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  • 21
  • Nov
  • 2019

When is the Best Time to Cruise Alaska?

best time to cruise alaska

Make sure to maximize your Alaska cruise by timing it perfectly with the weather and activities you want to enjoy.

The best time to cruise Alaska can vary depending on what you want to do and see.

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Do you want to see wildlife (whales, bears, caribou, eagles, and more), view and photograph the aurora borealis (northern lights), hike one or more of the many amazing Alaskan trails, soak up some gold rush history, or absorb the beauty of the ruggedly beautiful glaciers and fjords?

It’s important to know the best time to take an Alaska cruise to be sure you don’t miss out on the specific things you want to see and enjoy. At, we know what the best Alaska cruise is for the important activities you want to enjoy.

The Best Time to Cruise Alaska

Alaska typically has a short five-month cruise season that runs from May to September and each of these months has carved out a niche of its own. However, because of the high demand and popularity to visit Alaska, some cruise lines are now starting their season in mid-April and booking cruises through mid-October.

Although June, July, and August are the most popular cruise months, they may not be the best for the activities you want to enjoy. Here at, we’ve put together a list of each month and the best activities and viewings for those months.

Shoulder Months of May and September – The weather during these two months is less predictable, and sometimes shore excursions must be canceled. On the upside, the shoulder months offer you lower fares and fewer crowds.

May – Daylight hours are long (17) providing ample time to enjoy your time on the ship and onshore. Temperatures are still cool during the day, averaging in the mid-50s with much cooler nights. Layering your clothing is the best option for comfort. May is also the driest month which is another plus. Wildlife is more visible as trees have not fully leafed out, and migratory birds are arriving providing plenty of photo opportunities. Pods of orca whales can often be seen in Seward.

June – Fare prices haven’t yet peaked in June, the weather’s still on the dry side, nature is blooming everywhere, and there are nearly 24 hours of daylight as the summer solstice (June 21st) approaches. Your camera can be busy any time day or night capturing amazing images. You’ll see an abundance of wildlife, birds, sea life (humpback whales), and if you’re lucky you might spot a moose and calf or a bear with a cub (never approach wildlife).

Nights will be chilly, but days will be comfortable in the low 60s. Mosquitoes show up in June so pack your favorite bug repellent and wear long-sleeve shirts if you go hiking or onshore excursions

July – Traditionally the warmest month of the year in Alaska, July is also the peak month for cruises. Crowds will be larger, fares will cost more, and excursions can sell out if you don’t book early. It’s the warmest month for Alaska with highs in the mid-60s and occasionally the temperature hits 70.

Unfortunately, you will need to bring rain gear as July brings an average of 12 inches of precipitation on average. Your chances are highest for spotting bear as July is the peak salmon season. Keep your camera handy for possible snaps of bear, seals, sea lions, walrus, and if lucky a blue whale which is the largest animal in the world.

Check out everything you’ll need to pack for a cold-weather cruise here.

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