Jump to content
Happyreb

Cruising Alaska in May or September?

Recommended Posts

Hey folks!

 

I currently have the family booked into an aft Junior Suite on Explorer (and yes, I know there is a controversy about the view from those cabins) for Alaska in May 2017.

 

But I was daydreaming around on the RCI website this morning and found that I could save nearly $1,000 if we took the same Explorer cabin and sailed the same itinerary in September instead.

 

Is there some reason why it might be better to sail in May than September? Weather? Bugs? Lack of snow on the ground? We likely won't sail in June, July or August due to cost differential.

 

All advice appreciated! Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually go in May or September because the cruises are cheaper then.....schools are not out.

If you do not believe in global warming....go to Alaska.

Incredible differences over the last 2 decades.

This year & last year we took the first cruises of the season in the beginning of May.

We stopped in 3 Alaska ports all of which were 70 degrees both years.

Although beautiful, it should not be like that. Of course the are weeks that are cooler.

We also did not have rain & it should rain there all the time.

There was little to no snow on a lo t of the mountain tops.

We were in a glacier bay....do not remember which one...where our cabin steward said he remembered when the ship would be surrounded by slush covering the water around the ship there. We told him we also remembered that.

We took one tour in a boat where the tour operator was pointing to a certain type of tree that was dying out. I did not understand the whole thing but it was something about needing snow to insulate the ground & now it melts & then turns to ice instead.

Alaska is really a crap shoot about what the weather will be. Just dress in layers. If not raining, most of the time a sweater is more than enough.

Glad you are going. It is a guaranteed good time. Do not forget to go to the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau.

Oh yes.....we have had back balconies before & loved them !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey folks!

 

I currently have the family booked into an aft Junior Suite on Explorer (and yes, I know there is a controversy about the view from those cabins) for Alaska in May 2017.

 

But I was daydreaming around on the RCI website this morning and found that I could save nearly $1,000 if we took the same Explorer cabin and sailed the same itinerary in September instead.

 

Is there some reason why it might be better to sail in May than September? Weather? Bugs? Lack of snow on the ground? We likely won't sail in June, July or August due to cost differential.

 

All advice appreciated! Thanks!

 

I cant help with May but we just did a 7 day sailing on September the 5th and it rained, and rained and rained. All of our flight excursions where cancelled and we got so wet in Katchiekan that we got sick for the rest of the trip.

 

i would not do September again, if bears are a wish list, they are gone by september and we missed the salmon run due to the water being stirred up due to the rain.

 

the good was the cost, much cheaper as you have said, it did clear up for our scenic sailing days through glacier bay at that was amazing, it was also clearer (no rain) in anchorage and fairbanks.

 

sylva

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I cant help with May but we just did a 7 day sailing on September the 5th and it rained, and rained and rained. All of our flight excursions where cancelled and we got so wet in Katchiekan that we got sick for the rest of the trip.

 

sylva

 

Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that you got sick during your cruise! I'll be sure to check the historic rain patterns in May vs. September for western Alaska!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that you got sick during your cruise! I'll be sure to check the historic rain patterns in May vs. September for western Alaska!

 

FYI, you cannot get sick from rain, sleet, snow, cold temperatures....so please don't let that be the deciding factors. I am sorry he/she got sick also, but it was NOT due to the weather.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey folks!

 

I currently have the family booked into an aft Junior Suite on Explorer (and yes, I know there is a controversy about the view from those cabins) for Alaska in May 2017.

 

But I was daydreaming around on the RCI website this morning and found that I could save nearly $1,000 if we took the same Explorer cabin and sailed the same itinerary in September instead.

 

Is there some reason why it might be better to sail in May than September? Weather? Bugs? Lack of snow on the ground? We likely won't sail in June, July or August due to cost differential.

 

All advice appreciated! Thanks!

September is rainy season

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
September is rainy season

 

Got it; but what if I were to tell you that I care more about avoiding mosquitos than avoiding rain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Got it; but what if I were to tell you that I care more about avoiding mosquitos than avoiding rain?

 

You've honestly got little to worry about with the mosquitos, they are a lot worse in the interior (around Fairbanks area) than Anchorage or the panhandle. June and July are the worst months for the mosquitos, May and September should both be fine.

