You’re going on a Disney Cruise to Alaska! But what should you pack? Everywhere you look, you’ll see things like “pack layers”. Ok, but what does that mean? We learned a lot during the process of researching for our trip. Read on for what to pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska! We’ve included a printable packing list at the end as well.
Disney Cruise to Alaska Packing List
A Disney Cruise to Alaska has a lot of moving parts. It can be kind of stressful to plan a Disney Cruise to Alaska, but it doesn’t have to be! Packing is one of the biggest challenges for Alaska, because, well you’ve probably never been there so you don’t know what to expect. Unlike a cruise to the Caribbean where you generally just need some hot weather clothing and a few extras, Alaska is a bit more complicated. With always changing weather, and a completely different climate than some are used to, packing can become quite the task.
If you don’t already have cold-weather items, like coats and layering pieces, consider shopping for these things during after-winter sales. We got a ton of good deals from Columbia due to their factory sales in early spring.
What to Pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska: Clothing
What kind of clothing should you pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska? Lots of different types! Here’s everything we packed after lots of research! And after taking our cruise, we can truthfully say we used all of these things during our trip.
Hiking or Waterproof Shoes
Waterproof hiking boots or waterproof tennis shoes will be your best friend. Bring one or bring both! Your feet will thank you. I used these hiking boots and these waterproof New Balance shoes and my feet never once got wet. You can decide if you need to bring both. But I did use both during my trip for different situations. The tennis shoes were perfect for rainy walks on the upper decks and strolling through town, while the hiking boots were perfect for, well, our actual hikes that we went on during port days.
Layers, layers, layers! Ok, but what exactly does that mean? While there is a whole science to layering clothes, if you’re not going on a multi-day journey in the wilderness, it’s actually pretty simple. You’ll want a moisture-wicking base layer (we share more about this later), a mid-layer that’s breathable, and an outer layer for wind and rain protection. Your breathable layer on a Disney Cruise (again, it’s a cruise, not a journey to the middle of nowhere) can be something as simple as a cotton t-shirt or sweatshirt. You just want it to be a fabric that’s breathable so that you don’t overheat.
One of the main clothing items we used on this trip were t-shirts layered over something warmer, or under something warmer. It may be too cold to wear a plain t-shirt on your cruise, but for us, there were a few times that a t-shirt was great during the day. And then we needed another layer later in the day to stay warm. Having layers that were easy to take off and put on quickly was perfect for days on the ship. We were big fans of these fleece jackets from Columbia and these plain hoodies from Gildan even did the trick.
Pack a Vest for a Disney Cruise to Alaska
Getting back to what layering pieces you should be bringing on your Disney Cruise, you’ll likely want a vest of some sort. I will say of all of the pieces of clothing I saw people wearing on the ship, a vest was probably the most common. Even if you generally tend to run a little warmer and don’t need a jacket 100% of the time, a vest can help give you just a little more warmth to stay comfortable.
We recommend a fleece vest and a waterproof or puffy vest. But even if you can only bring just one, that should do the trick. These Columbia Fleece vests were perfect for layering over button ups and long-sleeved tees for dinner or activities throughout the day. And this puffer vest from Amazon actually ended up being a great layering piece for all the windy mornings.
Fleece Jackets or hoodies
A fleece jacket was one of the most used items on our cruise! We were actually quite surprised just how much we used them. As mentioned before, this was one of our outer layers while onboard. Even though the ship itself is heated, it was generally not warm enough for most people to walk around the ship in just a t-shirt. And it can get quite cold in areas when people are going in and out of doors on deck 4. And especially cold on deck 9 in the mornings, when it was windier than the rest of the day. A fleece jacket was the perfect layering piece for when it was chilly, but not cold enough for a coat or jacket. And they’re perfect for wearing on excursions because it can be pretty cold when you disembark the ship in the morning, but can warm up a bit later in the day. Having something that’s easy to take on and off quickly is super helpful.
Hiking or Waterproof Pants
Even if you’re not planning on hiking, having at least one pair of waterproof hiking pants is a good idea. It rains a lot in Alaska, and even if you’re just planning to hang out on the deck, you might appreciate having them. We found a great deal on some hiking pants from Old Navy. And several others on Amazon as well. Hiking pants can get quite pricey, so we highly recommend shopping around.
