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Alaskan Cruise Packing (trial run for Iceland)

I am heading to Seattle and then a seven day Alaskan cruise. Traveling 12days. Second trip is Iceland. A total of 15 days, including a week long small ship cruise on WIndstar and 6 days in Reykjavík.

Carryon: ttps://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/vaerldens-carry-on-bag-with-wheels-black-80546172/
Personal item: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0C554NPB8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Purse: https://www.onegirlwholeworld.com/packing-lists-gear/best-crossbody-travel-purse/ (this will go in my backpack for travel days)

Both bags fit within the airlines requirements (Southwest, Alaska Air and Icelandic Air). The carryon bag is 13 ½ x 7 ¾ x 21 ¼ ", so one of the narrowest bags you can find. I wanted a Travelpro Maxlite 5, but wanted a bag that would fit virtually all airlines for a carryon bag. The disadvantage is that it doesn't have a side handle, for putting in the overhead. But, I saved the baggage strap from our Adventures By DIsney tour in January (thinking at the time, I'll never use it) and not only is it orange (like the inside of the suitcase), but works great to add something to grasp. If I have to, I can take it off if I'm ever in a situation where it has to fit in a sizer.

Clothes (this includes what I will wear on travel days)
5 pairs pants (2 Athleta Brooklyn, 2 other "performance wear pants and 1 pair of Old Navy Pixie pants)
10 tops (5 long sleeve, 3 sleeveless and 2 short sleeve)
2 lightweight cardigans for wearing around the ship
1 Colombia windbreaker with hood (not waterproof)
1 waterproof rain poncho
1 heavy cardigan sweatshirt by Talbots
1 lightweight yoga cardigan jacket with hood
cold weather pack: pashmina, magic gloves, gaiter and 2 pairs of tights)
1 sleep shirt
3 bras
7 underwear
3 wool socks
7 no show sock liners
1 pair waterproof sneakers
1 pair Skechers slip ons
1 swim suit

Misc:
9x12 wet bag (I use this for the plane rides....I put the items I need in it and it fits in the seat pocket, Then I use it as a wet bag for the trip.
2 decks of cards
Code Names
SkipBo
metal water bottle
magnet hooks
lanyard
Sea to Summit ultrasil sling bag (16 liters, zips, weighs couple ounces)
National Park little book
mini wine book
phone case crossbody
mini electronics mesh bag with cords
mini mesh bag for toiletries
quart bag for liquid toiletries
poise pads
mini mesh bag with emergency supplies
electric hand warmer
ear buds
portable battery
iPad
Kindle
mini folding bluetooth keyboard for iPad

A couple of comments...
1. Both bags weighed about 16 pounds each fully packed.
2. Yes, I know I packed more clothes than I need. It's not how I typically travel, but I wanted the choices for this trip. I'm 100% aware I could easily cut out 1 pair of pants and 2 tops, or even 2 pants and 4 tops. I don't care, lol.
3. I like wearing sleeveless tops with a lightweight cardigan. I like the slight extra weight without the heaviness of 2 layers on my arms.
4. I know I could do without my iPad and just use my phone but I do have a little work to do on this trip and it's so much easier with a better keyboard and bigger screen. The same with my Kindle. I have the app on my phone and iPad but really prefer reading on a Kindle.
5. My crossbody is a little bigger than I usually carry, but it's great for cruises, because I can stick in games or cards. It also works for excursions, as it easily holds gloves or a scarf if the weather is warmer (I tend to lose these, so having a spot for them is nice).
6. I know it's sacrilege to not bring binoculars on an Alaskan cruise, but I took them on my 2 previous Alaskan cruises and never used them. So I'm going without.
7. For most of our excursions, we won't be outside all the time, So I don't need heavy duty warm weather gear.

Please feel free to add in any comments!

Posted by
112 posts

I received such useful suggestions for my packing post last week I hope I can offer a couple to help you!
Question: the Amazon link for both the carry on and personal item are the same? Is that an error or are you taking two of them ( It's a great size! So hard to find!)? I have flown Iceland Air a number of times to Iceland and if you are taking two bags (unless in Saga class?) I believe it's too big to count as your personal item?
I wear a crossbody just big enough for phone and passport and cards/cash that I don't count as a "purse" because I stow it in my underseat bag for security and could do that at check in if required (hasn't happened yet).
I have been to Alaska several times, too. For both (you don't specify dates) I wonder if you need a packable light-mid weight down or synthetic down parka. The kind that can zip into their own pocket. Throwing on the waterproof poncho is a great idea, but if it's really windy and cold when you are off the ships will you be warm enough?
I was absolutely freezing in Reykjavik and it was August. The wind was bitterly cold despite the sun. Then it would stop and I'd be reasonably ok until the next gust!
What fun adventures ahead!

Posted by
154 posts

Question: the Amazon link for both the carry on and personal item are
the same? Is that an error or are you taking two of them ( It's a
great size! So hard to find!)? I have flown Iceland Air a number of
times to Iceland and if you are taking two bags (unless in Saga
class?) I believe it's too big to count as your personal item?

I fixed the link! Sorry for the confusion. I am taking two bags and I did double check the luggage. Perhaps because we are in Saga Class?

