Packing for an Alaskan Cruise

Earlier this month, my family went on a cruise to Alaska. It was awesome. If you missed my recap, you can read it here.

Preparing for an Alaskan cruise is a bit different than other cruises to warmer climates. For one, it is cooler (highs in the 60s to 80s). And second, there is a greater chance of rain (up to a 50% chance in August). So, coming from Texas where the average temperature in August is 96 and the chance of rain is slim, it is a big difference.

Lexie and Jase in the Tracy Arm Fjord. Light jackets here.

The problem I had was trying to figure out how cool (or cold) 60 degrees would feel. And you have to realize that this is the high of the day. It won’t be 60 degrees on your morning excursion. And if that high is while your ship is at sea, you have to take into account that it is windy on the decks and balconies.

To prepare for our trip, I did a lot of research about what to bring. I read dozens of blogs. I made a list and amended it as I read other peoples experiences. I particularly liked the blogs that told you what they packed and then what they didn’t use or wish they had or hadn’t taken. That is what I am going to do here.

The family preparing to go rafting in Juneau. It was such a nice day we didn’t need the jackets or at least Jase and I would have been fine in just our long sleeve shirts. (Sorry no pictures of me. I am the one taking the photos.)

I will say that there are quite a few things that we took that we didn’t use, but if we had had different weather, we would have needed these items. It didn’t rain on our trip but for the few weeks before us, all it did was rain. Excursions were cancelled due to the weather. But for us, everything was nice and sunny.

Our trip was from Tuesday to Tuesday (7 days’ worth of clothes).

My Packing List

6 short sleeve shirts

3 long sleeve shirts (only wore 2 and only for part of the day)

3 pairs of jeans (could have gotten away with 2)

1 bathing suit (Yep, the kids and I went to the pool one day)

8 pair of underwear (brought extra in case I got wet, only used 7)

2 bras

8 socks (brought extra in case I got wet, only used 7)


1 pair of Tennis shoes (& wore one on the plane – took 2 again because of the possibility of rain)

1 pair of heeled sandals (as this is my normal footwear, and yes, I wore them around the ship)

1 pair of black heels (to go with all my evening attire)

2 evening dresses (could have done with 1)

1 black skirt

2 dressy tops (could have done with 1 less but like option of having more night-time attire)

1 casual dress

1 thin blue hoodie (never used)

1 thicker hoodie

1 fleece jacket

1 rain jacket (never used)

1 hat (never used)

Pair of gloves (never used)

The crew aboard the ship. Sweatshirts and light jackets for the brisk wind were all that was needed.

We brought the thicker hoodie and fleece jacket because every website said I would need to layer my clothes. I could have just taken one or the other. Once I had a long sleeve shirt and jacket on, I didn’t need an additional layer.

Hubby’s Packing List

1 pair of shorts (never used but then again he doesn’t wear shorts often. I wore shorts on the plane both times but not on the cruise.)

3 pairs of jeans (again, could have taken 1 less since he wore 1 on the plane too.)

1 pair of dress pants (never used)

2 polo shirts

2 dress shirts (could have done with 1 but he did wear both)

2 ties

1 suit

Dress shoes

1 pair of tennis shoes (and wore 1 pair on the plane)

6 short sleeve shirts (could have taken 5)

2 long sleeve shirts

2 pair dress socks

7 pair of regular socks


Swimsuit (never used)

Baseball hat (never used)

Gloves (never used)

Winter hat (never used)

Rain jacket (never used)

Heavy jacket

Zippered Hoodie (could have let at home)

Pullover hoodie

Other Items

Binoculars (we took 3 pair for the 4 of us – we didn’t use them as often as I thought we might and I think we could have gotten by with 2)

Sunglasses (I had read that you should take polarized sunglasses because the light bouncing off the water and glaciers – we don’t normally wear them so we could have left these at home)

MonoPod (Never used it)

Charging Port for our electronics

Mosquito repellent (never used)

Sunscreen (never used)

Backpack (Used this one on every excursion and love that it can fold up into a small bag)

Camera (a MUST though could have left the kids’ cameras at home. Jase used his iphone and Lexie didn’t seem interested in taking photos but I did use her camera which is waterproof on our river rafting excursion)

Travel Clock (I like having one in the room even though we all had our phones with us)

Toiletries and medicine (we brought what we normally use)

Because of the number of shoes and the bulkiness of packing jeans and jackets for four people, we ended up checking three bags. It was easier than trying to stuff it all into two and then we didn’t have to worry about exceeding the weight limit per bag. There were just a few things I would have left at home but honestly, I would pack many of the same things (because you can’t always expect it not to rain.) Hope this helps someone.

