What to wear on an Alaskan Cruise?

Alaskan cruise

Happy Fashion Friday, friends!  I am seeking some help with what to wear on an Alaskan cruise?

I know some of you out there can help me decide what to wear on an Alaskan cruise we are taking this summer.

Having never gone on a cruise before (OK, I know that shocks some of you) the clothing directions have me a bit confused.

San Antonio is a very warm climate and I have never been to Alaska, so I do not know how much outerwear I need.

Here is the reason for the confusion…..


 Alaskan cruise

I know this isn’t Alaska, but since I took this photo, I decided to use it for a cruise ship image.

When I look at the list of recommended clothing for a seven day Alaskan cruise, it is daunting to me.

There are recommendations for casual wear, casual nice wear, outerwear for rain and cold, dresses for formal wear, swimwear,  hiking boots, sneakers, comfort shoes for casual and formal wear, scarves, hats….wow!

When it recommends casual clothing to go off the boat…are we talking rugged outdoor wear?  How casual do you go?

How many suitcases do you need for all of that??

So, anyone who can alleviate my stress with these decisions…please share!!


 Alaskan cruise

I put together this outfit recently and wondered…would this work for a dinner outfit? Or is it too casual? Or do you avoid taking linen at all?

For those who want to know, this is a mixture of old and new:

  1. The linen wide leg pants were last year from Chico’s.
  2.  I purchased the EMBROIDERED KIMONO recently to go with these pants…it is on sale and I bought it on sale.
  3. The tank is a reversible V neck TRAVELERS TANK…this color is sold out, but if you click the link it goes to the black one.  I really like this tank.
  4. The necklace was purchased for wedding events, and I like it so much that I am wearing it often.  This is the Southern Living Pearl Torsade Pendant Statement Necklace at Dillard’s. Comes in three colors.
  5. These are the Fit Flop Lulu Ombre Gold Glitter Sandals I purchased for wedding events.  Currently on sale.

So, here is another question…do you take any sandals to wear on an Alaskan cruise?  My other travel has all involved sandals…but also been in warmer places.

Seriously…how many shoes do you need?

Alaskan cruise

 Alaskan cruise

These two dresses are very easy to roll up and pack, and wear out of the suitcase.

But, do I need something more formal to wear to dinner…or will these work?  

How formal is formal…and the recommendations for a seven week cruise is to bring 7 dresses…do you really do that?

When I went to Cabo recently, I nailed the packing…I wore everything I took and got it just right.

With what to wear on an Alaskan cruise?? I am in the dark.

I like to look my best no matter what…but do I need to give that up and go super casual for this type of cruise…can you tell I am miffed?

Bring on your best advice, ladies, and I am certain others here will benefit from it.

What to wear to an Alaskan cruise?


Alaskan Cruise


  1. As a Seattle area resident for 50 years, we do summer casual. I have taken an Alaskan cruise. in June. We joke that summer does not start until after the 4th of July. The weather is unpredictable. Although we are having a warm June this year so far. Make sure you have a rain jacket. Next comfortable walking sneakers. Save the sandals and dresses or skirt for the ship dinners. Of course it depends on which ship you are taking. Holland is very formal in the evenings, the others are not so much. The towns are casual. For your day trips or excursions, I would pack summer denim or chino type pants, variety of tees, shirts, a cardigan for sure. Early mornings and evenings cool down. Think Landsend or LLBean. You go to Alaska for the outdoors and incredible scenery! Fashion is not the first thing I would plan for unlike other cruises or trips.

  2. I’m a packing minimalist and marvel at people who cruise with two gigantic suitcases each! For our Alaskan cruise, I took two dresses and alternated those at dinner. Some people really enjoy dressing up in formal attire, but taking a fancy outfit for one night? Both the dresses you show would be perfect. On the ship, sandals are fine, but you’ll want closed-toe, very comfortable shoes for excursions. No need for a heavy jacket — a windbreaker over layers are fine, even on Glacier Day. And don’t forget a sun hat!

  3. Wow, this article is just what I needed! I’ve been planning an Alaskan cruise for next year and wondering what kind of clothes to pack. You provide such helpful tips and suggestions. I’ll keep that in mind when planning my outfits.

