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Royal Caribbean cancels 2020 Alaska, Canada/New England and Hawaii cruises

In:
02Jun2020

Royal Caribbean has informed travel agents that due to the Canadian Government restricting all cruise traffic through October 2020, its Alaska, Hawaii and Canada/New England cruises are cancelled.

The cruise line indicated itineraries touching on a Canadian port through October 2020 are suspended.

Similar to other cancelled cruises due to the current global health crisis, Royal Caribbean is offering guests three options:

Lift & Shift: Move your existing booking to next year, protecting the current price/promotion, simply by electing to remain on the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week period of their original cruise date same-time-next-year. Opt-in deadlines are as follows:

  • Sailings departing June 12-July 31, 2020
    • On-or-before June 10, 2020
  • Canada Port closures departing August 1-October 31, 2020
    • On-or-before June 17, 2020

Future Cruise Credit: You client will receive a Future Cruise Credit for 125% of the amount paid, to be redeemed on-or-before December 31, 2021 on sailings through April 2022. This option is automatic and will default if neither of the other options are selected.

Refund: If a refund is preferred, you can opt to receive a 100% refund of their cruise fare. No need to decide now – refund requests are available through December 31, 2020.

Last week, Canada's Public Health Agency announced it was extending its ban on cruises ships with more than 100 people through October 31, 2020.

Canada had originally closed off its borders to all cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers and crew until between April 2 and July 1, 2020.

Without the ability to visit Canadian ports, Royal Caribbean cruises cannot legally offer sailings because of U.S. cabotage laws that require foreign-flagged vessels leaving from a U.S. port of call to first call on a "distant foreign port" before returning to the United States.

Royal Caribbean removes 2020 Alaska and Canada cruises from website

In:
Category: 
31May2020

Royal Caribbean's website no longer has 2020 cruises to Alaska or Canada available to book.

Canada announced on Friday it was extending its ban on cruise ships through the end of October 2020.

While Royal Caribbean has not officially informed guests that sailings that visit Canada between July 1 - October 31 are cancelled, all potentially affected sailings have been removed from being able to be booked on the cruise line site.

When searching for Alaska sailings, no dates in 2020 are available to search, and Brilliance of the Seas 2020 sailings from Boston are all removed, minus a repositioning cruise from Boston to Tampa.

Royal Caribbean indicated a "full update" will be made by Royal Caribbean on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020.

If cruise ships cannot visit Canada, Royal Caribbean cannot legally operate sailings that do not visit a "nearby foreign port" during the sailing, due to the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886.

Thanks to RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Bud Dickson for alerting us to this news.

Haines, Alaska looking for more Royal Caribbean ship visits

In:
Category: 
27May2020

The city of Haines, Alaska wants to expand its relationship with Royal Caribbean in order to get more cruise ships visit the city.

Haines Tourism Director Steven Auch said the city would like to see more ships on a regular basis.

According to KINY radio, Royal Caribbean had an agreement to bring ships to Haines for a few hours when they visit Skagway in summer 2020, but that was before the Alaska cruise season was put on hold.

Mr. Auch believes cruise ships would have a lot of support from businesses and the community to get more visits.

"Royal Caribbean wanted to make sure the community is interested.  Not only did the assembly pass a resolution but we received a flood of emails from the community in support of it," he added.

The 2021 Royal Caribbean schedule has ships headed to Skagway which will spend a few hours per day in the evening in Haines.

Haines would like to see Royal Caribbean make Haines one of their primary stops in 2022.

Will there be cruises to Alaska in 2020?

In:
03Apr2020

Summer cruises to Alaska are one of the highlights of Royal Caribbean's offerings, but the 2020 Alaska cruise season seems in doubt with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have a cruise booked for Alaska this year, here is a look at all the information we know that impacts sailings to The Last Frontier.

No cruises until at least July

Royal Caribbean has already taken a step to cancel all Alaska cruises until July 1, 2020.

On March 24, Royal Caribbean extended its suspension of cruises until May 12, however, they also decided to cancel all Alaska cruises through June 30, 2020.

The decision was based on two primary factors: the ongoing spread of Coronavirus, as well as American and Canadian port closures.

Canadian port closures

A major factor prohibiting any Alaska cruise is the decision of the Canadian government to close its ports to cruise traffic, which means Royal Caribbean's ships cannot enter these ports.

