- View all Alaska Articles
- Explore Alaska
Alaska Cruise Weather by Month
Alaska Cruise Temperature by Month
Whether soaking up the golden sun on a fishing expedition or feeling the crisp breeze as you zipline through picturesque landscapes, you may notice that on an Alaska cruise , weather can vary greatly month-to-month. Princess cruise itineraries travel to the Southeast and Inside Passage regions of Alaska from May through September when wildlife is bustling, greenery is flourishing and salmon are running. Temperatures can reach anywhere from the low 30s to upper 80s depending on your month of travel as well as the port of call. We always recommend that you dress in layers to prepare for whatever weather comes your way. To help you get ready for your awe-inspiring adventure, learn about Alaska cruise temperatures by month.
Alaska Cruise Weather in May
After spending the winter in warmer climates, humpback whales migrate north and break the waters of the Inside Passage, marking the dawn of Alaska’s most vivacious season. Hundreds of king salmon grace the majestic waters of the Pacific while freckled lynx bask in the early summer sun. Thanks to the modest daytime temperatures and refreshing evening climates, May is peak season for many of Alaska’s most cherished wildlife. Weather typically ranges from the 30s to a high of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. May itineraries invite guests to pack sweaters and jackets for easy layering.
Alaska Cruise Weather in June
Feel the warm embrace of the summer sun throughout June when the Land of the Midnight Sun experiences the height of its daylight. With over 18 hours of golden sun each day, Alaska landscapes kiss the snowy surfaces goodbye and welcome the lush green meadows that bear the fruits of winter’s labor. With newly dried surfaces, hiking expeditions commence. As you venture into the depths of Alaska’s wilderness, reach new heights where you can enjoy unparalleled views of staggering glaciers and roaming hillside wildlife. With lows in the upper 40s and highs in the mid-60s, allow the revitalizing, crisp breeze to tickle your neck as you rejoice in the unforgettable climb.
Alaska Cruise Weather in July
As temperatures continue to rise, relish in the warmest month of the year when Alaska’s wildlife comes out to play. In Icy Strait Point, find regal brown grizzly bears roaming through streams in search of fresh salmon. Or, look for lively humpback whales making a splash off the coast of Juneau. As you embark on your summer adventure, bring light jackets for hiking through shady regions as well as plenty of sunscreen for basking in 18 hours of glorious sunlight each day this month.
Alaska Cruise Weather in August
Cast your line into the marvels of an Alaska summer by cruising in August. As you sail into each port of call, delight your taste buds in the delicacies of Alaska’s waters. Donning subtle notes of the sea, the silver salmon is one of the most sought-after fish and just so happens to be most fruitful this time of year. Whether or not fishing is your forte, be sure to pack water-resistant apparel for every splash and sprinkle that may arise from kayaking down crystalline fjords and hiking through misty rainforests. With lows in the upper 40s and highs of around 60, you’ll feel refreshed and eager to explore the captivating wonders of Alaska.
Alaska Cruise Weather in September
As September begins, the sun dips below the horizon signifying the inauguration of fall. The lush green forests transition into vibrant hues of gold and saffron while the mountaintops become freckled in snowfall. Daylight quietly recedes and the growing twilight perfectly contrasts the luminous green lights of the Aurora Borealis . The enchanting colors invite you to marvel at the miracles of Mother Nature that so often act as the inspiration for treasured postcards. With only 12 hours of sunlight, temperatures range from around 43 degrees to the mid-50s. These new, cooler climates encourage Alaska’s famed wildlife to begin preparing for hibernation. Gaze at the water’s surface as thousands of bald eagles congregate to enjoy the final salmon of the season.
Best Month to Take an Alaska Cruise
What is the best weather for an Alaska cruise? Temperatures can vary anywhere between 30 to 80 degrees throughout the summer travel months – inviting guests to layer on the sweaters and windbreakers as weather can be unpredictable. So, the best month to travel to the Great Land depends on what you want to do. For the fishing aficionado, consider May when king salmon reach their greatest appearance. If you prefer to explore the lush scenery by foot, wait until June when the sun has overcome the frosty terrain of the Inside Passage and trails are primed for adventures. Regardless of which month you choose to explore Alaska, you’ll encounter iconic marine life and embark on heart-stirring adventures when you set sail with Princess.
You May Also Like
Alaska Cruise Destinations and Cruisetours
See the Great Land’s glaciers, wildlife, and national parks.
Sail to almost anyplace you can dream of.
New to cruising
First time cruising? Have questions? We have the answers so your first time will be nothing but smooth sailing.
Alaska Cruise Weather: May-July Overview
- Erica Silverstein
- February 8, 2021
- Cruise Advice
If you’re wondering how cold Alaska cruises are and whether it’s better to cruise early or late in the season, you’re not alone. Unpredictable Alaska cruise weather has many travelers hesitating over which month to book their sailing.
Weather in Alaska in September, for cruises, is not much colder than in early June, but is much rainier. Combine this with shorter days, rougher seas, and a decrease in wildlife sightings than you get in the early season, and you see why many travelers opt for spring or summer trips.
May, June, and July cruises are your best bets for warm, dry days, optimal fishing and wildlife-viewing opportunities, and lots of daylight hours. Check out our guide to Alaska cruise weather for May, June, and July. In addition to monthly stats, discover the other seasonal variations that can help you pick the perfect time to cruise.
Alaska Cruise Weather: May
Alaska cruise temperatures in May average lows around 40 and highs around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. May tends to be slightly rainier than June and July, with a slight chance of snow earlier in the month. (Ketchikan, one of the rainiest places in North America, receives an average of 9.5 inches of rain in May.)
