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Clothes for Alaska


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We will be going to Alaska next June. I keep reading we need to wear layers and waterproof clothes. Would a short sleeve shirt under a sweater or sweatshirt, with a waterproof jacket, be sufficient?  I have also heard we will need waterproof clothing. What type of pants will we need?  I can’t imagine wearing wet jeans!  
 

What about dinner on the ships?  (Celebrity)  I’ve always done Caribbean/Bermuda cruises. What type of clothing will we need?  I’m assuming the summer dresses I’ve worn in the past won’t work. Will the ships be a bit chilly?  Should I pack slacks/skirts and sweaters or will women still be wearing dresses?  
 

 

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Layers of various types are critical, as you have discovered. We did a 14 day Alaska cruise in June 2019, and wore every combination we brought, including shorts, and a medium jacket with heavy shirt and light shirt underneath. We wore shorts in Anchorage in high 70s weather, and about 4 layers when at Hubbard Glacier, when the temps were in the 30s. The medium jacket was a planned purchase on the cruise, not an emergency purchase. You should find some good bargains on jackets in a normal year, in the ports.

 

We work standard dinner clothes, minus the super lightweight summer shirts.

 

We didn't take waterproof pants. It was not a problem.

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We aren't setting sail to Alaska until next May but we have cruised Norway and I'm planning the same type of clothes. 

 

If you have a rain jacket you should be fine with a sweatshirt or even a t-shirt.  Even really nice rain jackets seem to get so warm from your body heat. 

 

As for pants, we don't do actual rainproof pants as they are a pain to put on over your regular pants.  If you have a REI close to you check them out.  Alot of hiking pants (which some actually look like dress pants) are water repellent so it won't protect you in a downpour but a light rain, the rain will bead up on your pants and not penetrate.  

 

For dresses you could wear heavier tights or legging under it and a cardigan.  That's what I'm planning on doing. 

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6 hours ago, NCteacherlovescruising said:

We will be going to Alaska next June. I keep reading we need to wear layers and waterproof clothes. Would a short sleeve shirt under a sweater or sweatshirt, with a waterproof jacket, be sufficient?  I have also heard we will need waterproof clothing. What type of pants will we need?  I can’t imagine wearing wet jeans!  
 

What about dinner on the ships?  (Celebrity)  I’ve always done Caribbean/Bermuda cruises. What type of clothing will we need?  I’m assuming the summer dresses I’ve worn in the past won’t work. Will the ships be a bit chilly?  Should I pack slacks/skirts and sweaters or will women still be wearing dresses?  
 

 

 Our last cruise to Alaska in June, the temperatures were mostly in the 80's from Juneau up to Whittier/Seward. Personally, I wear shorts & t-shirts by day and long trousers for dinner. Also take a rain jacket, which is essential for PNW.

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If you read back a few pages, there have been lots of threads (pun not intended) about this. In summary: it can be cold or hot, wet or dry, and will probably be all of them, possibly in the same day.

 

It's colder on water than on land, and even more so on a moving boat. Keep this in mind especially for excursions by boat, but also on deck when the ship is moving. A day pack or shoulder bag with a rain jacket and an additional layer to add under if if you feel really cold, would be prudent.

 

What you were indoors on the ship is more a matter of fashion and personal comfort, to the extent that they can be reconciled. If you tend to be cold in restaurants or theaters, you probably will be aboard ship, no matter what part of the world the ship is in.

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13 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

Layers of various types are critical, as you have discovered. We did a 14 day Alaska cruise in June 2019, and wore every combination we brought, including shorts, and a medium jacket with heavy shirt and light shirt underneath. We wore shorts in Anchorage in high 70s weather, and about 4 layers when at Hubbard Glacier, when the temps were in the 30s. The medium jacket was a planned purchase on the cruise, not an emergency purchase. You should find some good bargains on jackets in a normal year, in the ports.

 

We work standard dinner clothes, minus the super lightweight summer shirts.

 

We didn't take waterproof pants. It was not a problem.


Thanks. I hadn’t even considered brining shorts. 

 

12 hours ago, nicoleinwi said:

We aren't setting sail to Alaska until next May but we have cruised Norway and I'm planning the same type of clothes. 

 

If you have a rain jacket you should be fine with a sweatshirt or even a t-shirt.  Even really nice rain jackets seem to get so warm from your body heat. 

 

As for pants, we don't do actual rainproof pants as they are a pain to put on over your regular pants.  If you have a REI close to you check them out.  Alot of hiking pants (which some actually look like dress pants) are water repellent so it won't protect you in a downpour but a light rain, the rain will bead up on your pants and not penetrate.  

 

For dresses you could wear heavier tights or legging under it and a cardigan.  That's what I'm planning on doing. 


We do have REI near us and had planned to check them out for shoes for the trip so we can look for hiking pants while there as well. 
 

9 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 Our last cruise to Alaska in June, the temperatures were mostly in the 80's from Juneau up to Whittier/Seward. Personally, I wear shorts & t-shirts by day and long trousers for dinner. Also take a rain jacket, which is essential for PNW.

 

I didn’t realize it got that warm there. I need to add some of ports to my weather app since we’ll be there this time next year. 

