Fresh off our incredible Alaskan cruise experience (thanks to Small World Vacations!), we’re thrilled to share our top packing tips for this bucket list adventure.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with a list of items to pack for your Alaskan cruise, plus we’ll cover what not to pack, too.
We’ve organized our packing list into different sections, including essential documents, clothing, toiletries, specific items for Alaskan cruises, electronics, kids and family, miscellaneous items, and more. Plus, we even have some handy packing tips, too.
Ready to dive in and get packing? Let’s go!
Although this list is customized for Disney Alaskan Cruises, you can easily use it for other cruise lines by eliminating the Disney-specific items.
In each category, we will highlight the things that we think are the MOST important, but then we’ll follow that up with a list of everything you might want to consider packing.
Please don’t think you need to pack everything on this list. We do NOT recommend it.
This is just an all-inclusive list to help jog your memory for the items your group might need.
Essential Documents and Money Matters
Before setting sail, it’s crucial to have all the necessary documents and money matters figured out ahead of time. Failure to take care of this well in advance can ruin your trip before you even make it to the port.
Passports and IDs Travel Insurance
First and foremost, ensure you have valid passports or other accepted identification for each traveler. And please, please, please don’t forget to double-check the expiration dates and review the entry requirements for Alaska and Canada.
Yes, Alaska is in America, but our cruise departed from Vancouver, Canada. That meant we had to clear both U.S. and Canadian Customs. Plus, many of the port excursions also crossed the border between the 2 countries, and our passports were checked on those crossings, too.
We joined a Facebook group with other travelers on our same cruise, and there were multiple families who found themselves scrambling when they realized the day before the cruise that they did not have the necessary documents for their child to fly from the U.S. into Canada. All they had was a birth certificate, and that wouldn’t work for flying.
To be honest, I had no idea until reading about their troubles that the citizenship document requirements for children under 16 were different when driving vs. flying.
Driving is more lax (children under 16 only need proof of U.S. citizenship, which could be a birth certificate) but if you plan to fly into Canada, everyone will need to have a passport.
Additionally, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances.
You don’t have to purchase the insurance through your cruise line, but we do highly recommend you consider getting some. Look for insurance that can cover you for both travel interruptions AND for things like medical emergencies. Many of the ports that you’ll visit will be remote and isolated without hospitals nearby, so in an emergency, you’ll have to be evacuated by plane or helicopter – and those trips are VERY, very expensive.
If you don’t know where to start when exploring your insurance options, talk to your travel agent or check out a site like InsureMyTrip.com where you will be able to compare a bunch of different options at once.
Currency and Payment Options
While most onboard expenses will be charged to your stateroom account, it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller expenses and off-ship activities. Plus, on Disney Cruise Line, it is nice to have cash to tip for things like room service.
For tipping, we typically travel with a few hundred bucks in cash in U.S. dollars, mostly in a mix of smaller denominations.
- Passports/Drivers Licenses/Birth Certificates
- Hotel confirmations
- Rental car confirmation
- Boarding passes
- Cash/credit cards
- Dollar bills for tips & tolls
- Insurance cards
- Membership cards (AAA, DVC)
- Addresses for postcards
Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s crucial to pack versatile clothing suitable for varying conditions.
Here’s a list of clothing essentials to consider:
Layering for Changing Weather Conditions
Layering is key to adapting to the ever-changing Alaskan weather.
Pack lightweight base layers, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and a waterproof and windproof jacket. This way, you can easily adjust your clothing to accommodate temperature fluctuations throughout the day.
On our cruise, when getting off the ship for port days, I would wear a couple of pairs of leggings layered together, a light shirt, a light zippered jacket, and then my heavier jacket over the top of that. I also always had a hat and gloves with me, too.
Throughout the day, I would take off and put on a layer or two, depending on the current conditions.
Warm Jackets and Sweaters
Alaska’s cool climate often demands warm jackets and sweaters – especially if you are traveling early in the season.
