Best And Worst Months To Cruise To Alaska
The best time to cruise to Alaska depends on both warm temperatures and a lower risk of rain.
Historically, July has ideal combination of the two, followed by June and then August. Rainfall is usually lowest in May and climbs steadily until reaching the highest point in September. May is ideal for rain but not for temperatures, which are often quite a bit cooler.
The best time to visit Alaska certainly isnt the winter, but winter is a great time to plan the trip.
The majority of Alaskan cruises run between May and September. July and August are the most active cruise months, according to scheduled cruises on major travel booking websites. July and August also have the warmest temperatures.
Average high temperatures can reach into the mid 60s Fahrenheit or high teens Celsius along the Alaskan coast during the summer months of June through August. On a good day, they will climb into the 70s as they did on > our first Alaskan cruise .
They reach the mid to upper 50s Fahrenheit or low teens Celsius during May and September, according to historical records from the U.S. National Weather Service. Because of these cooler temperatures, fewer cruises are available in either month.
Despite temperatures in that are similar to July and August, June usually has fewer cruises.
The Grand City Tour By Land & Sea
If your Alaska cruise includes your first trip to Seattle, the Grand City Tour is a great add-on excursion before or after your time on the ship. Not all of the cruise companies call it by this name some just mention the sights youll see or call it something like The Best of Seattle.
Which sights make the cut? On the 4-6 hour tour, youll visit and see:
- Seattle Center
- Pioneer Square
- The International District
The itineraries might vary a little from company to company. But they almost all include all of these sights as well as a short cruise along the Seattle Waterfront and into Lake Union. They also offer variations whether you need a transfer to the airport, your ship, or your hotel and accessible options.
I assume that this is the most popular Alaska cruise excursion in Seattle and for good reason. Many of these made my list of Seattle bucket list experiences, so this tour is a great option to tick a few of those off!
Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In September
- Pack warm clothes and enjoy Septembers cool temperatures that vary between 35-55 degrees. If youre on an arctic tour, pack winter coats, as youll experience daytime temperatures of 28-33 degrees.
- Looking for a bargain? September increases your odds of finding low-cost tours and other Alaska cruise deals.
- Elk, caribou, bears, moose, and deer can be spotted across the wilderness. Above, raptors and gulls migrate south and bald eagles hunt for prey. Below, harbor seals and sea lions dot the beach, and pods of gray whales pass your cruise ship.
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Alaska Cruises From Seattle
Alaska cruises from Seattle sail roundtrip Inside Passage routes. They are popular for their ease of travel, especially for travelers connecting to Seattle from elsewhere in the continental U.S.
Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean all offer roundtrip Alaska cruises that sail from Seattle. The specific itineraries vary, but generally cruises on this route spend two days at sea traveling between Seattle and Alaska, and one full day sailing through places like the Endicott Arm, Tracy Arm, or Glacier Bay National Park. Ports of call vary, but often include Skagway, , and Ketchikan. These cruises wrap up with a final port call in the British Columbian capital of Victoria before returning to Seattle.
If you’d like to see more of Alaska, check out Alaska cruises from Vancouver. These voyages include one-way glacier route cruises to Whittier or Seward that pair perfectly with pre-cruise or post-cruise Alaska land packages.
And while you’re at it, visit our Cruise Finder. You can use this easy tool to search for specific cruises based on the routes you’re interested in, sailing dates, and even cruise line. Through the finder you can also quickly request a quote for the compelling cruises you find.
Space Needle/chihuly Garden & Glass Combo
Who Offers This Excursion?Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, and Royal Caribbean all offer this Alaska cruise excursion in Seattle. Its also easy to visit these two sights on your own you can snag a Seattle CityPass which offers discounts on these two experiences plus others.
If you have less time or just want a shorter excursion that still lets you see some of Seattles top sights, the Space Needle/Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum combo tour is a good choice. As it includes two of the citys most popular attractions and maybe even have time to explore the Seattle Center a bit too during the 2.5-3 hour tour.
As you already know, I absolutely love the renovated Space Needle with all of the glass walls and rotating glass floor. Like with the Grand City Tour above and especially if youre not doing that one , this tour is a must-do on your first trip to Seattle or if youve not been up the Space Needle since it re-opened in 2018.
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The Best Alaska Cruises For Families
Nothing is as easy as finding cruise vacations that suit the needs of your family. Even so, you can never go wrong with an Alaskan cruise. Taking a family cruise to the state is something that youve undoubtedly considered.
Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful but also radiates the calmness of nature, which your whole family will love.
If youre planning a leisurely cruise to Alaska, here are 13 of the best cruises to consider.
