You'll probably get as many different opinions as there are responses to your question.
I'm a big fan of Princess because I like their itineraries, ships, and treatment.
I'm going on my third September cruise to Alaska this year. Why September? Fewer kids, and (most importantly) we've been VERY lucky with the weather. You can check out a few of my photos from last September by going to the Cruisemates Photo Galleries and searching for Backman's Alaska.
In order to answer your question, we'd need to know what type of activities you'd be interested in both on-board and in the ports. Do you plan on doing any land-touring before or after your cruise? We also need a little about yourself (age group - activity level, etc.)
Having just gone in early-mid June, I highly recommend this time. We had wonderful weather...lucked out and NO rain with mild temperatures in the 60's/70's...even went up to 80 in Sitka! We went early enough to still see lots of snow covered mountains...salmon were not running yet (later in summer I've heard.)
For those of you who have already cruised to Alaska, which ship would you recommend and what time of the year is best?
As many time Alaska visitor, my clear preference is mid to late August- still long days and decent weather. Also sometimes shoulder season rates. Overall on Alaska cruises there are far fewer kids than other locations so going in Sept for that factor is not necessary. I have gone in May, early June, August and Sept. A big difference will be if you plan interior touring which is best June- end of August. You want to be sure attractions are open- mainly Denali Park. Sept is great for significant bargains and have been fortunate to pick up cheap second yearly trips at that time but having gone eariler, my opinion only it is clearly better earlier.
Thank you to everyone who have responded to my query.
This will be my 2nd cruise, my first one was last August on the Pacific Princess to Bermuda. I'll be travelling with parents (senior citizens) and brother so our interests vary which is the very reason why cruising is perfect for us! We love attending all the wonderful activities on the ship while at sea and then taking a couple of shore excursions.
This website is terrific! I learn so much from reading all of the experiences of other cruisers and everyone is so helpful. It's so hard to make a decision about when & where to go... But the one thing I'm sure about is that I want to go cruising!! :-)
We went in early July and the weather was fantastic. 70-80 degrees each day and no rain. Be sure your tour goes into Glacier Bay. It is most incredible. That was probably the most wonderful day of my life.
We love Holland America as a first choice and Celebrity as a second choice. We do not recommend NCL. We have friends who speak highly of RCCL but we haven't tried them yet. They have the same ownership as Celebrity but I hear their cabins are a bit small.
It would be wonderful to have a balcony cabin on this trip. There is so much wildlife along the way. Have a great time. I'm jealous!