being dry meant being warm.
Alaskan Cruises are Casual
You’re smart enough to know that you need socks, underwear, sunglasses, and such, so I’m just going to talk about fashion ideas for Alaska cruises or for any cold-weather cruise.
Alaska is the land of the Nirvana-grunge, plaid-flannel, hard-drinking mode d'être. So, in general, people on Alaskan cruises will be wearing outfits that are quite casual. Hey, it’s Alaska, not Vienna. And, Alaska cruises are very family oriented… which makes them very cool and different, as well as very casual.
I Always Dress for Dinner
Personally, I like to get a little dressed up a bit for dinner, no matter what, because that’s half the fun of going on a cruise, but what you wear is up to you. And, even though I’ve never been on an NCL cruise, I’ve done a bit of research, and a cruise to Alaska on Norwegian Cruise Lines is going to be about as laid back as it gets. I mean, you’re NEVER going to be thrown out for being overdressed, however it doesn’t sound like you will EVER see a ballgown on any NCL ship… on any itinerary. So, I recommend that you go for a look that’s simple and flattering, but not red carpet. On the other hand, this cruise gives you a lot of leeway! And, you can have a lot of fun with your elegant wardrobe and a bit of wild jewelry… and you can show them ‘em how it’s done!
Some cruise forums (like Cruise Critic) make it sound like an LBD is going to be “over the top” on NCL, but I always wear whatever I want and I often overdress. Hey, I don’t care if other people wear their jammies into the main dining room (as long as my husband is not one of them). I may snicker later on, but it will give me an amusing story to tell someday. (article continues)
Keep reading about what to pack for an Alaska cruise on page two.