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You are watching: Best time to cruise alaska to see whales

INSIDER SECRET: June and July space the finest time to reap Alaskan fishing and also whale watching. Yet other seasons offer your own distinct benefits, too!

Alaska is probably the most beautiful place I have ever visited. An Alaskan cruise supplies the possibility to visit many parts of Alaska and to see certain parts that room only accessible by boat, prefer glaciers and the inside Passage.

But the time of year that you visit Alaska can substantially influence the form of endure you have. Spring supplies action-packed whale watching. In summer the glaciers obtain active. Fall brings good bear sightings and also salmon spawning.

If friend are in search of a certain experience, you’ll desire to make sure you visit in ~ the best time of year so you don’t miss out on out.

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The beauty and grandeur of Alaska is breathtaking. But depending on as soon as you visit, you have the right to have dramatically various experiences. (Photo by Maridav/Shutterstock)

There is no perfect time to visit Alaska. Every season supplies something unique. Below is just how to pick the ideal time to take an Alaska cruise because that you.

What’s the ideal Time to take an Alaska Cruise?

I have taken Alaska cruises throughout all the major seasons and also can promise you the no two space alike, from the weather to the wildlife to the expense of tickets.

Most Alaska cruises run in between late April and early September, with peak season in June and July.

Here is what you have the right to expect from every cruising season.

Early Season (Late April – May)

The begin of Alaska cruising is the beginning of might for many cruise lines. However, the two biggest Alaska cruise companies, Holland America and also Princess, market itineraries that begin in April.

In spring, Alaska is just starting to arise from that is harsh winter. You deserve to expect the coldest weather, part snow quiet on the ground, v lows in the 40s and highs in the high 50s.

Cruises are hardly ever sold out throughout the beforehand season which method it is the best time to shop for an excellent deals ~ above cruise fares. The also method that you deserve to enjoy delivery offerings (like specialty dining, activities and entertainment) with fewer crowds.

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The early season is a distinctive time to capture glimpses of seabirds that space migrating, choose the tufted puffin. (Photo by juanchoayala/Shutterstock)

Some cruises market discounted excursions throughout this time to aid motivate travelers to shot onshore activities. But if you have a specific excursion in mind, be sure to call ahead and also see if the activities you want are available. Some, favor kayaking, might not be feasible yet since of the weather.

This can additionally be a an excellent time come visit if you are searching for wildlife. Countless of the pets are just coming out of hibernation or heading come the shores to eat after a long winter. The is additionally when seabirds migrate north for the summer, making feather the absolute best time come birdwatch in Alaska.

Advantages of at an early stage Season: Prime bird city hall and energetic wildlife in view. Whales are start to migrate and also feed, providing decent whale watching. Cruise pearl are less busy and also cruise fares room at their lowest. Disadvantages of early Season: Coldest weather, glaciers room stagnant and some excursions might not be accessible yet. Waves are higher than usual, making it undesirable for those at risk to seasickness.

Early season has actually a lot to offer, specifically for those visiting Alaska because that the wildlife and also you deserve to save money by traveling early. Numerous cruise present have large incentives for early travelers which might allow the budget-conscious to experience Alaska for a portion of what it expenses during the busier months.

Summer Season (June and also July)

June and July note the main Alaskan cruising season, the time most world want to go. Alaska experiences its warmest months v lows in the 50s and also highs in the 70s. Because it is busy, the is also the many expensive time come visit Alaska.

However, there are far-ranging advantages to exploring Alaska in summer. Whale watching is in complete swing because most the the whales have actually reached Alaskan waters and also begun feeding. Castle are active at the surface, making sightings a near-certainty (in fact, most excursion carriers GUARANTEE whale sightings throughout this time).

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Nothing is an ext unique to Alaska than the substantial glaciers, countless of which room only easily accessible from the ship. Summer is the ideal month to gain the glaciers because this is the season lock are most active. (Photo through Pixeljoy/Shutterstock)

Since the state is in ~ its warmest in summer, this is when the glaciers are the many active. Girlfriend will definitely see them “calving” (pieces breaking turn off the sheet of the glacier and into the ocean) and hear the distinct and deafening sound the “white thunder,” the according to crack that glaciers make as soon as they break off right into an iceberg.

July is among the finest months because that recreational fishing. King salmon are in season, as space sockeye salmon, halibut, arctic char and also many other well-known species. Cruise lines offer fishing excursions at almost every Alaskan port, yet be sure to call before you walk to find out the rules for bringing her catch earlier aboard. Some cruise lines will certainly freeze it for you, others might offer to chef your capture for her table at dinner and also others require you to ship your capture home through UPS or FedEx.

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Fishermen will want to take trip to Alaska in summer once the halibut and king salmon space in season. (Photo by Amanda Wayne/Shutterstock)

Summer solstice (the longest job of the year) is in ~ the finish of June. In this season, Alaska’s daylight lasts around 20 hrs per day. The sun usually doesn’t set until around midnight, rising again about 4am. This can reason jet-lag-like symptom for part travelers (which can be an catalyst to acquisition an within cabin).