Opt for insulated, water-resistant jackets that provide both warmth and protection from rain. And, consider packing a lightweight down jacket for extra warmth during glacier-viewing excursions. The wind blowing off the ice can be downright chilly.
It rains in Alaska. A lot. Expect it to rain daily and be prepared. Make sure your outer layers are waterproof, and consider bringing an umbrella or poncho if you plan to explore the ports on foot.
Bringing a nice camera? Don’t forget about protecting that, too. The same for any strollers, wheelchairs, or scooters.
Comfortable Walking Shoes and Boots
Since you’ll be exploring both the ship and various Alaskan destinations, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Invest in sturdy and waterproof shoes or boots to keep your feet dry and comfortable during shore excursions and nature walks.
Tennis shoes can work, just make sure they will provide protection from the damp conditions and rain. Many tennis shoes have a lot of lightweight mesh in them – which is great for keeping your feet cool, but terrible for keeping the rain out. If you do opt for tennis shoes, leather shoes would be a better option since they will offer your feet more protection from the rain.
Hats, Scarves, and Gloves
I was so thankful we brought our hats and gloves with us.
Because we knew we would want to take lots of pictures, I opted for mittens that opened up into fingerless gloves for myself.
And a warm stocking cap was perfect for keeping our heads warm while we were enjoying the amazing views.
Swimwear for Onboard Pools and Spas
All Disney Cruise ships offer pools, water slides, and spas. Even though the air temperature is freezing, you’ll still see people enjoying them (especially the hot tubs).
If you are a brave soul, don’t forget to pack swimwear to enjoy these onboard amenities and take a dip in the heated pools while sailing through the Alaskan waters.
- Shirts (long sleeve and short sleeve)
- Shorts (especially if traveling later in the season, if you are early in the season, 1 pair is probably enough)
- Suit/dressy clothes (only if you are planning to dress up for formal night)
- Outerwear and rain gear
- Light sweater or jacket
- Water resistant outer layer
- Rain jacket
- Stocking hat or ear warmer
- Underwear & pajamas
- Shoes & socks
- Water-resistant walking shoes or hiking boots
- Dress shoes (for formal night)
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Hairbands & accessories
- Sunglasses w/strap
- Swimsuit cover-ups
Toiletries and Personal Care
Don’t forget to pack the necessities! Here’s a list of toiletries and personal care items to pack:
Basic Toiletries for Daily Use
Remember to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and any other personal care products you use daily.
Disney Cruise Line has full-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion in all staterooms, but if you have a favorite brand, you may want to consider bringing yours with you, too.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm with High SPF
Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can be intense in Alaska.
Protect your skin with a high SPF sunscreen and don’t forget to pack a lip balm with sun protection to keep your lips hydrated and shielded from the elements.
- Shower gel (Disney Cruise Line provides full-sized bottles in the shower)
- Shampoo (Disney Cruise Line provides full-sized bottles in the shower)
- Hair conditioner (Disney Cruise Line provides full-sized bottles in the shower)
- Contact lens solution & case
- Lip balm w/sunscreen
- Face wash
- Face lotion
- Body lotion (Disney Cruise Line provides full-sized bottles in the bathroom)
- Make-up remover
- Nail polish
- Nail polish remover
- Foot spray
- Foot powder
- Shaving cream
- Nail clippers
- Nail file
- Hair brush/comb
- Hair gel/mousse
- Hair spray
- Blow-dryer (Disney Cruise Line provides full-sized hair dryers)
- Travel hair diffuser (Some ships will have them, but others don’t)
- Hand sanitizer
- Kids shampoo
- Kids toothbrushes
- Kids bath soap
- Kids hairbrush/comb
Medicine (especially your prescription medication) is one thing you don’t want to forget on vacation – especially when you are out in the middle of the ocean.
Here are some common items you may find in your medicine chest that are useful to travel with.
