Alaska Cruise Weather (Month by Month Guide)

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Side shot of the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel Pearl docked in Ketchikan Alaska

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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

Side shot of the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel Pearl docked in Ketchikan AlaskaPin

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:

MonthAverage LowsAverage HighsAverage RainfallHours of Daylight
May40°F55°F3.48 inches16.5
June45°F60°F3.36 inches18.1
July50°F65°F4.14 inches17.3
August45°F60°F5.37 inches15.2
September40°F55°F7.14 inches12.4

Alaska Cruise Weather in May

Royal Caribbean cruise ship Radiance of the seas docked in skagway alaskaPin
  • 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

Cruise ship at a port in Juneau, Alaska with snow capped mountain and low lying fog in the backgroundPin
  • 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

Royal Princess Docked in Juneau AlaskaPin
  • 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

Mendenhall Glacier and Lake in Juneau Alaska USA in summerPin
  • Highs: 60°F
  • Lows: 45°F
  • 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

Radiance of the Seas docked in Sitka AlaskaPin
  • Highs: 55°F
  • Lows: 40°F
  • 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.

Final Thoughts

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.


Article by

Marcello De Lio

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