The Greatest Time to Cruise Alaska: Benefits and Disadvantages

Alaska is commonly thought of the final American frontier on account of its pristine and seemingly infinite pure landscapes. That is simply a part of why Alaskan cruises are skyrocketing in reputation.

Seeing Alaska’s breathtaking wilderness from the consolation of a cruise ship is a true bucket listing merchandise for many individuals. That stated, deciding when to embark in your journey can considerably affect the general expertise.

Not solely do you need to take care of Alaska’s notoriously harsh local weather, however there are additionally funds issues and understanding when you should have the very best possibilities of encountering the magnificent Alaska wildlife that calls “The Land of the Midnight Solar” dwelling.

That will help you plan your excellent journey, we are going to clarify which months are the very best for Alaskan cruises. We’ll additionally focus on components it’s possible you’ll not have thought of, resembling visibility of the Northern Lights, monetary prices, and extra. And particularly as Alaska is so completely different in comparison with your typical hotter cruise vacation spot.

So, let’s get began!

The Greatest Time to Cruise Alaska

The most effective time to e-book an Alaskan cruise is the months between April and September. Should you assume it is a lengthy stretch to be deemed “the very best” time to e-book a cruise in Alaska, you aren’t mistaken, however there’s a purpose for this. That is additionally while you’ll be capable to discover many of the cruise itineraries.

Climate, wildlife visibility, cruise costs, and a lot extra can differ from month to month in Alaska, so you need to measure up your priorities when reserving your cruise, together with well-liked ports resembling Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Sitka.

Every month throughout the April to September stretch affords its personal distinctive benefits and downsides. That will help you select which is the very best month for you, we’ve created this month-by-month information to the Alaskan cruise season.

Month-by-Month Information for Alaskan Cruises

As talked about, recommending one particular month that may act as the very best time to cruise Alaska generally is a little bit troublesome. It’s because the very best Alaska cruise month is considerably subjective.

Whereas some individuals want the decreased crowds and whale-watching alternatives of midsummer, others would possibly worth the hotter climate and better choices for excursions you get within the late summer season months.

Cruise Passengers Benefit from the Views of Alaska (Photograph Credit score: Gene R Samit)

On prime of that, a few of Alaska’s most iconic wildlife species are typically at their most energetic and visual when the climate cools off in the direction of the top of summer season. Whereas this may be extremely engaging for nature lovers, it may be off-putting for individuals who don’t benefit from the cooler temperatures. 

That will help you determine which era is greatest, we are going to break down the 2 hottest occasions to cruise Alaska. In doing so, we’ll be capable to present all the benefits and downsides so you may determine which is the very best time for you! 

Cruising Alaska Between Late Spring and Mid-Summer season (Late April – Mid-July)

The stretch between late April and late July is commonly thought of to be Alaska’s second hottest time of the yr for cruises. The recognition of this era can also be why many individuals take into account it the very best time of the yr to e-book an Alaskan cruise.

That will help you determine if it’s the precise time to your journey, listed below are some benefits and downsides of cruising in the course of the late spring to mid-summer stretch.


Cruise Visitors in Skagway, Alaska
Cruise Guests in Skagway, Alaska (Photograph Credit score: EWY Media)

Energetic Wildlife

Between Could and July, Alaska absolutely thaws from the deep winter freeze. That is when bears have emerged from hibernation and are typically pretty energetic. Should you hope to identify a grizzly, you would possibly simply have your alternative in case you cruise Alaska throughout this era, together with viewing moose and even an opportunity to see extra calves or cubs operating round.

It’s additionally a superb time for wildlife viewing if you wish to see Alaska’s extra iconic marine life, like humpback whales, orcas, and varied species of seals. You’ll be capable to select from an enormous variety of shore excursions from the cruise strains, together with cruisetours from Princess Cruises and Holland America Line at Denali Nationwide Park.

Extra Daylight

This era additionally appears to have longer daylight than earlier stretches. This implies you’ve extra time to walk the deck of your ship and look out onto Alaska’s beautiful landscapes and glaciers.

For these hoping to take part in a number of the many tour choices you may get pleasure from in Alaska, like fly fishing and whale watching, longer daylight imply you’ve extra time in the course of the day to take action.

Diminished Fares

Whereas it could appear counterintuitive {that a} well-liked time to journey would imply that cruise fares are decrease, the reason being that there are extra ships working right now. With extra choices to select from, you may sometimes discover a whole lot in case you are reserving for the interval that stretches between Could and June. 


Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Glacier Bay Nationwide Park, Alaska (Photograph Credit score: Mary Swift / Shutterstock)

Unpredictable Climate and Cooler Daytime Temperatures

Whereas late spring and early summer season would possibly supply nice climate within the decrease American states, Alaska’s far north latitude signifies that temperatures are nonetheless cooler. Should you select to cruise Alaska throughout this time, carry water resistant clothes and loads of heat layers.

Along with cooler temperatures, there’s a increased tendency for rain in the course of the late spring. 