  4. I went on an Alaskan cruise in 2005 on Holland America, and we had two formal nights. Other than that, I wore Jean/chino type clothing with a waterproof jacket with a hood and sweatshirt type clothing. Comfortable shoes were a must along with appropriate socks. Depending on what shore excursions you take, the main idea is comfort and dryness and warmth. My cruise was in late June, and I think the temperature was in the low to mid 50s on shore with a lot of clouds and rain. I know you will enjoy the wonderful scenery, and fashion seems to become unimportant in that vast wonderland.

  5. I’ve never cruised either, so I’m paying close attention. If I ever did cruise it would definitely be Alaska! I’m thinking LL Bean. Raingear included.

  6. I’ve never been but would love to go so I’m reading all comments and taking notes. Knowing you, I’m sure you will tell us what you wore and if was sufficient or not.

  7. For me figuring out the outdoor layers was key. I brought a zip up fleece jacket that fit under a rain jacket plus hat and gloves. With these items, could be out on deck even in weather seeing everything. Echoing the idea of thinking LandsEnd, LL Bean for daily wear.

  8. What fun, Pam! Our Alaska cruise ranks in the top 5 vacations we’ve ever taken – you will love it. I’m not one of those people who are cold all the time, but I was chilled a few times on our cruise. My niece brought her Uggs and we laughed at her…until we didn’t and I wished I’d brought mine! They do take up valuable space though, so my best advice is layers layers layers. I’d suggest buying an inexpensive lightweight puffer jacket that can be easily rolled up and tucked in a corner of your suitcase (you can get one on Amazon for $40-ish). We enjoy dressing up at night onboard but didn’t go wild; my husband did pack a suit and a sport coat (we were on a Princess cruise). I know you’ll get lots of good advice here!

  9. Both of your dresses would work just fine on a Princess cruise to Alaska. Very few people wore formal gowns on formal night. Most just added some sort of bling to a regular dinner outfit. Our excursions were visiting visitor centers, museums, shows (like the lumberjack show), breweries, salmon processing plants. Even the glacier visits did not include hiking. But good walking shoes are a must. Choose your excursions ahead of time.

    On another note…..if you read Connect on the WW app you can find many stories of people who apply the same eating techniques you have learned to cruise food and they manage to not gain weight.

  10. I would leave the linen at home. The dresses you picture are perfect both from a packing standpoint and appropriateness for dinner. I find that people rarely get more dressed up than that. Your go to solid separates can be glammed up with jewelry and kimonos. Jeans are a good idea because they can be worn several times without washing. They combine well with light weight sweaters over a tee or shirt and a windbreaker. Take good walking sneakers and sandals for dinner. Layers are really the way to dress for daytime Alaska. Have fun and take a hat!

  11. Just a suggestion….read the blog Southern Hospitality. Rhoda just got back from a Hawaiian Alaska cruise.😊

  12. My husband and I did a 7 day Alaskan Cruise in early August. Starting with shoes, you definitely need comfortable walking shoes/sneakers. Sandals are fine for onboard. Both of your dresses will work for dinners. We had one formal dinner night for which I wore a black dress with accessories. There will be a few who will do formal evening gowns, etc. My LL Bean fleece jacket was put to good use, along with a rain jacket with hood. I regret not taking a couple of warm sweaters and bought a heavy sweatshirt at a souvenir shop! I recommend leaving the linen at home. You will want jeans, chinos etc for excursions. Coming from Texas consider what you wear during Texas winter temps and that will most likely be what you will want to pack. Hope this helps.

