Best Time to Cruise Alaska

Best time to cruise Alaska

Cruising through the stunning landscapes of Alaska is a bucket-list adventure for many travelers. However, choosing the right time to embark on this awe-inspiring journey can make all the difference.  The insights below will help you discover the best time to cruise Alaska.

Let’s explore the weather conditions and budget-friendly options to find the best time to cruise Alaska the way you want.  Valuable tips and suggestions are provided to help you plan the best experience.

Best Time to Cruise Alaska based on the Weather

Alaska’s weather varies greatly by season, and each offers a unique experience.  The peak season is over the summer months of June through August when temperatures are the warmest.  Here is a look at the Alaska cruise seasons based on weather:

  1. Summer (May – September): The summer months are the most popular and considered the best time to cruise Alaska. With temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C), you’ll enjoy pleasant weather, abundant daylight, and the opportunity to witness wildlife in their natural habitats. Summer is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the stunning scenery.
  2. Late Spring (May – June): Late spring can be a fantastic time for budget-conscious travelers. While temperatures are still relatively cool, and some areas may have snow, you’ll find lower cruise fares and fewer crowds.
  3. Early Fall (September): Early fall, especially early September, is another excellent choice for lower fares and fewer tourists. The weather is still relatively mild, and you might catch the stunning colors of autumn foliage.
  4. Shoulder Seasons (May and September): May and September are considered the shoulder seasons. During these months, you’ll encounter fewer tourists and can enjoy the peacefulness of Alaska. Keep in mind that it may be chillier during these times, so pack accordingly.

Best Months for Lower Fares on Alaska Cruises

  1. May: Early May can offer some of the best deals on Alaska cruises. You’ll find lower fares and a chance to experience Alaska as it transitions from winter to spring.  The weather can be cooler, but vegetation and wildlife are starting to become alive and active.
  2. September: Late August and early September are ideal for budget travelers looking for lower cruise fares. While the weather may start cooling down, it’s a great time to explore without the summer crowds.  This also gives you access to the fall foliage.  The mountains are blanketed with orange, red, and yellow colors.  It is quite majestic.

Months to Avoid for Alaska Cruises

  1. Winter (October – April): Cruising Alaska during the winter months is not recommended. Many cruise lines do not operate during this time due to harsh weather conditions and limited daylight hours. Additionally, some attractions and tours may be closed.

Tips and Suggestions for Getting the Best Deal

  1. Book Early: To secure the best prices and cabin choices, book your Alaska cruise well in advance, preferably a year ahead, especially for the peak summer season.
  2. Be Flexible with Dates: If you can adjust your travel dates by a few days, you might find better deals. Sometimes, a small change in your departure date can make a significant difference in pricing.
  3. Consider Repositioning Cruises: Look into repositioning cruises, which occur when ships move between regions. These can offer unique itineraries and competitive prices.
  4. Package Deals: Some cruise lines offer package deals that include flights, accommodations, and shore excursions. These bundles can provide added convenience and potential savings.
  5. Last Minute Deals:  If your summer is incredibly flexible, you might find an inexpensive bargain.  Alaskan cruises are very popular so this is a risk if you really want to go.  Watching for last minute deals can be rewarding.  The cruise line would rather give you a bargain deal than see the ship go out with an empty room.  You have to watch closely because if these deals happen, they get booked up quickly.


The best time to cruise Alaska depends on your preferences and priorities. For ideal weather and wildlife encounters, consider the summer months (May – September). If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, late spring (May – June) and early fall (September) are excellent choices.

Avoid cruising Alaska during the winter months (October – April), as cruise availability is limited, and weather conditions can be harsh. The good news is most cruise lines don’t even offer sailings during this season.  By planning ahead and staying flexible, you can embark on a remarkable Alaskan cruise that suits your needs and offers an unforgettable experience.

Photo Credits:
Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

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