Moisture Wicking Layers
Whether you’re planning to be hiking, or just spending time outdoors in Alaska, moisture wicking layers will be your best friend. No one wants to be drenched all day, so planning on bringing a few moisture wicking pieces will help with that tremendously. We used ours on several occasions and were glad to have them. If you’re not super familiar with layering clothing, this is basically going to be the first layer you put on. It’ll help pull moisture away from your body and help keep you warm. Merino Wool tends to be the gold standard when it comes to base layers, but they can also be expensive. Especially if you come from a warm weather climate where you may not need to use them again.
There are also synthetic fiber moisture wicking layers, which can also be pretty expensive, but we found some on Amazon that were really affordable and worked quite well.
Pack an Eye Mask for a Disney Cruise to Alaska
Do you know how much light there is in Alaska in the summer? A lot. The months surrounding the summer solstice, May-July, it’s not uncommon for there to be around 22 hours of daylight. And even when it’s “dark”, as one of our Alaskan tour guides who grew up in Ketchikan and has never left Alaska explained, the sun doesn’t actually drop low enough to “set”. So, it’s not generally as dark as you’re likely to be used to. In her words, “all Alaskans have black out curtains”.
Since you can’t really bring black out curtains on your Disney Cruise, we highly recommend an eye mask. Even with just our Oceanview port hole, the light was often visible very early and very late.
Of all of the items you’ll need, this is probably one of the most important things to pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska. In case you’re not aware, it rains in Alaska. A lot. Some of the ports we stopped in, we were told it rains more than 300 days a year. A waterproof jacket is a must. Depending on when you’re going, you can probably get away with varying levels of thickness. For our early June trip, this Helly Hansen sailing jacket was perfect. I recommend sizing up one if you want to be able to layer underneath. Which you likely will. If you’re on a bit of a budget and don’t already have a waterproof jacket, this waterproof jacket from REI is also a great choice.
If you’re planning to sail during a warmer month like July or early August, these waterproof jackets in our shop are pretty great for being a lightweight layer.
Waterproof Backpack or Bag
A day bag is generally essential when exploring ports of call during your Disney Cruise. You’ll need to carry things like your camera, medications, money and occasionally, your passport. Again, it rains a lot in Alaska. You’ll want to be prepared with a bag that can keep your things safe and dry during your journey. A waterproof, or at least water resistant, bag is necessary if you plan on leaving the ship. And if you can’t seem to find something that fits your needs, at least bring some plastic bags to store smaller items in your day bag to keep important things dry.
Hats, Gloves and Scarves
Although it may seem a little much to bring full on winter gear, if you plan to be outside even just on the decks, you’ll likely want to bring hats, gloves and scarves. Glacier Day especially can get really cold and windy, and we all wore our hats and gloves for most of the day. They also sell these items in the gift shops onboard, so if you forget them, that’s also an option. But they’re not cheap, so try to plan ahead and bring these things along with you.
Dress clothes for dinner or brunch
If you’re sailing on a 7-night Disney Cruise, there will be a formal and semi-formal night. These are optional. But in our experience, cruisers tend to go all out! We are talking about poofy dresses, elaborate sequined gowns, tuxedos and more. That wasn’t quite the case on our Disney Cruise to Alaska. And likely for good reason. You’ll have so many other large items like jackets, hiking boots and sweaters, that you might just not have enough room in your suitcase to bring a ballgown.
In addition to that, due to longer port days and other things happening around the ship, it might be difficult to find the time. Don’t get me wrong, we did see a handful of people dressed up for formal night, and you are definitely welcome to, but much less so than what we’ve seen in the Caribbean, where most of your packed items are tank tops and shorts.
Whether or not you choose to participate in formal or semiformal night, if you’ve booked a reservation to Palo for brunch or dinner, you’ll need to be mindful of their dress code. You can find their dress code here. And we were easily able to pack sundresses and cardigans for our palo brunch.