Alaska Cruises: Experiences Of Our Visitors
Top weatherSeattle really warm for embarkation and disembarkation, Juneau was a little fresher but enough for whale watching. Skagway blue sky, top view, Glacier Bay fantasticin the photos sky and sea almost indistinguishable.Ketchigan super weather and Victoria over 25 degrees and sunshine
Weather Rating: 5 stars Excellent
From Juno to Skagway we had good weather no rainy day
Weather Rating: 4 stars Good
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Alaskan Shore Excursions And More
Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours. Never pay cruise line prices again. Shore Explorersreveals over 5,500 Discount Shore Excursions and Sightseeing Tours priced as low as $29! Shore Excursion Reviews. Alaska Cruise shore excursions, tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more.
Up to 40% off regular pricing! Cancel any time and receive a full refund up to day of cruise Full refund if cruise is cancelled Full refund if ship misses port
Alaska is Adventurous!
Come explore some of the top active / adventure Alaska destinations, resorts, wilderness lodges and activities. Alaska Cruises Direct has you covered – whether it’s kayaking, hiking, cycling, helicopter glacier landing, flightseeing, fishing remote lakes, or zip lining through Alaska’s mountains, we know where to have fun!
Alaska Cruises, Rail & Tours, Alaska’s National Parks
With over 150 unique itinerary possibilities, from the 3 most popular cruise lines and hundreds of shore excursions, the combinations for your bucket-list inspired adventure are nearly endless. With Alaska Cruises Direct, you’ll enjoy the best of Alaska by combining a seven-night sailing with a land tour into Alaska’s most magnificent inland destinations.
Choose From 5 Great Ways To Sail Alaska
3 – 8 day land tours combined with a 7 day Alaska Cruise.
Start with glaciers and frontier towns on a 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise
Small Bites On The Bay Pike Place Tasting Tour
As you may have guessed, Pike Place Market is one of Seattles best attractions, and a great spot to grab a bite or try a few new flavors. This particular tour is a three-hour guided tour of the Market, including stops at nine different vendors to taste and samples their wares.
While I love this particular cruise excursion, it ends up at the end of my list only because of how few companies offer it just two. That said, if you love food and are cruising with Holland or Princess, this is a great option!
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Choosing The Best Alaska Small Ship Cruise For You
With so many choices how does one begin to decide? We suggest that travelers first consider where they would like to cruise. Coming to our specialists with a good idea of which Alaska region youd like to visit allows them to determine which cruises are best for you. Then you can consider and hone in on which itineraries and ships offer the level of activity, comfort and amenities that fit your travel style.
Other important considerations include your group size and ages of travelers, if you plan to also travel by land and so on. Choosing the best Alaska small ship cruise honestly comes down to enlisting the help of an Adventure Specialist, who can factor in all these considerations with ship availability and intimate cabin knowledge to really get you on board.
Longer Sailings From The West Coast
Finally, youll find some San Francisco round-trip itineraries usually 10 nights long as well as longer sailings between San Francisco and Vancouver. These cruises are best suited to travelers who love days at sea. Youll have four sea days plus a day of scenic cruising at a spot like Tracy Arm , Endicott Arm, Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park. The waters before you enter the Inside Passage can be calm, rough or anything in between, depending on when you go and luck of the draw.
Ports on these longer sailings may include Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Victoria, British Columbia.
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Here Are The Mainstream Cruise Ships Set To Sail In Alaska
, the mainstream cruise industry is now back in the market after two years.
Through August, seven cruise lines and eight modern vessels are set to resume service at the Last Frontier, offering a total 83 voyages.
Here are the ships sailing in Alaska:
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International Ship: Serenade of the SeasCapacity : 2,100 Built: 2003Homeport: Seattle Itinerary: Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point scenic cruising in Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nights
Capacity : 2,038Built: 2000Itinerary: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway scenic cruising in Endicott Arm and Dawes GlacierLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 23, 2021Cruise Line: Holland America Line Ship: Nieuw Amsterdam Capacity : 2,100Built: 2010Homeport: Seattle Itinerary: Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan scenic cruising in Glacier Bay and Stephens PassageLength: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 24, 2021
Cruise Line: Princess CruisesCapacity : 3,600Built: 2017Itinerary: Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway and KetchikanLength: 7 nights First Cruise: July 25, 2021
Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line Ship: Carnival Miracle Capacity : 2,100Built: 2004Itinerary: Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord Length: 7 nightsFirst Cruise: July 27, 2021
In addition, a number of small operators with U.S.-flagged ships are operating in Alaska, including Lindblad Expeditions, American Cruise Lines, UnCruise and Alaskan Dream Cruises.
Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
At this time, AAA does not offer 3-day Alaska cruises from Seattle, small boutique cruises from Seattle to Alaska, or cruises from Seattle to Alaska one way.
Please contact one of our travel agents with any questions you may have about our Alaska cruises leaving from Seattle.
We hope to see you soon on one of our cruises!
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Best Cruises For Extended Trips To Alaska
If you want to cruise Alaska but also see some of the interior and enjoy a stay in a lodge or hotel, go for a cruise-tour package from either Holland America or Princess Cruises. Both have fantastic itineraries that take passengers not only to the Inside Passage, but also Anchorage, Denali National Park, the Yukon, Kenai Peninsula, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Princess even owns a handful of its own lodges.
