Cruising Alaska end of May

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#1
Southernmost Ontario
932 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
We are looking into doing a cruise to Alaska at the end of May, or beginning of June next year. Which time of the year do you think would be better and why? Also would you suggest cruising out of Seattle or cruising out of Vancouver and why? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
#2
North Carolina
1,863 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
We are looking into doing a cruise to Alaska at the end of May, or beginning of June next year. Which time of the year do you think would be better and why? Also would you suggest cruising out of Seattle or cruising out of Vancouver and why? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Ontario,

We've cruised Alaska both the last week of May, and the second week ofJuly. Both had their charms. We had great weather on both cruises, great wildlife, but if fishing is of any interest, later June/July/August is likely better. If not, May likely offers snowier conditions, at least on the mountain tops (and likely on the White Pass rail in Skagway). Half our trip in July was ust as cool as the week we went in May.

If you add spending any time in the interior, that can help with your decision as well depending on what your interests are. Both our cruises have been one ways - one north from Vancouver to Seward, and the reverse last summer. It's more expensive thanks to the one way airfares, but as much as we love crusing Alaska, we definitely have to spend at least some time in the interior. If you're interested, here's a link to the review of our trip last summer - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1679447. I'm working on one from the trip bfore, but I'm only on Day 2!

L.J.
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#3
SoCal
9,450 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
We are looking into doing a cruise to Alaska at the end of May, or beginning of June next year. Which time of the year do you think would be better and why? Also would you suggest cruising out of Seattle or cruising out of Vancouver and why? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Really, the differences between the end of May and the beginning of June are pretty small.

We did a cruisetour beginning in May, boarding the ship June 2 and disembarking June 9.

As is true for most of the season, the weather can be quite variable regardless of when you go. We had snow in Denali (May 31) and gorgeous sunshine the next day. We had rain in Glacier Bay as well as Juneau. And sun again in Haines. But the temperatures were generally in the high 50s to mid 60s most of the cruise.

Each end of the season has it good points. In the early part of the season you'll most likely see more of what many people think Alaska looks like (snow and such). By the end of the season the fall colors are beautiful.

We've been in May/June and September. Our next trip will be in July to see what that has to offer.
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#4
British Columbia
6,327 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
May to mid June is normally ' dry as it gets'.
Since you are coming from Ontario, I would suggest cruising out of Vancouver, less problems. Also you would cruise the Inside Passage' which is more enjoyable IMO.
That being said, as you see I am cruising next out of Seattle, the reason is that some of the ports of call, are, in the main different from the ones that we have done before.

Have fun!!!! john
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#5
Thousand Oaks, California
1,575 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
When we went there on our first trip to Alaska in May/June, 2001, many locals told us the best time was the second and third week of June. Since then we have been to Alaska 3 other times in June. Weather was always pleasant and we never got poured on when in upper Alaska only in Ketchikan and that was only one time. We also went August 28 - September 4. That trip was supposed to have rain the whole time, but it only barely sprinkled one evening when we were up in Denali area. Otherwise, the weather was beautiful.

So, the weather in Alaska is a crap shoot. Just go prepared for whatever and have a good time whatever the weather is.
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#6
85,528 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
There is not too much of a difference between the to dates you are thinking of. Since Alaska weather is different on any given day and that includes year over year it really doesn't matter.

I might go in May since less children are out of school.

Keith
#7
Castro Valley, California
1,944 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
We are looking into doing a cruise to Alaska at the end of May, or beginning of June next year. Which time of the year do you think would be better and why? Also would you suggest cruising out of Seattle or cruising out of Vancouver and why? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Why not do both? Head north to the Anchorage area one week, then south back to home the next.
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#8
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,695 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
You are not going to find a big difference with the time frame you have selected. Weather is always a huge crap-shoot with Alaska but if you can push your trip a bit further into June then statistically you will likely be better off from a weather perspective.
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#9
Canada
45 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
I'm cruising to Alaska next week !! We're from Ontario as well and we're flying to Seattle for 2 reasons. 1- The price in flight difference, it was $400 more per person to fly to Vancouver than Seattle. 2- I preferred the itinerary of the ship leaving from Seattle.

I would have preferred leaving Vancouver simply for the direct flight. But I much rather have an extra $800 in my pocket.
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#10
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,695 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by CountryBoots
I'm cruising to Alaska next week !! We're from Ontario as well and we're flying to Seattle for 2 reasons. 1- The price in flight difference, it was $400 more per person to fly to Vancouver than Seattle. 2- I preferred the itinerary of the ship leaving from Seattle.

I would have preferred leaving Vancouver simply for the direct flight. But I much rather have an extra $800 in my pocket.
Sad commentary but true .... you can often fly to Seattle cheaper then you can fly Toronto to Vancouver. However that aside you say you preferred the itinerary out of Seattle.
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#11
Canada
45 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Putterdude
Sad commentary but true .... you can often fly to Seattle cheaper then you can fly Toronto to Vancouver. However that aside you say you preferred the itinerary out of Seattle.
Yes, the itinerary won me over It is sad that the flights are so expensive within Canada but it is how it is.
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#12
St, Louis, Mo. USA
1,825 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
We like the end of May because there is still snow on the mountains. It is beautiful.