Insect Repellent and Anti-itch Cream
When venturing ashore, especially during the summer months, insect repellent is essential to ward off mosquitoes and other pests. We found travel-sized bottles of OFF! that worked great.
Additionally, you may want to bring along anti-itch cream in case of bug bites or skin irritation.
Motion Sickness Medication
If you’re prone to motion sickness, be sure to pack the appropriate medication.
Although modern cruise ships are designed to minimize motion, it’s always wise to have medication on hand, just in case.
There are lots of over-the-counter remedies, but if you are concerned, definitely speak to your doctor, too.
- Prescription medications
- Moleskin (for blisters)
- Antibiotic ointment
- Anti-itch gel/spray
- Aloe vera
- Birth control (or other prophylactic)
- Pain medicine (like Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
- Kids pain medicine
- Motion sickness remedies
- Sinus/allergy medicine
- Cough drops
Laundry isn’t typically on anybody’s list of “favorite things to do while on a cruise” but if you find yourself planning to do some on your trip, here are some things you’ll probably want to have with you.
- Laundry soap
- Dryer sheets
- Stain remover
- Pop-up hamper
- Wrinkle release spray
Note: On Disney Cruise Line, you pay for laundry using your Key to the World Card (no coins needed).
Alaskan Cruise-Specific Items
Alaska offers unique experiences, and there are a few items that are especially beneficial during your Alaskan Disney Cruise:
Binoculars for Wildlife Spotting
Alaska’s abundant wildlife is one of its most incredible attractions. Don’t miss out on spotting whales, eagles, bears, and other animals from a distance.
Make sure you pack a pair of binoculars and don’t forget to take them with you when you go ashore!
Waterproof Backpack or Dry Bag
Exploring Alaska often involves water-based activities and excursions.
To keep your belongings safe and dry, invest in a waterproof or water-resistant backpack or a dry bag. It will protect your essentials from rain or splashes during kayaking, ziplining, or boat tours.
Hand Warmers and Thermal Socks
Alaska’s cold temperatures can be quite challenging, especially during glacier visits or outdoor adventures. If you get chilled easily, pack hand warmers and thermal socks to keep yourself warm and comfortable.
Rain Poncho or Waterproof Jacket
Alaska’s weather can change rapidly, and rain showers are common. Stay dry and prepared by carrying a lightweight, portable rain poncho or a waterproof jacket. It will keep you protected during outdoor activities or while exploring port cities.
- Camera and camera equipment
- Waterproof backpack or dry bag
- Hand warmers
- Thermal/warm socks
- Poncho or rain jacket
Electronics and Gadgets
To capture and document your Alaskan adventure, consider bringing along the following electronics and gadgets:
Power strips aren’t allowed, but USB hubs are, and since most devices these days are charged through USB cords and there are very few outlets in a cruise cabin, having a hub where you can charge multiple devices all at once is the way to go.
Camera or Smartphone for Capturing Memories
Preserve the breathtaking scenery and memorable moments by packing a camera or ensuring your smartphone has ample storage and battery life. Trust us: you’ll want to capture the stunning landscapes, wildlife encounters, and all the fun and cute characters on board.
Portable Charger and Extra Batteries
With all the photo-taking and exploration, it’s crucial to have extra battery power.
Bring a portable charger and spare batteries to keep your devices juiced up throughout the day, especially during long excursions.
Travel Adapters for Charging Devices
If you’re traveling from outside the United States, ensure you have the appropriate travel adapters to charge your electronic devices. This will prevent any inconvenience caused by incompatible power outlets.
Waterproof Phone Case or Pouch
To protect your phone from water damage during outdoor activities or unexpected rain showers, invest in a waterproof phone case or pouch. This way, you can capture memories without worrying about water-related mishaps.