Advantages that Summer Season: The absolute finest time to endure Alaska’s glaciers. The is additionally a great time to walk whale watching. Wildlife favor sea lions, porpoises and also otters are many active. Good recreational fishing. Warmest weather. Disadvantages the Summer Season: Peak season method peak crowds and also the highest possible prices. Bear, moose, Dall sheep and other land-based wildlife often tend to relocate inland, making castle harder to spot. Through 20-22 hours of daylight per day (depending on exactly how north the ship is), it have the right to be complicated to get good sleep and some travelers endure jet-lag-like symptoms.

While plenty of are turned turn off by visiting Alaska during the summer once the prices and crowds space at their peak, it offers several distinct opportunities and also the warmest weather. If you space visiting Alaska to experience the glaciers or come enjoy great fishing, summer is the moment to go.

Late Summer (August)

One the the many underrated time to visit Alaska is August. If cruise currently don’t market “discount” pricing during this time, prices often tend to be lower than in June and July, do it an ext affordable to take an Alaskan cruise. You can still experience much of what June and July need to offer, add to a few unique experiences prefer the an excellent salmon spawn.

Looking to view bears? Well, girlfriend are practically guaranteed to watch them enjoying the countless feast that the great salmon spawn of so late summer. Critical year, when visiting Ketchikan (specifically Neet’s only via rise plane), we saw six grizzly bear within about 250 feet the us, feasting ~ above a sea of salmon in the river. Long walking back, we had to take it a detour because another grizzly was lying on the trail, enjoy it his own fish feast inland. We observed bears in ~ every single Alaskan port us visited. The fish additionally attract bald eagles.

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August is the finest time to see and watch the bears in Alaska together they all come out for the salmon spawn. (Photo by Manamana/Shutterstock)

Late summer can additionally be a good time to watch whales together they begin to relocate to southern Alaska in preparation for their southern migration. During my cruise critical August, us saw much more than 100 whales, come the suggest that us got much less excited around spotting them turn off the side of our ship.

Another advantage of late summer is the you can often get the warm weather of the summer but the shorter days do it less complicated to get a great sleep. In august it will begin to gain dark about 10pm, as opposed come midnight in July.

Advantages of so late Summer: Seeing every the wildlife as the salmon generate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s the ideal time to watch bears, moose and also eagles. Whale city hall is additionally at its peak in southerly Alaska. Prices are generally more affordable 보다 in top season. Disadvantages of so late Summer: Glaciers have actually started to go dormant. Rainfall is in ~ its highest (around 50% of job in August experience rain). Fishing season is mainly over.

August might be my favorite time to go for the great travel deals, smaller sized crowds, whale watching and also the salmon generate with the wildlife it attracts (I’m obsessed v this experience). The increase in rainfall have the right to be a large negative for plenty of people. The glaciers are also far much less active.

Fall Season (September)

This is it because that the Alaskan cruise season. Plenty of cruise currently have already ceased their Alaska work in the fall however the significant providers space still to run a few ships. The crowds and prices are probably at your lowest. I have seen stunner incentives prefer onboard credit transaction equal come the cost of the room.

The solitary best reason you might want come visit Alaska during the loss is to endure the northern Lights. The finish of August and September are the only times you deserve to expect to watch these on a cruise.

The north lights alone deserve to justify a trip. This is an suffer that friend can’t understand or appreciate till you have seen castle in complete force.

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You have the right to experience the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) by taking an Alaskan cruise in September. (Photo by biletskiy/Shutterstock)

According to the Alaska room of Fish and Game, moose, caribou and muskoxen all mate throughout this time, so they are energetic in open locations while they search for a mate or spar for dominance within the herd.

Fall colors height in Alaska in fall, making the a great chance for landscape and also wildlife photographers to get some epos shots.

Advantages of loss Season: The northern lights space the strongest inspiration to take an Alaskan cruise in fall. Photographers can record the color, with great chances the seeing rarely inland animals like moose, muskoxen and also caribou. Good last-minute deals room usually available. Possibilities of seeing beluga whales. Disadvantages of fall Season: Rainfall is still approximately 50% and also the weather is beginning to get cooler (similar come early-season weather). Bears have moved inland to start hibernation. Fishing is largely closed. Glaciers room dormant. Plenty of excursions will be unavailable.

Visiting Alaska during the autumn offers the full pressure of fall colors and great chances of seeing the northern Lights. The crowds space the lowest of any type of cruising season, enabling you to just enjoy Alaska in its purest form.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to take it an Alaskan cruise, you won’t be disappointed, however each season can offer dramatically different experiences, so the is necessary to recognize what you hope to see and also to plan your itinerary and also dates accordingly.

Early Season (April and May): an excellent cruise deals and smaller crowds. Prime bird-watching season, especially for rarely seabird and songbird species. Kind whale the town hall opportunities.Summer Season (June and July): optimal season v the biggest crowds. Alaska is at its warmest. This is a an excellent time to enjoy Alaskan fishing and whale watching, and the ideal time to see active glaciers.Late Summer (August): Prices begin to fall a tiny from height season, however the weather is tho warm. Great time to see large wildlife choose whales, bear, eagles and also moose. Plus, the salmon spawn is in full swing.Fall Season (September): lowest prices through the finest incentives. Small crowds permit you to reap Alaska at its finest as it shows off its loss colors. Great for photographers and naturalists. Great opportunity to view the north Lights.

No matter when you select to go, you i will not ~ be disappointed. If you have visited Alaska in one season, try a trip during a various season. They often feel like totally different worlds.

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What season sounds prefer your favorite?

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