Top 23 Packing Tips for a Colder Cruise

Top 23 Packing Tips for a Colder Cruise - Lucy Williams Global

These top 23 packing tips will show you how to pack for a cruise in a colder climate. Packing for a cold climate is daunting as you are thinking how I am going to fit everything in my suitcase!

Here I am going to go through step by step how to pack for a cruise with a cold climate, such as Alaska, Iceland or the Baltic.

I’m always packing for cruising, so I am going to share with you, all the essential items you should bring and what you can leave at home.

Here is how to do your packing for a colder cruise:

Dawes Glacier Alaska - Lucy Williams Global

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Packing for a Colder Cruise

When you travel it’s best to pack a capsule wardrobe. It makes life easier when you want to enjoy yourself rather than taking hours to decide what to wear.

The key to packing for a cold climate is to layer and invest in some thermal layers and a light pack-away warm jacket. I can’t live without my Uniqlo quilted jacket that packs away into a little bag.

Packing for a Colder Cruise – Here is my step-by-step guide:

Step 1

  • First, get the right luggage – If you start with a heavy case then you are already taking less with you.
  • So, get a lightweight case, with wheels and one that you cannot go over the airline weight restrictions.
  • Always check your airline website to see what their weight restriction is, as they do differ.
  • My suggestion is to buy a lightweight, wheeled, medium-sized case. My favourite brand that I use is Eastpak.
black luggage bag near wall

Step 2

  • The second is to invest in packing cubes, they are a game-changer when it comes to packing.
  • They come in all different sizes so you can organise all your clothes, which makes it a lot easier when you get to your destination.
  • Also, I like to use them to organise my clothes in drawers in the room.
  • It is much easier to pack and keep yourself organised.
  • Then you can pack your underwear together, tops, dresses, jeans, etc. If your luggage is opened it looks neat and tidy.

Step 3

  • Do not bring heavy sweaters with you bring layers.
  • They are much easier to pack and keep you warm.
  • I would layer a vest, tee, sweater and jacket.
  • It is a better way to dress in a cold climate as then you can remove a sweater or tee and it is easier to pack more vests and tees than heavy sweaters.
  • I love the Japanese brand Uniqlo as they make thin thermal tops and Merino wool sweaters and cardigans. Merino wool is great as it is light in weight but very warm.
folded knitted sweaters

Step 4

  • Always check the weather before you go.
  • How cold does it get?
  • Is there any chance of rain?

Step 5

  • You will need outfits for:
  • Joining the ship
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Formal nights
  • Tours/walking around the city/town
  • Leaving the ship.
white cruise ship on blue body of water during daytime

Step 6

  • Pick out the colours you like to wear.
  • Then narrow it down to four/five colours.
  • For example black, navy, cream, red and blue.

Step 7

  • Pick colours that can be mixed and matched to make different outfits.
  • Don’t bring items of clothing that do not go with anything else unless it is a dress for a formal night.

Step 8

  • One thing to remember when cruising there are washing machines/laundry services onboard, so if you need to wash your clothes after a tour you can.
Top 23 Packing Tips for Cold Cruise - Lucy Williams Global

Step 9

Pick out clothing:

  • 2 Pairs of causal trousers (pants)
  • 1 Pair of smart trousers(pants)/skirt
  • 7 Casual tops (long/short sleeve)
  • 5 Smart tops
  • 1 Smart dress
  • 1 Long-sleeve shirt
  • 2 Formal Dresses
  • 4 Vest Tops
  • 4 Light Weight Sweaters/Cardigans
  • Gym Tee and leggings (if you use the gym)
  • Bikini/Bathing Suit/Over-up/Flip Flops (if you use the swimming pool onboard)
  • Sleepwear
  • Warm Hat, scarf & gloves
  • 1 Pair of Heels
  • 1 Pair of Ballet Pumps/Flats
  • 1 Pair of Trainers/Walking Shoes
  • Formal clutch bag
  • Light Weight Scarves
  • Handbag
  • Backpack
  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Sports Bra
  • Socks
  • Tights (Pantyhose)
  • Trainers socks
  • Lightweight Jacket/Rain jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Jewellery (that goes with everything)
  • Watch
  • Belt
  • Sunglasses & Case
  • Plastic bag – good for laundry

Step 10

  • Once your capsule wardrobe is selected, roll all tops and small items of clothing and place them into the packing cubes. It is amazing how much more you can squeeze in.

Step 11

  • Fold all dresses and trousers and lay them below the packing cubes.

Step 12

  • Shoes: Choose a colour that goes with every outfit for the evening.
  • I wear nude patent high heels and flats and have a matching clutch bag as they go with everything.
  • Clarks do some lovely comfortable nude heels.
red shoes

Step 13

  • Pick lightweight walking shoes as otherwise, they will weigh down your suitcase.

Step 14

  • Jewellery – only take what goes with your outfits, but a necklace can change the look of an outfit as does a scarf.

Step 15

  • Hairdryer (most cruise ships have a hairdryer in the cabin) and straightening irons or curlers, take travel size or lightweight and remember your brush, comb and clips.
barber tools in a wooden drawer

Step 16

  • Beauty products, do not bring full-size products unless you are going to use all of them.
  • Always buy travel-sized products or decant them into 50 ml or 100 ml bottles or jars.
  • There are so many empty bottles you can buy in all shapes and sizes now it is easy to decant and label.
  • But always remember to label before you wash your hair with your face cream!

Step 17

  • Take products that have multiple uses.

Step 18

  • Makeup  – take just what you normally use and empty your makeup bag of what you only use occasionally.
black make up palette and brush set

Step 19

  • Remember your camera and charger, tablet and charger, phone and charger, earphones and plug adapters.

Step 20

  • A tip for getting more in your suitcase is to pack it then stand it upright and leave it to settle for at least a few hours. Then open it and squeeze in more.

Step 21

  • Label your luggage with a luggage tag and put a copy of your tag inside your luggage just in case it comes off.

Step 22

Step 23

Top 23 Packing Tips for a   Colder Cruise - Lucy Williams Global

Cruise Essentials

Here are some cruising products from Amazon you may find useful on your next cruise. To see more, have a look at my Amazon shop page and click here.

Top 23 Packing Tips for Cold Cruise - Lucy Williams Global






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Happy Cruising!


  1. January 25, 2018 / 8:34 am

    Love the pictures and the clarity that you brought in to this article

  2. July 9, 2019 / 10:25 am

    You have good article about travel and its good for travel article writers and readers thanks for share with us

  3. Julie
    April 21, 2023 / 5:43 am

    Definitely my favorite and most helpful packing list and tips for our Alaskan cruise!! Thank you!

    • April 21, 2023 / 7:17 am

      Thank you so much! I am very happy this packing list has helped you pack for your cruise to Alaska. Happy cruising!

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