Ketchikan averages 16 hours of daylight in May; you’ll get even longer days as you travel north to Anchorage, and still more if you take a cruise tour up to Fairbanks. However, daylight hours in May are a few hours shorter than what you’ll experience if you travel around the spring equinox in late June.
Expect to see plenty of snow-capped peaks in May. If you travel up into the hills or mountains on a shore excursion, it’s common to find snow still on the ground. You’ll want to pack waterproof hiking boots and warm, waterproof layers (don’t forget gloves and hats) to handle any wet or chilly spring weather.
Mosquitos are not the problem in May that they are in the summer, so you don’t have to worry about pesky insects. On the other hand, if you’re planning a cruise tour, Denali National Park bus service doesn’t begin until late May, and the road through the park is only partially open until early June.
May is the beginning of the salmon-fishing, whale-watching, and wildlife-viewing seasons, though you can spot whales and go fishing any time during the Alaska cruise season. Late May and early June are considered the best for seeing mammals, as moms and babies are out searching for food.
If budget is as big a concern as Alaska cruise weather, May is one of the cheapest months to sail due to shoulder-season discounts.
READ MORE: Alaska Inside Passage Cruises: What You Need to Know
Alaska Cruise Weather: June
If you’re planning an Alaska cruise in June, temperatures average a low of 45 and a high of 62. June is tied with July as the least rainy month, with Ketchikan receiving an average rainfall of less than 7.5 inches. Alaska cruise weather in late June is some of the best, with 18 hours of daylight and plenty of sun. If you’re lucky, it might even get hot!
With drier ground in June than May, Alaska cruisers can start to hike in earnest. Whether you’re hiking on your own or with a guide, be sure to pack appropriate gear, such as backpacks with bear bells, water bottles, snacks, and — most important — bug spray. The mosquitos start being a nuisance in June.
For other shore excursions, layering is your best bet. You might need a fleece jacket in the morning, but find yourself stripping down to a T-shirt by early afternoon. A packable rain jacket is always good to have on hand, since you never know when you’ll get caught in a summer squall.
The warmer Alaska weather makes June (and July) the best times to see calving glaciers during scenic cruise days. June is also one of the best months for whale-watching; late June and early July are the best times for bear-spotting excursions.
Because of the fine Alaska weather in late June, it’s an excellent time to plan a cruise tour to Denali. The full road will be open, days will be long and dry, and you have an increased chance of seeing active wildlife.
Cruise fares in June will be higher than May, but better than the prime summer months.
Alaska Cruise Weather: July
July offers the best Alaska cruise summer weather. This month offers the least rain (less than 7.5 inches in Ketchikan), long days (17 to 18 hours of daylight), and a warm climate. Alaska cruise temperatures in July average a low of 48 and a high of 65.
Pack your sunglasses and sunscreen, and your bathing suit for a top-deck dip after your shore tour. Despite the positive forecast, you’ll still want to pack light layers and rain gear that you can don for glacier viewing or visits, forested hikes, or the always-possible rain shower.
Fishing enthusiasts will do best cruising in July since the most types of salmon are running during this month. As with June, it’s an ideal month for wildlife viewing, whether you seek out bears, moose, or Humpback whales. The glaciers along your route will be cracking like mad, so make sure your July cruise swings by Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, or other scenic cruising destinations.
You’ll have the full range of cruise tour destinations open to you if you travel in July. But be warned: Cruise fares average the highest this month because the Alaska cruise weather in July is so nice, and more families are traveling because school is out for the summer.
READ MORE: Visiting Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska
Pin it for later!
- 1.6K shares
- Carnival’s Security Footage Shows Missing Man Jumped Overboard
- Cruise Passenger Dies After Tour Boat Sinks in Nassau
- Titanic Dinner Menu Sells for Over $100,000 at Auction
- Cruise News Update: November 14, 2023 [VIDEO]
Sign-up for our Newsletter
Bringing you 15 years of cruise industry experience. Cruise Radio prioritizes well-balanced coverage and accurate reporting. Learn more about our team .
- Enable Accessibility
- 00800 0310 21 21 1-855-577-9489 1-877-288-3037 1-877-288-3037 1-877-474-2969
- | NCL Travel Blog">11-Reasons to Cruise to Alaska this Summer | NCL Travel Blog
- | Norwegian Cruise Line">14-Day Authentic Alaska - Northbound Cruise Tour | Norwegian Cruise Line
- | Deck Plans | Norwegian Cruise Line">14-Day Authentic Alaska - Southbound Cruise Tour | Deck Plans | Norwegian Cruise Line
- | Norwegian Cruise Line">20-Day Transpacific from Tokyo (Yokohama) & Alaska | Norwegian Cruise Line
- | NCL Travel Blog">11 Reasons to Cruise to Alaska this Summer | NCL Travel Blog
- View All Results
- Latitudes Rewards
- Special Offers
- Personalised Recommendations
- Make reservations before you cruise
- 1 (current)
* Terms & Conditions Package not available on sailings less than 5 days or charter sailings.
Cruise Tips for Alaska Weather: Month by Month
If you’re thinking about planning a summer cruise , Alaska may be the perfect destination for you. The Alaskan cruise season lasts from May to October, and the warmest months for travel are typically June, July, and August. Alaskan cruises may seem suited only for people who like extreme weather, but the truth is that the weather in Alaska varies widely based on the region.
Here’s what you can expect each month on your upcoming Alaska cruise along with what you really need to pack.
Ready to start planning? Explore all Alaska cruises .
Alaska Cruise Weather in May
May brings warmer weather within the cities and towns of the Alaskan inside passage. While it can be freezing cold at times, the weather can also be pleasantly cool. The low temperatures typically range from the mid-thirties to the low forties Fahrenheit, but the highs can get up to the upper fifties.
