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Best Months for Alaska Cruise

Best Months for Alaska Cruise

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Old Jan 21, 17, 9:23 am
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Best Months for Alaska Cruise

The wife and I are looking at an Alaska cruise in 2018 for our 30th anniversary. Is there really a big difference in experience between going in May versus late June or July? Just wondering if we should limit our search or if going earlier in the season isn't a big deal?
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Old Jan 21, 17, 9:44 am
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Like snow-capped mountains? May is for you!
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Old Jan 21, 17, 9:52 am
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What about whale migration, etc.? Best months for that?



Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Like snow-capped mountains? May is for you!
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Old Jan 21, 17, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by fozziedoggie View Post
What about whale migration, etc.? Best months for that?

http://www.whale-watching-alaska.com...oseewhales.php
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Old Jan 21, 17, 12:54 pm
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I think my wife is worried about the temps and whether the ship's can go everywhere during April/May that they could in July.
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Old Jan 21, 17, 2:48 pm
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Weather is a concern, but it varies so much - I'd plan by wildlife you want to see. We did a cruise - last of the season on our ship, just after Labor Day - and expected cold & rain but it was amazingly gorgeous most of the time. It was after most of the salmon runs - we saw more dead salmon than live, but we did see quite a few bears, tons of eagles. Some beluga whales but only 1 humpback, far in the distance, as most had started migrating already. When we go again, we'll do earlier in the season because whales will be a focus for me that time.

[we tend to travel shoulder/off seasons and have no problems with weather - we just wear goretex & layers and are fine - prefer fewer people and cheaper costs]
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Old Jan 22, 17, 9:15 am
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This is a "how long is a piece of string?" question unless we know where you plan to cruise.

If your cruise is a round trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver, then May is (surprisingly) a good time for visiting SE Alaska, which is all you'll see.

If your cruise is a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward or Whittier (or v.v.) and you plan to spend time in Alaska after or before the cruise, then May is not ideal as many of the destinations in southcentral or interior Alaska don't reach full operational status until a bit later. For example trips into the interior of Denali Park don't get fully available until sometime in June.

So which is it?
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:30 pm
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Surprisingly, Alaska can feel quite different in May than July, or September. The state, however, isn't "frozen over" in May, if that's what you're thinking, and cruise ships will likely cover the same territory.
Some differences: Less rain (generally), mosquitoes and tourists in May. If going overland for a portion of your trip, maybe less "green" in May.
Tourist season generally opens after Memorial day. So prices and crowds increase after that. Fishing can also vary throughout the summer (eg., different salmon at different times).
Also, daylight is long in Alaska in summer, and can change by 6 minutes/day, depending on where you are, peaking over the solstice, June 22. So if long daylight is an issue (sleeping, etc.), then this is something else to consider.
Lastly, September - the other "shoulder" month, is also a nice month. More rain likely, less daylight, less tourists (post Labor day). "Indian summers", unpredictable of course, can be fantastic in early fall. And more likely to see northern lights with more nighttime.
Prices are sometimes lower, like on the state ferries (which take you to many of the same, and more, destinations as the cruise ships. Fall can feel more like winding down, calming relative to the rush of spring/early summer.

Last edited by Jlove; Apr 15, 17 at 2:39 pm
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Old Apr 15, 17, 7:15 pm
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Since this is the 30th anniversary I would suggest to cruise Alaska before the kids are out of school in May or after the kids go back in September.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 2:28 pm
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We've decided to cruise northbound June 3-10th on Holland. We are looking at a Neptune suite on the aft of the ship. From what I've read, the balcony there is a wrap-around given 270 degrees of visibility plus those are sheltered from the wind and snow/rain making for a nice breakfast out on the balcony.

We're also planning on adding around 4 nights at the end of the cruise to go inland (Denali) for some more site-seeing. I'm trying to decide on taking the train inland or renting a car. It looks like there are benefits to both, but in either case, we aren't using the cruise line's Denali add-on package, but are putting it together ourselves.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 6:23 am
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We may get to wave at you at some point. My mom and I are doing the Seabourn Sojourn northbound June 1-12 (Vancouver - Anchorage).

Oops... never mind. I see you are going in 2018. We are going this year!
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Old Apr 18, 17, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by hhoope01 View Post
We're also planning on adding around 4 nights at the end of the cruise to go inland (Denali) for some more site-seeing. I'm trying to decide on taking the train inland or renting a car. It looks like there are benefits to both, but in either case, we aren't using the cruise line's Denali add-on package, but are putting it together ourselves.
Rent a car. The train isn't especially scenic, and the car will give you a lot more freedom and flexibility. You can also use it to stay someplace in Anchorage beside downtown, potentially saving you money.

If you rent a car in Seward to get you to Anchorage, drop it at the airport and rent a second car, otherwise you'll be paying the super-high one-way rate for the whole trip rather than just one day.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 1:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
If you rent a car in Seward to get you to Anchorage, drop it at the airport and rent a second car, otherwise you'll be paying the super-high one-way rate for the whole trip rather than just one day.
From what I have been reading, the train from Seward to Anchorage is much more scenic than the corresponding car drive would be. So what about taking the train from Seward to Anchorage and then renting a car to drive between Anchorage and Denali?
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Old Apr 18, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by techgirl View Post
We may get to wave at you at some point. My mom and I are doing the Seabourn Sojourn northbound June 1-12 (Vancouver - Anchorage).
I almost went with Seabourn over Holland, but decided on Holland due to the reviews of the aft facing Neptune suites.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 4:04 pm
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Originally Posted by hhoope01 View Post
From what I have been reading, the train from Seward to Anchorage is much more scenic than the corresponding car drive would be. So what about taking the train from Seward to Anchorage and then renting a car to drive between Anchorage and Denali?
The train and road basically follow the same route for the bulk of the trip, and I would disagree that the drive is less scenic than the train. With a car you could detour down to Hope, an old mining village on the south side of Turnagain Arm, or stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center at Portage, or do a glacier cruise out of Whittier, or visit Girdwood and maybe ride the aerial tram at Alyeska, or look for birds at Potter Marsh... all things you couldn't do on the train.
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