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Best Alaska cruises in 2018
By Sharon
Pushed January 21, 2018
Best Alaska cruises in 2018
Best Alaska cruises in 2018

Cruising To Alaska

Maybe you've been planning a cruise and you've been hearing things on what is the best time to cruise Alaska. Alaska's cruise market is heating up: more cruise lines are adding Alaska to their schedules while others expand their presence with newer and larger ships. As a result, Alaska is poised for record years in both 2018 and 2019. More than 1.8 million people toured the nation's largest state (by area) last year, setting a record, according to the Alaska Tourism Industry Assn.


 The number one reason why many travelers choose to cruise Alaska are the breathtaking views the state offers. From rugged mountains to beautiful glaciers and incredible sunsets, there's nothing like cruising Alaska for seeing things that are considered once in a lifetime. 

There are 3 different types of Alaska Cruise.

The first start and finished in Seattle. This is great for the American market due to airlift and immigration and normally is a 7-night cruise up the inside passage, a visit to one of the glaciers and then ports of call will invariably include Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway.

The second most popular is out of Vancouver. This port use to be the most popular but due to increasing port taxes and the Americans wanting less forms to fill out the cruise lines have moved their ships. However, Vancouver as a city has a lot bigger pull than Seattle it also has the added advantage of the Rocky Mountaineer either starting or finishing there.

The last option involves starting of finishing in Vancouver but the cruise will end in Seward. This is at the north end of Alaska and the advantages here are a lot of people will go into the McKinley National park and experience, the trains and the beauty of the surrounding area. This is really the heart of Alaska but is by far the most expensive option.  All 3 routes offer some exceptional scenery and places to visit but the question everyone asks is when is the best time to go?

Alaska’s high season

The peak time for cruises -- takes place in July and August. Temperatures are warmest and the region sees more sunny days than other times of the year. Demand for cruise tickets tends to be very high, however, and small towns along the normal cruise circuits are packed with visitors

Shoulder season

shoulder season for Alaska Cruises and the prices are considerably cheaper than peak months of July and August.

If getting a bargain cruise deal is important to you, then the best time to cruise Alaska would be in May or in September, also called the shoulder seasons. These months are good because most kids are in school and the ports are not that crowded. Also during these months, the cruise firms are repositioning their ships and the number of bookings are lower. In addition to a cheaper booking price, you could actually get a very good deal by taking a one-way repositioning cruise.

Before booking  consider weather

The weather is a major factor that has a big influence on your Alaska cruise vacation. If you want a pleasant weather, then the best time to cruise Alaska is between May and September. These are the peak months and in specific, June and July will provide the continuous warm days, but July has also expensive itinerary prices. During the extended warm weather, you can assume more land-based excursions and have the chance to see more wildlife

Alaska is an unspoiled wilderness and has so many choices and awe-inspiring experiences it certainly has something for everyone.


Visitors interested in wildlife should look to the shoulder season, particularly the spring. Animals emerge from hibernation and mating season is underway in May and June. The shortened days mean that the animals tend to be more active, taking advantage of cooler temperatures rather than resting in the heat of the day. In the fall season, animal activity increases as well, as they forage for food to sustain them during the winter.

Bottom Line

Those visiting in the shoulder season may wish to book passage on cruise ships which offer a lot of onboard activities. In the event of bad weather, tourists can entertain themselves onboard, and enjoy the nightlife, such as clubs and casinos when the sun goes down. Tourists who want to see more of the local landscape and enjoy the outdoors should look to the summer season when the weather is less likely to be troublesome and the daylight lasts much longer (the sun can shine for up to 18 hours a day in July and August).

Two of the world's biggest cruise ships will sail in Alaskan waters, with one arriving in 2018

The new Norwegian Cruise Line ship Bliss carries 4,000 passengers and will start making port calls in June. In 2019, the 5,000-passenger Ovation of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship that debuted in 2016, will begin visiting too.

Ovation of the Seas will also homeport in Seattle, sailing weeklong cruises to Alaska that will include destinations such as Juneau and Victoria. It will join another Royal Caribbean ship in the region, Radiance of the Seas, which will offer seven-night itineraries between Seward and Vancouver, British Columbia. Other cruise lines are joining in. For the first time in 15 years, Seabourn Cruise Line returned to Alaska in 2017. Windstar Cruises returns to Alaska in 2018, and Cunard Line will send The Queen Elizabeth on four cruises to Alaska at the beginning of the 2019 season. Among the luxury smaller cruise lines, both Azamara Club Cruises and Viking Cruises will launch their first Alaska cruise programs in 2019.

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