On March 13, Transport Canada announced it would defer the start of the cruise ship season in Canada from April 2, 2020 to July 1, 2020, at the earliest.  This deferral will apply to cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members.

There are two primary ports Royal Caribbean relies on for its Canadian cruises: Vancouver and Victoria.

Vancouver is where Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas homeport during the season, while Victoria is a port of call for cruises out of Seattle.

Without access to Canadian ports, it is impossible for Royal Caribbean to operate any cruises, since even sailings beginning in the United States require a foreign port stop at some point in order to be in compliance with U.S. laws.

Port of Seattle delays

In addition to Canadian port closures, the Port of Seattle has delayed its start to the 2020 cruise season.

The Port now expects the launch of the cruise season will be delayed until the resolution of the public health emergency.

As a result of COVID-19, the start of Seattle’s cruise season will depend on the status of the public health emergency and the advice of local, state and federal public health officials.

The CDC has issued a nonessential travel warning and a temporary no sail order for cruise ships, and the State and King County have imposed a number of strict limitations to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Quantum of the Seas to sail to Alaska for the first time in 2021

In:
18Mar2020

Royal Caribbean announced that Quantum of the Seas will sail from the Pacific Northwest for the first time when she calls Seattle home in May 2021.

Quantum will join Ovation of the Seas to offer 7-night cruises, leaving on Mondays.

Quantum’s summer 2021 Alaska itineraries open for sale today. The additional cruises build on Royal Caribbean’s previously announced summer deployment for Ovation, Radiance and Serenade of the Seas, sailing from Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska.

Quantum of the Seas will begin her Alaska itineraries with a May 10 sailing, and her season will extend through the end of September 2021.

The addition of Quantum of the Seas to the Alaska 2021 season was no simple task, and it appears Royal Caribbean has been working for months to make this change.  A source confirms that the decision to move Quantum was made late last year.

Quantum of the Seas sailed for a brief period out of Bayonne, New Jersey when she debuted in 2014, but since 2015 has been sailing in Asia.

Comparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Alaska 2021

In:
24Feb2020

If a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska is in the plans for 2021, then you have four great ships to consider.

Each of these ships offers onboard activities, signature attractions and specialty dining options that will compliment a vacation to the Last Frontier quite well.

Since there are a few different options for a Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise, here is a breakdown of what to expect from each.

Ovation of the Seas

Homeport: Seattle, Washington

Ports: Juneau, Skagway, the Inside Passage and Victoria, BC.

For the third year in a row, Royal Caribbean will send its Quantum Class favorite to Alaska to offer 7-night Alaska Glacier cruises .

Ovation of the Seas is one of the largest ships in the region, offering some of the latest innovations Royal Caribbean is known for onboard the ship. 

  • North Star observational pod takes guests 300 feet above sea level.
  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator
  • Izumi sushi
  • Chops Grille steakhouse
  • Jamie's Italian restaurant
  • Two70 theater
  • SeaPlex indoor gymnasium that offers basketball, roller skating, bumper cars and more.
  • Indoor pool for all ages
  • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
  • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
  • Nursery for babies
  • Outdoor movie screen

Sailing from Seattle, getting to Ovation of the Seas by air is the least-expensive and most convenient choice of Royal Caribbean's Alaska fleet. Flights within the United States tend to be cheaper to Seattle, compared to Vancouver departures.

Why pick Ovation of the Seas

Ovation of the Seas offers the greatest variety of activities, things to do and dining on a Royal Caribbean ship to Alaska. 

In fact, it is among the newest and largest ships to sail to Alaska, which means guests used to a certain level of amenities on their Royal Caribbean cruises in the Caribbean will not miss a beat.

The indoor pools for guests of all ages and the indoor SeaPlex provide significantly more activities for guests in a place where rain and chilly temperatures are constantly present. Pool deck life on other ships is nearly nonexistent compared to Ovation.

Moreover, the ship sails from the convenient port of Seattle, which makes airfare cheaper and more plentiful for Americans.

    Quantum of the Seas

    Homeport: Seattle, Washington

    Ports: Juneau, Skagway, the Inside Passage and Victoria, BC.

    Quantum of the Seas will sail from the Pacific Northwest for the first time when she calls Seattle home in May 2021.

