Best Time of Year for Alaska Inside Passage Cruise
What is the best time of year for an Alaska Cruise in the Inside Passage?
Carol and I are just home from our 4th Alaskan cruise.
And before we begin to share our wonderful experience sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, I thought I might first tackle one of the first questions we generally get as folks are considering an Alaskan cruise: what is the best time of year for an Alaska cruise in the Inside Passage?
With a few exceptions, the Alaska ocean cruise season is generally mid-May through early-September. And because many folks think that there might still be snow on the ground in Alaska in May, the vast majority of folks tend to book in mid-Summer.
And while it’s possible that Denali might still have snow on the ground in mid-May, the stops along an Alaska cruise are going to be generally nice weather from an Alaskan point of view.
And, besides the weather, one should also consider the summer crowds. When we were in Ketchikan, our guide told us that over 1,000,000 people visited this little town of 8,000 people in 2018 and they’re expecting 2019 to bring 1.2 million. Therefore, massive crowds is another important consideration when considering a cruise in Alaska.
Margerie Glacier, ©David A. Porter
Annual Temperatures, Rainfall, Snowfall, and Daylight in Alaska Cruise Towns
OK. To answer these important questions, please click the graphic below to get an idea of the annual temperatures, annual rainfall, annual snowfall, and annual daylight hours you will find in five of the most popular destinations on an Alaskan cruise.
Note: click the graphic below for a larger view, or click the image and then right-click and download the very large view.
When Carol and I have a choice, we cruise Alaska in late-May
Now, if you study these five different graphs, you will see that overall, late-May or very-early-June brings you reasonable temperatures with the least amount of rainfall. PLUS, if you travel Alaska in late-May, the crowds have yet to arrive and there will be baby animals everywhere.
Therefore, when Carol and I have a choice, we cruise Alaska in late-May. No crowds and nice weather. The only problem with this advice is Denali. If you also plan to visit Denali, then it’s possible that the park will still be closed in late-May because there is likely significant snow still in the park. So, if you want to visit Denali, we’d recommend that you consider a visit in mid-to-late June at the earliest.
The last piece of advice that I will leave you with is to book at least a year in advance. Alaska is a very popular destination and it’s not uncommon to find the best dates and itineraries sold out a year in advance.
To get an idea of all of the cruise lines that sail Alaska each year, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about our travel agency, and how we can help you plan the perfect Alaska cruise, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you.
Please also enjoy this article: Best Way to Book an Ocean or River Cruise
If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.
Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40
Went to Alaska in May 2013. 14,May June time & still saw snow only in Skagway area & of course Glacier NP area.,Princess Lines
snow in Skagway was AWAY from town, far to north, have to drive to see it & only in patches.
& can see snow on mtn tops around Skagway Cruise port & Airport due south, very warmish in Skagway near80s F & locals went nuts over the temps that day. Locals said then that they rarely get these temps.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
In my 35 years of visiting Alaska, I have always planned my journeys there around the full moon period ( 4 days before to 4 days after ) of August, and have been rewarded with good and relatively warm weather / temps 85-90% of the time.
I learned a long time ago from my business mentor – who was a double PhD – that because of the moon’s gravitational pull on the earth and rise of barometric pressure, that you will be assured of sun-filled days and starry filled nights…and it has proven to be correct the high percentage of time!
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
That’s interesting! i might try that trick when I’m next looking at travel dates.
We just did the inner passage on the Celebrity Solstice August (10-17) 2018 and had an absolute blast. The excursions are great. They do a catamaran excursion that gets you of the ship for 5 hours between ports to get closer to the Tracy Arm Glacier. We also did a float plane to see bears and did the train up to hike into a glacier. Also awesome experiences!! I am now intrigued and the earlier dates to so baby animals. Thanks for the good info here.
Thanks for stopping by to share your recent experience. And we’re glad to see that we have another Alaska loving convert. 🙂
So enjoyed reading this! All three of our Alaskan cruises have been in late May or early June. Couldn’t agree more – less crowds, decent weather, etc. And the best part – we saw baby whales, bear, and moose with their mamas. We’ve had snow flurries in the interior of Denali National Park, but there’s been no problem so far with us taking the entire Tundra Wilderness Tour (which is offered June 1 and later).
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your love of Alaska. 🙂