This month also experiences near constant cloud cover with a good chance of rain on any given day. Travelers get at least fifteen hours of daylight and twilight in May, providing more time for whale watching and other outdoor activities. With low wind speeds, cold temperatures, and precipitation, travelers may want to pack plenty of knit sweaters, a jacket, warm pants, and waterproof boots or shoes.
Alaska Cruise Weather in June
Most of the month of June in Alaska is either cold or pleasantly cool with very cold temperatures being less frequent than in May. The lows can be as low as forty-three degrees Fahrenheit, and the highs can get up to the sixties on average.
Cloud cover and precipitation conditions from May persist throughout June and July, and wind speeds remain low as well. Layers are essential for this type of fluctuating weather, and travelers should be sure to pack waterproof jackets and shoes for rainy moments, cardigans or light sweaters, and other warm clothes like jeans, long skirts, and tights.
RELATED CRUISES: 7-Day Alaska: Glacier Bay, Skagway & Juneau 9-Day Cruise Alaska: Hubbard Glacier, Skagway & Juneau 7-Day Cruise Alaska: Hubbard Glacier & Skagway to Vancouver
Alaska Cruise Weather in July
July is known as the hottest month in this section of Alaska with the hottest day of the year falling on July 9th. Temperatures range on average between fifty and sixty degrees with mostly cool afternoons and evenings and chilly mornings and mid-day hours.
The late nights and early mornings can be very cold, but these are also the hours when most people are asleep in their cabins. Travelers cruising to Alaska in July should be sure to pack plenty of layers along with some waterproof outerwear, but they should pack light, removable layers to adjust to the warmer temperatures of the afternoons.
Alaska Cruise Weather in August
August brings a gradual decrease in temperatures again, but it is still one of the hottest months of the year in this region. Temperatures during this month usually range from the mid-forties to the low sixties, and days are typically cool or chilly.
Like July, nights and early mornings can be very cold, so late nighters and early risers should be prepared to bundle up for icy temperatures. Plenty of layers are also essential in August, and travelers should be sure to pack waterproof jackets, shoes, and bags as August and September are among the rainiest months of the year.
Alaska Cruise Weather in September
September is one of the last months of the cruise season in Alaska and it is also one of the coldest, with temperatures staying in the low to high forties on average. As the month advances, the temperatures drop lower and lower, and the nights and early mornings can be bitterly cold.
The abundant cloud cover and frequent rain make the landscape all the more beautiful, but visitors should dress properly for a better overall experience. Travelers still get at least twelve hours of sunlight for excursions and deck activities, but they should pack thick pants, knit sweaters, and insulated shoes to combat the cold along with waterproof rain gear.
Alaska Cruise Weather in October
October in Alaska can see lows can be as low as 28° Fahrenheit, and the highs can reach up to 40° Fahrenheit. You can also expect more precipitation, which can result in some snowy weather.
Both September and October are ideal times to see the stunning Northern Lights, otherwise known as aurora borealis displays. The best times to look is between Midnight and 2am.
While Alaska might be colder than other summer vacation spots, it offers unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. These include sightings of wild orcas , sea lions, and humpback whales and riding one of the world’s longest ziplines.
You’ll also have a chance to visit the incredible Butchart Gardens, witness glaciers, pan for gold , hike through temperate rainforests, and much more. If you’re prepared for the weather and pack the right attire for your destination, nothing can get in the way of having a good time.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published on May 16, 2018. It has been updated to show related content and itineraries.
- Choosing a Cruise
- Planning / Booking A Cruise
- Preparing For Your Cruise
- Special Occasions
- What To Expect On A Cruise
- Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific
- Central America
- East Coast & Bermuda
- Mexican Riviera
- South America & Antarctica
What to Pack for an Alaska Cruise: The Complete Guide
Last updated: July 26th, 2023
- Find a Cruise
Figuring out what to pack for an Alaska cruise is a tricky endeavor. Unlike most cruises, which typically require you to bring clothes for a consistent temperature throughout the trip, on an Alaska cruise , you’ll encounter varying climates.
During a cruise through the Last Frontier, travelers can be exposed to temperatures that drastically change from morning to noon to night, so it’s essential to be prepared for all kinds of weather.
When you’re packing for a cruise to Alaska, make sure to bring all the essentials you would need on any other trip, like casual clothes, dinner attire, technology accessories, and toiletries.
If you’re about to embark on a cruise to Alaska and have no idea what to wear or where to begin, here is the ultimate Alaska cruise packing list.
Alaska Cruise Packing List: Clothing
Since the weather in Alaska can vary from warm to cold on a daily or even hourly basis, it’s important that your clothing choices include items that can be layered on top of each other for warmth, or easily removed if the weather is hot.
Aside from varying temperatures, you might book Alaska shore excursions that are more adventurous than sightseeing and beach-oriented activities. For this reason, you’ll need to pack specific activewear clothes in your suitcase for a variety of experiences, such as kayaking through fjords, spotting wildlife outdoors, and ziplining through forest trees.
Short and long sleeved T-shirts
Since the weather can change drastically in the same day, especially during the Alaska cruise season’s summer months, bringing a mix of short and long-sleeved T-shirts will allow you to adapt to the day’s forecast easily. Those traveling during the shoulder seasons (May and September) will want to bring a few more long-sleeved tees than short.
A puffer or fleece vest is a small item of clothing that can make a big difference in keeping you warm and cozy during your cruise. Layer it over a long sleeve T-shirt during sunnier days when you don’t necessarily want to bring a jacket outside, or wear it under your coat when the weather turns cooler and you want an extra bit of warmth underneath.
As temperatures in Alaska can vary from a toasty 70 to a cold 30 degrees Fahrenheit, we recommend you bring an insulated jacket to your trip. These lightweight jackets work double duty as they’ll keep you comfortable during chillier days, but won’t have you sweating it out during warmer days you might encounter during your trip. If you can pack a lightweight jacket that also happens to be water resistant, even better.