 

Personally I prefer May or June for Alaska cruises. August into September starts the rainy season. Wildlife is a bit more active June through August than it is in either May or September, largely because of the Salmon runs, but there are moose pretty much year round, and bears can be hit or miss no matter the month.

 

May might still be a little chilly; Anchorage hillside, the mountains, and other areas that are shaded or high in elevation will likely still have ice and snow in May, but those same places will start getting snow in September.

 

One other difference is daylight, May has several hours more daylight than September.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You've honestly got little to worry about with the mosquitos, they are a lot worse in the interior (around Fairbanks area) than Anchorage or the panhandle. June and July are the worst months for the mosquitos, May and September should both be fine.

 

Personally I prefer May or June for Alaska cruises. August into September starts the rainy season. Wildlife is a bit more active June through August than it is in either May or September, largely because of the Salmon runs, but there are moose pretty much year round, and bears can be hit or miss no matter the month.

 

May might still be a little chilly; Anchorage hillside, the mountains, and other areas that are shaded or high in elevation will likely still have ice and snow in May, but those same places will start getting snow in September.

 

One other difference is daylight, May has several hours more daylight than September.

 

Great info! Thank you:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

One other difference is daylight, May has several hours more daylight than September.

 

Ah! For a scenery-focused cruise, number of daylight hours does seem crucial! Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
September is rainy season

 

I disagree.... All year long is rainy season in Alaska.

 

As far as Vancouver and Pacific Northwest, for the last couple of decades Septemebr weather has been a lot better than May. This last year 2016, May was better. You are rolling the dice... Impossible to predict with any certainty whatsoever.

 

In 2011, I was standing top deck on Rhapaosy entering inside passage to Juneau... Weather was driving rain and 42 degrees... This was 1st week of July.

Fast fwd 2013 sept, 70 degrees in Skagway, orcas swimming beside the ship, zero rain... Fast fwd this year, rain rain rain as the prev poster saiD.

My own personal opinion living in the Pacific Northwest, at same cruise price I would gamble on Sept vs. May.... For $1000 less in Sept this is a no brainer decision!!!!! In my humble opinion, and especially with $1000 in your pocket, I would choose Sept.

 

P.s. Oct 2 and its 70 degrees and sunny here in Vancouver... But poster above had worse weather one month ago on sept 5... Again, roll the dice. No one can predict.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah! For a scenery-focused cruise, number of daylight hours does seem crucial! Thank you!

 

Do keep in mind we still have about 12-13 hours of daylight in September, it's just closer to 18 in May. It's not until November-January that we really get into the limited sunlight.

 

I disagree.... All year long is rainy season in Alaska.

 

As far as Vancouver and Pacific Northwest, for the last couple of decades Septemebr weather has been a lot better than May. This last year 2016, May was better. You are rolling the dice... Impossible to predict with any certainty whatsoever.

 

In 2011, I was standing top deck on Rhapaosy entering inside passage to Juneau... Weather was driving rain and 42 degrees... This was 1st week of July.

Fast fwd 2013 sept, 70 degrees in Skagway, orcas swimming beside the ship, zero rain... Fast fwd this year, rain rain rain as the prev poster saiD.

My own personal opinion living in the Pacific Northwest, at same cruise price I would gamble on Sept vs. May.... For $1000 less in Sept this is a no brainer decision!!!!! In my humble opinion, and especially with $1000 in your pocket, I would choose Sept.

 

P.s. Oct 2 and its 70 degrees and sunny here in Vancouver... But poster above had worse weather one month ago on sept 5... Again, roll the dice. No one can predict.

 

Ketchikan, yes. All year long is the rainy season in Ketchikan since it's a temperate rainforest. But for the rest of the state, and everywhere else that a cruise goes, the rainy season starts in August and goes through September, and into October for the panhandle. That's not to say that you won't get rain other times of the year, you can get rain anytime of year, but it is significantly more likely in September, based on climate data and statistics.

 

There's nothing wrong with September, I still go out most weekends and hike or do other things, but rain is more probable then. Technically you can enjoy any time; we hiked Denali in February; cold but absolutely stunning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've sailed Alaska in the first/second week of September three separate times and never had weather ruin my cruise. Other than some drizzle from time to time (normal for the Alaskan coastal rain forest), it was sunny, partly cloudy with cool temps. Yes, it was 40ish cold near the glaciers (Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord, Glacier Bay) but never bad seas, bad weather or rained out ports of call. I would definitely return to Alaska in September again. You get to see and experience the same ports for less money than those cruising during the peak season. It's just a no brainer for me but to each their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have cruised to Alaska twice in May and twice in September. I vote for May. There was a chill in the air both times and I loved it. Great trip up the mountain on the train in Skagway with snow flurries at the top.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I disagree.... All year long is rainy season in Alaska.

