A lot of people have been asking the question, “When is the best time to cruise Alaska?” and how they can use it to their advantage. It is important to note that the cruise season in Alaska is relatively brief, but with the right knowledge, you can use make very good use of the time.
Interestingly, cruise ships arrive in Southeast Alaska in the spring, remain throughout summer, and leave in the early fall.
The solution is complex and depends on a number of things. The weather in Alaska varies considerably from north to south and from interior to shore.
The travel season in Alaska is short and varies drastically between spring, summer, and fall. When you combine all of this with Alaska’s typically variable weather, determining the optimal time to visit Alaska can be difficult.
If you’re concerned about how chilly it gets in Alaska or which months are ideal to avoid rain, you’re not alone.
Alaska’s weather is unpredictable and can change at any time. It’s not uncommon to wake up on a bright, sunny day, only to discover that it’s freezing and raining 10 minutes later.
This Alaska cruise weather guide has been put together to assist you in determining the best time to cruise to Alaska.
The Best Time to Cruise Alaska
Although Alaska is open all year, the main tourist season is from June through August. Because the yearly travel season begins in April and early spring, the Alaska by month travel season calendar below includes April and early spring.
Many cruise ships begin their summer deployments to Alaska in May, well ahead of the peak season in June.
The Alaska cruise weather in June is mild, with the least amount of rain during the Alaska cruise season. In May, expect lows around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and highs around 55 degrees Fahrenheit on Alaska cruises.
May is one of the finest months to visit Alaska because of the dry weather, fewer visitors, and abundance of wildlife.
Several whale species can be found near Alaska’s inner passage in May. Most whales will have finished their migration from the warm seas of Mexico to Alaska, where they will spend the summer, by this time of year.
Spring is also a good time to see new wildlife.
There will be many snow-capped mountains, and there will be fewer insects and mosquitoes.
The Alaska cruise season begins in earnest in early June. Warming weather permits cruise ships to operate through Arctic waters, offering passengers new chances.
In June, the temperature on an Alaska trip is warmer, with lows of 45 degrees Fahrenheit and highs in the low 60s. When visiting Alaska in June, bring insect repellant because mosquitos and other insects might be a nuisance.
The warm weather makes it one of the greatest times to see glaciers calve.
In June, you may expect 18-20 hours of daylight, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the Alaskan outdoors and rich animals.
Caribou, black bears, mountain goats, moose calves, and even polar bears can be seen in June, making it one of the finest months for wildlife observations.
July is the busiest month for Alaska cruises, with the best weather and animal viewing options. This month has the hottest weather, the longest daylight hours, and the most tourists.
July temperatures range from the high 40s to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of the warm weather and lengthy hours of sunlight, you’ll want to bring sunglasses and sunscreen.
When visiting the port, you should still dress in layers, but if you’re planning active shore excursions like hikes or glacier tours, you should dress in lightweight gear.
The month of July is perfect for salmon fishing, cultural events, bear sightings, and small-town exploration. Because of the popularity of July sailings, cruise fares are at an all-time high.
Despite having the nicest weather, the weather in Alaska in July is highly unpredictable. Pack for all types of weather and bring a lightweight rain jacket.
The Alaska cruise season begins to wind down in August. This month, the temperature will begin to cool, there will be more rain, and there will be beautiful fall vistas.
You might be able to locate some deals around mid-August but expect to pay full price for the most part.
The risk of rain during this month is greater than 50%, so bring plenty of waterproof gear, including waterproof shoes and wool socks.
As school resumes, cruise prices fall, providing tourists with last-minute opportunities to enjoy an Alaskan cruise.
September temperatures are slightly cooler, with highs around 55 degrees and lows around 40 degrees. September is also the wettest month of the year for cruises. So be prepared to bring plenty of rain gear.
September also had fewer visitors than the summer. However, the shoulder season has become more common in recent years, making amazing deals more difficult to come by. When you plan your cruise, you might save money on your trip.
September is the ideal month to watch the Aurora Borealis from an Alaskan cruise because of the reduced daylight hours.
Interesting Facts About Alaska’s Weather
Alaska has one of the most beautiful weather conditions that you can ever imagine. Below are some of the interesting facts about Alaska that you’ll find exciting.
1. On January 23, 1971, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was -79.8° F (-62° C) in Prospect Creek. It is also the coldest recorded temperature in the United States.
2. The highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska is 100° F (38° C). On June 27, 1905, the temperature was recorded in Fort Yukon.
3. Juneau, Alaska, has the lowest likelihood of seeing the sun, with only a 30% chance.
4. With 971.5 inches of snow, 1952-1953 set the record for the most snowfall in a year.
5. Yakutat, Alaska, holds the record for the wettest place in the United States, with an annual rainfall of 160 inches.
6. Southeast Alaska is home to the Tongass National Forest, the world’s biggest temperate rainforest.
The weather on an Alaska cruise is unpredictable. Weather conditions can change multiple times throughout the day, so bring plenty of clothing and a lightweight raincoat.
Between late June and early July is the greatest time to cruise Alaska for nice weather. Summer has the highest temperatures and the least quantity of snowfall.
Not to mention the increased likelihood of sighting humpback whales, king salmon, bears, moose, and bald eagles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best month to go to Alaska on a cruise?
The finest months to cruise to Alaska to enjoy the midnight sun are from mid-May to mid-July. This is when Alaskans engage in outdoor activities such as 2:00 a.m. hikes, dog walks, and beach volleyball.
What is the cheapest month to cruise to Alaska?
The Alaska cruise season normally runs from late April to late September, with the cheapest months to cruise to Alaska being April, May, and September.
How many days is best for an Alaskan cruise?
10 days is enough time to combine a cruise with a land excursion and see all sides of Alaska. This duration of trip often includes a whirlwind tour of several of Alaska’s most popular interior and southcentral sites, as well as a 7-day cruise.
What months are good for Alaska?
Summer is the greatest time to explore Alaska, from May 10 to September 15. Temperatures will range from the low 60s to the low 70s, with 16-24 hours of daylight, leaves and flowers in bloom, rushing rivers, and the best wildlife watching.
How much does a 7-day cruise to Alaska cost?
A 7-night Alaska trip can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per person, depending on the type of cruise ship and the stateroom you choose.