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What to Wear for Alaska Shore Excursions: Know the Dress Code

An Alaska cruise is like no other. While the wildlife, sights of nature and activities are all breathtaking, it’s important that you know what to expect when you embark on your Alaskan cruise. Cruise vacations are all about dressing for your destination. Here are our top tips for what to wear for Alaska Tours.

Know Before You Go

The Alaska cruise season runs from April to September. Given the months, your sailing options are limited to spring and summer, but don’t let that fool you. Just because it’s summer in Alaska doesn’t mean the weather is sunny and 85 degrees. In the middle of the summer, it’s safe to expect highs in the mid-60s and lower 70s.

You can do anything you’d like in Alaska, from coming face to face with a glacier, seeing bears in their natural habitat, stream fishing for salmon and trout, or eating as much seafood as you’d like.

While the cruise ship pools are often heated, it’s what’s outside of the pools that you have to be prepared for.

Dress Code for Cruise Excursions in Alaska

What to Wear 

Here’s a list of tips for what to wear for Alaska shore excursions that are most popular:

Air excursions. An amazing way to see Alaska and all its beauty is from a seaplane or with an Skagway helicopter tour. Some excursions actually give you any additional gear you need (like if you’re going on a glacier hike, for instance), but others require you to dress warm and know what to expect beforehand.

Anytime you’re in higher altitude, the air temperature drops. Air cools approximately 4 degrees F every 1,000 feet in elevation.  It would be a safe bet to dress in layers, gloves and a scarf if you’re doing a glacier or flightseeing tour.

Land excursions. Though not as cold as an air excursion, the wind can still get you on land tours, especially if you’re on an open-air trolley or zip lining in the rain forest. You’ll want to dress warm and wear a windbreaker.

Sea excursions. These excursions are quite possibly the chilliest excursions of them all. The winds and splash whipping around the bends of the bay and onto the boat can be brutal.

Most bay and sea excursions, like Juneau whale watching and the “Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour,” have an inside and outside cabin for your comfort.

Juneau Whale Watching Tour in Alaska

Around the pier. The cruise pier is pretty cozy with all the shops, restaurants and fish markets that shield from the wind. If you’re planning on just hanging out at the pier to do some shopping or dining, you’ll typically be fine with just a sweatshirt.

Alaska Dress Code Tips

  • Consult your onboard itinerary for the weather forecast in your port of call and pull out your clothes the night before. Most  Alaska shore excursions require an early start. You’ll want plenty of time to make sure you have all your cold weather gear.
  • Check the notes in your excursion. Some companies provide gloves and ski bibs to guests.
  • Clothes are cheaper back home. While the port shops are more than happy to sell you a sweatshirt or a logo jacket, expect to pay double what you would back home.


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