Alaska is the ultimate cruise destination if you want to see amazing views, enjoy incredible adventures and see wildlife such as Humpback Whales. Thus today we are talking about best time to cruise Alaska depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip, some prefer a small ship experience whilst some prefer larger cruise ships with lots of activites. The Alaska cruise season generally runs from May through September, with peak season typically from June through August. This is where you can experience the best weather and get the opportunity to capture stunning wildlife.
However there are cons, such as crowds, which would take the edge of this stunning region. Read our guide to take you through the best time to cruise Alaska to decide your priorities and help with booking.
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Cruise Lines Who Cruise Alaska?
There are several cruise lines that offer cruises to Alaska, including:
- Princess Cruises
- Holland America Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean International
- Celebrity Cruises
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Disney Cruise Line
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Crystal Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
- Viking Ocean Cruises
Each cruise line offers a variety of itineraries and ships to choose from, ranging from small and intimate ships to large and luxurious ones. The best cruise line for you will depend on your preferences and budget. It’s important to research and compare different cruise lines and their offerings to find the one that best fits your needs.
Cruise Ports To Visit In Alaska
Alaska is a popular cruise destination, and there are several ports of call that are typically included on Alaskan cruises. Here are some of the most popular cruise ports to visit on an Alaskan cruise:
The capital city of Alaska and a popular port of call for Alaskan cruises. Visitors can explore the city’s historic sites, take a whale-watching tour, or hike to the Mendenhall Glacier.
Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can also take a walking tour of the city’s historic Creek Street, or explore the Tongass National Forest.
A historic gold rush town, Skagway is a popular destination for history buffs. Visitors can take a scenic train ride through the White Pass and Yukon Route, or hike the Chilkoot Trail.
A picturesque coastal town with a rich Russian history, Sitka is a popular destination for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities. Visitors can go kayaking or fishing, or explore the Sitka National Historical Park.
Not a port per se, but a popular destination on Alaskan cruises. Glacier Bay National Park offers stunning views of glaciers, mountains, and wildlife, and visitors can take a boat tour to see the park’s highlights.
Other popular ports of call on Alaskan cruises include Anchorage, Homer, and Seward. The exact ports of call will vary depending on the specific cruise itinerary.
Here are some things to consider when deciding when to take an Alaska cruise:
Cruising Alaska, Whats The Best Month To Visit For The Weather?
Keep in mind that these are just average temperatures, and temperatures can vary greatly depending on the location and altitude. Additionally, weather conditions in Alaska can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast and pack appropriate clothing and gear.
This is the coldest month in Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from -5°F to 20°F (-20°C to -6°C). The days are short, with only around 5 hours of daylight.
February is also very cold, with average temperatures ranging from 0°F to 25°F (-18°C to -4°C). The days start to get slightly longer, with around 9 hours of daylight.
March is still cold, but temperatures start to rise as spring approaches. Average temperatures range from 10°F to 35°F (-12°C to 2°C). The days continue to get longer, with around 12 hours of daylight in Anchorage.
Although still cold temperatures start to warm up. Average temperatures range from 25°F to 45°F (-4°C to 7°C). The days get even longer, with around 15 hours of daylight.
A transitional month, with temperatures ranging from 35°F to 55°F (2°C to 13°C). It can still be chilly, but the days are getting much longer, with around 18 hours of daylight.
The start of summer in Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from 45°F to 65°F (7°C to 18°C). The days are very long, with up to 22 hours of daylight.
The warmest month in Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). The days are still very long, with up to 19 hours of daylight.
August is still warm, with average temperatures ranging from 45°F to 65°F (7°C to 18°C). The days start to get shorter, with around 16 hours of daylight.
A transitional month, with temperatures ranging from 35°F to 55°F (2°C to 13°C). The days continue to get shorter, with around 12 hours of daylight.
The start of winter in Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from 20°F to 40°F (-6°C to 4°C). The days continue to get shorter, with around 9 hours of daylight.
