Am planning a cruise to Alaska in 2002 but can't decide what month to go. Heard prices are best in May and September but weather may be chilly. If anyone has been in August or September, I'd like to hear your feelings.
First time, in May 96 the weather was cool and pleasant, highs in the 60's.
Second time, Mid-June 99, weather was warmer, highs in the 60's, same in early June 00. I enjoyed the earlier times, from what I hear, the mosquitos are bad in August, and in May/June, there is still snow around and it is lovely.
I've cruised in Alaska this past August, and once before in Sept. We got lucky and had terrific weather on both cruises.
Below is a link to the stories I did a a Daily Log from the ship.
We sailed from Seward to Vancouver, B.C. from July 30 to Aug. 6 in 1999. Clear and sunny except for two days: arrived in Anchorage to find it overcast, windy and chilly. By the time the bus got to Seward it was so murky and foggy, could hardly see the nearby ships. Next morning, the sun came out, clouds burned off and Hubbard Glacier was sparkling. Great weather until Sitka where it was so foggy the tour guide had to show us a picture of beautiful Mt. Edgecomb, a volcano almost in the harbor! By early August the salmon are running and you get a good chance to see them in both Sitka's National Historic Park (fabulous collection of totem poles there) and in Ketchikan Creek at Ketchikan.
However!! the ship's captain told us to be grateful for our good weather. For the past four cruises it had been so cloudy no one could see the mountains that are so close to the water in the Inside Passage. I think the weather along the Inside Passage is pretty much a gamble. I've been in southeast Alaska in early September, and had mostly good weather, but it poured all one day in Ketchikan.
We took the Mt. Roberts tram in Juneau and hiked their one-mile nature trail at the top--can't say the mosquitoes were a problem--maybe closer to ponds and lakes they would be.
Bring "layers" as you will want all of them sailing up close to the glaciers. Mostly though, a sweater or windbreak is plenty. As a native of Juneau put it--when the sun does shine it's surprisingly warm--and humid.
The Inside Passage is ideal for cruising--the little towns have little economic base now other than the cruise ships. They appreciate the business and have made things very convenient for the ships' passengers. In Skagway, they ran the narrow gauge train right out onto the dock so you can easily climb aboard for the trip up the White Pass.
After sailing the last three summers to Alaska, I would suggest mid June as the best bet, I will be sailing the Infinity June 9th with my family....don't waiting until the end of the summer to go as you will not see snow in some locations and it might not be as scenic.
Bring a warm jacket for deck usage as it can be "cool" on deck but it is a great feeling with that cool air as the ship glides through ice fields.
Off the ship , I expect your weather to be tee shirt and comfortable for walking and outdoor activities. Enjoy your cruise...
We went in late May and early June and had cool weather. It is clear from the messages that weather can vary from week to week. However, one thing to note is that the longest days of the year come towards the end of June, so mid June to mid- July should give you the most daylight hours to take in Alaska's spectacular sights. Even in late May, sunset in Fairbanks did not come until around midnight and sunrise was only a few hours later.
Sailed out of Vancouver under a glorious, warm sky and picture perfect sunset.
Inside Passage - same as above
Ketchikan - rained all day--not cold though--still did my planned Sea Plane/Bear Excursion
Juneau - slow start but the afternoon turned into another splendid, warm, sunny day
Skagway - 2 of my 3 shore excursions were cancelled--rain & gale force winds--we were 3-5 hours late sailing away due to the winds
Glacier Bay - I saw everything last as I sat on a stool at the bar on the very top deck facing aft. It was so warm, and the sights just as beautiful as those I could have frozen to see had I been on the bow. I had a short sleeve shirt on and could have worn shorts.
College Fjord - same as above during Glacier Bay
As with other posts I see how varying the climate can be. I was truly satisfied with the time I selected, and will be hard pressed to come up with a different time for my next Alaskan cruise.