  13. Layers! I’m originally from Northern Canada, and still layer up for our many trips to Alaska. I’ve been there when Denali was brilliant sun and almost 90, with no “summer” clothes packed, and often when it’s been rainy and high 30s. I always pack a silk base layer, hiking socks, waterproof shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, cashmere lined gloves, scarf, Smart Wool beanie hat, down vest, and almost always waterproof wind pants. I’ve only regretted not bringing my wind pants once. I wear “regular” clothes over the silk base layer, when that’s needed. Polo shirt, light crew neck sweater, down vest if needed, then waterproof jacket. We generally book off-the-beaten-path or boat excursions, and expect to be out in any type of weather. While I’ve only worn the beanie hat once in Alaska, it’s good to have, just in case. Water resistant jackets are not good for Alaska, the rain will go right through them, bring waterproof. I generally run hot, so my layers are very light. My husband has much sturdier layers; thicker base layer, thicker long-sleeved polos, thicker sweaters, etc. Bring bug repellant—the mosquitos, midges, black flies, etc, can be brutal.
    We only travel with carryons, even when doing cold and warm trips combined. Bulkier items are worn on the plane. It is possible to pack in a small suitcase, it just takes practice. One dressy outfit for the ship, shoes to go with, then just regular daily clothes. Nothing fancy for Alaska or an East Coast Maritimes cruise. You will fit right in with everyone else.
    Biggest thing is to expect rain (you will be a rainforest after all), have fun and enjoy every moment. Alaska is huge and vast when you see it up close.

  14. Your outfit is perfect. We have been on several Princess cruises including Alaska. For formal nights my husband just takes a tie no jacket so easy to pack. Sometimes I’ve taken an easy to pack dress or maxi. Other times a sweater that’s dressy. Might be a chance to wear something you bought for a wedding event. I bring black pants and tops for the other nights. I always take something to wear over as I do when going to a restaurant. My husband wears polos. You can easily wear the same thing twice. For excursions tennis shoes and casual. Bring layers. I had a raincoat like jacket and put a sweater under when needed. For the day you sail around the glaciers throw in a pair of gloves and hat. You’ll love it.

  15. What fun you will have! I’ve only cruised once and it was an Alaskan cruise. Some folks dress to the 9’s at dinner but it’s certainly not required(nor would I ever again pack 1, much less 2, long formal gowns 😳) Your choices would be very appropriate. For daytime, layers! Keep checking the weather forecast of your destinations – I have an index card for each day(old school) and write down destination, activity and weather. I usually travel with jeans, ponte knit pants, short sleeve ts and a third layer. (I wore shorts in Denali) Start with your colors and mix and match for more mileage out of fewer pieces. Laundry midcruise to save on suitcase space as well. Make sure to have a waterproof jacket with a hood (or hat) that you love because most of your outdoor pictures will feature it! Oh, I could go on and on – travel packing is my passion!!

  16. Lots of good suggestions here but am going to add July (?) is often the month of rain and mosquitoes (dark colors attract them) with temps. ranging from the high 60°F to 70ºF during the day with evening lows in the 50’s. That being said; weather wise I therefore would not be packing linen garments and would lean more towards chinos/denim and fabric knits/blends both in tops ‘n bottoms keeping the mindset you may wish to layer. Also in lieu of numerous sweaters; for land excursions a lightweight packable sleeveless vest is something you might want to consider as an overlay or under a rain jacket plus comfortable walking shoes (with optional sock liners) are a must. As to dinner wear; different Liners have different policies but am thinking that your Clara Sun Woo black pants paired with a choice of various tops and accessories, would be appropriate for several wears. (In other words I wouldn’t even take the dresses.) To conclude; JMO as have only been on Tropical Cruises however do have friends that haven take Alaskan ones who have borrowed bits ‘n pieces of my clothing with much depending upon the onboard activities and excursions chosen. -Brenda-

  17. Forgot to add — many excursions are expensive, but don’t skimp if you can. Book excursions early, they fill up fast. For must people, this is a once in a lifetime trip. We’ve brought three different sets of friends with us on various cruises to Alaska. One set of four friends still regrets only doing the least expensive excursions around each town in 2017. They never got to venture out and see beyond, and still lament their decisions to choose excursions only by price. Yes, excursions can be expensive, but a once in a lifetime trip can’t be redone.

