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When to go to Alaska


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The weather can go either way. The first time I went it was in September, it was raining pretty good, getting off the tender in Juneau. I commented to the gentlemen on the dock about it. He said, " This is just a sprinkle." It was cold enough in Glacier Bay to freeze up the shutter in my camera, old film cam, no digital yet. The second time i went the weather was perfect. Going at the end of the season, it may less crowded. We were the only ship in all the ports, except Victoria on my last trip. If you are a trinket buyer, the shops are having sales. Everyone has pretty much the same stuff. Found some good deals on some things, off the major shopping areas. Go down the side streets and streets away from the main drag. A lot of small shops, with season vendors, selling off their stuff, so they don't have to haul so much out. Everything was still pretty much open, no telling now the way things are.

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If you look at the 30-year average stats from the National Weather Service, the end of the season is definitely much wetter than the early and mid part of the season in the SE Alaska ports.  For example, if you compare June with August, Ketchikan gets about 50% more rainfall in August, Juneau gets nearly twice as much rainfall in August, and Skagway gets more than 60% more rainfall in August.  September is even wetter on average, getting between 40% and 100% more rainfall than August in each location.

 

The other advantage about earlier in the season, as others have stated, is the longer hours of daylight.

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I live in AK and have done the AK cruise multiple times. I recommend anytime between the end of May and the end of August. Earlier and later than that range can result in some rougher weather, especially September. We have a lot of wind and rain storms in mid-September. During the summer, the weather is very unpredictable, but you can know it’ll be somewhere between 45 and 75, raining to sunny, and just plan with lots of layers. The most common temp range would be 50s to 60s. Happy planning!

Edited by cruisequeen4ever
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