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Deck yourself out for your next cruise! What clothes should you bring, and what should stay at home. Offer up packing tips, and savvy shopping info, too

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  #1  
Old June 14th, 2008, 01:36 AM
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Default WHAT TO WEAR ON jULY ALASKAN CRUISE ???

Hi, has anyone been on an Alaskan cruise at the end of July? What kind of clothing will I need? I'm originally from FL and have lived in CA since 1972. I'm a warm weather person so 60s is very cool for me (especially if its windy). Are the days sunny this time of year or overcast and gloomy? Will I need rain gear in July? I would appreciate any responses as I'm clueless at this point, never having been to Alaska before.

Are the pools heated? Should I even bring a swimsuit? On every cruise I've ever been on the dining room is usually cool so I always were a light jacket or sweater. Is it the same on Alaskan cruises, or are the dinning rooms overheated?

Have I asked enough questions? Sorry, but I sure will be grateful for any responses.
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  #2  
Old June 14th, 2008, 02:46 AM
Andee Andee is offline
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We spent 17 days in Alaska a few years ago, and the weather varied. There were a couple of days when we wore shorts, but it was colder near the glaciers. I'd recommend lightweight clothes that you can layer-- silk long underwear, khakis, T shirts, micro fleece, a waterproof hooded jacket long enough to cover your butt. I liked having an earband and thin gloves. I carried a small backback on excursions in case I needed to remove some layers.

I'd take a bathing suit, but I love an outdoor hot tub, and have been in them even when the temperature is below zero.
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  #3  
Old June 14th, 2008, 03:03 AM
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The secret for dressing anywhere in the Pacific Northwest is: Layers. And take a lightweight poncho that you can throw on over the layers.

The end of July is the best time of year for sun up there -- but no guarantees. And even on a warm sunny day, temps fall fast after dark.

I'm jealous -- I so want to cruise Alaska. Have fun!
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  #4  
Old June 14th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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We cruised Alaska in August and found it to be quite temperate. There was rain a couple of days, in Ketchikan and Juneau, but that is to be expected. Unfortunately, no one can predict the weather this far in advance, it may get as cool as the 60's, but they can also have a heat wave in Alaska, too!

Light layers that you can add or take away is best. Do take a couple tank tops, a couple short sleeved T's as well as some long sleeved T's. A lightweight, longer length raincoat is ideal, leave the winter coat at home. You'll be much more comfortable layering rather than heavier clothes, light layers are a whole lot easier to pack, too. You will definitely have one cool day, the day at the glacier, but it only lasts a few hours and many ships will provide blankets.

Don't forego your bathing suit and take a pair of sandals for the pool, you may also be happy that you packed along at least one pair of shorts as well.

We didn't find the temps to drop all that much in the evening at sea. We took walks up on deck late every single night and barely needed a jacket. We also left the door to our balconey open all night, it was heaven

The best thing to do is to go to www.weather.com a day or two before you leave, to see what the weather trend will be for each and every port you'll visit, they can be different.

One tip I followed and regretted was to pack an extra pair of sneakers, in case the first pair got wet. The little bit of rain we encountered got our shoes wet, but no more than a bit of rain at home. Since there were the 4 of us, our kids are full grown, adult sized teens, that was 4 extra pair of shoes in the suitcases....a lot of extra weight and wasted suitcase space. Since every other day was a sea day, our shoes had plenty of time to dry and we wore sandals onboard the ship.
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  #5  
Old June 14th, 2008, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy ks View Post
We cruised Alaska in August and found it to be quite temperate. There was rain a couple of days, in Ketchikan and Juneau, but that is to be expected. Unfortunately, no one can predict the weather this far in advance, it may get as cool as the 60's, but they can also have a heat wave in Alaska, too!

Light layers that you can add or take away is best. Do take a couple tank tops, a couple short sleeved T's as well as some long sleeved T's. A lightweight, longer length raincoat is ideal, leave the winter coat at home. You'll be much more comfortable layering rather than heavier clothes, light layers are a whole lot easier to pack, too. You will definitely have one cool day, the day at the glacier, but it only lasts a few hours and many ships will provide blankets.

