When I first thought about an Alaska cruise, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know when they cruised, where they went, or what I would expect to see. Now that I have a couple cruises under my belt (and a whole lot of training and research on the area), I thought I could break it down for others who are not familiar with Alaska.
While you can travel to Alaska at any time, the traditional cruising season is between May and September each year. Within that season, mid-June through August will be the busiest time to cruise, as summer weather is optimal and kids are out of school. Even though the weather may not be prime during the early and late parts of the season, you can still have an enjoyable experience.
During the early season, from May to June, you can experience the Alaskan spring with bursts of flowers in the landscape. Grey whales travel to the Alaskan waters to feed, and other wildlife is on the move. Days start to get longer as you approach the summer solstice and as you move into June, you get more dry weather. The cooler weather and with kids still in school, there will be fewer crowds during this time. Since it’s not peak season, you’ll get some better pricing during May, into early June.
While traveling through Alaska in July and August, there is a good chance you’ll see more whales from your cruise ship and other animals and birds on shore from your ship or during your travels ashore. The fishing will be plentiful and the views spectacular. Into mid-summer, you’ll enjoy the typically warmest weather, which will bring in more visitors into the area. You’ll need to be sure to plan early to book any lodging, excursion tours, or transportation. Advance planning will allow you a better chance at prime bookings, rather than getting stuck with what is left over.
As autumn approaches, late August and into September, the weather will start to cool and start getting more rainy. In September, you’ll see the landscape change to include brilliant yellows, reds and oranges, as fall takes hold. As in the early part of the season, the crowds are not as large, bringing prices down from the peak summer months. Many of the stores will have discounted prices on their merchandise, as they prepare to close up shop for the season. On the other hand, as the crowds decrease, so will the number of tours and activities available.
Whenever you decide to go, you’ll be sure to see some incredible views of Alaska’s majestic mountains, glaciers, and be able to take in native Alaskan’s rich cultural history. There is also a vast array of activities that can be planned for various budgets. At any time you travel, it is good to allow yourself a good head start on planning. Booking your trip at least 6-8 months in advance, should help you secure the activities you want. Another benefit with planning your cruise as early as possible, is you can take advantage of those early booking fares! If you need assistance in planning your Alaskan cruise adventure, contact us for a free consultation!