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FL gal going to AK...and I don't own any winter items! Eekk!

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My husband and I live in Florida, the sunshine state! Literally have 0 winter clothes. This is such a special trip for us as we are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary AND it's our first trip longer than 48 hours (without kids) since our honeymoon! We are flying to Seattle and doing a round trip Inside Passage Alaska Cruise on the Ruby Princess on May 9th, 2020. We are blessed enough to have booked everything within budget, only to find WE HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR🤣. I don't want to go out and spend hundreds of $$$$ for one week on clothing that'll never be used back home again. I'm totally ok with knock offs and budget items. I realize we are far from cruising time, but I'd love to be able to start buying little by little instead of splurging last minute! Help a gal out! 

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I found that outer clothing could be worn multiple days. Inside the ship, I wore sandals, shorts/jeans, and t shirts. Many people were in capris. I never wore my boots, just a water proof pair of hiking sneakers. Lots of leggings too. 


Look for a couple of long sleeve shirts and buy a couple of sweaters/sweatshirts and a fleece jacket. Go to some of those tourist spots that sell things cheap if you don't feel like you'll use them again. 


I've been to Florida and bought and wore sweatshirts so I know some parts get chilly but I don't know where you live. 

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Will you have a day or two on land before embarking? If so, you might consider hitting a thrift store to get a few things. There's no sense in spending very much if you won't use the clothes again. In fact, you can drop stuff off in a donation bin before going back home.




My best childhood friend who grew up with me in SoCal lived in SW Florida for several years (on a boat, no less). She owned two pairs of socks. She now lives in Idaho and has a very different wardrobe.

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@takemeaway2008 I live near Jacksonville. I'm very hot natured. I truly don't even own a real jacket. I have a few cardigans I throw on when I take my class to recess during the "cooler" weather, but nothing winter apparel. 

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@Davis2010, Alaska is my favorite state to visit (I've been to them all, at least twice - most six or more times). That early in the season, you'll definitely want a couple of pairs of pants or jeans and a sweatshirt or two, perhaps a jacket. You'll be able to get a pretty nice jacket with an Alaska or local city logo at your first stop for a pretty decent price. That may not be a good option for you, since you won't get much use out of it at home. As a Floridian, you probably have a lightweight rain shell or water repellant windbreaker. That would work well as a top layer over other warm layers. 


Our planet is warming, and Alaska is no exception, in fact the effects are really on display there. Be sure you bring some lighter clothes from home.The interior of the ship will be climate controlled, so what you already own will be fine for indoors onboard. 


If you're like my mostly sock-less friend, be sure to buy some new ones at home before you leave. I'd also recommend gloves, especially since you aren't used to the cold. You might consider a scarf or ear muffs, as well as some sort of hat. Of course, a ball cap with an Alaska logo would be a cool souvenir you could still use at home. 


Have a wonderful time! If memory serves, you're from the flattest state. You'll be amazed at the mountains in Alaska! And the wildlife! And the snow. And the glaciers. And... And... And...


I'll be returning to Alaska next June. Your post got me excited all over again.



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The key is to wear layers.   The layer next to your skin is usually a long or short sleeve T.  This layer gets changed every day, so bring several. The next layer is for warmth, so a hoody/fleece/wool sweater.  You only need a couple since no one will notice or care that you re-wear it.  The top layer is a waterproof jacket, preferably hooded. 

If you're concerned about feeling the cold, buy long underwear when it goes on sale in early spring. (Save the receipts so you can return it if you don't wear it.)

I live in rainy Seattle.  I wear jeans or khakis.  And for shoes; a pr of sneakers and a pr of walking shoes. If your shoes get wet, stuff them with papertowels and use a hair dryer to help them along.  A couple of prs SmartWool socks.

A baseball is nice .... the bill shields your eyes from sun and rain.  Gloves for glacier viewing days or small boat tours.

Bring a small daypack to carry extra layers.  If the day starts off cold, you'll have a place to store your jacket if the day heats up. Plus it's convenient for cameras, wallets, hats, gloves, etc


****Look thru the trip reports posted above, paying special attention to the photos and what people are wearing in the background. Usually it's jeans, a rainjacket and a daypack.

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We are Georgia (former Florida) people so we don’t own heavy cold weather attire either. For exploring, I did just fine with jeans, a North Face jacket over sweaters, and sneakers. I brought a hat and gloves which I used maybe once or twice. Onboard, I dressed the same way that I normally dress on other cruises. 


I brought enough undershirts, underwear and socks for the entire cruise, and I wore the outer layer items more than once. It really wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. 


Have an absolutely wonderful time. Alaska is amazing .

Edited by Tapi
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I am from Florida and get hot easily, so I don't wear sweatshirt or long shirt in Alaska.  I wear t shirt and jeans and layer with fleece jacket and rain jacket.  If no rain jacket, then get poncho.  Borrow someone's fleece/light jacket if you don't have one.  If you are going to Thrift stores, I would go before you leave since they are hit and miss.  Or buy cheap one at first port.


It's cooler by the glaciers, so I wear extra pair of socks and have light gloves and hat (do you know any skiers to borrow from)?  If not, cost you $20 for both on Amazon.


I was on the Ruby Princess last year and I borrowed a couple of their blankets by the pool/theater so that I could sit outside most of the time going through Glacier Bay (I had an inside room).  


Have fun.  





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I'm so excited for you to visit Alaska! You will love it. 😍 Having said that, some of us feel the same way you do but in reverse - many of us have agonized over what to wear in Florida or for a Caribbean cruise. Funny story - one year we were cruising out of Fort Lauderdale and I desperately needed a new cover-up... do you think I could find one? We drove our rental car for hours! It seemed so elusive! 😭


As mentioned, layers will be your friend. May is the first month that ships go to Alaska and it will most likely still be cool there (we have cruised there once in May and once in August).  The weather is sometimes unpredictable, so count on cloud/rain but hope for sun. ☀️ I would recommend a light windbreaker as an outer layer, and a toque (wool cap) of some sort. The hat will just keep you snuggly and stave off the wind that you will encounter as you look for wildlife on deck!🐻🦅🐳 So yes, maybe a thrift store or Amazon for that.


Take your binoculars! Have fun.

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The OP has received some excellent advice, but just wanted to chime in about the importance of layers.  In 2015 we did a cruise to Antarctica, and a fellow passenger was from the  DFW area.  She was very well traveled, but hadn't spent much time in cooler climates.  Using the idea of layers she had no problems in Antarctica wearing items from her closet.  She didn't need to buy any special clothing items, but instead thought creatively.

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I took a light-weight windbreaker with me and a sweatshirt this summer for my June cruises. I also had jeans, a knit hat, and gloves. You don't need multiples of any of the top layers since you're going to be wearing them over other items. On my return cruise, it warmed up enough that I could wear shorts in Glacier Bay and didn't need the sweatshirt, gloves, and hat.

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I will ditto the light weight outer thin rain jacket with hood. DW borrowed a nice 3n1 from a friend. She is very cold sensitive. I had from hiking Alaska in 1995, a light weight Gore-Tex rain jacket. You will definitely want something like that. Borrow it if possible. Get it from the thrift store and make sure to treat it with something like Nikwax TX. Direct Spray-On water repellent. One bottle will protect a single jacket. Bit more for shoes. Like everyone mentions - thin layers work best because the weather can change in minutes and open water excursions can be really cold. Especially in early May. Don't forget thin gloves and head cover. Look around for a pullover thin wrap that might also cover your neck.

Edited by masterdrago
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