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When to go to Alaska


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I am asking this here as well as it gets more traffic than Alaska.

 

I am looking to rebook our Alaska cruise.

I am wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of when during the cruise season we should go.  I am especially interested in the ends of the season.  We can go anytime.

Also looking for suggestions on the ship, I am looking at Grand and Coral.

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15 minutes ago, Schonert said:

I am asking this here as well as it gets more traffic than Alaska.

 

I am looking to rebook our Alaska cruise.

I am wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of when during the cruise season we should go.  I am especially interested in the ends of the season.  We can go anytime.

Also looking for suggestions on the ship, I am looking at Grand and Coral.

 

We've cruised up in Alaska a dozen times ... and our favorite time of year to go is the last week of August and the first week of September.  Much later than that and we've run into some bad weather ... still really fun but cold, windy and rainy (actually, sleet).  

Fares are usually cheaper, the shops are all having close out sales and still, we've had no decrease in the excursions we've chosen.  

The Coral is a wonderful ship for Alaska ... and if I can make a suggestion, try to book a sailing that goes into Glacier Bay.  You won't regret it!!  

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I think it's a case of just good luck with the weather. We went last year in the second week of August and were blessed. The photo below shows our perfect day in Glacier Bay, which, as Cruise Raider said, is a must visit.

IMG_1960.JPG

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We cruised Alaska in September and the weather was beautiful. We did a cruise tour in Alaska in May and the weather was beautiful. We did a cruise tour in Alaska in June and the weather was beautiful. We did a 7 week camping trip up to Alaska in July/August and the weather was "almost" beautiful - we had some rain but nothing massive.

 

It's a crap shoot and we were lucky each time. We're booked for Alaska mid-September of next year. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful. However it turns out, Alaska is awesome.

Edited by Thrak
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We went last week of June over Fourth of July and the weather was perfect. We went mid August and it was cold and rainy with the Alaska state bird everywhere ( mosquitoes) giant size. Must go to glacier bay, really amazing. If you take the train ride to the Yukon, sit on the left side of the train for the best scenery. The train reverses going back but by then everyone is asleep.

Edited by Treasure Hunter
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We've done May and September, frankly the September weather was better, but May was fine (cooler in May September was in the 80's).

 

Coral up and back out of Vancouver b2b 14 days is our favorite, but a Grand class trip with Glacier Bay in an Aft Vista Suite is right up there.  Other posters like the aft ocean-views on Emerald and Baja decks on Coral since its right out to the aft open decks.

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Have gone on 2 Princess  Alaska  land/sea cruise in early May . A friend's daughter who is Park Ranger stationed at Denali  advised us to visit then . She stated Alaska  weather is cool but sunny, with the trees  just budding you can be deep into forest ,  animals  haven't  been spooked tourists in their space, snow melts with snow  on ground in shady spots . We followed  her advice and it was right on ,had a wonderful  trip both times

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6 minutes ago, JT1962 said:

We have been in late May and early September and enjoyed both, but preferred May because of better weather and there was still plenty of snow on the mountains.

Agreed.  Plenty more daylight in late May too.

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13 hours ago, Treasure Hunter said:

We went last week of June over Fourth of July and the weather was perfect. We went mid August and it was cold and rainy with the Alaska state bird everywhere ( mosquitoes) giant size. Must go to glacier bay, really amazing. If you take the train ride to the Yukon, sit on the left side of the train for the best scenery. The train reverses going back but by then everyone is asleep.

I have gone 2x over the 4th of July. One time it was bitter cold, windy, rain and even sleet all week with fog (no views the entire cruise). Several years later I went that same week and it was unbelievable hot with clear views. Was too hot to wear jeans.

 

Expect anything in Alaska. 

 

I prefer mid-end of May. Beautiful snowy mountains and historically, less rain.

Edited by Coral
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Yes I guess the answer is to go when you want. Bring layers, hats, gloves, shorts , jeans and rain gear. It I’ll be fabulous. Princess does a wonderful job bringing on the Rangers. We went from Vancouver ( spent several wonderful days there first) and then at the end took the train from Anchorage to Denali. Stayed in the lodges, went rafting, saw moose, tons of eagles, bear and of course the glaciers. The second time we went , 20 years later, there was half the ice. So don’t wait. 

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We have been 4 times. Twice in September, once in August, and once in July.

September is great because it is not as crowded and fewer children.

August was great because we saw the Northern Lights on August 28th.

And July was great because this is Alaska!

Truly, select an itinerary and ship. The weather is always changing and there

is no firm guideline on that. We had 80 degrees one time when we pulled away

from the dock in Ketchikan. What a blast!

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28 minutes ago, trvlwrld said:

If you go in May, you cant always get into the fjords due to ice

 

But you can get into Glacier Bay. I love the deep blue color sometimes seen in the ice. It's truly amazing.

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The first time we went  on a cruisetour to Alaska it was the end of August, and the weather was fairly rainy and cold the entire time except when we went to Denali.  Absolutely beautiful with a clear view of the mountain.  Made my trip.  The next time we cruised mid May and had gorgeous weather the entire time...it was even hot in Haines.  You just never know.  We prefer whichever ship leaves from SF!

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I have cruised to Alaska twice.  The first time was in late August and the weather was beautiful.   Warm, sunny days.  The second time we went, it was the last week of June.  We had lots of rain.  If I ever go again (I hope I do), I will choose late August.  Of course, Alaska is tricky and anything can happen.  
 

Enjoy.  Alaska is spectacular.  

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16 hours ago, trvlwrld said:

If you go in May, you cant always get into the fjords due to ice

It is only Tracy Arm that has problems in May. Heck, they have problems all summer some years. I missed it in July. Many ships are no longer going to Tracy Arm due to the accessible problems with accessing the fjord.

Edited by Coral
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4 hours ago, Coral said:

It is only Tracy Arm that has problems in May. Heck, they have problems all summer some years. I missed it in July. Many ships are no longer going to Tracy Arm due to the accessible problems with accessing the fjord.

The last time we went, it was in September on the Crown and the Captain was able

to navigate all of the way to the end to the glacier! We were so excited and had such a great

time.

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There is one itinerary out of Seattle that includes Tracy Arm/Endicott Arm that gets into Juneau mid-day.  There is an excursion where you transfer from the ship in Tracy Arm / Endicott Arm to an excursion boat for an up close glacier tour and meets the ship in Juneau.  Perfect.

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