Waterproof rain jacket or windbreaker
Alaska’s summers can see their fair amount of rain. Don’t get caught unprepared during a rainshower and make sure to bring along a waterproof jacket or windbreaker in your suitcase. Also, look for rain jackets that can easily be rolled up and tossed into a backpack so you can bring them along to all of your outdoor excursions.
While sweaters and jackets are important, it’s smart to bring along a few base layers to wear underneath your clothes, too. These thin tops and bottoms are usually made from a special type of insulating fabric, which will keep you warm but will also manage moisture, so you don’t have to worry about sweating underneath all those layers you’ll be piling on.
Don’t underestimate the utility of a scarf. While it may seem like one more accessory to fit into your suitcase, a wool scarf will come in handy during those cooler days of your cruise when the breeze will pick up and you’ll want to have something on hand to cover your neck and chest.
You’ll want to keep your legs covered since you’ll be spending a lot of time outside, either while on deck or in the beautiful Alaskan outdoors. We suggest bringing at least one pair of water-resistant nylon pants in your suitcase, which will go a long way in keeping you dry during more rugged excursions.
If you’re traveling during some of the hotter months of the season (July and August) you might want to consider bringing a pair of convertible zip pants that can easily transform into shorts. You’ll be grateful you packed them on those not-so-rare days in Alaska, when the mornings can start off with a chilly 40 degrees and by lunchtime the temperature has climbed up to a toasty 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wool and wicking socks
For days onboard when you want to enjoy some rest and relaxation, a pair of wool socks will keep your feet nice and warm. Enjoy the view from your balcony with a hot chocolate on hand and comfortable socks on your feet.
For outdoor excursions, we recommend packing a pair of wicking socks, which will keep your feet dry while you’re busy hiking or running outside.
Waterproof shoes or boots
A pair of waterproof footwear is a must in order to fully experience the best excursions that an Alaskan cruise has to offer. Pack a pair of water resistant hiking boots or waterproof boots to take with you as you hike through the rugged wilderness or participate in some other type of outdoor activities including ziplining, fishing, and kayaking in Alaska .
A warm sweater is an easy and versatile item of clothing you should always try to carry around during your cruise, especially when walking around town or enjoying time on the ship’s deck. Wear one underneath your jacket if you’re feeling chilly or just as easily shrug it off when the sun comes out and you start feeling warm.
Hats and gloves
Hats and a warm pair of gloves are small accessories that are essential to include in your Alaska cruise packing list which thankfully won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. Warm beanies and caps will work on cold days if the temperature dips below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As for gloves, consider buying a pair of touch gloves that will let you swipe and type on your phone while wearing them.
Bringing a swimsuit on your cruise to Alaska might sound unnecessary, but remember, all of our ships have solariums with heated pools, spas, and hot tubs. Bring at least one swimsuit just in case you feel like taking a dip during your vacation.
Aside from packing a good sunhat and a bottle of sunscreen, don’t forget to bring along a pair of sunglasses to your cruise. A pair of polarized sunglasses will keep your eyes safe from the sunshine and will protect them from its glare, which can get quite bright when you’re surrounded by snow and ice. It’s a good idea to pack a sunglasses cord so your favorite pair of shades will always remain safely hung around your neck even when you’re not wearing them.
Dinner or “Smart Casual” clothes
Aside from the comfortable and sports clothing you’ll wear during the day and on excursions, you’ll also want to pack dressier attire, too. During dinner in the ship’s main restaurant, cruisers will dress according to Celebrity Cruises’ dress code .
Women can wear a smart dress, skirt, pants, or jeans with a casual top, and men can dress in pants or jeans with a short-sleeve sport shirt.
As for shoewear, the only rule is that flip flops are never allowed during evenings on the ship.
Evening Chic clothes
Depending on the length of your cruise, you’ll have one or more formal dinner nights in which you’ll need to adhere to Celebrity Cruises’s “Evening Chic” dress code. For women, the Evening Chic dress code includes cocktail dresses, skirts, pants, or designer jeans with an elegant top. Men will wear pants or designer jeans with a dress shirt, button-down shirt, or sweater, with the option of a sports coat or blazer.
During your cruise, you can take advantage of our state-of-the-art fitness center and fun exercise classes. Bring at least one workout outfit in case you want to work up a sweat in between ports of call.
Aside from all of your clothes, don’t forget to bring some of your favorite accessories, including jewelry, an evening bag, hair accessories, and evening shoes.
Alaska Cruise Packing List: Non-Clothing Essentials
Now that you know what you need to bring from your closet, it’s time to go through all the other items you won’t want to leave out from your Alaska cruise suitcase.
In addition to clothes, there are a few extra items that will go a long way in making your cruise to Alaska a memorable experience. For example, one of the highlights of traveling to Alaska is spotting wildlife in its natural habitat. Therefore, we recommend travelers bring a handheld camera and a good pair of binoculars, in order to fully experience the wonder of Alaska’s nature.
Sure, you can take pictures with your phone, but do you really want to photograph Alaska and its gorgeous landscapes and wildlife on a tiny phone? You’ll be thankful you packed your best camera on your trip to Alaska once you catch your first glimpse of a majestic glacier or humpback whale.
Read: Cruise Picture Ideas
One of the highlights of taking a cruise to Alaska is all the wildlife you’ll be exposed to during your trip. But in order to fully experience the animals of the Alaskan wilderness from your balcony or the ship’s deck, pack a pair of binoculars that will help give you the best view, regardless of how far away you are from the action. This is a must especially when going on an Alaska whale-watching cruise .