  18. I cruise Holland America, one of the more formal, traditional cruise lines, and I would not be as dressed up as you are showing here even on HA. We are planning just carry on for our one week trip to Alaska in July. Although in the Panama Canal, my husband took a blazer, he’s just going to take a tie this time, because Alaskan cruises are casual. I take double duty pieces. I will wear a denim jacket on the plane and use it to top dresses, pants and knits on board. I take those Penney’s tee shirts in multiples and use them for deck walking, gym, daily wear on the ship, or even sleeping. Take a bathing suit and cover up for sea days. Take a raincoat and a sweatshirt that will fit over the Penney’s tees. If you have to, you can wear two underneath a sweatshirt and coat. I usually pack one-two simple blouses that can be accessorized. For bottoms I wear black or navy Soma weekend lounging pants (I even wear these at dinner with a nice top and an evening bag) and I pack leggings and a couple of joggers for shore excursions or the gym. For formal nights, I have a black Chicos travelers dress that I wear with scarves, crystal jewelry, or a kimono. I use my soft, flat evening bag to store my accessories while traveling to save space. I wear sneakers, plus pack one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals that can be worn at the pool or with the black dress to dinner. Very few shore excursions require anything special … they know their audience. I don’t bring jeans because most ships do not permit them at night, and I need more versatility than that. Try watching Tips for Travelers (Gary Benbridge) on You Tube, as he has very realistic travel wardrobe videos and lots of fun stuff on dos/don’t of cruising. Do not sweat the dress code on a ship. No one cares what you have on as long as you are neat and don’t wear something obviously inappropriate.

  19. LOL, like Deborah B, I also adore packing for trips and lay everything out on the bed weeks in advance so I can play mix-and-match with the pieces I am considering.
    Two core pants, like your cream colored jeans and a navy, with four of whichever long sleeved tops you favor, plus one pullover sweater and one cardigan, can be mixed to make eight basic top + bottom combinations with the additional warmth and interest of the third piece toppers for what amounts to six more looks (the sweater only looks different with each pant no matter what’s under). Still, that’s FOURTEEN possible iterations from just eight pieces of clothing! To that basic bag, I would add the indispensable raincoat. Sensible walking shoes with good treads. Then you’ll have plenty of room for your pretty dresses and sandals for the dining room. Also take a bathing suit for enjoying hot tub or spa services.

  20. I just had to jump in here and say…YOU GUYS ARE ROCKING THIS…and I am going to be taking notes! Thanks you so much!

  21. For sure, good walking shoes. Leave the ballet flats and linen at home, you won’t need them. Maybe sandals with your dressy outfit. Rain gear, a nice vest for warmth if needed, a hat. Bug spray. One nice outfit plus nice pants for dinner and some bling. It’s nothing like dressing for Texas weather, that’s for sure! And really think about the mix and match possibilities as mentioned above. You don’t need huge suitcases, can do laundry midway in a sea day maybe.

  22. Here’s what I bought on my Alaska cruise: a pair of leather boots with great arch support (cold feet and a blister) and a cute sweatshirt in the Yukon. After our long NorCal hot and dry summer, I found Alaska chilly. DO take the excursions, DO bring a rain jacket, DO bring layers, it IS quite casual. It rained one day (Sept). You will find the same stores selling trinkets, jewelry etc that you find everywhere tourists are dropped in great numbers. The excursions are where you will see some of the countryside and get great photos. We saw a bear! We cruised Norwegian and ate too often in the restaurants missing some GREAT buffet food we didn’t get to until our last day. Enjoy!

  23. We’ve taken three Alaska cruises, the most recent just a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve also sailed in July and August and we actually got more rain later in the summer. This is exactly what I packed: lightweight rain jacket, warm beanie-type hat plus a baseball cap, touchscreen gloves (so that you don’t have to remove them to take photos with your phone), 3 pair jeans, black Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants, 3 long-sleeve tees, 2 long-sleeve & 1 ¾ sleeve pullover sweaters, 1 cashmere hoodie, puffer vest, 3 nice blouses/tops to wear with the EF pants (could have gotten by with 2), 1 dress, Spanx, 1 cami (that I only wore 1 X), 1 lightweight scarf for warmth, 4 pairs socks. Plus, I took a pair of Sporto waterproof boots to wear in port, 1 pair of cute sandals, 1 pair of Rothy’s Points to wear while onboard, and a pair of sneakers that I also wore on the flight there (I love Ecco slip-ons). I also wore the EF pants on the plane, along with a denim jacket and one of the two t-shirts (one short sleeve, one ¾) that I also brought. (It’s a good idea to bring some lighter tops as it can be warm in Seattle if you spend any time there.) Last but not least, I brought a small crossbody to use on the ship & a Travelon bag for port visits (both very light to pack), as well as my MZ Wallace tote for the flight. And don’t forget some pretty jewelry! (We were on Norwegian Cruise Line which has a casual vibe, thus just one dress for picture night, but you might need a couple of dresses if you’re on Princess or Holland America. A black Chico’s Travelers dress is always a good choice.) Hope that helps! Bon voyage – you’re going to have a wonderful time!