- USB Hub
- Camera or smartphone
- Portable charger and extra batteries
- Travel adapters (if traveling from outside the United States)
- Waterproof phone case or pouch
- Handheld games
- Charging cords for all devices
- Battery powered nightlight
Kid, Baby, and Family Essentials
Disney Cruises are renowned for their family-friendly experiences. Here are some essential items to pack when traveling with children:
Diapers, Baby Food, and Essentials for Infants
If you’re traveling with infants or toddlers, ensure you have an ample supply of diapers, baby wipes, and any specific baby food or formula they require.
While limited supplies may be available onboard, it’s best to pack enough for the duration of your trip. You may also be able to re-stock at some of the ports, just keep in mind that it will be more expensive and your selection may be limited.
Kids’ Medications and Comfort Items
If your child requires any medication, bring an adequate supply for the entire cruise. Additionally, pack comfort items such as stuffed animals, blankets, or their favorite bedtime stories to create a familiar and soothing environment.
Strollers, Baby Carriers, or Car Seats
Navigating the ship and exploring ports of call may require mobility aids for young children. Consider bringing a stroller, baby carrier, or car seat based on your child’s needs and the activities you plan to partake in.
Travel-Size Games and Toys
To keep your little ones entertained throughout the cruise, pack a few travel-sized games and toys. These can be great distractions during travel time or for keeping them engaged during downtime.
- Baby food
- Sippy cups
- Swim diapers
- Baby wipes
- Diaper bag
- Car seat
- Baby monitor (Will be inspected and returned if approved)
- Board games
- Handheld games
- Kids ID tags
- Outlet covers
Misc. Items & Everything Else
In addition to all of the essentials like clothes and medications, there are a few other things that we always pack when cruising:
- Refillable water bottles. Not only do we use these on board to keep water in our cabin, but we also take them with us on excursions and port days.
- Large refillable mug/cup. Disney Cruise Line has complimentary soda/pop, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. Small cups are provided, but if you want something a bit larger, it is nice to have a refillable mug or cup to use. Note: for sanitary reasons, you should fill the disposable cup and then pour it into your refillable mug.
- Magnetic hooks. On some cruise ships, all the walls are magnetic and on others, just the doors will be – but either way, magnetic hooks can come in handy for holding so many things, from shoes to bags to all the extra layers you’ll need for an Alaskan cruise.
- Battery powered night light. Especially if you have little ones or if you are in an interior room, having a small, battery-powered night light can save you from stubbing your toes. Small battery-powered tea lights work well and take up virtually no room.
- Ziplock bags. Ziplock bags in various sizes can be useful for organizing small items, keeping wet clothes separate, storing snacks, or protecting electronics from water or sand.
- Books, E-Readers, or Travel Games. During downtime or evenings spent in your stateroom, indulge in a good book, load up your e-reader with your favorite novels, or bring along travel games to keep yourself entertained. It’s an excellent way to unwind and relax during the cruise.
- Lanyard. Lanyards come in very handy for carrying your Key to the World card with you without having to worry about pockets.
- Charging cords. Don’t forget all of your charging cords for things like phones, cameras, and handheld games.
- Earplugs. If your stateroom is near an elevator or directly beneath a deck that is loud, you may want some earplugs to help muffle the sound.
Alaskan Cruise Pack List Downloads
You can download our Alaska Cruise Packing Lists for FREE!
What to Pack for Dining and Formal Nights on a Disney Alaskan Cruise
Disney Cruise Line’s dining experiences are exceptional, and some evenings may require specific attire – but only if you want to.
Please trust us when we say that the vibe on an Alaskan cruise is a lot more relaxed. Yes, some people still get dressed up, but it isn’t the same caliber as what you might find on other sailings.
Here are a few considerations for dining and formal nights:
Remember – you can go as formal as you’d like. You’ll see everything from sequins to denim. Wear what you feel the most comfortable in, but if you’re up to it, we think it is kind of fun to get a little dressed up for Formal Night.
It is a great opportunity to get some pictures, too.
Frozen Night (Freezing the Night Away)
Disney Alaskan Cruises have a Frozen themed night instead of the usual Pirate themed night you find on the Caribbean cruises.