A few casual outfits
This kind of goes without saying, but on your Disney Cruise to Alaska, be sure to bring a few casual outfits for your sea days, or again for dinners. These kinds of outfits should always be on your cruise packing list, but we like to mention it just so you don’t forget! Especially if you’re planning a lot of hiking or outdoor activities during this cruise, you’ll likely want to change once you’ve returned to the ship. It’s also a good idea to have these types of outfits to change into in case you happen to get caught in a rainstorm while on deck, which is always a possibility when cruising to Alaska.
What to Pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska: Non-Clothing
No matter what you have planned for your Alaskan cruise, there will be so many things to do both on board and on shore that will require accessories to make the most of your trip. Check out our Disney Alaska Cruise Itinerary for everything you may be doing each day on your trip. This should help you get a feel for what you need to pack. Here are a few things to consider packing for your Disney Cruise to Alaska that will make your trip more enjoyable!
If you’re hoping to see some wildlife on your Disney Cruise to Alaska, we recommend packing binoculars. You can purchase them in the gift shop onboard, but they’re pretty pricey, with the cheapest pair being around $140. We loved having ours for Glacier Day especially. But honestly, we used them quite a bit even on many other days! We were able to clearly see Orcas, Humpback Whales and Sea Lions. I used these binoculars, which have an awesome range, and well, are just cute.
And we grabbed these binoculars for my daughter to try out since they are more budget friendly and were super impressed with them!
Bug Spray or Bug Wipes
We were lucky enough to avoid mosquito season, but if you’re traveling during mid-late June-mid-late August, you’ll want to consider packing bug spray or bug spray wipes to keep the mosquitos from devouring you. These bug spray wipes are super handy for traveling, and won’t take up too much space in your luggage.
Wildlife or Zoom Lens for your Camera
Are you bringing an expensive camera with you to Alaska. You should! Alaska is a photographer’s paradise! There’s almost too much to see. So if you’re planning on lugging your camera around with you onboard or at ports, why not bring the right lens? Trust me, I get it. Lenses are expensive! The best lenses usually cost more than the camera itself. If you’re not planning on investing in a wildlife or zoom lens, consider renting one instead. I always rent lenses from Borrow Lenses. The price is right and the process is super easy. For our trip I borrowed this Canon lens for my Canon RP and it was a great addition the lenses I already have for capturing things like whales and other wildlife.
Think you’re going to a cold place so you won’t need sunscreen? Think again. While Alaska might not be the sunshine capital of the world, it’s still sunny and you’re still surrounded by water. Which will only magnify that sunshine. Day 2 of our Disney Alaska itinerary was a sea day and by the end of that day, we saw quite a few children, and adults, running around with sunburns. Bring your sunscreen.
Something for motion sickness
No matter how many times I talk to friends or clients about seasickness, I always get the same answer. “We’ll be fine, I don’t get seasick”. Ok, well there’s a first time for everything. Regardless of your past history with seasickness or motion sickness, you should always be prepared. And I will say, on this Disney Cruise to Alaska, I got seasick for the first time in 7 cruises. Everything I had read stated that seasickness is very uncommon for cruises to Alaska because you’re sailing through the inside passage. On our Disney Cruise to Alaska however, we only sailed through the passage on the way back. On the way up to the glacier, Day 2 which was our sea day, we sailed outside of it and wow, it was rough. We’ve sailed out of New York in the Northern Atlantic, which can be known for rough seas. And we were on the Disney Wish when it was stuck at sea during a hurricane. And this was by the far, the roughest waters I’ve personally experienced.
Not only did I have terrible seasickness (which I never get), but so did many others on the ship. The servers and the cast members in the gift shop all said day 2 is particularly difficult for a lot of people. So heed our warning and bring something for seasickness. Just in case.
We use Sea Bands, which have always been a huge help. They didn’t work this time, because well, I wasn’t wearing mine. Go figure. Motion sickness patches are also popular. And if you want to go the medication route, Dramamine generally works well to fight motion sickness. Now, Dramamine and Sea Bands are both sold onboard. But they’re a bit pricey than if you would bring them yourself. And if you’re able to plan ahead, be sure to eat your green apples early in the day. They naturally help with seasickness, as can things like ginger candies. Whatever you do, don’t make my mistake and take care of it before it becomes a problem.