  24. We’ve taken three Alaska cruises, the most recent just a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve also sailed in July and August, and we actually got a more rain later in the summer. This is exactly what I packed: lightweight rain jacket, warm beanie-type hat plus a baseball cap, touchscreen gloves (so that you don’t have to remove them to take photos), 3 pair jeans, black Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants, 3 long-sleeve tees, 2 long-sleeve & 1 ¾ sleeve pullover sweaters, 1 cashmere hoodie, puffer vest, 3 nice blouses/tops to wear with the EF pants (could have gotten by with 2), 1 dress, Spanx, 1 cami (that I only wore 1 X), 4 pairs socks, 1 lightweight scarf for warmth. Plus, I took a pair of Sporto waterproof boots to wear in port, 1 pair of cute sandals & 1 pair of Rothy’s Points to wear while onboard, and a pair of sneakers that I also wore on the flight there (I love Ecco slip-ons). I also wore the EF pants on the plane, along with a denim jacket and one of the two t-shirts (one short sleeve, one ¾) I brought. It’s a good idea to bring some lighter tops as it can be warm in Seattle if you spend some time there. Last but not least, I brought a small crossbody to use on the ship & a Travelon bag for port visits (both very light to pack), as well as my MZ Wallace tote for the flight. And don’t forget some pretty jewelry! (We were on Norwegian Cruise Line which has a casual vibe, thus just one dress for picture night, but you might need a couple of dresses if you’re on Princess or Holland America. A black Chico’s Travelers dress is always a good choice.) Hope that helps! Bon voyage – you’re going to have a wonderful time!

  25. Pamela, I agree with all the helpful suggestions!! We took a Princess Cruise to Alaska in early June 2009 for our 40th anniversary. I was prepared for chilly and wet. .temps and it was a Warm wet June. The only jacket I wore only once was my waterproof zip coat with hood, since my fleece with hood and the layered vests were great!!! So I agree with Layers, Layers, Layers-you can add them or remove!!!!. They do have laundry facility so you can WASH things if needed!!! This HELPS SO MUCH with packing minimally!!!”Back then dinner was more formal.Ha Ha..I ordered a gorgeous teal formal dress (on sale Dillards) & wore it with it’s short jacket & black flats since I could wear them with other jeans/pants outfits, also. My husband did the formal Alaska nites with asuit coat and tie. At our table was an experienced travel couple – he wore his black leather jacket , jeans and a tie. WE both thought that wasGreat!!
    So Larry did that for our Jan 23 cruise to Princess Mexican Riviera&, and I recommend for Alaska: I took 2 knit long dresses i could roll up, 1 was a print and I added knit jacket; 1 simple black tops and skirt &fancier teal jacket, with black flats again…I(( get chilly since i am on meds to thin blood after my 2009 July heart surgery after the Alaska cruise…. I take an extra thin ex jacket and/or my fleece jacket almost!! everywhere !! 1 knit pant forAalaska, 2 jeans rolled up we took 1 small overhead carry on, wore my walking shoes!!and my black school backpack as my purse!!l(ike we did to a flight to Coasta Rica May 22 when we left Wyoming in snowstorm!! ))And It was snowing here when we flew from Wyo to Denver in January23, we stayed in Denver before getting to LA the next day for cruise. Of course came back from LA 50’s to -40 in WYoJan 29!! BRRRRR
    Be sure to carry yuour extra undies and /sandles also any toiletries!! and wearing what wearing you will b if go to Denali…the college kids lost our 1 big piece luggage suitcase for the train trip….we had just our carry-ons…our hotel gave us extra t-shirts!!! And since asap we were going on trip home fromDenali, Ankorage flight to Vancouver to home in Sun Valley (Bellevue Id, )and 2 days later were leaving driving 530 mi for our older daughter’s wedding in Casper Wyoming !!!they were lucky to get our big red suitcase to us!!! WE recommend carry-ons- AND a great backpack!!!Keep it simple, and enjoy!!!! I took 3000 digital photos and LOVED ALASKA!!! ( more adventures:…the smalle r Alaska Airlines flight to Sun Valley- tried to say we would not land due t o fog/rain AND we would be responsible for our transportation from Twin Falls Idaho 60 miles. NOT TRUE!! fortunately a passengers on the flight included the wife of Freidman Airport Manager at Hailey Id .and we were indeed table to land.!!!!Yea!!! Have Fun, Pamela!!!

