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7 Things Cruisers Wish They Packed for Their Alaska Cruise This Year

03 Jun 2024
Calista Kiper

What are the things people who went to Alaska on a cruise wish they brought with them?

Things people wish they packed for Alaska

With the Alaska cruise season in full swing, many people are excited to have a great cruise, but worry about what they need. If you're unfamiliar with the beautiful region, packing can still pose a challenge.

To pack the right items and clothing for a cruise, you have to understand the climate and the time frame in which you are cruising.

Read more: Alaska cruise packing list

Pool deck in Alaska

In the Alaska Royal Caribbean Cruises Facebook group, user Lindsey Parks asks for advice from other cruisers who've recently sailed to Alaska. "For anyone who has gone [on an Alaskan cruise] recently (like within the last week), what's something you learned you should have packed?" she wrote.

Other Facebook users jumped to her assistance, sharing items they wish they'd packed, or items they were grateful they brought.

To help fellow cruisers prepare for their upcoming Alaskan voyage, we've compiled a list of the 7 top items people wish they'd packed. 

Please note that we’ve linked items on Amazon in this article, which contain an affiliate link. This affiliate link costs you absolutely nothing extra, but Royal Caribbean Blog makes a small commission if you purchase the item through the link. Shop more on our Amazon Storefront.

1. A rain jacket

Woman wearing jacket in Alaska

Although Alaska's weather improves in the spring and summer months, rain is always a possibility.

July and August are usually the wettest months, but it could rain at any time during a summer cruise.

Cruisers commented that they wished they had a rain jacket or poncho to protect them from the downpour.

The big attraction of an Alaska cruise lies in the access to beautiful natural wonders, unique wildlife, and real-life glaciers.

Rainy day in Boston

All of these attractions require you to be outside to see them, and on a cruise, you're limited to a few hours to explore.

If you're looking forward to certain natural attractions, packing a rain jacket or umbrella will ensure that you will see them, rain or shine.

Read more: I went on a 7-night cruise to Alaska. Here are 16 things that surprised me the most.

Our pick

Our recommendation is to pack a waterproof rain jacket. For women, they could pick up the Columbia Arcadia Ii Jacket. For men, try the Glennaker Rain Jacket by Columbia.

If you have kids, try the Columbia Boys' Rain Jacket or the Girls' Switchback li Jacket.

2. Waterproof shoes


Along those same lines, many Facebook users commented that they should have packed waterproof sneakers or hiking shoes.

They would be helpful for "even just going through the town," Kimberly Helfant wrote.  "Icy Strait Point was rainy and muddy."

Icy Strait Point is a Native-owned private cruise port, with popular shore excursions.


From whale-watching tours to gondola rides, there are many popular shore excursions to experience there.

Cruisers will find themselves walking a lot while at this port, starting with disembarking off the ship and continuing into museums or following their shore excursion groups.

Having the right footwear will enhance your stamina for the entirety of the port day and save you from getting wet socks! 

Our pick

Sperry makes really good boots you can wear anywhere in Alaska, such as the Women's Saltwater Lux Boot and Men's Cold Bay Chukka Boot.

3. Moisture-wicking socks

Multiple commenters said they wished they'd packed moisture-wicking socks, winter socks, or more pairs of warm socks.

On an Alaskan cruise, where hikes and walks are popular methods of viewing the scenery, lots of quality pairs of socks will be essential.

Read more: I packed for my Alaska cruise in a carry-on suitcase. Here's what I packed and how you can do it too.

St KItts volcano

Good-quality, warm socks work together with your sneakers or hiking shoes to control odors and reduce the risk of blisters.

Moisture-wicking socks also help your feet stay warm because they won't get cold and damp. 

This keeps away infection and ensures that you won't get sick on a cold hike.

Our pick

The Fox River Wick Dry Explorer Socks came highly recommended by other cruisers because they wick moisture away from your skin so you're able to stay warmer longer.

4. Warm leggings

BJ Cannon wished she packed "warmer leggings, not the thin ones."

For those used to living in warmer weather, packing for a colder destination can be a challenge.

You might assume "leggings" just means thin, workout clothing.

Read more: We asked our readers what one thing they wish they packed for their cruise

Glacier in Alaska

In reality, you should look for warm, thick fleece or wool leggings. These will properly trap the heat, and work as great layering pieces.

For especially cold days, wear warm leggings under a pair of jeans or snow pants, and you'll feel nice and toasty.

Our pick

Try the Hixiaohe Women's Casual Sherpa Fleece Lined Warm Leggings for something to pack on your Alaska cruise.

5. Binoculars


Amy Ehrhardt commented that she should have packed binoculars, "especially for whale-watching excursions."

A pair of good binoculars can ensure that you don't miss any of the beautiful sights of nature throughout the cruise.

Read more: What to bring on a cruise to Alaska? 8 things you'll want to take with you

Whale in Alaska

They also allow you to sightsee even from the deck of a cruise ship.

You might not be able to see bald eagles, bears, whales, or the details of an icy glacier with the naked eye, but a pair of binoculars will bring them all into sharp focus.

There are so many exotic attractions to spot, so pack binoculars to ensure that you can see them clearly, even from the deck of the cruise ship. 

Our pick

For most people, an inexpensive but good quality pair of binoculars makes sense, such as the Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars.

6. A sweater

"I found the ship to be colder than I expected," Christine Stalker said.

"The main dining room was particularly cold—I needed a sweater over my sleeveless dress on formal nights."

While you might not expect a summer cruise to Alaska to be cold enough for hoodies or sweaters, don't forget about the climate of the cruise ship.

Cruise ships are unique in that you'll spend plenty of time indoors on your vacation—in a cabin, at dining venues, and watching shows in theaters—but won't be able to control the temperature.


The air conditioning on cruise ships can run colder than some passengers would prefer, so it's important to stay prepared.

Especially if you're planning on bringing lighter clothes, such as tank tops or sleeveless dresses, pack a light jacket or sweater, just in case you start feeling chilly.

Our pick

Try bringing a light fleece jacket that you could easily wear around your Alaska ports, or on the ship.

7. Magnetic hooks


An Alaskan voyage calls for lots of big items, like coats, hats, and gloves.

Hanging these items up on the steel walls of your cabin can save a considerable amount of space.

Kanetha Hysinger Foster commented that she used magnetic hooks "to hang coats, lanyards, binoculars, etc."

Read more: 24 Alaska cruise tips to follow in 2024

When you might be low in space in a small cruise cabin, using hooks to hang your things is a great way to store them in easy reach. 

Our pick

Make sure you pick magnetic hooks that can hold a little bit of weight, such as magnetic hooks with swivel carabiners.

7 things cruisers wish they packed for their Alaska cruise

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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