If you’re considering going on any of the many outdoor adventures an Alaskan cruise has to offer, you might want to consider packing a waterproof bag in your suitcase. This will allow you to kayak, fish, or engage in any other aquatic Alaskan adventure without worrying about your valuables getting wet.
You might think because you won’t be lounging on the sand, you won’t need to pack some sunscreen for your cruise to Alaska. But keep in mind, you’ll be participating in many outdoor activities or standing out in the sun for a good amount of time while taking in glaciers and wildlife. Even if you’re covered up, you’ll want to make sure to pack a bottle of SPF to keep your face and neck safe from sun rays.
Spending some time outdoors is par for the course during a trip to Alaska. While you might think the cold weather means you’ll be safe from mosquitos, think again. The Alaskan outdoors can be quite wet, so protect yourself from mosquito bites by packing a bottle of bug spray in your suitcase.
If you’ll be heading out on several different outdoor excursions or simply walking around at each port, a zipped-up backpack or crossbody bag is one of the best ways to carry around daily essentials including your wallet, travel documents, camera, cosmetics, and more. We recommend packing a water-resistant bag just in case.
Cell phone dry bag
There will be moments when you’ll want to document your Alaskan adventures on your phone. Minimize the risk of getting it soaked when sailing near a waterfall or kayaking around a lake by bringing a cell phone dry case, which will keep the water out while still allowing you to use it.
One of the most important items when traveling is your phone charger, and yet it’s one of those things people always seem to forget back at home. Here’s a friendly reminder to pack it in your suitcase!
Speaking of chargers, a portable charger is also a good item to have on hand during your cruise to Alaska. Odds are you’ll be taking a lot of photos and videos during your trip, which can quickly drain the battery on your phone. Remove all chances of running out of battery life just as you’re about to capture footage of a group of humpback whales splashing in the water by bringing a travel charger with you.
Outlet adapter with USB ports
While all staterooms have at least one outlet, we recommend bringing an adapter (or one that comes with USB ports) so that everyone in your room will be able to charge their phones, tablets, and other tech items all at the same time.
Hydration is key when you’re hiking in Alaska or engaging in other active excursion outdoors. Bring along your favorite water bottle to keep on hand during your trip.
Miscellaneous Alaska cruise packing list items
- Magazine or books
- Travel documents
Alaska’s cruise season begins in May and ends in September, and though those summer months are the warmest, the weather can still vary from month to month—temperatures are known to drop drastically even on a daily basis.
Always consider layering items when packing for an Alaska cruise, regardless of the time of year you’ll be sailing. If you have already booked your cruise and know what dates you’ll be traveling, here are some extra tips on what to wear on an Alaska cruise during specific months of the year.
Read: Alaska Cruise Tips to Make the Most of Your Vacation
What should I pack for an Alaska cruise in June?
A June cruise to Alaska is popular for two reasons: the long daylight hours and the low chance of rain. In June, daylight lasts between 18 to 20 hours and the average temperature varies from a high of 40 degrees to mid 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring along at least one pair of polarized sunglasses (to protect your eyes from all that sunshine) and a good sleep mask (in case you need absolute darkness to fall asleep).
What to pack for a cruise to Alaska in July
July enjoys the warmest average temperatures of the summer (they can go from low 50s to high 60 degrees), which is why it’s one of the best times to cruise to Alaska . Be sure to pack a mix of short and long-sleeved T-shirts and waterproof pants that can convert into shorts, in case you get extra sunny and warm days during your cruise.
Chances of rain also increase as the summer months go by, so don’t forget to bring all of your rain-related gear, including a light roll-up waterproof jacket, when you cruise in July .
What to wear in Alaska in August
By August, the chance of rain in Alaska goes up to over 50%, meaning you can expect to encounter a fair amount of showers during your visit. Temperatures will also begin to dip as the month progresses, with lows near 40 and highs in the low 60s.
On an August cruise to Alaska, remember to pack all of your waterproof gear—rain jacket, poncho, waterproof shoes, and water-resistant pants—in order to come as prepared as possible. Consider bringing warmer sweaters, scarves, and hats, as there’s a heightened chance you’ll be exposed to colder weather, too.
What to pack for an Alaska cruise in September
By the time September rolls in, it’s shoulder season in Alaska, meaning there’s less tourists but chillier weather. Temperatures will continue to drop, with highs only reaching the mid 50s and lows going down to the mid 30s. Therefore, if you booked a September cruise to Alaska, make sure to bring heavier layers of clothes, such as thick wool sweaters, socks, hats, a warmer jacket, and a sturdy pair of gloves.
Read: Best Places to Visit in September
Alaska in September is appealing to travelers not only for the reduced amount of visitors, but also because there’s a better chance to see more wildlife than ever, since animals begin to migrate and hunt in preparation for the winter hibernation.
You might also have the opportunity to see the breathtaking aurora borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Lights , a spectacular natural light display that colors the sky in a number of different hues at night.
In order to fully capture wildlife and this natural phenomenon, you should bring your best camera instead of relying on your phone to take photographs and videos. If you want to go above and beyond and get some great shots, a travel tripod should make it into your cruise packing list , too.
Book your Alaska cruise vacation
Watch: Alaska Cruise: Experience The Last Frontier
Now that you know what to pack for an Alaska cruise, it’s time to book that vacation. Browse our Alaska cruise itineraries and start planning your cruise today. If you’ve already booked your Alaska cruise, start reserving your shore excursions today in order to guarantee your spot on the most popular excursions before they fill up.
