When is the best time to cruise Alaska?

Tips for when to cruise this unique US state in the warmest weather.

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We sussed out the weather, prices and peak holiday dates to uncover the ideal time to cruise Alaska.

The best time to cruise Alaska

May to September.

Why?

The Alaskan cruising season is from May to September as this is the warmest time of year. Although warm, it is also notorious for rainfall, so pack accordingly.

Ships generally don’t sail to Alaska outside these months due to the icy weather conditions. But if you're concerned about weather affecting your trip, make sure you have the right cruise insurance so you may be able to claim compensation for altered itineraries or missed ports.


Overview

Experiencing four seasons, Alaska's summers are mild with temperatures of around 20℃ and its winters are often cold and harsh with temperatures of between -11℃ and -1℃.

Alaska is a popular destination for cruisers worldwide. Peak cruising season is from mid-June to mid-August as June is the hottest month of the year and these are the months when the Northern Hemisphere is on summer break.

The shoulder months of May and September tend to be quieter and cheaper. They feature spring wildflowers and autumn foliage, respectively.


Weather and prices

The best time to cruise Alaska, weatherwise: June and July are the warmest months and they have the longest days, making them ideal for cruising and on-shore excursions.

The cheapest time to cruise Alaska: Look for cruise deals in May or September (before or after the season heats up). You may even be able to find cruises that start as early as April going for a good price due to them being out of season.


The best time to visit Alaska for…

  • Wildlife: Summer is the best time to spy wildlife due to visibility and activity. Native wildlife you may spot on your journey includes moose, dall sheep, grizzly bears, eagles, puffins and whales.
  • Hiking: Hiking in Alaska is best undertaken after the snow has melted, which is around late June. You can hike into August, however, be advised that light frost starts to settle overnight late in the month.
  • Fishing: Alaska has five species of salmon, all of which can be fished from May to September. Silver salmon can be fished through to November.
  • Glaciers: Glaciers can be viewed at any time of the year. If you’re unsure whether your cruise features a glacier viewing experience, contact the cruise company direct to confirm.

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