Don't forego your bathing suit and take a pair of sandals for the pool, you may also be happy that you packed along at least one pair of shorts as well.

We didn't find the temps to drop all that much in the evening at sea. We took walks up on deck late every single night and barely needed a jacket. We also left the door to our balconey open all night, it was heaven

The best thing to do is to go to www.weather.com a day or two before you leave, to see what the weather trend will be for each and every port you'll visit, they can be different.

One tip I followed and regretted was to pack an extra pair of sneakers, in case the first pair got wet. The little bit of rain we encountered got our shoes wet, but no more than a bit of rain at home. Since there were the 4 of us, our kids are full grown, adult sized teens, that was 4 extra pair of shoes in the suitcases....a lot of extra weight and wasted suitcase space. Since every other day was a sea day, our shoes had plenty of time to dry and we wore sandals onboard the ship.
Thank you for all the info. I think somewhere under my bed there is a container with a pair of "waterproof" shoes. The other alternative is to Scotchguard my sneakers.

I'm thinking I'll need the following (besides the basics). Please let me know if I'm wrong.

A bathing suit/cover up/flipflops (do I need more than one swimsuit do ya think?0
A waterproof windbreaker w/hood
A small, lightweight umbrella
Waterproof sneakers/socks
Gloves, hat and scarf

Okay, while I'm at it:

2 cocktail-type dresses/1 pr high heels for formal nights
3 ea. nice tops/bottoms to mix/match, 1 pr low heels for casual nights
Spanx - can't forget those ! LOL
Some t-shirts (long & short-sleeved)
3 pr jeans/3 pr capris (you don't want to see me in shorts )
Lightweight jeans-type jacket/polar fleece vest
PJs (use pool flipflops as slippers)

Have I forgotten anything you think I might need? Do I need more of anything? Less?

Opps! I know, I forgot my undies!!!!

Last edited by mousey; June 14th, 2008 at 07:09 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 11:11 PM
gsmom893 gsmom893 is offline
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I've cruised Alaska twice in July, as long as you pack layers as outlined, with a rain proof jacket you should be fine. I like those wide knit headbands for earmuffs instead of a hat (I buy them at the ski shop). Don't forget gloves, and I like warm socks. Have fun, it's such a grat place!
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  #7  
Old June 16th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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A friend of mine went in August and froze the entire week. Bring warm clothes! They had brought pants, jeans, sweatshirts, etc. but he said they were still very cold all week. It also rained 5 days so that didn't help.
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  #8  
Old June 16th, 2008, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onceagain View Post
A friend of mine went in August and froze the entire week. Bring warm clothes! They had brought pants, jeans, sweatshirts, etc. but he said they were still very cold all week. It also rained 5 days so that didn't help.

That is why the suggestion was to check the weather right before leaving. It's not always exactly accurate, but you will get an idea of the temps and possible rainfall. The day before you leave is enough of a warning to adjust what you have in your suitcase.

One of our school secretaries cruised Alaska a few years ago on the first run, in May. They took all cold weather clothing, long sleeves, long pants, heavy materials, jackets, etc... The weather all week was in the low 80's and the majority of people on the ship roasted in their innapropriate for the weather clothing.

So, pack for the expected weather trend and take along at least one other choice, in case there is a sudden change.
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  #9  
Old June 17th, 2008, 12:33 AM
sacway sacway is offline
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We are Central Valley Californians who went to AK for our first cruise last July with your exact question. It all depends on whether you want to go with the clothes you already have, or hanker to get something new! Also, the weather in every port is different, plus the weather changes a lot. We printed out the weather for each of our stops before we left, which helped a little. But the range can be rather extreme, from overcast or pouring rain and pretty dang cold (but not snowing in any port), to so warm the locals were in t-shirts and sandals. Dressing in layers doesn't fit our home climate; you might try on your several layers before your pack them, to make sure the "under" ones are actually a bit smaller than the "over" ones (all you from the Northwest can snicker at us, but we don't need to dress in layers down here!)

