What Month Is Considered Off Season for an Alaskan Cruise?

What Month Is Considered Off Season for an Alaskan Cruise?
While Alaskan tourism is year-round, those who want to visit via cruise ships have a shorter season in which to visit Alaska, which has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined. Cruise lines have ships sailing Alaskan itineraries from May to September.

Summertime Weather

Only during five months of the year does Alaska's weather make passenger cruising in the famous Inland Passage feasible and enjoyable. High season is June through August, when temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees in the daytime and cooler at night, and shoulder season is early May and late September.


Although cruising during shoulder times is less expensive and less crowded, shore excursions---especially those involving boats and helicopters---are more likely to be canceled then. Temperatures are lower and daylight hours fewer.


Northbound cruises of the Inside Passage, which most often depart from Seattle or Vancouver, tend to be a little less expensive than southbound cruises, which depart from Alaska's Juneau, Ketchikan, Seward, Skagway and Whittier. (Airfares to Alaska are pricey, though cruises are a good value.)

Expert Insight

So many cruise ships now crowd Alaska that it's often necessary for ships to drop anchor some distance out and send passengers ashore by boat. Crowded ports also mean guests don't always get their first-choice excursions. So, when choosing a cruise, ask about these issues and make tour reservations well in advance.


If you prefer, you can also see Alaska from an Alaska Marine Highway State Ferry, which enables you to take your vehicle to other ports. These also offer food and private accommodations for overnight as well as a public area for sleeping bags. They depart from Bellingham, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Article Written By Debbie Selinsky

Debbie Selinsky is an award-winning writer based in North Carolina. Selinsky is the former senior editor of "Success Magazine" and deputy director of the Duke University News Service. She has written about travel for many years and specializes in cruise travel, having sailed on more than 100 cruises. Selinsky attended North Greenville University, Oregon Institute of Technology and the Poynter Institute for Journalistic Excellence.

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