Alaska Southbound Glacier
- 7 nights ON CELEBRITY SUMMIT
- DEPARTING FROM SEWARD, ALASKA
- Starting from $296 USD
Alaska Northbound Glacier
- DEPARTING FROM VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
- Starting from $343 USD
- 6 nights ON CELEBRITY SOLSTICE
- Starting from $410 USD
Alaska Dawes Glacier
- 6 nights ON CELEBRITY EDGE
- Starting from $479 USD
- 7 nights ON CELEBRITY SOLSTICE
- Starting from $549 USD
- 7 nights ON CELEBRITY EDGE
- DEPARTING FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
- Starting from $679 USD
12 Best Places to Fish in Alaska
Visit Alaska From Home
Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, or Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier: Which One Is Best?
11 Best Things to Do in Talkeetna
15 of the Most Beautiful Places in Alaska
Best Alaska Cruise Routes
10 Best Beach Towns in Portugal
14 Best Things to Do in Chile
11 Best Things to Do in Belize
11 Best Wine Cruise Destinations for Oenophiles
15 Best Museums in Stockholm
13 Best Beaches in Barcelona
Free Vacation Planning Services
CALL US 888-751-7804
Sign Up for Special Offers
- First Name *
- Last Name *
- Email Address *
- Country * Country Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Costa Rica Côte d'Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Polynesia Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Greece Greenland Grenada Guam Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati North Korea South Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Palestine, State of Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vatican City Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
STAY IN THE KNOW
Thank you for subscribing.
See you on board soon.
Packing for Alaska; Or, How's the Weather Up There?
By Matt Hannafin
The Alaska cruise season is underway, and if you're anything like my wife -- all set to take her first Alaska cruise this very week -- there's one big question distressing your soul: "What should I wear?"
I can understand her problem. Alaska has, after all, been sold for decades as "The Great White North," an endless expanse of permafrost, snow-capped mountains, icefields, and glaciers. The truth, though, is a lot more complex, and while winters in many parts of the state really can dip down to thirty below zero, summers can get downright balmy, especially in the era of global warming.
In 2004 Alaska experienced its own equivalent of a heatwave, with temperatures all up and down the Southeast Panhandle about 5°F above normal and Juneau, the state capital and an important cruise port, posting seven consecutive days above 84°F. Temperatures stayed warm for summer 2005, then did a turnaround for summer 2006, dipping a bit cooler than average, with extra rainfall to boot.
But, you ask, what's average? Here's a rundown of typical high/low summer temperatures in some of the most-visited cruise ports and cruise tour destinations. Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit, representing mid-month low and high averages.
Temperatures last week averaged several degrees warmer than historical averages. A harbinger of things to come?
In General . . .
Southeast Alaska is the state's primo cruising area, where both Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska cruises spend the majority of their time. Generally speaking, the area has more temperate year-round weather than the rest of the state, though conditions can be changeable. In May, when the cruise season gets going, I've experienced icy rain at the waterline and hiked in new snow at the top of BBB Juneau's Mount Roberts -- but I've also seen a lot of beautiful, crisp, sunny days. June is the driest of the three true summer months, July the warmest (and also the busiest), and August the month where you'll usually experience the most rain. Rainy weather usually continues into September, though I've sailed here as the season wrapped up and had sunny days all week long. Southeast in general is a rain-prone place, though some towns are rainier than others: Ketchikan , for instance, gets about 150 inches of precipitation annually, more than three times Juneau's total.
For the most part, expect daytime summer temperatures to fall in the 50s and 60s, though the damp climate can make it seem colder -- as can wind, proximity to glaciers, excursions to higher elevations, or just standing out on deck during days at sea. Some days can also get up into the 70s or occasionally into the 80s.
This far south you won't experience the famed midnight sun, though days still seem to go on forever. In June, Juneau gets about 18 hours of sunlight -- sometimes at 10pm there's still enough to read by. Farther north, in Anchorage , Denali , and Fairbanks -- places visited on many ship/shore cruise tours -- the sun dips below the horizon for only a little over four hours on some June days. Summer temperatures here are roughly comparable to those in Southeast.
What to Pack
The rule for Alaska is layering. In addition to evening wear (which will vary depending on your particular cruise line's dress code) and some lightweight daywear for use aboard ship (including a bathing suit, as most megaships have covered pool areas), you'll want to bring some variation of the following items for daytime use:
- A lightweight, waterproof coat or jacket, preferably with a hood: No matter the month, you're almost guaranteed at least a little bit of rain on a cruise in Southeast Alaska or the Gulf of Alaska. If you're taking a small-ship cruise that includes lots of exploration by open Zodiac boat or if you'll be doing a lot of outdoor shore excursions, you might also consider bringing a pair of waterproof pants and a rain hat.
- Two sweaters or fleece pullovers: The damp environment of the Inside Passage can get into your bones, especially when you're on the water, so be sure to pack some warmth. As an option, you might substitute a knit or fleece vest for one of the pullovers.
- Two to four pairs of pants/jeans: The higher number if you'll be doing a lot of outdoor shore excursions, since there's a very good chance you'll hit mud.
- Two pairs of walking shoes (preferably waterproof)
- A warm hat and gloves: Especially out on the water, your ears and fingers will need some protection. If you tend to get chilly, you might add a light scarf as well. For days when the sun in shining, you might also opt for . . .
- A sun hat and sunscreen : The sun can be deceptive up here, but you can definitely get a burn if you're doing a lot of active shore excursions or spending a lot of time on deck whale-watching.
- Long underwear if you're on a May/September shoulder-season cruise
- A folding umbrella
- Clothing aside, be sure to also bring binoculars and/or a good camera, preferably with a telephoto or zoom lens and with lots of digital memory or film. And because those whales, eagles, and bears you'll be snapping pictures of aren't the only wildlife in Alaska, you'll also do well to pack some mosquito repellant. Bugs aren't as big a problem in Southeast as in the more central parts of the state, but if you get into the forest on shore excursions, they can still get annoying.