As far as Vancouver and Pacific Northwest, for the last couple of decades Septemebr weather has been a lot better than May. This last year 2016, May was better. You are rolling the dice... Impossible to predict with any certainty whatsoever.

 

In 2011, I was standing top deck on Rhapaosy entering inside passage to Juneau... Weather was driving rain and 42 degrees... This was 1st week of July.

Fast fwd 2013 sept, 70 degrees in Skagway, orcas swimming beside the ship, zero rain... Fast fwd this year, rain rain rain as the prev poster saiD.

My own personal opinion living in the Pacific Northwest, at same cruise price I would gamble on Sept vs. May.... For $1000 less in Sept this is a no brainer decision!!!!! In my humble opinion, and especially with $1000 in your pocket, I would choose Sept.

 

P.s. Oct 2 and its 70 degrees and sunny here in Vancouver... But poster above had worse weather one month ago on sept 5... Again, roll the dice. No one can predict.

Of course (dah), but September has a much higher average rainfall than many other months of cruise season. You can't judge anything just because it was ok in September for you a couple times

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experence so far.

 

May (whole month): High risk of closed roads (snow). Even early June can be risky. The weather can be nice.

 

September: Rain, closed attractions etc.

 

Best month (weather/animals): June

 

My advice: Go for May instead of September.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have cruised to Alaska twice in May and twice in September. I vote for May. There was a chill in the air both times and I loved it. Great trip up the mountain on the train in Skagway with snow flurries at the top.

 

Longer days in May too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We sailed Alaska the beginning of September this year and were very .u my with the weather overall. Lots of sales in the ports since their season was ending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My experence so far.

 

 

 

May (whole month): High risk of closed roads (snow). Even early June can be risky. The weather can be nice.

 

 

 

September: Rain, closed attractions etc.

 

 

 

Best month (weather/animals): June

 

 

 

My advice: Go for May instead of September.

 

 

 

Don't know what you mean by closed roads?? There's no snow in May. I live in Alaska and only road closures might be construction areas. In my state we call summers construction and tourist season [emoji6] May and June are known for more sunny days. August and September are more rain prone months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roads were closed in 2012 (scenic road in Skagway to Yukon and to famous abandoned mining town, forgot the name.) Roads opened on 7th of June.

 

Verstuurd vanaf mijn HTC One_M8 met Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even though I am not the OP, I just wanted to thank everyone for their "two cents". A cruise to Alaska is on our bucket list, but I was very confused as well. :):):)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again to everyone for your input! At the end of the day, we listened - and weighed all of your advice - and decided to go with September. I'm a bit nervous about the rain now, but the price differential was too substantial to ignore. We will pack our rain gear and hope for the best!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks again to everyone for your input! At the end of the day, we listened - and weighed all of your advice - and decided to go with September. I'm a bit nervous about the rain now, but the price differential was too substantial to ignore. We will pack our rain gear and hope for the best!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

 

We have gone in September. The weather was overcast but out of 7 days we only had a few showers. Saw lots of wildlife. Everything was open. There are end of season sales in the ports if you like to shop

Edited by setsail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Roads were closed in 2012 (scenic road in Skagway to Yukon and to famous abandoned mining town, forgot the name.) Roads opened on 7th of June.

 

Verstuurd vanaf mijn HTC One_M8 met Tapatalk

 

 

If you're talking about a mountain pass road that goes through Canada in early May - that may be the case. Some of those "roads" aren't paved and are at high elevations. 2012 was a record snowfall year so unusual. The last 3 winters the snow melted by mid April. Southeast Alaska has more temperate weather than south central (Anchorage & Seward Peninsula). There are plenty of other excursion options and I wouldn't discourage anyone from cruising in May.

 

OP, have a wonderful cruise! My state is vast and beautiful with so much to do and see. If you come near Anchorage, let me know and I'd be happy to provide recommendations for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×