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Packing for a 16-day Alaska cruise

Finally, the day arrived. It was packing day for my roommate Amanda’s 16-day excursion to Vancouver and Alaska.

We’ve been talking about this Alaska cruise — and packing for this cruise — since she returned from last summer’s exploration of Ireland and Scotland.

We had detailed information regarding her travel itinerary, including the day’s activities and destination. But, with 16 travel days, we had a lot of outfits to plan for a variety of scenarios — biking, city walking tours, traveling by bus or train, whale watching and formal dinners — and temperatures from chilly to summertime highs in the 80s.

All this packing called for some mimosas.

Mimosas really help with the packing process. It's also a fabulous tool for bribing your roommate into helping you style 16+ outfits.

Mimosas really help with the packing process. It’s also a fabulous tool for bribing your roommate into helping you style 16+ outfits.

And a lot of organization.

Research is key to packing success

To pack efficiently, it is important to know your travel schedule, your daily activities and the temperatures throughout the day. Most cruises and tours provide detailed itineraries, and you can make educated estimates regarding the weather by doing some research. The important thing to remember is to research each location for land and sea and for morning, afternoon/evening and night. Royal Caribbean recommends this packing list.

Check packing restrictions

Cruise lines and guided tours often limit the number of bags per traveler. Also, are you flying to the port city? Then, you’ll need to check with your airline for its baggage requirements, too.

Plan outfits from head to toe

As outfits are planned, neatly fold them into piles to place into your luggage. Then every day is in order and ready to wear!

As outfits are planned, neatly fold them into piles to place into your luggage. Then, every day is in order and ready to wear!

When you write out a packing list, does it list “four pairs of shorts, four T-shirts, one sweatshirt, tennis shoes”? That is a great start to know how many items you’ll need to last the duration of your trip. But, don’t stop there. Plan actual outfits to ensure each piece has more than one function when you are going on a week or longer trip with limited packing space. Also, make sure your outfits match the shoes, purse and accessories you plan to take.

Rewear bulky items

One of the easiest ways to leave room for souvenirs is to not pack a lot of bulky items. For Amanda’s trip, we planned each formal and smart-casual dinner outfit around one versatile pair of black high heels. Sweatshirts and sweaters were selected in solid colors that could match several outfits for an extra layer of warmth. And, we packed her fleece jacket — great for layering, but also lightweight and warm on its own.

Don’t forget …

It is so easy to leave behind items you can’t pack until the day of your trip — medication, toiletries, make up, cell phone charger, the book you read before bed. Make a checklist of all of these items a few days before your trip so you can add to it as you remember things. Then, check off the items once they are packed.

Outfits will take the longest to plan, but there are other items to remember to pack. Plan to swim on the cruise? Grab a swimsuit or two, flip flops and a cover up. It could rain, pack an umbrella and/or poncho. Alaska will have beautiful scenery to photograph. Take your camera, extra batteries and/or the battery charger, and an extra memory card. There will also be a lot of travel time by plane, bus and train on many Alaska land and sea tours, so bring a good book, playing cards, magazines and travel games to pass the time. And, if your cruise departs from Canada, don’t forget your passport!

Want to read more of my travel tips? Visit my new travel and lifestyle blog, The Epicurean Traveler!

Wish you were here,


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