I'd skip the umbrella; if it's raining the wind is probably blowing, too, or the boat is in motion. A cap or hat that won't blow off is better. I wore mine under my hood a lot. Polypropolene socks or wool socks are equally warm wet or dry, there's about 20 kinds at REI if you have one near your home, all weights and colors. You aren't going snowshoe-ing, are you, if not, then even thin wool socks will be enough (2 - 3 pairs, so one is drying in your cabin while you are tromping around in your next port.) I did find some weatherproof sneakers under my bed, I knew I'd bought them for some reason! and they were terrific the whole trip. Besides these I had flip flops and a pair of dinner shoes.

If you want to travel lighter, you could try zip off trousers, so you'll have shorts if/when you hit a very warm day, zipped off mine are more like bermudas so kind to those of us who are no longer short-short gals. I took a nice-ish wool sweater for the dining room, and then wore it under my old gortex bicycle shell when out in port or on tour. (Because it's for biking, it's much longer in the back, following the advice below to cover your bum -- even heavy rain will run off you instead of into your trousers) You are better off with a light sweater under your jacket than a sweat shirt, which can get soggy and damp and cold. For our coldest days (and when standing around on deck watching the scenery go by) I wore a soft-shell jacket under the gortex. DH just used the clothes from his closet, in layers: turtleneck, then sweatshirt, then waterproof windbreaker, then fleece vest on top if need be. Hat and gloves and sunglasses (glare off water/glaciers is intense). He wore jeans the whole time, too, but he didn't go hiking and has tolerance for jeans in hot weather.

Our one tour on the water, the excursion crew had those big yellow slickers so we didn't have to bring anything heavy like that.

Lightweight gloves (even the cheap $5 fits all kind from Target, say) in coat pockets all the time, came in handy.

As for your swim suit cover-up, a terry one might be better than the super light ones handy in the Caribbean or Hawaii. It was chilly walking across the deck to the pool, hot tub or sauna!

We also found the dining room was less dressy than usual for a cruise. More country club style; that may depend on your cruise line, too, but I had read this was common across lines.

DH is hard core about cruising in the winter in warm climates and exotic places, I wasn't sure he'd enjoy AK. Turns out we both had a fantastic time. Enjoy your trip!
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  #10  
Old June 17th, 2008, 09:36 AM
DukeFamily DukeFamily is offline
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I used a pair of terry sweats as a my swimsuit coverup - perfect. I used the hot tob at night and was chilly enough, then downright cold when you're wet! So definitely something warm to jump into when you get out of that hot tub.

During the days, as long as you've got something short sleeved under something long sleeved, you can take off the outer shirt and tie it around your waist when you're ready to. Did that a lot and we were there in early June.

I don't know about July, but when we were there, it was really, really cold on deck early in the mornings. We were up on deck very early, too, (everyone was) because we'd be told the night before that we would see certain sites at those early hours - whether it was coming into glacier bay, or one day a place where there were lots of whales. Being up on the front of that moving ship really early in the morning, we needed heavy coats, hats, gloves, steaming coffee - but it was SO worth it. Don't miss anything! You can rest up when you get back home!!
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  #11  
Old June 20th, 2008, 04:55 PM
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Thank you all for the wonderful replies! The most important thing I got out of all the posts was to check the weather a few days before I leave. I'll probably start putting things aside, and then add or substract from the stuff according to the weather at the last minute. I have a tendency towards being cold (I'm originally from FL and have lived in sunny So. Ca. for many, many years now), so I plan to add that fact to the equation when I pack. The info about wearing something warm for a coverup for after swimming was a great hint.

Thanks again everyone! I'm so psyched for this trip!
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  #12  
Old June 22nd, 2008, 11:53 PM
iggbees iggbees is offline
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we traveled on a cruise to alaska in early august and most of the days were pretty hot. i wasn't expecting it at all! the only day that wasn't raining or overcast was our first sea day, where we got to hang out at the pool on the back of the ship, the rest of the days were spent at the indoor pool. the one place that i did use my fleece, scarf and gloves, was when we passed by the glaciers. we had to be up at 5 am and boy was it cold! i would definitely recommend a good raincoat and even bring an umbrella. if you like hiking, a pair of trail shoes or good sneakers would be a must. you're going to love the cruise. alaska is gorgeous, i wouldn't hesitate to do it again!
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