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2 minutes ago, kochleffel said:

If you read back a few pages, there have been lots of threads (pun not intended) about this. In summary: it can be cold or hot, wet or dry, and will probably be all of them, possibly in the same day.

 

It's colder on water than on land, and even more so on a moving boat. Keep this in mind especially for excursions by boat, but also on deck when the ship is moving. A day pack or shoulder bag with a rain jacket and an additional layer to add under if if you feel really cold, would be prudent.

 

What you were indoors on the ship is more a matter of fashion and personal comfort, to the extent that they can be reconciled. If you tend to be cold in restaurants or theaters, you probably will be aboard ship, no matter what part of the world the ship is in.


We were planning on purchasing a waterproof or at least water resistant backpack to take on excursions. 

As far as the ship temps go, I’m normally quite comfortable in my summer attire. I was curious if they tend to keep it cooler indoors when the weather outside is cooler so you wouldn’t constantly need to be putting on/taking off layers. 

 

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6 hours ago, NCteacherlovescruising said:

I hadn’t even considered brining shorts. 

 

I wouldn't take any more than two pairs.  I usually get by with just a single pair of shorts.

 

Others have provided good information for you.  I dress for dinner on an Alaskan cruise as I do for dinner on a cruise to any other part of the world.  

 

I have never needed waterproof pants.  And, take it easy on the number/types of shoes you take.  A good pair of water resistant walking shoes and a pair of dress shoes (along with appropriate footwear for a visit to the pool/spa) is really all you need.  

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I wouldn't take any more than two pairs.  I usually get by with just a single pair of shorts.

 

Others have provided good information for you.  I dress for dinner on an Alaskan cruise as I do for dinner on a cruise to any other part of the world.  

 

I have never needed waterproof pants.  And, take it easy on the number/types of shoes you take.  A good pair of water resistant walking shoes and a pair of dress shoes (along with appropriate footwear for a visit to the pool/spa) is really all you need.  

I also take a small suitcase full of shoes on a cruise. 😳

Edited by NCteacherlovescruising
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14 minutes ago, NCteacherlovescruising said:

I also take a small suitcase full of shoes on a cruise. 😳

 

When I sailed on my first cruise, I had many shoes with me.  Along with too much clothes.  5 pieces of luggage for an 11 day Caribbean Cruise.  My traveling companion had 4 pieces of luggage.  We drove to New York (from where we sailed on Rotterdam V).  My Corvair's trunk was full; my fold down back seat was full.  I remember what his landlady saying when she saw what our load was:  "Are you guys planning on outfitting Patton's Third Army?"  

 

Richard and I learned our lesson!!

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54 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

When I sailed on my first cruise, I had many shoes with me.  Along with too much clothes.  5 pieces of luggage for an 11 day Caribbean Cruise.  My traveling companion had 4 pieces of luggage.  We drove to New York (from where we sailed on Rotterdam V).  My Corvair's trunk was full; my fold down back seat was full.  I remember what his landlady saying when she saw what our load was:  "Are you guys planning on outfitting Patton's Third Army?"  

 

Richard and I learned our lesson!!

The one cruise we tried to take less with us I was disappointed I didn’t have enough choices. 

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I would suggest a fleece vest and maybe a fleece jacket.  If it rains the fleece will help keep you warm, especially if it is layered under your breathable waterproof/ wind resistant raincoat.  if possible avoid jean pants, as if they get wet you will be miserable, and they will take forever to dry.

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From a photography point of view, a mid-thigh weather resistant jacket, sweater, lightweight long underwear for whale watching excursions on fast-moving boats in May, gloves, waterproofed shoes (sprayed sneakers work) and a small backpack with a poncho (needed to keep your camera dry when not taking photos unless you have have a weatherproofed camera) to store your removed clothing layers as temps rise. Of course, if you plan on not going out on fast-moving excursion boats, you will not need most of my recommended items.

 

It is wise to plan on rain in Alaska and then be thrilled when you see sunshine as the Alaskans have been telling me for years.

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I suggest you take a bathing suit.  It doesn't take up much room.  Many people don't think of it.  On many days my DH and I sat in the hot tub and watch the scenery sail by.  No one else used the tub and I heard from several people that they wished they had brought their swim suit.

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On 6/4/2021 at 3:16 PM, NCteacherlovescruising said:

We will be going to Alaska next June. I keep reading we need to wear layers and waterproof clothes. Would a short sleeve shirt under a sweater or sweatshirt, with a waterproof jacket, be sufficient?  I have also heard we will need waterproof clothing. What type of pants will we need?  I can’t imagine wearing wet jeans!  
 

What about dinner on the ships?  (Celebrity)  I’ve always done Caribbean/Bermuda cruises. What type of clothing will we need?  I’m assuming the summer dresses I’ve worn in the past won’t work. Will the ships be a bit chilly?  Should I pack slacks/skirts and sweaters or will women still be wearing dresses?  
 

 

Yes that’s exactly what is meant by layers. 
 

if it’s really rainy I have a pair of rain pants I wear over my jeans. 
 

as far as dinner, Alaskan cruises seem a bit more laid back, I’ve just worn a button down shirt with a collar. Wife wore a skirt and a nice top. 

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