Yep, you read that right. Cold, hard cash. You generally don’t need cash on a Disney Cruise, but if you’re taking any kind of tour when you reach port, you’ll likely want some cash to tips your guides. We did see a few ATMs at port stops, but it will likely be most convenient to just have it with you so you don’t have to hunt those down when you could be enjoying the port.
Kind of an honorable mention here, since you probably know that you’re going to need your passport for your trip. But don’t forget it! Because you will need it to get on and off the ship and may even need it for some excursions.
What to Pack For Your Disney Cruise to Alaska : Helpful Extras
Here are a few things that can help make your packing for a Disney Cruise to Alaska a breeze!
The Packing Cube hype is very real! Prior to this trip, I have been a big fan of packing cubes for keeping my items organized. A cube for things you’ll need immediately off the plane, one for day outfits, one for pajamas and loungewear, one for undergarments. It really helps keeps things in order when you’re traveling.
But when you’re traveling with so many fluffy things, like jackets, vests, fleece jackets and more, the compression packing cubes become the real stars. We used these ones from Amazon and they were incredible! It was actually hard to stay under Alaska Airlines 50 lb. limit because our suitcases were just able to hold so much more than usual. Highly recommend packing cubes for any kind of cruise, but especially the compression cubes for cruises to Alaska.
Doing laundry on vacation tends to be somewhat controversial though I’m not entirely sure why. But I love it! Bringing home clean clothes, rather than shoving all my dirty stuff in my suitcase before going home, just makes me happy and that’s that. And it usually means you can pack a little less too! So if you want to do laundry onboard the Disney Wonder during your cruise to Alaska, you’re in luck. There are several small laundry rooms onboard. Just be sure to bring a small laundry bag of some sort to haul your stuff back and forth and Disney Cruise Line staterooms don’t always have laundry bags in the rooms. And when they do, they’re often too small.
Magnets for your Door
As always, bring some magnets for your door! These will not only add a little fun to your door for your cruise but can help you find your room in the never-ending sea of doors that are the hallways of the Disney Wonder.
You will likely be taking a lot of pictures and videos on this trip! There is just so much to see and do on an Alaskan Cruise. You likely won’t be staying in your room all day, so you’ll need to make sure you have a way to keep those devices charged. Bring extra batteries for your camera. And don’t forget a portable charger to keep your devices charged during the day.
Extra memory cards
You don’t want to be in the middle of an incredible whale watching tour and find out that you’re out of memory. These memories will be once in a lifetime and to make sure you capture them all, be sure to bring some extra memory cards!
How do I pack for a Disney Cruise to Alaska?
Packing for a Disney Cruise to Alaska doesn’t have to be difficult. Print out our packing list and add things you may need as you start to gather your items! I am not usually someone who packs way ahead of a trip, but with this trip, I did start organizing things I would need for this trip about 2 months ahead of time so that I had time to order things if needed.
Can you wear jeans on a Disney Cruise to Alaska?
Yes, you sure can! Just be sure to bring some pants that aren’t jeans on your Disney Cruise in case there are excessively rainy days. Jeans won’t be the most comfortable bottoms to be wearing in a downpour, or even a steady rainy day.
Is it cold on a Disney Cruise to Alaska?
The upper decks can definitely get cold on your Disney Cruise to Alaska, which is why we recommend packing layers! It gets particularly cold and windy in the morning and at night. On the lower decks, however, they do keep the ship fairly comfortable. There will be cold gusts of wind as people go in and out of deck 4, but for the most part, the ship stays fairly comfortable.
Can you bring your own water bottle on a Disney Cruise?
Yes, you absolutely can. And we recommend that you do. It will make your life a lot easier onboard. We actually sell a stainless steel tumbler in our shop that we made specifically for this purpose!
Want to grab everything on our list? Check out the Disney Alaska Cruise Packing List in our Amazon shop for everything you may need. We hope this post has helped you with packing for your Disney Cruise to Alaska! Grab our Printable Disney Cruise Alaska Packing List
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .