Top 10 Things to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise When Going Ashore

If you are gearing up for an Alaskan cruise, you will want to ensure that you bring all the essentials for an unforgettable voyage. Unlike tropical cruises where flip-flops and shorts might be all you

If you are gearing up for an Alaskan cruise, you will want to ensure that you bring all the essentials for an unforgettable voyage. Unlike tropical cruises where flip-flops and shorts might be all you might need, a trip way up north requires a bit more preparation. While our Alaskan cruise packing guide will help you fully stock your luggage, there are some essentials you will want to have handy throughout your trip. Here are our 10 Top Things to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise When Going Ashore.

Top 10 Things to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise When Going Ashore

Water-Resistant Backpack

With all of your accessories and essential documents, you are going to need a solid day bag. This 20L bag by Eddie Bauer is a lightweight, stowaway backpack that can get the job done. With plenty of storage and a material that repels moisture, this bag was built for those long days trekking through the Alaskan wilderness. This bag is available in various sizes to ensure you have enough room to pack the other items included in this list.


Whether you are enjoying the outdoor decks of your cruise ship or partaking in one of many shore excursions, you never know what you will discover in Alaska. A compact pair of binoculars will guarantee you never miss a whale or bald eagle sighting. You can even get a better glimpse of the glaciers or bears off in the distance. With a handy pair of binoculars, you can rest assured that you will be able to enjoy all the scenery Alaska has to offer.

Pocket-Sized Digital Camera

Yes, your mobile phone does have a camera, but you will want some high-resolution photos to remember this trip. Our go-to pocket-sized camera is the high powered Sony Cybershot Rx-100. This versatile camera offers plenty of features and options for photo enthusiasts. Plus, it includes some easy to use auto-settings that deliver crystal clear shots whether you are in low light areas or action mode. We have been using this camera for four years and take it everywhere we go….including Alaska.

Essential Documents

You will need to have all of your tour tickets and vouchers as well as your identification and cruise ship key card with you when going ashore. At some ports, you may also be required to bring your passport with you. Having these items readily accessible in a pocket of your your day bag means you won’t have to go searching through the various layers of your outwear. You might also want to consider a cruise lanyard to keep your cards and some cash handy whether you are at sea or ashore.

Personal Products

Most of these items are pretty self-explanatory but definitely important to pack in your day bag when going ashore in Alaska. Good hygiene is important, both on and off the ship, so you can never have enough hand sanitizer. We also recommend packing sunscreen (Yes, even in Alaska!), tissues, and gum in your bag.

Lightweight Raincoat

Did we mention that the forecast in Alaska calls for rain? No matter when you cruise to Alaska, the weather and temperature are going to fluctuate, so always be prepared for precipitation. We like these packable, lightweight raincoats that can be easily tucked away in our backpack. Taking up very little space, you can head off for an active day of touring the Alaskan wilderness without carrying too much extra weight.

Extra Layers

With the temperature changes, you will also want to stowaway some additional layers of lightweight, moisture-wicking tops and accessories. Depending on your activity and the actual weather, you might also want to consider some add-ons like ear muffs, gloves, or sunglasses. The Princess is known for packing all of the above, as she wants to be prepared for all potential situations. But, I recommend you plan accordingly as you don’t want to be carrying around all this extra gear if it is not necessary.

Ziploc Bags

Speaking of rain, it is smart to have a few extra ziploc bags tucked into an outer pocket of your bag. You never know when these will come in handy throughout the day. You can use them to store things that get wet or to protect items before it rains. Whether it is money, your cell phone, or other keepsakes, these bags are nice to have on hand in case of emergencies. You might also want to check out our 12 household items to bring on a cruise for other useful packing tips.

Rechargeable Battery Pack

A day ashore in Alaska can quickly suck up a lot of power. Whether it is posting on social media or using your camera or wearable video camera to capture the stunning sites all around you, you could be running lower on battery power before the day is out. That is why we pack a portable power bank during our days in port. This versatile mobile power bank will charge almost any device, from phones to cameras and many other USB powered devices.

Insulated Thermos

We discovered the Yeti thermos a few years ago, and we now own several different versions for our trips. For heading ashore, this 18oz Yeti will keep liquids cold or warm all day long. Fill it up with some coffee for those early mornings or add some bottled water to keep yourself hydrated during the day. Add a carabiner and attach the Yeti to your bag. Now, you are ready to venture off to destinations unknown during your day exploring all that Alaska has to offer.

Once you are packed and ready to go, make sure you also bring along an open mind and a sense of adventure while you traverse the Alaskan landscapes. An Alaskan cruise will certainly be an unforgettable experience!


Have you taken an Alaskan cruise? What do you pack when heading ashore? Drop us an anchor below with your essentials for a port day in this 49th state.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don Bucolo
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Top 10 Things to Pack for an Alaskan Cruise When Going Ashore

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