Sue
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#13
Southernmost Ontario
932 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by CountryBoots
I'm cruising to Alaska next week !! We're from Ontario as well and we're flying to Seattle for 2 reasons. 1- The price in flight difference, it was $400 more per person to fly to Vancouver than Seattle. 2- I preferred the itinerary of the ship leaving from Seattle.

I would have preferred leaving Vancouver simply for the direct flight. But I much rather have an extra $800 in my pocket.
I know that flying to Seattle will be cheaper than flying to Vancouver, especially since we are 1 hour from home to Metro Detroit airport, however, was maybe hoping that between now and next May/June I could watch for a possible seat sale on an airline to Vancouver. Never been there before and am thinking maybe an extended visit would be nice. For that matter, never been to Seattle either. So many choices I am sooo confused. Not as easy as booking those Carribean cruises that we are use to. What are our chances of seeing whales at the end of May, beginning of June. I really need to research this some more. Was thinking about booking with NCL during their current DASH sale, but I think I better check things out a little more first. Any input would help.

Country Boots, please post an up-date after your Alaska cruise. I would greatly appreciate any input you have to share. Thanking you in advance!!
#14
St. Louis, MO
111 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
What are our chances of seeing whales at the end of May, beginning of June.
Whale watching is usually done in Juneau or Icy Straight Point, and both ports have 100% chance of seeing whales throughout the Alaska cruising season.
#15
North Carolina
1,863 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
What are our chances of seeing whales at the end of May, beginning of June. I really need to research this some more. Was thinking about booking with NCL during their current DASH sale, but I think I better check things out a little more first. Any input would help.

Country Boots, please post an up-date after your Alaska cruise. I would greatly appreciate any input you have to share. Thanking you in advance!!
We've had fantastic whale watching both in May & July out of Juneau & ISP. Here's a look at a few shots from our end of May whale watch:



























L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
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#16
No. California
7,362 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
We, too, love cruising in May because of the snow. This year Alaska's winter hung on, and we were treated to the white stuff everywhere.

We prefer Vancouver departures because we like Vancouver much better (LOVE Vancouver); we get full Inside Passage transit both ways; and the way back on the last day is a gorgeous treat.

We have tried all ways of getting to Vancouver, including direct flights from San Francisco; flying to Seattle with the bus to Vancouver; and this time we took the train from the Bay Area to Seattle then the bus to Vancouver. We have decided to bite the bullet on airfare from now on and fly direct to Vancouver. By the time you add on additional hotel nights, extra meals, cab rides, bus fare, etc. we're pretty sure we'll save money flying directly to Vancouver (and taking the Canada Line into the City).
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#17
Canada
45 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
I know that flying to Seattle will be cheaper than flying to Vancouver, especially since we are 1 hour from home to Metro Detroit airport, however, was maybe hoping that between now and next May/June I could watch for a possible seat sale on an airline to Vancouver. Never been there before and am thinking maybe an extended visit would be nice. For that matter, never been to Seattle either. So many choices I am sooo confused. Not as easy as booking those Carribean cruises that we are use to. What are our chances of seeing whales at the end of May, beginning of June. I really need to research this some more. Was thinking about booking with NCL during their current DASH sale, but I think I better check things out a little more first. Any input would help.

Country Boots, please post an up-date after your Alaska cruise. I would greatly appreciate any input you have to share. Thanking you in advance!!
Absolutely, when I return I will write a review

WalleyeLJ: Absolutely amazing pictures !!! We leave in 5 days and now I'm even more excited !!!
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#18
Canada
45 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
We are looking into doing a cruise to Alaska at the end of May, or beginning of June next year. Which time of the year do you think would be better and why? Also would you suggest cruising out of Seattle or cruising out of Vancouver and why? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Check out the Alaska thread " Home from Alaska" I posted a update from our cruise
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#19
1,714 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
I know that flying to Seattle will be cheaper than flying to Vancouver, especially since we are 1 hour from home to Metro Detroit airport, however, was maybe hoping that between now and next May/June I could watch for a possible seat sale on an airline to Vancouver. Never been there before and am thinking maybe an extended visit would be nice. For that matter, never been to Seattle either. So many choices I am sooo confused. Not as easy as booking those Carribean cruises that we are use to. What are our chances of seeing whales at the end of May, beginning of June. I really need to research this some more. Was thinking about booking with NCL during their current DASH sale, but I think I better check things out a little more first. Any input would help.

Country Boots, please post an up-date after your Alaska cruise. I would greatly appreciate any input you have to share. Thanking you in advance!!
We took a cruise that left from Vancouver and returned to Seattle. It was the last week of May and the weather was spectacular. Not a drop of rain the entire week and except for when we were on the glacier the temp was in the 60's or even 70's. We flew into Seattle and took Amtrak to Vancouver. Beautiful scenery and still much cheaper than flying to Vancouver. Book Amtrak ahead...watch for sales...I got the morning train for $26 a person.

We saw whales from the ship. We did not do a whale watching excursion but did talk with people who did and did see whales.

Whichever city you choose (Seattle or Vancouver) be sure to get there a couple days early. they are both beautiful cities and have a lot to offer.
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#20
1,714 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by sueernieb
We like the end of May because there is still snow on the mountains. It is beautiful.

Sue
I agree with this as well. And the melting snow creates an abundance of beautiful waterfalls.
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