Cold, with average temperatures ranging from 5°F to 25°F (-15°C to -4°C). The days are very short, with only around 5 hours of daylight.
The coldest month in Alaska after January, with average temperatures ranging from -5°F to 20°F (-20°C to -6°C). The days are very short, with only around 5 hours of daylight.
Wildlife In Alaska On Your Alaskan Cruise
A big draw for booking a cruise to Alaska is wildlife. Alaska is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including brown and black bears, moose, caribou, mountain goats, bald eagles, wolves, whales, and many others.
The best time to see wildlife in Alaska can vary depending on the species you’re interested in, but generally, the best time to see wildlife in Alaska is during the summer months of June, July, and August. Expect to see….
- Harbour Seals
- Gray Whales
- Humpback Whales
- Beluga whales
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of when and where to see some of Alaska’s most iconic wildlife:
The Best Time To See Brown And Black Bears On An Alaskan Cruise
The best time to see bears in Alaska is from mid-July to early September, when they congregate along the rivers to catch salmon. Some of the best places to see brown bears include Katmai National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and the Alaska Peninsula. The most common bears in Alaska are the American black bear. However although named black, they can be different shades of black, brown and white.
Moose Can Be Seen Year-Round In Alaska
But the best time to see them is during the fall rutting season, from late September to early October. This is when the males are more active and vocal. Moose can be found throughout Alaska, but some of the best places to see them include Denali National Park and Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Chugach State Park.
The Best Time To See Caribou In Alaska Is During Their Annual Migration
This takes place from late May to early July. During this time, thousands of caribou travel across the tundra in search of food and breeding grounds. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Denali National Park and Preserve are two of the best places to see caribou in Alaska.
Wolves Can Be Seen Year-Round In Alaska
However the best time to see them is during the winter months of December to March, when they are more visible against the snowy landscape. Some of the best places to see wolves in Alaska include Denali National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and the Kenai Peninsula.
If You Want To See Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Orca, And Beluga whales?
The best time to book your cruise to Alaska is from May to September, when humpback, gray, and killer whales migrate to Alaska’s coastal waters to feed and breed. Some of the best places to see whales in Alaska include Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, and the Inside Passage. Your cruise line will have many options for whale watching tours, we suggest taking one of those to get the best change of seeing them in their natural habitat.
Keep in mind that wildlife sightings in Alaska can never be guaranteed, as animals are wild and unpredictable. However, by visiting during the optimal season and planning your itinerary accordingly, you can increase your chances of seeing some of Alaska’s incredible wildlife.
Scenery To Expect On Your Cruise To Alaska
Alaska is known for its stunning scenery, including majestic mountains, glaciers, pristine lakes, and picturesque coastlines. The best time to see the scenery in Alaska depends on your interests and the specific areas you plan to visit. Here are some general guidelines to help you plan your trip:
- Spring (April-May): Spring in Alaska can be chilly, but it’s a great time to see the northern lights and witness the first signs of spring as the snow begins to melt. It’s also a great time to see wildlife, as animals start to emerge from hibernation and migrate back to their summer habitats.
- Summer (June-August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Alaska, and for good reason. The weather is usually mild and sunny, and the days are long, with up to 24 hours of daylight in some areas. This is the best time to see the glaciers, as they are most active during the summer months. It’s also a great time for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
- Fall (September-October): Fall in Alaska is a beautiful time to visit, with the changing colors of the leaves and the potential to see the northern lights. It’s also a great time to see wildlife, as animals prepare for winter and the salmon start to run.
- Winter (November-March): Winter in Alaska can be harsh, with extremely cold temperatures and limited daylight hours. However, it’s a great time to see the northern lights, go dog sledding, and enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling.