Cruising Alaska Between Mid-Summer season to Early Fall (Late July to Late September)

These months are additionally extremely well-liked occasions for Alaskan cruises, which is why there’s some debate over which interval is the very best between the 2. Given the hotter temperatures of July and August, many individuals who wish to keep away from the chilly will select to e-book throughout these months.

It’s additionally well-liked that there might be fewer crowds throughout September, because the summer season break has ended. That will help you decide if that is the precise time to your journey, listed below are the primary advantages and downsides:


Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska
Fishing Boat and Cruise Ship in Seward, Alaska (Photograph Credit score: Winery Perspective / Shutterstock)

Snug Daytime Temperatures

One of many foremost benefits of cruising Alaska in the course of the later summer season months is the milder temperatures and extra predictable climate. Throughout these peak months of the Alaskan summer season, daytime temperatures vary between 50 and 60 °F, with some days reaching as excessive as 90 °F.

For Alaska, these temperatures are about pretty much as good because it will get! On prime of that, you may anticipate considerably much less rain and fog, which helps with consolation and visibility.

Peak Wildlife Exercise

Should you’re hoping to identify some well-known Alaska wildlife, you’ve the best possibilities in late summer season and early fall. Towards the top of summer season and early fall, bears are extremely energetic as they put together for winter hibernation.

The autumn salmon run additionally attracts bears and different predatory species to the rivers and shorelines, making viewing them from a cruise ship deck a lot simpler. Humpback whales, orcas, seals, and different marine species are additionally extra energetic throughout these months. 

Prolonged Daylight Hours

Not solely is the climate higher, you get extra hours within the day within the late summer season. Whereas daylight start declining in September, they’re close to their peak in mid-summer. On prime of that, in the course of the late summer season and early fall, you should have an excellent likelihood of seeing the Northern Lights in all of their glory. 

Extra Tour Choices

With extra daylight and improved climate, your choices for excursions additionally improve. This may also help enrich the general expertise of your Alaskan journey and provide you with extra of a chance to see what it might be like residing in america’ most inhospitable state. 


Cruise Ships in Ketchikan, Alaska
Cruise Ships in Ketchikan, Alaska (Photograph Credit score: Alexandre.ROSA)

Elevated Crowds

July and August will be extraordinarily busy months for the Alaska cruise trade. With the hotter climate, it’s not uncommon to see a rise within the variety of individuals seeking to get pleasure from Alaska’s untamed wilderness.

If you’re searching for uncrowded statement decks and a quieter expertise, it’s possible you’ll wish to keep away from this peak season or attempt September, when issues are likely to wind down.

Mosquito Swarms

One of many main drawbacks of spending time in Alaska in the course of the late summer season is the numerous improve in mosquito exercise. Mosquitos, together with different biting bugs, are typically at their peak throughout these late summer season months.

Whereas they are typically much less of a problem if you are on a cruise ship on the water, they could be a menace on shore. This could negatively affect your out of doors tour expertise. 

So, Which Is the Greatest Time to Cruise Alaska?

Now that now we have taken an in-depth have a look at the benefits and downsides of the 2 hottest occasions to cruise Alaska, you may make an knowledgeable choice based mostly in your preferences and priorities for the favored annual Alaska cruise season for cruise passengers.

Learn Additionally: Prime Alaskan Cruises for Households

If you wish to keep away from the cooler temperatures and potential for rain, it’s possible you’ll wish to select the late summer season to early fall. With that in thoughts, acknowledge that you will have to take care of bigger crowds and the dreaded Alaskan mosquito swarms.

Princess Cruises in Alaska
Princess Cruises in Alaska (Photograph Credit score: dvlcom)

The reality is that each of those stretches can enable for an thrilling and memorable expertise. You could do not forget that Alaska is a rugged panorama that poses numerous challenges for human life, so these cruises won’t ever be as tranquil as a tropical cruise.

Embrace the wild facet of Alaska and select the time interval that makes essentially the most sense for you. Regardless of which choice you select, there’s no scarcity of issues to do on this wild and distinctive state! 

Incessantly Requested Questions (FAQs)

Which cruise strains function in Alaska?

A number of main cruise strains supply sailings in Alaska, however primarily in the course of the Spring and Summer season months. Princess Cruises is without doubt one of the foremost operators, with seven ships crusing the northern area. Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celeb Cruises additionally supply sailings.

What are nighttime temperatures like in Alaska in the course of the summer season? 

Even when the daytime temperatures are properly above freezing, nighttime temperatures can dip beneath 32 °F, even in the summertime. Because of this you could pack for all climate circumstances in case you plan an Alaska cruise. 

When is the very best time to see whales in Alaska? 

Whereas grey whales are energetic in Alaskan waters in the course of the early spring, most species, together with belugas, orcas, humpback whales, and blue whales, peak between Could and September. This partially explains why this stretch is way busier than different occasions of yr for tourism in Alaska.

Best Time to Cruise Alaska

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