- All Regions
- Australia & South Pacific
- Caribbean & Atlantic
- Central & South America
- Middle East & Africa
- North America
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- Arts & Culture
- Beach & Water Sports
- Local Experiences
- Food & Drink
- Outdoor & Adventure
- National Parks
- Winter Sports
- Travelers with Disabilities
- Family & Kids
- All Slideshows
- Hotel Deals
- Car Rentals
- Flight Alerts
- Credit Cards & Loyalty Points
- Cruise News
- Entry Requirements & Customs
- Car, Bus, Rail News
- Money & Fees
- Health, Insurance, Security
- Packing & Luggage
- -Arthur Frommer Online
- Road Trip Guides
- Alaska Made Easy
- Great Vacation Ideas in the U.S.A.
- Best of the Caribbean
- Best of Mexico
- Cruise Inspiration
- Best Places to Go 2024
Alaska Cruise Weather (Month by Month Guide)
Marcello De Lio
August 29, 2023
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive compensation when you purchase via my links at no cost to you. See my disclosure for more information.
You’re not alone if you’re worried about how cold it gets in Alaska or which month is best to avoid the rain. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable and can change at a moment’s notice.
It’s not uncommon to wake up to a hot sunny day, only to find it cold and raining 10 minutes later.
We’ve put together this Alaska cruise weather guide to help you find the best time to cruise to Alaska .
Alaska Cruise Weather by Month
The Alaska cruise season generally runs from May to September, with occasional cruises in April and October.
The below chart shows the Alaska cruise temperatures you can expect on the inside passage, along with rainfall and hours of daylight:
Alaska Cruise Weather in May
- Highs : 55°F
- Lows : 40°F
- Average Rainfall : 3.48 inches
- Hours of Daylight : 16.5 hours of daylight
Many cruise ships begin their summer deployments to Alaska in May before peak season begins in June.
The Alaska cruise weather in June is fairly cool, but it has the least amount of rainfall during the Alaska cruise season. You can expect Alaska cruise temperatures in May to have lows of around 40 and highs of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
May is one of the best times to visit Alaska for dry weather, fewer crowds, and lots of wildlife.
During May, you’ll find several whale species along Alaska’s inside passage. By this time of the year, most of the whales will have completed their migration from the warm waters of Mexico to Alaska, where they will spend the summer.
Spring is also the time to spot newborn wildlife.
You can expect to see lots of snow-capped mountains, and there are fewer insects and mosquitos.
Alaska Cruise Weather in June
- Highs : 60°F
- Lows : 45°F
- Average Rainfall : 3.36 inches
- Hours of Daylight : 18.1 hours of daylight
Early June is when the Alaska cruise season kicks into high gear. The warming weather allows cruise ships to travel through the Arctic waters providing unique opportunities for passengers.
The Alaska cruise temperature is warmer in June, with lows of 45 and highs in the low 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to pack insect repellant when you visit Alaska in June, as mosquitos and other insects can become a nuisance.
The warm weather makes it one of the best times to witness the calving of glaciers.
You can expect 18-20 hours of daylight in June, providing lots of time to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and abundant wildlife.
June is one of the best months for wildlife sightings, with caribou, black bears, mountain goats, moose calves, and even polar bears out and about.
Alaska Cruise Weather in July
- Highs : 65°F
- Lows : 50°F
- Average Rainfall : 4.14 inches
- Hours of Daylight : 17.3 hours of daylight
July is the peak season for Alaska cruises and provides the best Alaska cruise weather and wildlife opportunities. This month has some of the warmest weather, longest daylight hours, and the largest number of tourists.
Temperatures in July average from the high 40s to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
The warm weather and long hours of sunlight mean you’ll want to pack sunglasses and sunscreen. You should still wear layers when visiting the port, but if you’re planning active shore excursions like hikes or glacier walks, you’ll want to stick with lightweight clothing.
July is an ideal month to visit for salmon fishing, cultural festivals, bear viewing, and small-town exploring. With the popularity of July cruising, cruise prices are at their highest.
Despite having the best weather, Alaska’s weather in July is very unpredictable. You’ll want to pack for all kinds of weather and wear a lightweight rain jacket.
Alaska Cruise Weather in August
- Average Rainfall : 5.37 inches
- Hours of Daylight : 15.2 hours of daylight
August is when the Alaska cruise season begins to wind down. During this month, you can expect the weather begins to cool, higher rainfall, and gorgeous fall landscapes.
You may be able to find some deals towards mid-August, but expect full fares for the most part.
The chance of rain during this month is over 50%, so you’ll want to pack plenty of waterproof gear – including waterproof shoes and wool socks.
Alaska Cruise Weather in September
- Average Rainfall : 7.54 inches
- Hours of Daylight : 12.4 hours of daylight
As school returns to session, cruise prices dip and provide travelers with last-minute bargains to take an Alaskan cruise.
The temperatures in September are slightly cooler, with highs of 55 and lows around 40 degrees fair height. September is also the rainiest month of the cruise season. So be prepared to pack lots of rain gear.
September also sees fewer crowds than in the summer. However, the shoulder season has become more prevalent in recent years, making great deals harder to find. Knowing when to book your cruise can help you save money on your trip.
Due to the shorter daylight hours, September provides the best opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis from an Alaskan cruise.
Fun Alaska Weather Facts
- The coldest recorded temperature in Alaska is -79.8° F (-62° C) at Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971. It also holds the record as the coldest recorded temperature in the United States
- The hottest recorded temperature in Alaska is 100° F (38° C). The temperature was recorded on June 27, 1905, in Fort Yukon
- Juneau, Alaska, is the cloudiest place in the US, with only a 30% chance of seeing the sun.
- 1952-1953 set the record for most snowfall in a year with 971.5 inches of snow.
