I'm considering a cruise to Alaska in September or perhaps next May. I understand that September is Alaska's rainy season. Has anyone cruised there during this time? Does the rain inhibit enjoyment of the cruise and excursions too much? Which month do you consider to be the best time for an Alaska cruise? Any and all imputs are much appreciated. Thanx.
I have cruised several times, both months. By FAR May is superior. In Sept. it is just too iffy with a wide range of possible weather. May is superior for daylight and drier weather. I just returned today, and totally true. Little rain, superior wildlife on this trip, probably more than the other 10 Alaska cruises combined.
This was my first time in May. I went previously mid and late June. I preferred May. It was a little colder, not much (sunburned in Haines), but there's more snow everywhere, which I like, being a coastal CA gal.
I often call May and June our secret season because the days are long, the weather is mild and we get lots of sunshine. Locals call Septmber "the pits". The fall is our worst season -- the price we pay for living in paradise. But I have had customers from the dry hot states purposely choose to come in the rainy season to get away fron the hot dry weather and they were pleased.
In September you will see more flying excursions cancelled. You will have some whale watch tours where you will be warned that the seas are choppy.in Southeast .Denali sightseeing tours will be closed down because the snow will have started
If you are looking to see migrating salmon or bears then you are not going to want either May or September.
Well, now I am not as excited! The ONLY time I could pull it off is in September - last cruise of the carnival line (Sept 14th). Tell me, will I still enjoy it???? If the excursion is cancelled, will I get a refund? Sighhhhhhhhh
Yes full refunds for any canceled excursion. Frankly, since you ask, another negative is dusk by 7pm. These cruises used to be "give away rates", no longer, I went for ALWAYS for less than $500pp, one time for $350. Just prepared for it all weatherwise.
Well, it will be just my luck we will not be able to go on the excursions. We have booked in Skagway the Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Quest - in Juneau, we have booked the White Pass and Yukan Railway and in Ketchicans we have booked the best of Ketchicans with a floatplane, then Saxman Native Villiage and Dollys House. I pray none will be cancelled. As far as getting to dark at 7ish, that is when it gets dark down here for 1/2 the year -- the other 1/2, it gets dark at 5pm! I live in South Louisiana, so rain is normal here too -- I am sure (???) I hope (???) that since I won't know any better about anything in Alaska, that I will be in awwww of it anyway (???). Next time (if there is a next time) I will surely book earlier. This was the ONLY time I could break away. Oh well........from your notes, you must live in Alaska????
The only possible cancelation of your list will be the fight. Every thing else runs in all weather. For clarification the White Pass RR is in Skagway and the wildlife quest and Mendenhall Glacier is Juneau.
The dusk is significant in Alaska since it is now getting dusk past 10 pm. The only advantage to early is the possibility of Northern Lights. If of interest research every day on line the Fairbanks Uni Geo predictions. You need a moonless dark clear night- hope for the best. There is no point worrying about canceled flights- you have no control over it and it is a factor of Alaska travel. I do suggest however you think about back up plans just in case.
Karen, do you have suggestions on back up plans? I know this particular excursion is about 5 hours long. Not like I can run and book another excursion, huh? I can't book 2 for fear of loosing money on one....any suggestions? I would LOVE to see the northern lights! Bet its absolutely beautiful!
Is the Ketchikan flight sold as a package with all the rest??? If the flight is canceled, consider getting a walking tour map and see the downtown. Go on the Duck tour? etc. As for Northern Lights, find a dark section on the ship- few have any , but do the best you can. As I suggest, every day get online and see what the predictions are, if good then be out about 1am and consider staying out for a few hours if there is activity. Check out the moon phases for when you go, impacts on the lights.
Also you may be able to get a call from the bridge if they are out, inquire when you get on the ship from the purser.
The rainy season is mostly centered in the coastal areas of the Southeast, Juneau, Kodiak, Ketchican, Rain is not heavy usually, and everybody goes on about their business, The best month to visit Alaska is probably July or August. September can get cold. I juar got back from a May trip and it was 45 degrees in the early morning, cold when the wind was blowing. Late September can get cold and snow is not unheard of.
Boy what a downer, I just booked for Sept 10th to Alaska. Didn't read boards before hand. But what the heck, it is 7 days away from home and a cruise, so it can't be all bad. If any one went in Sept. before, what are the temperatures like, and what did you take as far as clothing?
I have gone in Sept. but always as a second cheap trip. As I mention, you need to be well prepared for a wide range of weather. Last two years have been very atypical, and certainly hope for a repeat.
BUT usual weather is an average of 3 out of 7 days of rain, temps 40-50's, dusk by 7pm. So you do need those layers, knit hat gloves, good rain gear, 2 pair of walking shoes. QUICK drying is the key so lightweight is a bonus. Consider spraying your shoes with waterproof spray for an added protection.
I am just now planning a cruisetour (sea/land) with my 81 year old Mom for August or Sept. this year. I understand I am late trying to book the trip but from what I have read on this site - August would be better weather. Am I correct? Any feedback would be helpful.
Yes absolutely. You are going to have a very difficult time booking a land tour add on at this late date. I would suggest you instead consider going on your own with a rental car. The advantages are significant- go at your own pace and have the ability to stop and go. Very very easy. If you do go with a cruisetour- be very informed on WHAT you are purchasing, most people are not. You really need a 7 day add on, any shorter has too much time in transit. A big highlight for most is Denali Park, be certain to have the Tundra Wilderness included, longer is better into thte park, Budget 50% more for meals than you do at home, this will give you a good cushion.
First off, who is telling you best??? And frankly - there is no best. Every trip will be unique with pluses and minuses. My favorite and most traveled is your timeframe, I'll be going from 8-18 for three weeks, but my mid May week was just excellent for the cruise portion, would not be good for interior.