When is The Best Time and Month to Cruise Alaska, FAQ

Summer is the best time to go to Alaska

Alaskan cruises are offered by a wide range of cruise ship operators. You can take a week-long cruise or a longer one of nine or even eleven days. Voyage from Seattle or Vancouver or even from San Francisco or other ports on the Pacific Coastline of the lower 48. From wonderful wildlife to sublime scenery, from Alaskan culture to outward bound adventure – an Alaska cruise always has a lot to offer. But when is the best time to cruise Alaska?

The Alaska cruise season runs from late April to September. Each month offers something special, but opinions differ as to which is the very best time.

Cruise Alaska in May

May is off-peak season and so you can often find some great deals at this time of the year. What is more, if you do not like crowds, then traveling outside of the main summer months will be a more pleasant experience. May is also one of the driest periods in the Inside Passage region. But snow may often still be lying, and the weather can be more unpredictable, so if you are planning hikes or other tours or excursions then this might not be the best time to come.

Cruise Alaska in June, July or August

It may sound obvious, but these peak summer months are the warmest time in Alaska, and you are far less likely to encounter extreme weather conditions. However, even during summer, there can often be quite a lot of rain – June is typically a little drier than July or August. If you want to fish or watch the wildlife, these months are also generally better than the shoulder season months. The further through summer you are, the more likely you have to have a range of exciting wildlife encounters. But these months have their downsides too – Alaska cruises can be more expensive during this time, and there will be more tourists around.

Cruise Alaska in September

In September, temperatures can drop quite quickly, and fall weather can bring increased unpredictability once more. The Gulf of Alaska can be at its choppiest this month, so if you get seasick, choose a cruise earlier in the year. Certain natural sights and attractions may close due to snow this month. On the other hand, as in May, September Alaska cruises can offer some low prices and great deals, and there will be fewer tourists around. This month also affords the best possibility to see the amazing Northern Lights.

An Alaskan cruise can be amazing at any time during the Alaska cruise season. But weighing up the pros and cons of each month, and taking your own preferences into account, can help you decide when is the best time for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When is the best time to cruise Alaska to see whales?

The best time to see killer whales is May and June. The best months for orcas are June, July, August and September.

What is the best time or month to see northern lights?

You have a higher chance of seeing Aurora Borealis if you travel from September till April. The time to watch – from 11 pm till 4 am.

What’s the best time to cruise Inside Passage?

Inside Passage is good from May to September, just remember, that in summer Alaska is overcrowded with tourists. If you want less people and can bear with cold, May will be just perfect. I can say the same about wildlife and animals.

Why Alaskan cruises are so expensive any time, is there a high or low season?

There are 2 main reasons for high pricing: 1 – it’s one of the most popular and trending destinations right now, 2 – touristic season in Alaska is very short. Cruises and cruisetours are sold out really fast. The best would be to plan your vacation in advance, especially if you are traveling as a group. It’s hard to say that Alaska has a low season as most cruise lines are sailing only in high – summer season.

Contact Us for help with booking a cruise to Alaska or ask your questions in comments.

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5 thoughts on “When is The Best Time and Month to Cruise Alaska, FAQ”

    • Hi Camila! This is a good question! Cruise ships have a short season due to cold weather in fall, winter and spring. If your goal is to see the northern lights, the best would be just to go on a tour in winter. If you want to cruise, pick cruise dates as early or as late as possible.

  1. June is my favorite month for cruising Alaska. This time I want to try and hop on one of the last fall cruises just to see the difference. What is the best time to cruise Alaska in fall?


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