Top 20 Alaska Cruise Essentials

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Planning what to take on an Alaskan cruise can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to cruising or aren’t used to cold climates. Once you’ve worked out what to wear, the next step in packing for Alaska cruise travel is all the useful little things to make your journey easier. Our list of Alaska cruise essentials will help you decide what to take on a cruise to Alaska. These Alaska cruise essentials also make great gifts to give to your cruise party in preparation for your trip.

See our Alaska cruise packing list for a full list of what to wear and pack for an Alaskan cruise.

Alaska Cruise Essentials

Top 20 Alaska Cruise Essentials



A pair of binoculars are a must pack for Alaska cruising! Wildlife is one of the biggest draws when cruising in Alaska and having your own pair of binoculars will help you spot birds, whales and other creatures. Use them sitting on your balcony, up on deck or back them in your shore excursions bag.

Here are a great, affordable pair of travel binoculars perfect for Alaska cruising.


Seabands / Seasickess medications

Brining Seabands and Dramamine is a must for every cruise. Not just for on board your cruise ship but also for any water-based excursions you go on like whale watching. Seabands work on accupressure points on your wrist and are great for both adults and kids.


Travel umbrella

A small folding travel umbrella is a great addition to your Alaska cruise packing list. Seattle and Vancouver, where most Alaska cruises begin, are notoriously rainy cities so an umbrella will definitely come in use if you plan on sightseeing before or after your cruise. You’ll also find your umbrella useful in port and on shore excursions.

This is a great lightweight, folding travel umbrella.


Lightweight backpack

A lightweight folding backpack like this is great for cruising. You can fold it up in your suitcase when traveling and simply pull it out when you need it for excursions.


Packing cubes

Packing cubes are a game changer when it comes to organizing your luggage and stateroom. There are a couple of different ways to use packing cubes when cruising. One option is to pack your tops, bottoms, outerwear and underwear separately as you would for normal travel. The other option is to pack your excursions, ship casual and evening wear in separate packing cubes. You can pack for multiple people in the same suitcase by using different colors too.

These are great packing cube sets. You’ll be a packing cube convert once you start using them. Trust me!


Bug spray

Bug spray is a necessity when cruising in Alaska. You’ll need it for your shore excursions.



Sunscreen is another must have for shore excursions and days spent on deck. You might not need it as much as if you’re cruising the Caribbean but it’s still an Alaskan cruise essential. A sunscreen stick or lotion for your face and a spray for arms and legs works best!



Pack a chapstick in your purse, backpack or tote bag. You’ll need it after windy days on deck or post-excursions.


Pool coverup

Choose a pool coverup that is a bit thicker and more substantial than a standard warm-weather pool coverup. Long sleeves are a good idea. While you might strike good weather for swimming on departure days, you’ll most likely need your pool coverup for dashing from the hot tub to your stateroom on cooler days.

Here are some options for pool cover ups for Alaska cruises:

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Seacoast Swim Cover-Up DressWhite by Nature Women’s Long Sleeve Beach Tunic Hooded Cotton Cover-UpSwimZip Womens Swimsuit Cover Up with SPF 50+ Stunner Blue Stripe L


Smart gloves

If it’s cold enough to wear gloves, you don’t want to have to remove them to take photos on your phone. Smart gloves like these allow you to use your fingers to control your phone without removing your gloves. Great for Alaska cruise excursions!

You can buy smart gloves like these here.



A powerbank is a useful little back-up for charging your phone or camera while out on long excursions. The last thing you want is for your battery to go flat and to miss out on great vacation snaps!

This is a lightweight powerbank that is useful for travel. You’ll get at least three phone charges out of the powerbank before you need to charge it again.


Powerstrip without surge protection

Cruise ship staterooms often lack power points so you’ll want to bring along a powerstrip for charging up phones, ipads and camera. Cruise lines do not allow powerstrips with built in surge protectors as they are a safety hazard so you’ll need to buy one that complies with their regulations.

You can purchase a powerstrip without surge protection here. This one also has two USB charging slots which are super useful.


Travel coffee mug

Bringing a travel coffee mug is a great idea for a cruise but especially so on an Alaska cruise. The mugs available for coffee and hot tea are so small so if you’re a big hot beverage drinker you’re better off having your own larger mug. You can also walk around the ship with you coffee, sipping your hot beverage in the cool weather while you take in the scenery. Or take it back to your room and enjoy it on your balcony.


Refillable water bottle

A refillable water bottleis a must for cruisers. They’re useful both on the ship and for excursions.


Cruise luggage tags

Cruise luggage tags are a useful little item that will stop your paper tags potentially ripping off, risking lost checked luggage. There a couple of different sizes depending on which cruise line you’re traveling with:



A highlighter pen is always useful on a cruise for planning your day. Highlight the activities and events you want to attend on your daily cruise news.


Travel alarm clock

A travel alarm clock is useful for cruising, particularly if you’re not planning on using your cellphone onboard. Cabins don’t generally have a clock in them so a little travel alarm clock like this is useful.


Tide-to-go stain remover pen

A small Tide-to-go stain remover pen is a great little addition to your cruise packing list. Just in case of any spills on your good clothes in the dining room.


Selfie stick

A selfie stick doesn’t take up much space in your suitcase but is useful for snapping pics on board or when you’re off on shore excursions.


Disinfectant spray or wipes

If always pays to give your stateroom a quick once over with some travel-sized disinfectant wipes or a travel-sized disinfectant spray before you settle in. While your room is cleaned before your arrival, disinfecting it yourself will prevent you catching any nasty bugs that can spread easily on board cruise ships. Pay attention to things like remote controls, phones, door handles and any surfaces touched frequently by hands.


Got a question about what to pack for your Alaska cruise? Let us know in the comments below or join our cruise packing tips group on Facebook. Be sure read through our Alaska Cruise Packing List as well for more tips!

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