Ultimate Cruise Packing Tips for an Alaskan Cruise

Packing for your Carnival Alaska cruise is a little different than packing for a balmy Caribbean vacation. We’ve taken all the mystery out of what to bring and what to wear on a Carnival cruise to Alaska. You’ll find a helpful, cruise packing list below, so you’re comfortable and free to enjoy the sights and sounds of Alaska from ship to shore.

carnival ship cruising through alaska

Cruising to Alaska: The Basics

Carnival has three ships that depart for Alaska:

Trips range from seven to 11 days, depending from which port you’re sailing. Cruises to Alaska run from April through September, when the weather is most comfortable.

An Alaskan cruise may be filled with glaciers, but it’s also sunnier and warmer than you think it will be in this part of the world. What you wear also depends on which shore excursion you choose.

group of people rafting through skagway

Carnival ships sail to Alaska’s coastal Panhandle region where you’ll be able to shop in quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, plus take in harbor vistas in Juneau. The Panhandle, also known as Southeast Alaska, is actually a rain forest. That means you’ll need to bring waterproof gear on many of your excursions and prepare to dress in layers for either cool or warm weather.

What to Wear on Board

The ship’s indoor areas are temperature controlled, so don’t worry, you won’t need a coat for dining in “cruise elegant” attire inside. Sightseeing on the ship’s deck is quite another story. Days are longer during the Alaskan summertime, which means you’ll have more sightseeing time, even at midnight.

The temps can shift a bit on deck. When you cruise through Glacier Bay, you’ll want to be on deck to hear the travel guide and see the area’s 15 active glaciers, humpback whales and other countless wildlife. Cool, moist summers in Glacier Bay mean you should expect temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

whale soaring out of the water in alaska

You’ll find your favorite onboard activities on all three of Carnival’s Alaska-bound ships. Be sure to plan ahead for the type of clothing you’ll want to wear during these events:

  • Channel your inner idol in the Lip Sync Battle: Carnival competition, and bring your funkiest on-stage attire.
  • Grab a moment or two just for yourself in the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat — yoga pants welcome.
  • Get your Broadway fix on the seas while watching musicals brought to you by Playlist Productions.
  • Enjoy the fresh Alaskan air with a round of Mini Golf, and bring along comfy shorts for the course.
  • Play, win and stay warm inside in Carnival’s famous, onboard Casinos, which feature the Carnival Players Club, Blackjack tables, table games and a bar for celebrating your wins.
  • Play giant versions of your favorite games while on stage in Hasbro©, The Game Show; fun attire welcome.
  • Enjoy family-friendly and adult-only performances by pros at The Punchliner Comedy Club.
  • A cruise isn’t a cruise without time in sparkling pools, so don’t forget your swimsuit and flip-flops.
  • You’ll want to bring sun protection when you’re soaking up rays and splashing around in the Twister Waterslide.
  • You’ve never run on a jogging track quite like the ones on the Carnival Cruise ships, surrounded by natural beauty to make your senses soar.

You’ll find these popular activities on specific ships to help you pack the necessary clothing and gear for your Alaska cruise:

  • On Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit, you’ll find WaterWorks, a seriously fun water park for those extra-sunny warm days when you’ll need your swimsuit for a cool down.
  • On Carnival Spirit, enjoy a unique night at the theater while in the pool and under the stars with Dive-In Movies. Dress is casual, so bring your swimsuit if you want to chill in the pool; and if you want to lounge on deck, pack shorts and a top, comfy pants and a hoodie or a casual dress plus a light cover-up in case the night air gets chilly.
  • On Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle, you’ll have the chance to play Clue©: The Murder Mystery and explore your ship inside and out. You’ll be finding clues around the ship, which turns into a giant game board, so bring your comfy walking shoes. Dress is come as you are, so the casual clothes you pack for other activities will do just fine here.

How to Dress on Shore

When you’re on shore in Alaska, you’ll undoubtedly be outdoors experiencing Alaska’s pristine landscape. Tip: Should you choose a hiking excursion, it probably won’t be as chilly as you’d expect on your trek, so bring athletic-style pants for a comfortable walk. Here are other tips and temps you’ll encounter in various ports of call in Alaska:

  • Icy Strait Point: Keep in mind that it only gets to about the mid-60s in the summer when you cruise to Icy Strait Point, which is comfortable for ATV rides and Hoonah sightseeing tours. Be sure to dress warmly for the whale and wildlife cruise tours on the Alaska coast.
  • Juneau: When on shore for an adventure in Juneau, wear waterproof gear so you can stroll through the rain forests. Cargo pants are a good choice to stay comfortable while zip lining through the rain forest. Dress in layers for snow and ice when taking a helicopter flight to dogsled on Mendenhall Glacier.
  • Ketchikan: If you plan to tour Tracy Arm Fjord when cruising to Ketchikan, you’ll see a close view of Sawyer Glacier and hear “white thunder” as ice spires break and crash into the sea. Bring a warm, rainproof jacket, hat and gloves so you can enjoy all these sights and sounds via the observation deck.
  • Sitka: You’ll be outdoors with wildlife for shore excursions when cruising to Sitka. From ocean rafting adventures to rain forest hikes, bring your waterproof gear.
  • Skagway: There are endless outdoor activities when you cruise to Skagway. Wear long pants when horseback riding in Skagway’s rustic backcountry. Dress warm and wear comfortable walking shoes if you’re journeying to Davidson Glacier, located in Alaska’s deepest fjord.

group of people on a zip line excursion in alaska

Your Alaskan Cruise Packing List

Check off the following items when packing for your Carnival cruise to Alaska. We’ve created a basic list that combines options and items for both men and women.

Clothing:

  • Comfy, casual and elegant pants and dresses
  • Workout gear
  • Swimsuit
  • T-shirts, tunics for layering
  • Zip-up sweatshirt
  • Lightweight jacket for around the ship
  • Warm fleece and warm waterproof jacket
  • Sweaters
  • Scarf, hat, gloves

Footwear:

  • Hiking boots (for shore)
  • Sandals/flip flops (for on board)
  • Short/flat boots
  • Heels/dress shoes
  • Workout shoes
  • Warm socks

Other Gear:

  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen (It’s sunnier than you think in Alaska.)
  • Backpack
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof bags to keep valuables and electronics dry

people on a mendenhall glacier hike excursion

Carnival cruises to Alaska are designed to take you safely off the beaten track to see America’s last frontier. Alaska may be a different type of cruise vacation, but it’s one you and your family will happily never forget.