We wore Frozen-themed t-shirts for this night (which we saw plenty of people doing) but there were many others in full costumes, too. Again, do as much – or as little – as you feel comfortable.
Other opportunities to dress up
If you are a group that loves dressing up, here are a few other ideas that we saw guests on our Alaskan cruise doing:
- Dress in 1920’s style attire for Mardi Gras night at Tiana’s
- Dress up like the characters in the Alaskan outfits
- Dress up like Captain Mickey for embarkation day
- Is there a movie debuting while you are onboard? Wear themed shirts or costumes for that. For example, The Little Mermaid debuted when we were on our cruise, and there was a huge line of Ariels waiting to get into the theater the day it opened.
What to wear for dinner on an Alaskan cruise
If you’re a first-time cruiser, the question of what to wear for dinner may be causing some stress. However, you’ll be relieved to know that the expectations for dinner attire on cruise ships have become much more relaxed in recent years, even more so on an Alaskan sailing.
The focus on an Alaskan cruise is the outdoors, and you’ll likely want to spend as much time as possible outside exploring and taking in the scenery as much as you can. That doesn’t leave as much time for getting super dressed up – and that is okay!
I know we mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating: the atmosphere on an Alaskan cruise is more relaxed.
The pressure to dress to the nines for every meal simply isn’t there. In fact, you’ll encounter fellow cruisers who rush into dinner straight from an excursion because there wasn’t enough time to change – and that’s perfectly fine.
On the other hand, you’ll also come across individuals who choose to dress up a bit more. And guess what? That’s perfectly fine too! You’ll find a mix of styles and attire, and the beauty of it all is that you can truly dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Restaurants with a Dress Code
Some restaurants outside the main dining room will have their own dress codes. For example, on the Disney Wonder, you have the option of making a separate reservation at Palo for either brunch or dinner. These meals cost extra (they aren’t included in your cruise fare) and they do have a stricter dress code than the main dining rooms.
Here’s what Disney says about that:
“Adult-exclusive restaurants aboard Disney Cruise Line ships are elegant dining experiences. Guests are requested to dress in a manner consistent with the restaurant’s sophistication. Formal or semi-formal attire is recommended. Dress casual attire with a polished look is permitted (such as dress pants, jeans in good condition, collared shirts and blouses and lifestyle shoes). T-shirts, swimwear and sports attire are not permitted.”
Packing Tips and Tricks
Now that you have a comprehensive packing list for your Alaskan Disney Cruise, here are a few tips and tricks to optimize your packing experience:
Rolling vs. Folding Clothes
To maximize space and minimize wrinkles, consider rolling your clothes instead of folding them. This technique not only saves space, but also keeps your clothes neat and organized.
Utilizing Packing Cubes or Compression Bags
Packing cubes or compression bags can be a game-changer when it comes to organizing your luggage. Group items by category, such as tops, bottoms, and undergarments, using separate packing cubes.
Compression bags can help further condense bulky items like jackets and sweaters.
Distributing Weight in Luggage
To prevent your suitcase from toppling over or becoming too heavy to handle, distribute the weight evenly.
Place heavier items at the bottom and near the wheels, while lighter items can be positioned at the top.
Pack Essentials in Your Carry-On
When traveling to your embarkation port, pack essential items like medications, travel documents, and a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage.
This way, even if your checked luggage gets delayed, you’ll have everything you need to start your cruise comfortably.
What not to pack for an Alaskan cruise
There are some things that you should not bring on any cruise because they are prohibited.
The actual complete list of prohibited items is quite long, so we’re only listing some of the most common items we see people mistakenly try to bring on-board.
Make sure you check with your specific cruise line, but in general, you can expect these items to not be allowed on a cruise ship:
- Extension cords, power strips and surge protectors: Exceptions may be made for medical devices, but in general, extension cords, power strips, and surge protectors are not allowed.
