What To Pack For Alaska with Kids
Looking for an Alaskan Cruise Packing List for Kids?
Taking an Alaskan cruise with your family is an exciting adventure! But when it comes to what to pack for your kids, that can be tricky.
Alaskan cruises include everything from nice dinners to swimming on the ship and chilly adventures on shore.
It’s important to make sure you bring everything your kids are going to need on their Alaskan cruise to ensure a happy trip for everyone. But what exactly do you need to pack for kids going on an Alaskan Cruise?
This list of what to pack for your kids is all you need before you set sail!
Alaskan Cruise Packing List for Kids
From toddlers to teens, this list covers everything your kid will need no matter what age group they are in.
The weather in Alaska can be very unpredictable. I’ve sailed during different months and each time, I’ve had a different experience. One trip was high 80s and sunny and the other was cold and rainy.
When sailing to Alaska, it’s best to be prepared as much as you can but without overpacking either.
Alaska Cruise Kids Packing List: Outerwear
Let’s tackle the most important one first… their outerwear. Nothing is worse than having cold, wet kids on your vacation. So make sure they have what they need… rain or shine!
1 – Warm Jacket
Even if the ports are calling for warm weather, the ship will often be VERY cold when out at sea. And yes, you might typically be indoors on the ship, but several parts of the ship are outdoors too. Especially the fun areas for kids, or the great glacier viewing areas.
I recommend a good down jacket for kids sailing to Alaska. Down jackets are super warm and lightweight and squish down really well to make for easy packing.
Bring some compression packing cubes to make packing even easier!
2 – Rain Jacket
Even in the summer months, Alaska is known for having rainy days. Did you know that most of the areas in Alaska you are sailing to are actually a rainforest? So yeah… better bring some foldable raincoats for your kids to keep them dry and happy.
Rain jackets are super easy to pack and fold up really nicely. We like to bring slightly loose rain jackets so they are easy to wear on their own or over a comfy warm sweatshirt.
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Oftentimes, a good windproof rain jacket over a sweatshirt is just as effective as a good winter coat.
3 – Sweatshirts
For an Alaskan cruise with kids, I highly recommend bringing at least 2 or 3 sweatshirts. Something easy for your kids to throw over a tee shirt for when they get cold.
Dressing in layers is key when sailing to Alaska, both on and off the ship.
Tip: Ketchikan is typically your first stop on an Alaskan cruise and they have TONS of great shopping right in town as soon as you get off the ship.
So if you plan on shopping for souvenirs, maybe pack one sweatshirt and buy another one in Ketchikan for your kids to wear for the rest of the trip.
But if you plan to do excursions and won’t have time for souvenir shopping, better make sure you have enough sweatshirts. They will most likely be worn almost every day on your 7-day cruise.
What To Pack For Kids In Alaska: Outerwear Accessories
This is largely based on what you plan on doing during your cruise, but I would recommend bringing a few things no matter what your plans are or what the weather looks like.
We planned an easy day in Sitka visiting the Bear Sanctuary and Raptor Center. Nothing too strenuous! But the weather grew cold quickly and started to drizzle. Thank goodness we packed hats and gloves or we would have all frozen.
For each kid, I would bring one knit hat and one pair of gloves at the bare minimum. A scarf would be helpful too if you plan on an excursion that involves snow like the Helicopter Dog Sledding Tour.
Alaska Cruise Kids Packing List: What to Wear on the Ship
When on the ship, your kids will mostly need clothes they can run around and play in, as well as some swimwear. Swimwear in Alaska? Well yes! Some cruises like Royal Caribean have indoor pools. But all cruise ships have hot tubs and kids love hot tubs!
1 – Swimwear
From indoor pools to hot tubs, trust me when I tell you… Your kids are going to be swimming at some point on your cruise. Most likely every day at sea. Not to mention, your first day on board sailing out of Seattle will most likely be very warm weather and you can all enjoy a good pool day before heading into really cold waters.
So make sure you pack a good bathing suit. But you will also want to make sure your kids have a few other swimming essentials.
Swim cover-ups. Anytime you go indoors, you and your kids will be required to have cover-ups on. Especially in any eating area. Any dining area will require cover-ups to enter!
Walking through the ship can be chilly as well, so look for a cover-up that is also warm.