I have been to Alaska several times, too. For both (you don't specify
dates) I wonder if you need a packable light-mid weight down or
synthetic down parka. The kind that can zip into their own pocket.
Throwing on the waterproof poncho is a great idea, but if it's really
windy and cold when you are off the ships will you be warm enough?

I actually leave tomorrow for Seattle! My thought is I have a long sleeve shirt, the yoga jacket, the cardigan sweatshirt and the windbreaker. Plus the rain poncho for rain. I am thinking with gloves, scarf, gaiter, wool socks and hand warmers, I'll be okay. Fingers crossed though! I'll let you know.

I was absolutely freezing in Reykjavik and it was August. The wind was
bitterly cold despite the sun. Then it would stop and I'd be
reasonably ok until the next gust!

We are in Iceland in August as well. I am hoping I will be okay. We have one day where we are taking the hop on hop off bus, one day at the port, one day to Blue Lagoon and 2 days with a private tour (another couple and us with a private driver). So I am hoping we can be in and out of warmer places so we won't be so cold.

Posted by
8625 posts

If you already have a waterproof jacket with hood, I would ditch the rain parka and use that instead. I was on an Alaska cruise a few weeks ago with lots of rain and had plenty of opportunity to see what was working, and not working, for people.

Posted by
31 posts

I second the idea to replace the poncho and non-waterproof wind breaker with a waterproof wind breaker. And don't forget a beanie type hat. I was SO happy I had that hat (and the waterproof jacket) on windy and rainy days in Alaska. On one cold rainy day, I wore all my layers plus the hat and I was cozy and dry. I hope all your days are sunny and warm but Alaska weather is fickle!

Posted by
675 posts

Nice finds for the carryon and personal item! When we flew Icelandair last fall, I ended up sewing my own personal item bag the exact size of the maximum limit.

Now I'm shopping for the perfect items to take to Europe in the fall.

Posted by
69 posts

I live north of seattle. I don’t own one windbreaker. I own probably 10 waterproof coats and sililar number of light weight puffies hooded and hoodless. Outdoor research has great puffies.

I ALWAYS travel with a rain coat, puffy (no hood), light weight wool hoodie and wool leggings. If i was going to iceland i would add my arcteryx atom vest. It is really thin but adds a ton of warmth. A neck buff is also really nice to kinda seal out the wind.

Good luck and stay warm. Iceland chilled me to my core.

Posted by
6670 posts

A wool beanie or watch cap is the big missing item on your list. It will keep you warmer for less weight than anything else you could pack. And I agree that a hooded waterproof coat or jacket would be a better choice than the windbreaker + poncho for bad weather. I hope these trips are both enjoyable. You might get clothing lessons from Alaska that will help you in Iceland.

Posted by
69 posts

Each time we have gone to alaska we have hit amazing weather. 80 and 70 degrees and no rain. Half my suitcase was stuff for rain.

Posted by
289 posts

A couple of comments...

1. Both bags weighed about 16 pounds each fully packed.

I am just constantly amazed at how much "carry-on only, light packers" can put in a bag!

Kudos to all of you!

Posted by
154 posts

I just wanted to share a quick update on our trip. We got home today, so it's fresh in my mind. I definitely had enough clothes and I confess, I did enjoy the variety. The weather ranged from mid 60's and 70's in the Seattle area to generally low 50's in Alaska.

I ended up needing my iPad for work, so was glad I had it, although it stayed packed on the cruise.

I really liked having the larger crossbody. I frequently carried 2 decks of cards plus Skipbo in my purse, as we played cards almost every day. Despite my moms memory issues, she can play our rummy game (called 3-13) like a whiz, so that was so nice to see while she's failing in some ways, in other ways she's still as sharp as ever. I won't bring Code Names again unless it's just a driving trip. It just took up way too much room and while we played once, it wasn't worth the space.
I did laundry once for underwear and bras, which was simple and quick. I rolled them in a towel after wringing them out and they dried quickly.
I loved my rechargeable hand warmer and plan to order a second one for Iceland.
I was plenty warm with my yoga jacket, sweatshirt cardigan and windbreaker. In fact, I seldom wore all three. I really never wore the gloves and only wore my scarf/pashmina once. I never wore the poncho, even with the light rain.
I wore the waterproof sneakers on excursions, but really didn't need them.
I used my Sea to Summit Ultra-sil sling (16 liters) on all our excursions. It really held a lot and packs so very small (its about 3 ounces). It was a workhorse for the cruise excursions. It's not "cute" or "trendy" but it sure is functional!

I am debating if I really want to only travel carryon for Iceland. I am likely using my Travelpro 22" suitcase (US carryon size but not for Icelandic Air) and bringing my Hynes 38Liter backpack. I'll ship though the Travelpro and bring the backpack as my "carryon" and my crossbody purse as my personal item. That way I can pack my jackets and some changes of clothing, sleepwear and toiletries but have some extra room. Especially packing at the end of a trip, it's nice to have a little "wiggle room" and not pack so well. We are staying at the Marriott Edition in Reykjavik and only have to walk a short way to our small ship. It will be easy to handle, but give me a little more flexibility, especially since I want to bring a pair of flats and a nicer pair of pants and top or two for dinners on the ship.

Posted by
493 posts

Thanks for the how it worked out report, PandaBear. Always good to hear and glad you were warm enough. Better to have more that you didn’t need when it comes to not being cold and miserable.