    Just like Ovation of the Seas, Quantum will offer 7-night Alaska Glacier cruises departing on Mondays. Quantum of the Seas will begin her Alaska itineraries with a May 10 sailing, and her season will extend through the end of September 2021.

    Being a Quantum Class ship, Quantum of the Seas offers a ton to experience onboard, which is perfect for families.

    • North Star observational pod takes guests 300 feet above sea level.
    • FlowRider surf simulator
    • Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator
    • Izumi sushi
    • Chops Grille steakhouse
    • Jamie's Italian restaurant
    • Two70 theater
    • SeaPlex indoor gymnasium that offers basketball, roller skating, bumper cars and more.
    • Indoor pool for all ages
    • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
    • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
    • Nursery for babies
    • Outdoor movie screen

    Why pick Quantum of the Seas

    Just like Ovation of the Seas, you will not compromise with the onboard experience if you sail on Quantum of the Seas.

    What makes Quantum of the Seas stand apart from Ovation is it is often less expensive than sailing on Ovation of the Seas. This means more money to spend on an amazing shore excursion.

    Quantum sails from Seattle, which makes it easy and inexpensive to get to for most Americans.

    Onboard the ship, you will find plenty to see, do and eat onboard.

    Radiance of the Seas

    Homeports: Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska

    Ports: Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Icy Strait Point; the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier (scenic cruising).

    Radiance of the Seas has been one of the most consistently deployed ships by Royal Caribbean to Alaska, and she returns in 2021 to offer 7-night Northbound/Southbound Glacier cruises, along with 9-13 night Alaskan & Canadian Cruisetours.

    Radiance will alternate her sailings between northbound and southbound routes, which means her sailings begin in one port, and conclude in another port.

    Guests looking to maximize their time in Alaska can opt to add on a landtour that can extend their cruise before or after (or both) to visit destinations inland that would otherwise be unavailable to see on a cruise ship.

    Radiance of the Seas is best known for:

    • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
    • Chops Grille steakhouse
    • Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant
    • Izumi sushi
    • Rock climbing wall
    • Indoor movie theater
    • An abundance of glass walls and windows to provide views of the outdoors
    • Helipad access at bow of the ship for viewing
    • Mini golf
    • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
    • Nursery for babies
    • Outdoor movie screen

    Why pick Radiance of the Seas

    Any cruiser that has been to Alaska multiple times will tell you that Radiance of the Seas has arguably the "superior" itinerary, in terms of what you will see and experience from the ship.  Radiance sails to more ports and sees more glaciers than Ovation of the Seas, which means opportunity to see far more of the impressive and best-known glaciers and wildlife in Alaska.

    A Radiance Class ship is also famous for the views you can enjoy throughout the ship, since glass is incorporated in many places.  Views around the ship while still inside are plentiful.

    If you have the means, an optional land tour can be combined with a Radiance of the Seas cruise to become truly immersed in Alaska.

    Serenade of the Seas

    Homeports: Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska

    Ports: Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Icy Strait Point; Sitka, Tracy Arm Fjord (scenic cruising)

    Serenade of the Seas is returning to Alaska for the second year in a row, and she will offer 7-night Alaska Glacier Experience roundtrip sailings from Vancouver, British Columbia.

    An Alaska cruise on Serenade of the Seas will offer sailings that cover 500 miles of shoreline that is the Inside Passage, calling on Ketchikan, Juneau and Icy Strait Point, Alaska, from Vancouver.

    Serenade of the Seas is best known for:

    • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
    • Chops Grille steakhouse
    • Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant
    • Izumi sushi
    • Rock climbing wall
    • Indoor movie theater
    • An abundance of glass walls and windows to provide views of the outdoors
    • Helipad access at bow of the ship for viewing
    • Mini golf
    • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
    • Nursery for babies
    • Outdoor movie screen

    Why pick Serenade of the Seas

    Comparing Serenade of the Seas' sailings to sister ship Radiance of the Seas, the basic difference is Serenade offers a more convenient roundtrip sailing, instead of an open-jaw itinerary.

    Like Radiance, Serenade offers add-on land tours as well to enhance the visit.

    More Alaska cruise info

    Want to learn more about a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, as well as helpful tips and secrets? Check out these blog posts:

    Video: What to pack for a cruise to Alaska

    In:
    Category: 
    30Jan2020

    Going on a cruise to Alaska means seeing incredible scenery, spotting wildlife, and trying to pack for three seasons in one vacation.