Seattle Vs Vancouver: Where Should You Start Your Alaska Cruise
Seattle and Vancouver are two of the most popular embarkation ports for Alaska cruises. Both are incredible cities with major airports and plenty to explore on pre- or post-cruise stays. So how do you decide which port is better for starting out on your Alaska cruise? Take a look at what’s offered from each homeport to help you decide.
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Alaska Land Tours Pre & Post Cruise
AdventureSmith Explorations also offers a full selection of land- and lodge-based tours that are perfect as small ship cruise extensions or standalone trips. Independent tours can be scheduled at any time based on availability to explore Glacier Bay, visit Denali National Park or view brown bears at Katmai National Park, for example. Guided small group tours, designed with the same focus on intimate exploration as our small ship cruises, explore the Kenai Peninsula and Denali with activity options such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, flightseeing and more. For a full selection view our Alaska land tours.
What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise
Your packing list for an Alaska cruise will look very different from your Caribbean one. Youll want to include the following items, as well as all the typical cruise essentials:
- Rain jacket and other rain gear
- Warm layers, hats, and gloves for chilly days and glacier viewing
- Binoculars for wildlife spotting
- Bug spray for those pesky mosquitos
- Hiking boots if you plan on getting out into nature
- Swimsuit and sunscreen because sometimes its warm and sunny
- Camera with wide angle and telephoto lenses
- Day pack for carrying extra layers, souvenirs, etc.
- Waterproof bags for kayaking or rafting trips
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Best Time To Cruise To Alaska
The Alaska cruise season is short, running mainly from May to September, with a few lines offering sailings in April and October. The best time to cruise varies based on what you prioritize most.
The best Alaska cruise weather is typically found in June, when the summer rains havent ramped up, but the air temperatures are rising. This is the time when the sun barely sets and its light nearly all day long. July and August are the rainiest months in Alaska and see the most mosquitos September is starting to get chilly, with rougher waters and shorter days.
May is the best month to see waterfalls and wildflowers. June is when the salmon start to run, and the different species will appear and disappear throughout the cruise season. Denali lodges and the park road open in June, so your best bet for visiting the national park is in July and August for full accessibility and wildlife activity. However, if you want to see baby animals, plan your Alaska visit for May or June.
The best prices are found in the shoulder seasons: April-May and September-October. The biggest crowds and highest cruise fares come mid-June through mid-August.
Travelers who want the best shot at viewing the Northern Lights should book a cruise at the very end of the season, and tack on a cruise tour up to Denali and Fairbanks for the greatest potential.
How Much Time To Spend In Alaska
Most travelers will make only one trip to Alaska in their lifetime and of course want to make the most of it. Like any wilderness-oriented trip, the longer you stay in the backcountry, the better chance you have of seeing animals. For travelers who have only one week we suggest they consider an Alaska coastal cruise. An Alaska cruise offers the most bang for your buck, the best opportunity to view whales and wildlife, and the convenience of only unpacking once while the ship does the traveling. Travelers who have two weeks should consider a cruise plus a land extension into Alaskas interior. Our most popular land trip is the Denali Backcountry Explorer. Combining a coastal cruise with Denali offers an opportunity to experience much of what Alaska offers from temperate rainforest, whales and glaciers to boreal forest, tundra, Denali, bears, moose and more. See our Alaska land tours for a full selection of trip extensions and land-based tours.
The longer you stay, the more chances you have to see wildlife.
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Got Questions About Alaska Cruises
If you have any questions about which Alaska cruise and itinerary would be best for you, get in touch with one of AAAs travel agents today.
Here at AAA, weve made it our mission to provide travelers with access to luxurious and fun cruise experiences. We look forward to providing you with the answers that you need in order to make the best decision for your upcoming trip.
How To Find The Cheapest Alaskan Cruise Deals
Sail Early in the SeasonThe Alaskan cruising season is short usually only five months long. Running from May through September, your opportunities to sail are limited, although there are a number of ships sailing at any given time.
If you want to save the most, look for cruises that sail in May. These trips early in the season are before the busier summer travel season. That means the pool of available passengers is smaller. In order to fill the ships, cruise lines slash prices. A cruise departing in May can be hundreds of dollars less than the same trip leaving in July.
Sail Late in the SeasonDidnt we just say to sail early in the season to save? Well, the same logic applies to sailing late. If you can wait until September, cruise fares to Alaska are much cheaper. With school back in session, the summer season largely over, and the bulk of the sailing season already past, you can find deals that are hundreds of dollars less than sailing just a few weeks earlier.
Sail One-Way or from Different PortsMost cruises sail round-trip, departing ports like Vancouver or Seattle. But if you look around, you can find one-way trips or that that depart from one port and let passengers off in another . Since these cruises are less convenient for most passengers, they tend to be cheaper.
Sites like AvoyaTravel.com or Orbitz allow you to search by cruise lines, destination, dates, and more to find the trip that matches your schedule and budget.
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