- Dangerous items: Items that can be considered dangerous or pose a safety risk are generally not allowed. This includes fireworks, explosives, flammable liquids, and other hazardous materials.
- Firearms and weapons: Cruise ships have strict policies against bringing firearms, ammunition, knives, or any other weapons on board.
- Illegal substances: It goes without saying that you should never pack illegal drugs or any prohibited substances. And, even if substances are legal in your departure port, the cruise line may have rules prohibiting them from being brought on board. From Disney’s website: “…all drug paraphernalia used for marijuana, cannabis and hemp is prohibited. Medically prescribed marijuana, as well as items derived from or enriched by marijuana, including items and products that contain THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and or CBD (Cannabidiol) are also prohibited.“
- Irons and steamers: There are self-service laundry facilities where you can find an iron and ironing board if your clothes need pressed.
- Other items that heat up: heating pads, hot plates, space heaters, hot pots, coffee pots, bottle warmers, etc. Basically, aside from curling irons, straighteners, and hairdryers that are 230V or less, electrical appliances of any kind are NOT allowed.
- Candles and incense: Open flames are typically not allowed on cruise ships due to fire hazards. This includes candles, incense, and any other similar items.
- Drones and other remote controlled devices: Most cruise ships have policies that prohibit or restrict the use of drones and remote controlled devices on board for safety and privacy reasons. This includes Star Wars droids.
- Large coolers: Coolers smaller than 12″ x 12″ x 12″ (30.5cm x 30.5cm x 30.5cm) are allowed but only as carry-on luggage and only for storing medications, baby food or nonperishable items related to dietary restrictions only.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I bring alcohol on board a Disney Cruise?
Every cruise line has their own alcohol policy. Here’s how Disney’s works:
All guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or sparkling wine (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port of call.
Alcohol brought onboard must be in your carry on.
And yes, in most cases, the drinking age on board is 21. The only exception to that rule is if your cruise is departing from a country that has a lower drinking age, that age may be lowered to 18.
Please note that does NOT include Alaskan cruises departing from Canada. The drinking age for Disney Alaskan cruises is still 21.
Other important things to know:
- Alcohol packed in checked luggage will be removed and will not be returned. Please note that no compensation will be offered in such cases.
- All alcohol brought on board must be in its original unopened container. It is strictly prohibited to bring partially used bottles or those with broken seals.
- Exceeding the allowance of 2 bottles of wine or sparkling wine, or 6 beers, is prohibited. Any excess alcohol must be discarded before boarding the ship, and no compensation will be provided.
- If you purchase liquors, spirits, or additional wine and beer during port visits, they will be stored until the end of the cruise for your convenience.
- It is essential for guests to retrieve any stored alcohol at the conclusion of the cruise. Failure to do so will result in the items being discarded, and no compensation will be offered.
- Consumption of alcohol brought on board is not permitted in any lounge or public area. If you want to drink the wine you brought on board at dinner, you will be charged a $26 corking fee per bottle.
- All guests must comply with all applicable laws and Disney Cruise Line policies regarding the consumption and distribution of alcohol. Providing alcoholic beverages to any other person, regardless of age, is strictly prohibited.
Is there a luggage weight limit?
Disney Cruise Line recommends keeping your luggage weight below 50 pounds per bag for ease of handling. However, there are no strict weight limits, but be mindful of airline restrictions if flying to your embarkation port.
Are laundry facilities available onboard?
Yes, Disney Cruise ships offer self-service laundry facilities, which are equipped with washers, dryers, and detergent. Plus, the laundry facilities are also where you’ll find an iron and ironing board.
There are also typically full-service laundry options available as well.
Keep in mind that the later in the cruise you go, the busier the laundry facilities will get.
Can I bring my own food or beverages on board a Disney cruise?
Yes, you can – but the items must be in original, factory-sealed packaging.
Think you might want to plan your very own Disney Alaskan cruise? We recommend the friendly folks over at Small World Vacations. Contact them now for a quote on your next dream cruise!
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