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From what I understand, it can vary. We went to Alaska in August and we did not by any means wear bathing suits. We wore layers. Long pants, tee shirts, sweat shirts and then a light waterproof jacket. We also brought rain ponchos which we wore a few times. Definitely very cold near the glacier, we even wore gloves. I would say the temp was 50's and low 60's in late August.
I have heard many different details from beautiful sunny warm weather to very cold and rainy. I dont' know if it is the luck of the draw.
I would say to prepare for various weather options. You can use your bikini in the solarium (however we found that to be rather cool). You may be very lucky and have warm sunny weather. Bring shorts (we did but didn't use them), and of course some warmer clothing just in case.
Evenings we not a problem unless you went out on deck.
You will love Alaska, enjoy.
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We went the first week of September. We were mostly in sweatshirts & Shorts (we're from Minnesota). The crew (outside bartenders & servers) were wrapped in parkas.
We had beautiful weather. We were prepared for some rain, because it is a rainforest, but we only had a couple hours of rain.
For July I would bring stuff to layer. A couple of sweatshirts, polo or t-shirts. For shore excursions the crew recommended layers, polo/t-shirt, a fleece pull over and then a wind breaker. That way you can "adjust" as you go.
And yes, I used my bathing suit (hey, remember, we're from MN and the sun was shining!). I'd definity bring shorts, slacks & jeans. Even sweatpants. I found that days the daytime dress seemed a little more casual.
One thing I wish I had brought was GLOVES.
We were told our weather was "record warm Alaska cruise weather"...I lived in my jeans and a sweater set, bought a fleece jacket and gloves at the first port and still froze the entire cruise. I want to do another Alaska cruise but next time I will leave the sun dresses, capris and shorts home and bring mostly slacks, jeans and sweaters. Our first day out of Vancouver was beautiful and warm, just like a day in Miami...that was the end of it.
So...if my experience at what was described as "record warm Alaska cruise weather" is any example...enjoy your cruise but don't expect it to be warm. Plan to dress in layers, sweater sets and slacks are perfect.
I might add...I am a Northern Minnesota native living in Arizona...I know cold and hot.
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I think it's the luck of the draw. We went the third week in August summer before last and it was very warm. Coats were not even needed at the glacier. There were coats and gloves and hats strewn all around the deck from people "stripping". We laid by the pool in bathing suits. I think we were VERY lucky. I really think you just need to be prepared for everything. I hear the week before and after were cool. We had sunshine every day except Juneau. If we went again we would probably never be so lucky.
We went in July and layers were the way to go. I don't think I ever got down to a tee-shirt though. It was around 50 and it rained a lot. The glacier bay was freezing. Bring hats and gloves, a rain poncho, sweatshirts and jeans.
Maybe a few tees and shorts, but leave the tropical gear at home.
It was so funny to see the people dressed for St Thomas with there noses pressed against the window because they couldn't go out.
Yes, it is a pain to pack for Alaska, but it is worth doing right. Everything there is very expensive so don't think you can pick up stuff if it is cold.
Have a great time and hope you have sun and warmth.
We have relatives in AK and have been there (land and cruises) several times. Weather does seem to be the "luck of the draw". I've been in Sitka in late May and it was in the 70's. I've been in Anchorage in August and it was in the 40's.
Particularly while at sea, you'll rarely find a time when you'd be really comfortable in a bikini! Layers are a good idea - as are warm socks and practical footwear. Rain gear is a must bring - I have an oversized water repellant Columbia jacket (with hood, and it covers down to my fanny) that self packs - it is a rain jacket and a wind breaker.
Polar fleece is really a good idea - it is light weight and very warm - don't go with the cheap stuff stick with the good stuff (think Columbia, Lands' End, LLBean). Get some of those "magic bags" to pack it in (plastic bags that you remove the air from) - it will compress down to nothing and the stuff doesn't wrinkle (unless you've gone cheap!)
AK style is very sporty and outdoorsy. You'll feel very much a part of the scene in layered outdoors clothes. Leave the really cute summer stuff at home.
While you still can get them on winter clearance, pick up some of those cheap one-size-fits-all knit gloves to keep stuffed in pockets for "emergencies".
M&M Hayden has a great point though - we're from the upper midwest as well and don't see the 50's or 60's as cold (my DH grew up on Lake Superior and rarely even wears a winter jacket!)
You upper-Midwesterners have your Scandinavian blood to thank for that.
I was camping in Grand Canyon in early October and there was a group of Scandinavians camping near us.
It was VERY cold in the early morning. Picture frosty breath and me huddled under a blanket at the picnic table watching the Nordic gods running around in cutoffs and work boots---period. What a feast for the eyes.
Imagine this... I was born in Chicago and know what cold weather is but I haven't lived up there for over 15 years... now I live in hot and humid Houston... and when I say hot... I mean 98 degree summers and mosquitoe infested humidity...
So 50/60 degree weather is kind of cold for me.. even if I was born in Chicago.
Hmmm I hope I still can still find some good sale clothing... like fleece and jackets before they bring in all the summer clothing. Will fleece do the trick?? or do I have to actually take my winter coat with me?
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I went to Alaska a few years ago on a cruise tour. When I was in Fairbanks it was about 100 degrees. This was inland and in July but still. I planned for it being cold so all I had was cold weather clothing. I soon regretted that decision. My advice would be to pack different clothes. You may bring too much but it’s better than frost bite or heat exhaustion.
We've been twice in mid July. Temps have been mostly in the 60's on shore. When cruising we found the deck to be to cold for swimming. The Solarium is about the only place you'll be comfortable in a bathing suit. Even in port there would only be a couple of people in the outdoor pool.
How you dress is dependant on what you consider cold. 60's for me is T-shirt and jeans. For my wife it's a winter coat and long sleeved shirts.
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Am I going to be walking around in a bikini or a fur coat??? I totaly get that I will be cruising in Alaska but do I have to be taking winter clothing or summer clothing? Any help I would appreciate!!
Be prepared for anything. Might even want to bring a fur bikini. It'd get my attention.
Seriously, it could be warm, it could be cool. And if you go to a glacier, it'll probably be cold. I almost said it will be cold, but once when we were at Hubbard it wasn't too bad. Just bring some things you can layer and you'll be fine.
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