  26. We have been on a couple of Alaskan cruises where the weather was surprisingly hot, so for Alaska, I always take a couple of cute t-shirts that can be worn as base layers or on their own.
    I also always take jeans, liners, cashmere or merino wool sweaters, a wool jacket, wool socks, and a hat. The only times I’ve been cold have been inside Glacier Bay.

    Mixing and matching my clothing choices has helped to get me down into a small to medium sized suitcase, with a small shoulder bag. Finding your luggage at the end of the cruise can be challenging, so I tend to take only an airline sized carry-on roller bag. One that I can take on and off the ship on my own. If I have to take a large bag, I add something to make is easily recognizable.

    A heavy shawl is nice to have to carry around the ship with you and to wear to dinner and a show. Often, it is quite chilly indoors on cruise ships, even in the Bahamas! It is really helpful to take along a lanyard or small wristlet for your keycard.

    Back in the early 2000’s, I used to take multiple formal wear outfits, and my hubby and son would rent tuxes onboard, but dress has gotten progressively casual on most cruises. Alaska, formal night, has been the exception. I don’t spend a lot of suitcase space on dinner clothing any more. A velvet or satin skirt, with a few dressy blouses and a jacket, that can be worn in various combinations – different enough for all the photos that will be taken – works well enough for me. I pack one dressy pair of shoes for dinners. Otherwise, tennis shoes, loafers, and good walking boots go into my luggage. You have to do a lot of walking onboard these cruise ships, and it’s all about being prepared for the shore excursions!
    The hot tubs, indoor spas, and pools are quite alluring. A swimsuit is a must.
    One last thing to keep in mind is that the bathrooms are tiny.

  27. Lots of good advice here but mine would be, BE YOU. A cruise is the perfect time to wear those special pieces of clothing you bought for the wedding. Why not be the best dressed lady on the ship? If you pack these pieces in dry cleaning bags they will weather the trip. You will see people in all kinds of attire and having followed you for a year now nothing in your wardrobe would be out of place. I do suggest you plan each day’s outfits depending on your activities as this can help you not to over pack. The weather will likely be more conducive to long pants than capri ones and can better do double duty with simpler tops for days and fancier tops for dinners. Think days out with the grandchildren for active excursions and shopping with the girls for strolling around town excursions. You can have date dinners with hubby in the dinning room or on the run casual ones at the buffet for others. Planning is half the fun!!

  28. – Your creative accessorizing will serve you well. Seasoned cruisers pack capsule wardrobe.
    – Tourist shops galore! In Juneau I purchased two embellished colorful sweatshirt hoodies made in India, which are soft not stiff and launder beautifully.
    – Blessed with sunshine and blissful temps, I did not need boots, gloves or heavy jacket.
    Glacier day, sweatshirt on deck.
    – Your pre-wedding outfits are formal enough. Even a tank dress can be dressy or casual.
    – On board, scout the library early for selection; enjoy a cooking class, or free lectures by naturalists. One salmon-processing area has salmon cookery demo class with yummy samples.
    – Travel insurance strongly encouraged.

  29. I have only done European River cruises, but can say that having a down vest which can go under a rain jacket would be something I would bring even if no one suggested it. I get cold easily and that takes up little space for its versatility. Hmmm. I wonder whether Hubby and I would like an Alaskan cruise. I am only nervous about the numbers of people on board these enormous ships. Please let us all know how it goes. Sure sounds like fun.