2 – Non-slip sandals or Flip flops
The decks on a cruise ship are always wet… always! From sprinkling rain to kids running around with wet clothes to the works just washing down the decks… I rarely ever see a dry cruise ship deck.
Having some nonslip sandals will let your kid go from area to area without falling down and hurting themselves. For you too!
3 – Play Clothes
The interior of the ship has plenty to keep kids entertained! From ages 2 through 18, there are kids clubs they can join with other kids their age.
There are also arcades and movies, and most ships have some kind of indoor area that includes things like bumper cars, pool tables, ping pong, etc.
Make sure you bring some basic play clothes (tee shirts and pants with gym shoes) that your child can easily play in. The interior of the ship is always kept nice and warm so just regular play clothes are fine.
So probably 2-3 tee shirts, 2 long-sleeved shirts, and a couple of sweatshirts. Bring one pair of sweatpants or leggings and 1-2 pairs of jeans.
4- Dinner Clothing
Okay, so this is the one I get asked about the absolute most. What do kids need to wear to dinner on a cruise ship? And to be honest, the answer is fairly simple. Let’s break it down by the type of dinner you plan on going to…
The Buffett – You can pretty much wear anything here. The buffet offers a lot of good food and typically stuff kids really like, such as pasta and chicken nuggets.
If dining at the buffet, kids just really need to be dressed. Seriously. They could wear pajamas or sweatpants. As long as they are covered.
The Dining Rooms – Also known as MDR (Main Dining Room). When dining in the MDR with kids, they should be dressed comfy casually as I like to call it.
They can wear pants or shorts, just no cut-offs. And they will need sandals or close-toed shoes (no flip-flops). A tee shirt is fine, just no tank tops.
So basically, dress them as if you were dining at an Olive Garden.
Formal Night – Do kids need to wear dinner jackets? No. Shirt and ties? No. You will want to make sure kids look nice, but they do not have to be too formal.
No shorts or sandals on formal nights. They will definitely need long pants and shoes. But a nice shirt or short-sleeved button-down is just fine. Girls can wear casual dresses or pants as well.
For a formal night, you would want to dress them as if you were dining at a nice steak restaurant.
Alaska Cruise Kids Packing List: Excursions!
Your Alaskan Cruise Packing List for Kids will also need to include some outfits specifically for excursions. But this is largely dependent on WHAT kind of excursions you do.
This is where layers are going to be your best friend. Start with a tee shirt, add a sweatshirt, and bring a rain jacket as well.
Whether you have girls or boys, a good pair of hiking pants is always a plus. Alaska is very mud and muddy so a pair of pants that are quick drying will make your kids happy.
When I pack for kids on an Alaskan cruise, I like to make a list of each day and activity we are doing and match an outfit according to that. If you’re just planning to watch the Lumberjack show and do some shopping, then a casual outfit is fine.
But if you are going ziplining fishing, or dog sledding… You might want them to have something warmer and more active to wear.
What Footwear to Bring For Kids on an Alaskan Cruise
Trying not to overpack for an Alaskan cruise is important, so don’t go crazy about what footwear to bring for your kids. Just a few key items are all you need.
Flip-Flops/Slides – Something they can put on really easily to go get breakfast at the buffet or wear to the pool.
Gym shoes – One pair of good gym shoes are recommended. Something comfortable that won’t hurt their feet. They might need this for activities on the ship that require close-toed shoes. And if you are not doing any crazy excursions, like just visiting the lumberjack show or walking around the towns.
Boots – Definitely make sure you have one good pair of boots. Something they can walk around comfortably, splash in water and mud, and potentially wear in snow on a glacier.
Formal Shoes – Don’t forget to pack one pair of shoes your kids can wear to nice dinners. They don’t need to be too formal. No need to force your kid to stuff their toes into uncomfortable shoes. Maybe one pair of loafers or solid-colored shoes. And for girls, a neutral pair of slides that can be worn with any outfit.
Alaskan Cruise Packing List for Kids
Putting together your own packing list for an Alaskan cruise can seem like a monumental task. But trying to pack for your kids is a whole other ballgame!
Make it easy on yourself and them with some basic outfits and don’t forget to layer layer layer! Layering helps when the temps shift from cold to hot. But having different layers can mean changing up the outfits day by day without overpacking.