Lived in Alaska for 18 yrs and your best travel months will be June-July.As for the best cruise line ,would suggest Princess or Holland.Princess has done an excellent job of establishing their own lodges,train dome car, buses etc.You will not go wrong with either one.You also will pay more for the cruises in the above two months and will get better deals in May and late Aug. or earls Sept.
We loved Holland America for Alaska cruising. Last time we tried for the end of June for the most daylight, but everything was filled before our booking date (and we were trying almost a year in advance) and we ended up going the last week in July. Had beautiful weather, almost too warm. We especially like the Zaandam.
We went on the Island Princess in August, and it was fantastic. From what I understand, the temp can really vary, sometimes even being 80 degrees... Check out frommers.com - may be some more info on when to go, but I think we hit it just right.
Princess is the best in the business for Alaska if you are going to do a land cruise too. We started on the land tour then finished on the cruise. If you can afford the time and money, do the land tour! The vacation is nice and long, and finishing off a land leg with a cruise is fantastic. The company moves you so effortlessly between your destinations - put your bag out at night, then 20 minutes before you arrive at your next stop you get your key for your room, and often your bag is already in your room. I so highly recommend this trip on Princess.
We are scheduled for Alaska on the Zaandam for May 26 and I am a little concerned about the weather.....I have heard that the weather in May is very unpredictable...and also concerned about wardrobe with that situation.
We will be cruising Alaska on the Volendam May 24, 2006. The last cruise was May 14, 2004. We still have not had major weather other than cloudy & sunny on any of our May or July cruises to Alaska. We have always packed rain gear but never needed it. Maybe this cruise it will rain on us. Layers of clothing are better than heavy ones - a windbreaker jacket is a must. We pack one sweatshirt & plan on buying a second one. Mittens & Fleece Headbands are the only winter wear we're taking- mainly for Glacier Bay & walks around the lower promenade. We are in the group of cruisers who like to dress up for dinner so also pack a dark suit & formal wear. Enjoy the scenery!!!
I think we'll all most likely say the same thing - the weather is unpredictable at any time of year. I checked the weather before we left just to try to get a feel for whether we'd get 80 degree temperatures. Other than checking for very warm weather, I took clothes for layering, the most important thing to do for Alaska. There are alot of posts on the web for packing for Alaska, but the common theme will be layering of clothing... The best trip I have EVER been on .... 8)