  30. That was going to be my suggestion too! I loved Rhoda’s trip report too.

    Take lots of layers. Sturdy walking shoes for the ports, rain gear and if you’re going to go to Glacier Bay, you’ll need a hat, gloves, scarf and a nice warm coat or a raincoat with sweater/fleece and long sleeve shirt underneath. The first time we went was in August and the second time was July and we took our adult kids and grandkids, the only really cold day was on Glacier Bay. We were on Princess and they had blankets on the lounge chairs on the deck and it’s nice to watch some of the scenery from the bars or restaurants (especially the buffet) that have large windows. Also, Alaska tends to be one of the most casual of the 20 some cruises we’ve taken. For formal night or Captain’s Dinner I usually wear a black or navy outfit consisting of slacks and top with a nice pashmina and a little blingy jewelry. My husband wears a collared shirt and a dark crewneck sweater with nice slacks. We both feel comfortable with that mix bc there were some people dressed up and some in just pants/leggings and sweaters. I’ve only been on one cruise where people got super fancy and that was a short cruise to the Bahamas. There were even people in big ball gowns!

  31. Whoa, Niki above gave a very thorough answer. I can see how it would be difficult to pack for an Alaska cruise if one is not a Northerner and/or the outdoorsy type. I was just researching Alaska cruises yesterday. Is it worth it to spring for a balcony cabin? Is it too cold to sit out there anyway? I hate the cold, but Alaska is on my bucket list just the same.

  32. We flew out to Vancouver for a late May Alaskan cruise, so needed clothes for a moderate and chilly option. I wholeheartedly agree, don’t scrimp on the excursions. We saw whales and seal colonies, and eagles nesting and much wildlife, and took the train to see the gold miners trails and learned so much detail from history. When we got back, my husband said it was too bad that we did not take the helicopter up into the glaciers. but we did see many, and even got a video of one of the large glaciers ‘ calving’ which was quite the sight.
    We do love to get dressed for evenings, but even on Holland America, the dinner wear is getting more relaxed, and a pretty dress with jewellery would be perfect, and even flowy pants with a dressy top for general dining room. Of course the buffet is even more casual if you are looking for that, and the food there is really good for all meals. As mentioned above, no need for the linen or more summery outfits, but do take a swimsuit for the hot tub on a chilly evening, so relaxing.
    I even took earmuffs for the chilly wind since my ears do not like wind at any time, and a warm hat and gloves may come in handy for the more northern areas of the cruise, depending on how far you go.
    There is no way that my husband or I can go on a cruise with only carry on luggage, we both like a chance to dress up, and we have never had an issue with checked baggage. We are off on a river cruise for the fall, and will need to cover various climate conditions for that as well, and plan on taking enough to be prepared. I can honestly say, I have never come home and said ” I wish I had taken less” even for a 21 day cruise. Go online and do various serches for the weather conditions for your areas, and also look up many of the cruise sites and I also recommend the Tips for Travellers with Gary Bainbridge, he has been on just about everything. Oh, and socks, warm socks are a must for your walking shoes. I ended up wearing 2 of my pairs of jeans over and over for the excursions with different tops depending on the weather.
    sorry to ramble a bit, but even after all our cruises, I still spend time researching what to take and what the locals wear etc. and it is fun to anticipate the time away.

  33. Lily, I never go for anything less than a balcony, even with the cooler temperatures you can spend time out there with your blanket that they supply and binoculars, and if you get chilly, just pop back into the cabin. Grab a hot chocolate and relax.

  34. We cruised with Princess in August of 2021 right when the industry started up after Covid. Alaska is super casual. Chico’s travelers with bling and scarves is fine for dinner. People who dressed up formally stuck out. I was with my friends all in their ’70’s and no one was formal. I found my black quilted vest, earmuffs, a small skull cap and gloves to be lifesavers. A fleece and rain jacket worked well. A small backpack for excursions was nice to have; I brought a foldable tote for going to the gym or spa. Very often we skipped dinner in the dining room, chose from the buffet and sat outside on the deck bundled up enjoying our wine and the view. I brought lightweight leggings and jacket and wore it almost everyday for walking the ship for exercise. I brought a bathing suit and did not go in the pool or hot tub once mainly because it was packed with kids. Like others have said, know your cruise line and you will know better what to expect.

  35. We must be long lost sisters, Connie Haines. I, too, lay everything out on a bed weeks ahead of my trip! It makes the edits so much easier 🥰

  36. Such good advice! An Alaska native told us to spend the money to see the bears catching salmon in Katmai. Definitely a life highlight for us.

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