When Is The Best Time To See The Northern Light In Alaska
Otherwise known as Aurora Borealis, Latin for “morning light coming from the North,” The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is during the winter months, from late September to early April. This is because the sky is the darkest during this time and the geomagnetic activity is generally the strongest, which increases the likelihood of seeing the aurora.
However, weather conditions can play a big role in visibility, so it’s important to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Also, it’s best to go to a location away from city lights and other sources of light pollution, as this can interfere with seeing the aurora.
Some of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Alaska include Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Denali National Park. It’s also a good idea to check with local tour operators who offer Northern Lights viewing tours, as they can provide expert advice on the best times and locations to see the aurora.
When Is The Best Time To Cruise Alaska To Beat The Crowds ?
The best time to beat the crowds in Alaska is during the shoulder season, which is the period between the peak tourist season and the off-season. In general, the peak tourist season in Alaska is during the summer months of June to August, when the weather is mild and the days are long. The off-season is typically from November to April, when the weather is colder and many tourist facilities are closed.
The shoulder season in Alaska is from mid-May to mid-June and from September to mid-October. During this time, the weather is still relatively mild and many of the tourist facilities are still open, but there are fewer visitors than during the peak season. This makes it a great time to beat the crowds and enjoy the attractions and activities in Alaska without having to deal with the large crowds that can be present during the peak season.
Additionally, weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends, so if your ships visit Alaskan towns during the week, you’ll likely encounter fewer crowds. Finally, if you’re interested in visiting popular attractions such as Denali National Park or the Kenai Fjords, consider visiting early in the morning or late in the evening when the crowds are smaller.
Our Top Tips For Your Cruise To Alaska
Choose The Right Time To Cruise
The best time to cruise in Alaska is during the summer months, from May to September, when the weather is milder and the days are longer. This is also the peak season for Alaska cruises, so be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices.
Alaska Cruises Offer A Range Of Itineraries
So choose one that suits your interests. For example, some cruises focus on the Inside Passage, while others may take you to Glacier Bay National Park or the Kenai Fjords. Research different itineraries and ports of call to find the one that suits your preferences.
Be Prepared For The Weather When You Cruise Alaska
Even in the summer, Alaska can be chilly and rainy, so pack clothing that is suitable for cooler weather. Bring layers, rain gear, and comfortable walking shoes for exploring ports of call.
Consider A Balcony Cabin
A balcony cabin allows you to enjoy the stunning scenery of Alaska from the privacy of your own cabin. It’s also a great place to spot wildlife, such as whales and dolphins. A good agent will help you find the best cruise ship cabin and itinerary.
Bring binoculars On Your Alaska Cruise
Alaska’s wildlife and scenery are best enjoyed with a pair of binoculars.
Book Shore Excursions On You Alaska Cruise In Advance
Alaska offers a range of shore excursions, from whale watching to dog sledding. These excursions can book up quickly, so it’s a good idea to book them in advance to avoid disappointment.
Research The History Before Your Alaska Cruise
Alaska has a rich history and unique culture, so take some time to learn about the state’s heritage before your cruise. This will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the places you visit.
Be Mindful Of Wildlife
Alaska is home to a range of wildlife, including bears, moose, and eagles. When exploring ports of call, be mindful of your surroundings and follow guidelines to avoid disturbing wildlife.
Consider Extra Costs On Your Alaska Cruise
While most food and entertainment is included in your cruise fare, be prepared to pay for additional expenses such as shore excursions, drinks, and gratuities.
Take Advantage Of Onboard Activities
Alaska cruises offer a range of onboard activities, such as lectures, cooking demonstrations, and live entertainment. Take advantage of these activities to enhance your experience and make the most of your cruise.
Is An Alaska Cruise For You?
Overall, the best time to cruise Alaska depends on your preferences and what you want to experience. It’s a good idea to research the weather, wildlife, and other factors to determine the best time for you. But also consider what to pack and look for the best deals and offers. This is a trip you dont want to get wrong, however with a little planning a cruise to Alaska promises to be spectacular.