- The Online Guide to Travel Alaska Cruises and Cruise Lines - Best Time to Cruise Alaska

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Cruising the Inner Passage, Alaska
Cruising the Inner Passage by Robert Thiemann on Unsplash.

 Travel Notes: North America - United States - Alaska - Alaska Cruising.

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Alaska is a seasonal, as opposed to year round, cruise vacation. Alaska cruising season runs from May through September. Smaller ships go out in April.

When planning a cruise in Alaska, there are a few key things to consider.

Travel Map Mapping Alaska

Map of Glacier Bay

Map of Glacier Bay, Alaska

Cruising in Alaska

Cruising in Alaska is a fantastic way to experience the breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife of the region.

Alaska offers stunning landscapes, glaciers, fjords, and a variety of wildlife, making it a popular destination for cruise vacations.

During your Alaska cruise, you can expect to witness incredible sights such as massive glaciers calving into the ocean, marine wildlife like whales and seals, and picturesque coastal towns.

The onboard experience often includes amenities like onboard lectures about the region's wildlife and history, delicious cuisine featuring local seafood, and entertainment options tailored to the destination.

Remember to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines from health authorities and the cruise line you choose, as travel protocols may vary.

Cruise Lines

There are several cruise lines that offer Alaska itineraries, each with its own style and amenities.

Some popular cruise lines operating in Alaska include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.

Research the offerings of each cruise line to find one that suits your preferences and budget.

Cruise Routes

Alaska cruises typically depart from cities such as Seattle, Vancouver, or Anchorage.

Popular routes include the Inside Passage, which runs along the southeastern coast of Alaska and offers spectacular views of glaciers and fjords.

Another option is the Gulf of Alaska route, which extends further north to destinations like Seward or Whittier and often includes visits to Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park.


Alaska cruises typically range from 7 to 14 days, although shorter and longer itineraries are available.

Consider how much time you have available for your vacation and choose a cruise duration that fits your schedule.

Excursions and Ports of Call

Alaska cruises often include stops at various ports along the route, providing opportunities for shore excursions.

These excursions can range from wildlife viewing and glacier hiking to cultural tours and outdoor adventures like dog sledding or kayaking.

Research the ports of call on your chosen itinerary to see which activities interest you the most.

Weather and Packing

Alaska's weather can be unpredictable, so it's important to pack layers and be prepared for varying conditions.

Even during the summer months, temperatures can range from chilly to mild, so bring a mix of warm clothing and waterproof gear.

Don't forget essentials like binoculars, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery.

Alaska Cruising Season

May and September are considered the best seasons to cruise in Alaska, plus you can get lower brochure rates and the greatest discounts during these months.

I particularly like going on my Alaska cruise in May, before the crowds arrive.

I have noticed that the locals are generally 'friendlier' during that time, because later during the season they are more than ready to see the tourist go home.

However, it is also a fact that in the Inside Passage ports, May is one of the driest months in the season. But later on, in September, is best to have less clogging of ports and better visualisation during the cruise.

You will find that the warmest months are June, July, and August. During these months you will need to bring along some outerwear.

June 21st is the longest day of the year, with daylight lasting virtually all night.

June tends to be drier than July and August.

In April you may encounter freezing rain and other vestiges of winter. If you are considering travelling before the Alaska cruise season (before May), keep in mind that some tourist shops don't open until Memorial Day (last Monday of May).

Your Alaska cruise is an experience you will never forget. Planning it out well and getting the best prices is a must to enjoy your Alaska cruise to the fullest.

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Find an Alaska Cruise:
A number of cruise lines visit Alaska. Find the one that offers the best Alaska cruise for you.

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