Alaskan Cruise recap – Glaciers, train rides, sled dogs and more

Last week, my family returned from an Alaskan cruise. And when I say family, I mean my family of four, my parents and my brother. We all had a good time.

Carnival Legend in the Tracy Arm Fjord.

So let’s see…the cruise ship – The Carnival Legend – was nice. It is an older ship and could use some TLC. The room layout was the same as last time, and Lexie still enjoyed having the top bunk. We had a balcony which I had heard was a “must” on an Alaskan cruise. And I agree with that. The views were breathtaking.

We originally had four excursions planned. One for each of our stops and then a second one in Skagway since the ship was in port for such a long time. Then while listening to a lecture on Alaska, we heard about another excursion in the Tracy Arm Fjord. It sounded great, so we rushed to sign up – and it was well worth it.

Tracy Arm Fjord

Harbor Seals next to the glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord.

So, after our first sea day, we passed through the Tracy Arm Fjord. In case, you don’t know what a fjord is, it is a long, narrow inlet of the sea between high cliffs. It is created by a glacier. The excursion we opted to do took us closer to two glaciers and a few waterfalls than if we had stayed on board the ship. It was a little rainy, but we were inside for most of the excursion, only going outside when there were pictures to be taken. Suprisingly, this was the only rain on our whole vacation.


White Pass caboose that we passed on our way up the mountain.

Our first stop was Skagway. We had two excursions booked for the day. The first was a train ride with my parents and brother. The White Summit Pass train goes up the mountain and then back down. So, while we were the last car on the train on our journey up, we were the first car on the train as we went back down. We saw waterfalls, old train cars and bridges and lots of beautiful views. The best thing is the train picked us up and dropped us off right next to our ship. That made it easy for us to go back to the ship for lunch before the next excursion.

Jase and Lexie at the dog sledding camp.

Lexie is a dog lover. We couldn’t go to Alaska without seeing a dog sled training camp and cuddle the puppies. We left the others and just my family of four went to see the sled dogs. It began with 18 dogs pulling us around on a six-seater metal cart. Though not as thrilling as sailing over the snow, it was pretty cool. We got to meet and pet our team afterwards.

Then, we went to the camp and held some three-week old puppies and petted some older puppies. Lexie was in heaven.


Mendenhall Glacier and a view of the rafts we took down the river.

The next stop was Juneau, the capitol of Alaska. Our excursion for the day was a river rafting expedition. We started out on a lake in front of Mendenhall Glacier. We then rafted down the river. Only a small portion had any rapids, but it was still fun.

And we still had some time for souvenir shopping afterwards. Jase always wants something to remember each stop. Here it was a stuffed black bear. The day before it was a stuffed husky.


Lumberjack climbing the pole at the Lumberjack show.

Our last stop was Ketchikan. There weren’t a lot of appealing excursions that the whole group could agree upon beside a lumberjack show. It was within walking distance of the ship. They divide the audience into two groups. Each group then had their own lumberjacks to cheer for and we were supposed to boo the other side. Jase was all for cheering but not so sure about booing anyone. Overall, it was a good show.

After the show, we hit a few shops on our way back to the ship. Jase picked up an Alaska baseball cap and a totem pole magnet as well as a post card to add to his collection of post cards he had already purchased on the ship.

Overall it was a great cruise, and I would definitely recommend an Alaskan cruise. Next week, I am going to talk about packing for an Alaskan cruise. I’ll let you know what I took and the changes I wished I had made.