- Yakutat, Alaska, holds the record as the rainiest place in the US, with an annual rainfall of 160 inches each year.
- Southeast Alaska is home to the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world.
Alaska cruise weather is unpredictable. The weather conditions can change several times throughout the day, which is why it’s best to pack plenty of layers and a lightweight raincoat.
The best time to cruise Alaska for good weather is between late June and early July. The summer months have the warmest temperatures and the least amount of snowfall.
Not to mention you’ll have a better chance of seeing humpback whales, king salmon, bears, moose, and bald eagles.
- Climate for Juneau, Alaska . Climate in Juneau, Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2022, from https://www.rssweather.com/climate/Alaska/Juneau/
- Alaska Weather & Climate: Temperature Chart, daylight & more . ALASKA.ORG. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2022, from https://www.alaska.org/expert-advice/weather-climate
- Alaska Weather . Travel Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2022, from https://www.travelalaska.com/Plan-your-Trip/Planning-Tools/Alaska-Weather
- Amazing Alaska Facts – A Land of Extremes . AlaskaKids. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2022, from http://www.alaskakids.org/index.cfm/know-alaska/Alaska-Quick-Facts/Land-of-Extremes
10 Best Hotels Near Vancouver Cruise Port
26 Best Things to do in Juneau Alaska
28 Amazing Things to Do In Sitka Alaska Cruise Port
24 Things to do in Skagway Alaska Cruise Port
The Best Time to Cruise Alaska? (Month by Month Guide)
Ultimate Alaska Cruise Packing List (Printable)
Leave a reply cancel reply.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Get expert travel tips and cruise news delivered weekly.
Alaska Cruise Weather - What to Expect
Published: Dec 27, 2017 Last Updated: Nov 16, 2023
Though weather can be hard to predict, especially in Alaska, there are trends that’ll help you know what to expect during your summer cruise. So, check the weather before you pack, but these will give you a guesstimate.
The best time for an Alaskan Cruise is May through with September, with the best weather in June and July. In May and September, you can anticipate a few extra rainy days and slightly cooler (though still pleasant!) temperatures. Note that the best times for whale watching are mid-June to mid-August, though you can catch them before and after this, too.
Here is the typical weather during Alaska cruise season:
Juneau Cruise Weather
The capital of alaska sees average highs in the upper 50’s and low 60’s in may through august, with september highs averaging in the low 50’s. it’s much less rainy than the previous two at 62 inches, but it’s still pretty common..
Juneau, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Skagway Cruise Weather
It’s a little warmer and a little less rainy in the land of infamous Soapy Smith , with high averages in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s May through September and an average rainfall of 27 inches annually. (Summers with streaks of temps in the 70’s are also not uncommon in Southeast Alaska, so remember a few t-shirts!)
Ketchikan Cruise Weather
Alaska’s “first city” is also widely known as the rainiest, with 153 inches per year. (for comparison, seattle, well-known for it’s rain, only gets about 38 inches) high temperatures during june, july, and august are typically in the mid-60’s. the ‘shoulder’ season of may and september is generally about 5-10 degrees colder..
Ketchikan Rain Gauge, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Sitka Cruise Weather
Still in the heart of the tongass rainforest, but slightly less rainy, sitka gets 131 inches of rain per year. high temperatures average in the high 50’s to low 60’s from june to september, and low 50’s in may..
Sitka, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Icy Strait Point Cruise Weather
This port near hoonah has average highs in the upper 50’s and low 60’s in may through september. same as juneau, the rain averages 62 inches. if you’re taking a shore excursion from here, be sure to check specific packing recommendations..
Icy Strait Point, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Seward Cruise Weather
We move northwest from the tongass national forest, and into chugach, which is also a temperate rainforest. the highs average in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s june-september, though warmer days aren’t uncommon. may’s highs are in the lower 50’s. the average rainfall is 71 inches, with 10 of that in september alone..
Seward, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Whittier Cruise Weather
The actual rainiest city in alaska is whittier, at a whopping 185 inches per year may and september high temperatures average in the low 50’s, with june through august seeing average highs in the upper 50’s to lower 60’s..
Whittier, AK ( Photo by arthick photography / CC BY )
The skies dry up as we get to alaska’s most populated city, with an average rainfall of just 17 inches. temperatures stay comparable with average highs in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s may through september..
Anchorage, AK ( Photo / CC BY )
Alaska Excursion FAQ
1. what is the best port for whale watching.
Juneau is the best port for whale watching , because seeing whales is 100% guaranteed. Icy Strait is also a good choice for whale watching, because whales are abundant (though not guaranteed).
2. What is the best port for dog sledding?
There are dog sledding options in many ports, including Juneau, Skagway, and Anchorage. Each excursion typically includes a helicopter ride and dog sledding on a glacier. It's a must do in Alaska, but which port you try it in is up to you.
3. What are the best Alaska shore excursions?
The best Alaska shore excursions are:
- Juneau Dog Sledding Tour
- Misty Fjords National Monument Tour
- Mendenhall Glacier Tour
- Skagway White Pass Railroad Summit
- Whale Watching in Juneau
Why Alaska Shore Excursions?
- Free Cancellation
- Secure Payments
- Best Price Guarantee
- On Time Ship Return Guarantee
- Alaska Tour Experts
- Chat & Phone Support
Glaciers in Alaska: Juneau Icefield, Mendenhall Glacier, & More
How Early Should I Book my Shore Excursions?
Whale Migration Patterns throughout Alaska
Icy Strait Exclusive Wildlife and Bear Search Tour
$150.00 / Person
Anchorage Matanuska Glacier Walk Tour
$299.00 / Person
Juneau Glacier Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour
$661.00 / Person
Sitka Marine Wildlife Exploration by Boat
$179.00 / Person
- Copyright 2023 Alaska Shore Excursions