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  • 24
  • Oct
  • 2012

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

Picture this scenario: you’ve booked an Alaskan cruise with us, CruiseExperts.com and you’re aboard Celebrity Cruises luxurious Solstice. All of the sudden you look up at the sky and see this unbelievable burst of greenish-yellow, blue and even bright red in the atmosphere. This gorgeous light show is what is known as the Aurora Borealis or more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights.

Few people ever have the opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis, but you can when you take an Alaska cruise during certain times of the year. The sky needs to be dark in order to see the lights and during the peak of the summer it can stay light up to 20 hours a day.

That is why, if you’re booking an Alaska cruise with us to see the Northern Lights, we advise you to do so in May or September. In early May the sun sets between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and in September anywhere between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. This time is also when the weather is mild and the skies are clearest.

However, don’t expect the Northern Lights to appear the minute there’s no more sunlight. You’re more likely to see these illuminations approximately one-and-a-half hours after sunset. More specifically auroral activity is likely to take place between 12:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. in September and May. If you can stay awake, head out onto the deck of your luxury Alaska cruise liner at 2:30 a.m., as this could very well be the best time to see the Aurora Borealis.

Of course, this is simply meant to be as a guide when booking your trip to Alaska. Whether you reserve your vacation for September, May or July, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time. If you have any questions, contact us at 888-804-CRUISE or visit our website, www.CruiseExperts.com.

The CruiseExperts team

The CruiseExperts team

Our team of cruise consultants and support staff, based in Central California, counts nearly a century of combined talent, knowledge, and enthusiasm in the travel industry. We're not just another internet upstart; our seasoned team has gained the trust and business of thousands of satisfied cruise and land vacation customers from all over the country since 1995. We ARE the original Cruise Experts.

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  • Lee Jin Lin

    Hi
    I like to find out the Northern light from Alaska more detail
    Thanks
    Lee Jin Lin

    • http://www.cruiseexperts.com Linda Garcia

      See below…

  • http://www.cruiseexperts.com/ Bill

    What part of Alaska are the Northern Nights visible from ? Are they able to be seen from the usual cities on an Inside Passage cruise ?
    Thanks

    • http://www.cruiseexperts.com Linda Garcia

      In order to view the Northern Lights, two conditions must be met. It has to be dark and it has to be clear, with no clouds. If it is dark, you can see them from many cities in Alaska, however the cities along the inside passage are a bit south of the main part of the state and therefore viewing opportunities are more limited. During the summer cruising season, it is daylight 20-24 hours per day. Therefore you cannot see them. In September, there may be enough darkness in the wee hours (2:00-4:00 AM) to see the Lights, if the sky isn’t cloudy. So if you want the best chance to see the Northern lights while cruising the inside passage, it is best to book cruises in September. You might also want to plan a trip inland to Denali National Park in September. Denali is a little farther north, so you may find better viewing of the Lights. Martha Arnold, one of our cruise experts, saw them on her September 9th cruise to Alaska.

  • Heidy

    Hi,
    Does it mean that if i choose below package,for sure I will have the chance to view the Aurora Borealis ?
    May 3, 2014 $799 Inside 7 Seattle Holland America
    Westerdam Alaska Cruise Sailing

    If yes,may I know this tour will special take us to a special place to view the Aurora Borealis or we can view it at any place?

    Thanks.

    • http://www.cruiseexperts.com Julie Wright

      Hi Heidy,

      Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to Mother Nature. If you want to see the Northern Lights, aka the Aurora Borealis, it has to be dark at night. So, a cruise in the middle of the summer when it never gets completely dark would be the wrong choice. While early May or late September are your best bets, the longer your visit to Alaska and the further north you travel the more your chance increases of seeing this amazing phenomenon. An early or late season Cruisetour would give you extra time in the region and also have you traveling in areas where the Lights are often seen. The May 3, 2014 sailing of the Westerdam only travels as far north as Juneau which makes seeing the Northern Lights a possibility but by no means a certainty. Much better options for seeing the Aurora Borealis would be to sail on either the Coral Princess departing Whittier, Alaska on September 13th, the Island Princess also departing from Whittier on 9/17, or Holland America’s Statendam departing Seward on 9/14. With any of these choices plan a few extra days in Anchorage at the beginning of your trip to increase your chances or better yet take a land tour before any of these cruises. As I’m sure you can see, a visit to Alaska can get complicated, but we can help. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888-804-2784.

  • Shelley

    I would love to view the northern lights in September 2014. I know this can be unpredictable but which Alaskan cruise lines am I more likely to see this? I know the more north you visit the more likely you are to see this but are there Alaskan cruises that visit areas solely in hope of viewing this?

    • http://www.cruiseexperts.com Linda Brandt

      Hi Shelley! Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to Mother Nature. If you want to see the Northern Lights, aka the Aurora Borealis, it has to be dark at night. So, a cruise in the middle of the summer when it never gets completely dark would be the wrong choice. While early May or late September are your best bets, the longer your visit to Alaska and the further north you travel the more your chance increases of seeing this amazing phenomenon. A great option is the last Alaska cruisetour in September on a Holland America Denali Land+Sea Journeys. The D1, D3, D4, D5 and D7 itineraries end in Fairbanks, so it would be easy to add on an extended vacation to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. We can help you make all your arrangements, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888-804-2784.

  • https://support.tel3.com/entries/35656534-Costa-Rica-Eco-Tourism-Industry-Thriving VacationsToCostaRica

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.

    Please let me know. Thank you

    • http://www.cruiseexperts.com Julie Wright

      Yes Magaret – go ahead and share! Thanks!

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