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September Conditions


EmilyJay
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Hi,

 

We are planning an Alaskan Cruise.... The only months we can go are June or September 2023, with September being the better month for us to travel. We had finally picked the cruise we wanted which falls in mid-late September when I discovered some "horror" stories of sailings in September and people warning you off it.

Can anyone shed a bit more light on what it's like to sail Alaska at this time of year? Sailing from/to Seattle... Rain and cold does not bother us at all, we're more concerned about very rough seas and the chances of missing ports. 

Weather is unpredictable I know and there are always chances of missing ports.... However, if anyone has sailed at this time of year what was your experience, if you missed ports were they replaced with a different one? 

 

Our other option is a beginning of September cruise or 2 in June with slightly different itineraries than what we ideally wanted. Just trying to weigh up what's our better option but in need of some help.

 

TIA. 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, EmilyJay said:

Hi,

 

We are planning an Alaskan Cruise.... The only months we can go are June or September 2023, with September being the better month for us to travel. We had finally picked the cruise we wanted which falls in mid-late September when I discovered some "horror" stories of sailings in September and people warning you off it.

Can anyone shed a bit more light on what it's like to sail Alaska at this time of year? Sailing from/to Seattle... Rain and cold does not bother us at all, we're more concerned about very rough seas and the chances of missing ports. 

Weather is unpredictable I know and there are always chances of missing ports.... However, if anyone has sailed at this time of year what was your experience, if you missed ports were they replaced with a different one? 

 

Our other option is a beginning of September cruise or 2 in June with slightly different itineraries than what we ideally wanted. Just trying to weigh up what's our better option but in need of some help.

 

TIA. 

 

My first suggestion is to review a number of the threads comparing the Alaska cruises from Seattle and Vancouver.

 

Seattle ships reach Alaska by sailing up the Pacific Ocean to the west of Vancouver Island. The return to Seattle is via the same routing, so you spend about 1/3 of the cruise in the Pacific Ocean. To comply with US Cabotage laws, you must also visit Victoria, but usually only for a few hours late afternoon/evening. When they experience heavy weather in the Pacific, they arrive late in Victoria, further reducing the time ashore.

 

I worked this coast for 35 yrs and also spent 2 seasons in Alaska until the end of the season. Both years we experienced a 70 kt storm in September. Last September we experienced a significant storm off-shore, which had some ships taking shelter.

 

Alaska is all about scenery and wildlife, if I was flying in from UK, no way I would cruise out of Seattle, wasting time in the Pacific Ocean, and most importantly definitely not in mid/late September. In addition to potential weather issues, you also have less daylight.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, EmilyJay said:

Hi,

 

We are planning an Alaskan Cruise.... The only months we can go are June or September 2023, with September being the better month for us to travel. We had finally picked the cruise we wanted which falls in mid-late September when I discovered some "horror" stories of sailings in September and people warning you off it.

Can anyone shed a bit more light on what it's like to sail Alaska at this time of year? Sailing from/to Seattle... Rain and cold does not bother us at all, we're more concerned about very rough seas and the chances of missing ports. 

Weather is unpredictable I know and there are always chances of missing ports.... However, if anyone has sailed at this time of year what was your experience, if you missed ports were they replaced with a different one? 

 

Our other option is a beginning of September cruise or 2 in June with slightly different itineraries than what we ideally wanted. Just trying to weigh up what's our better option but in need of some help. 

 

TIA. 

 

We have done Alaska twice once early September to mid September and late August to early September with very different conditions. The early September cruise. The weather was cool, it rained, drizzled had fog, and overcast for the 7 days we spent in Alaska. End of season, good deals on souvenirs, and clothing. The late August cruise was completely the opposite. The sun was out, a little warmer and drizzled with overcast skies only one day. The draw back to mid September cruises are Whales are on their way to Hawaii, and Bahamas Mexico for the winter and most business are closed or about to for the season. Going out of Seattle you go west of Vancouver Island and then into the Inside Passage. It could get a little rough since you are in the Pacific Ocean. From Vancouver you go east of Vancouver Island and right into the Inside Passage. Missing a port can happen, just last week Skagway had one of its piers closed due to a rock slide   We have never missed a port.

 

 

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@Heidi13 is correct that weather in September can be unpredictable.  Last September (2021) there was a couple of storms that did cancel port visits.  One of the Princess ships actually overnighted at Pier 91 to avoid the storm.  It left about 6 am the following morning.

I was on the last sailing of Celebrity's Millennium (9/21), and because it is a smaller ship our Captain asked and received permission to travel thru the inside passage (between Vancouver Island and the Canadian Mainland to avoid the storm).  Once we sailed thru the protected water of the inside passage it was still rough seas, and I skipped the first Chic Night dinner (as apparently many of my fellow cruisers) because I wasn't feeling that great due to the rough seas.

The Ovation OTS was also sailing that day, but because of the size of the ship it had to sail its regular route in the open seas on the west side of Vancouver Island.  My friend was on that sailing and did say it was pretty rough.

Once the storm passed the weather was beautiful though.  :  )

I also traveled many years ago to Alaska during September and the weather was also beautiful for the entire .

 

Unfortunately with weather you just don't know what you will get. That being said, I would still sail in September.

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Went to Alaska Sept 17-26, 2019, (a few years ago). Although every year can be different and September can always be unpredictable.  The weather was great for us, one port day had rain (Juneau) but we brought rain gear and were fine. (bring a good light weight "water proof" rain jacket and maybe pants), We did the hike up at Mendenhall Glacier and had a great experience. All the other days were long sleeves and sweat shirt weather. Most of the port days were cloudy but not cold. They say to layer your clothes but I mostly just wore a long sleeve shirt and a sweat shirt, we were outdoors a lot hiking or just walking the streets and never got cold. September is a wonderful month to go to Alaska, (no bugs 🤗)  and a bonus if you go this late is that everything in the shops are on sale because their season is ending. I got a great Alaska sweat shirt for only $10 and most of the souvenirs were all 50% or more off.

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We went in September in 2 our of our 4 Alaska cruises. We are also going this September for a 12 night itinerary which is offering 3 new ports for us and a new glacier. This is out of Vancouver and we are really looking forward to it!

I remember sailing out of Ketchikan in 75 degree weather and everyone was out on deck enjoying the weather, looks and not tubs. (September). September is a bit unpredictable.

I would also advise sailing out of Vancouver and doing more than a 7 night itinerary.

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I've done four Alaska cruises, two in June and two in September. I've been incredibly lucky with weather. I did have two "authentic Alaska" (aka rainy) days out of ten last month, but mostly I've had good weather. My first Alaska cruise we had great weather until the last day, when it rained in Ketchikan. Locals told us it was a good thing because it hadn't rained in a week, and the dead salmon (they die after they spawn) were collecting in the creek and the rain would wash out the stinky carcasses!

 

I've never had a port cancelled on an Alaska cruise.

 

The inside passage is definitely smoother, but it isn't all bad on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island. I've had smooth days and one very rough day.

 

So, OP, don't be afraid you'll have all bad weather. You could have rain here and there, but that's true of Alaska all through the season. Just pack your layers and a rain jacket and have a good time!

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