If this is mid May, overall, good time to go. I was on the first cruise this season and frankly - too early. Good thing it was a free cruise. The season is creeping back and back, used to be end of May was the start.
You can not predict the weather, you are best to be well prepared for it all.
A problem on a one way, is Denali Park is best visited after June 1, so to get into the park.
We have taken two May cruises to Alaska...one on May 6th and the other a couple of weeks later than that. Excellent weather each time. I only wore a semi-heavy jacket on deck when cruising Hubbard Glacier. We had breakfast on our verandah in Sitka because it was so warm. I understand there is less rain in May than in June thru August. Have fun, you'll love it!
We just went on the first cruise that leaves Vancouver(mid-May) and the weather was gorgeous. Sitka was really hot the day we were there, everyone had on shorts. Best part of going in early May is that there is still snow on the mountain tops. Since this was our first trip to Alaska, we really hadn't thought about that, but we both loved the snow and there were huge waterfalls coming out of the sides of the mtns, where the snow was melting in the higher elevations.
We had no rain, just a little drizzle on our first day at sea, you could stand on the balcony with just a long sleeve T-shirt. It did get cool at night on deck, but usually a light jacket and gloves were all you needed.
Also, there weren't very many children on the cruise, since most schools aren't out then. Lots of families traveling together. Toddlers with parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. The ship became pretty quiet each night after 10:30 or so. You could stand on the balcony late a night, and it was just so peaceful.
I don't think it would matter when you go to Alaska, it is just a beautiful place and you will love it.
Good clairfication Murray. There seems to be references to several "first" cruises, which weren't. I WAS on the first cruise this season. 6 out of 7 days of bad weather. Ship loaded with miserable people who just were not prepared- I was.
As a frequent Alaska traveler, I will never consider a cruise before mid May again. Just so much overall better, than early.
Sorry if I made a mistake on stating that we were on the first Carnival cruise(Spirit) that left from Vancouver in mid-May. When the cruise ship came into port, we were told that this ship was coming from Hawaii and it would be the first cruise of the season. Most of these passengers the port authories said had come from Hawaii and were staying on for the Alaska trip. The first cruise out of Vancouver in May 2007 is May 16.
My husband said he was pretty sure that the naturalist, Michelle, had come
from the Univ. of Hawaii, because she was on deck one day talking to passengers about how the weather was gorgeous when the ship left Hawaii and how she usually got a cold when she did the first trip, because of the change in weather.
But the weather was gorgeous our entire trip, we left Vancouver on May 17, and the day we flew out of Anchorage, the temperature must have been close to 85.
Yes Michelle does live in Hawaii. She is a fabulous ship naturalist who has been with Carnival for probably 10 ++ years.
As already clairfied, some cruiselines start later than others. Your "first" reference for Carnival starts at the "right" time in my opinion, mid May. I've been on this same sailing in prior years and always seemed to be a great week. But other cruiselines sail 2 week earlier, so these are the "firsts" I am referring to in terms of weather and openings.
We have booked the transition cruise from Los Angeles on the Diamond on May 5th. Then because we can not back to back we will stay over two nights in Vancouver (a great place) and then take the Island Princess on its first cruise north for the season leaving on the 14th.
We can hardly wait to see the different conditions after our trip this year in early July...
Any recomendations for land tours for late May? We did Denali for two nights and McKinnley for two nights. We would like to do something in the southern area.