    Many first time cruisers to Alaska struggle with what to bring on their cruise, so here are the important things to bring along for a cruise to Alaska.

    And if you love this video, there’s plenty more for you to enjoy over on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

    By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

    So check out the video and then let us know: What is on your must-pack list for an Alaskan cruise?

    What Is an Alaska Inside Passage Cruise?

    In:
    Category: 
    28Jan2020

    There is a fair amount of Alaska cruise lingo, and you are very likely to hear about something called the Inside Passage.

    The Inside Passage is usually what people refer to when they talk about an Alaska cruise.

    Alaska’s Inside Passage is a water route between the Gulf of Alaska and Puget Sound.  It is a common route for cruise ships that depart from Seattle or Vancouver, and offers stops along Alaska's panhandle.

    The term "Inside Passage" is commonly used to refer to the entire region of Southeast Alaska, as well as British Columbia. This area spans 500 miles of shoreline, with the of the best wildlife and landscape viewing you can see from a ship.

    Nearly all Royal Caribbean's Inside Passage sailings are 7-nights, although the cruise line does offer land-tours that you can add onto your cruise to expand your exploration inland.

    In addition to the ports, the Inside Passage features fantastic animal viewing opportunities, with whales, orcas, sea lions, seals, eagles, bears, raptors and more along the way.  This is usually why many people that have cruised to Alaska before recommend bringing a good pair of binoculars to be able to see it all from your ship.

    Of course, this area is also know for its glaciers and quiet towns your ship may visit. The ports of Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka and more are along the Inside Passage, and known for the natural beauty and incredible history you can discover.

    In addition, you may have the opportunity to visit some well-known state and national parks and preserves, including Tongass National Forest, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Misty Fjords National Monument, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

    Cruises to the Inside Passage are available between May and September.

    Inside Passage Tips

    Bring a sleep mask: During the summer, Alaska enjoys up to 19 hours of daylight, which means it is light out most times of the day and night. A sleep mask is a necessity if you want it dark when you sleep.

    Best time to spot bears: According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game there can be as many as one grizzly bear per square mile in parts of southern Alaska.

    Your best bet for seeing a bear is in the spring and summer, primarily around dawn and dusk, when they hunt for food. It’s also common to see them along the shoreline, scouting fish and other food that may have washed ashore.

    Buy an all-weather jacket: The weather in Alaska will change throughout the day, from chilly to rainy to warm to rainy and chilly again. You want to invest in a waterproof, breathable jacket that can handle all of these weather changes, while keeping you comfortable.

    There is no best side of the ship for an Alaska cruise: A lot of readers are curious if the starboard or port side is a superior choice for viewing glaciers, animals, scenery or anything on a cruise. 

    There is fantastic scenery to see on both sides of the ship while sailing the Inside Passage.  When your ship enters the fjords, you will find equally good viewing from either side of the ship.  In short, you will see scenery from both sides of the ship.

    Best port for hiking: Juneau offers more than 250 miles of hiking trails, with a variety of skill levels. You can see the beauty of  Nugget Falls, the gleaming face of Mendenhall Glacier, or sweeping views of the Inside Passage islands from the summit of Mount Juneau.

    Best time to spot whales: June and July are the best months to see the humpback whales when they migrate to Alaska’s Inside Passage. 

    What should I pack for a cruise to Alaska?

    In:
    Category: 
    14Jan2020

    An Alaska cruise will take you to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  It is filled with breathtaking vistas, new discoveries, and trails to awe-inspiring views.

    The Last Frontier is known for glaciers, wildlife spotting, and the Northern Lights. With so much to see and do, packing for this kind of a bucket list adventure is no easy task.

    There are a few important things to know about what to pack for an Alaskan cruise, so here are the basics.

    This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions expressed are exclusively are my own. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Layers

    If there is one mantra about Alaska that is absolutely true, it is the idea of "layering".

    Essentially, the weather changes a lot during the day in Alaska.  It may start out cold and rainy, then the sun comes out and warms things up, followed by a breezy afternoon and perhaps rain again.

    Cruise experts will tell you want to have three basic layers while in Alaska:

    1. Base layer: t-shirt and jeans
    2. Warm layer: Fleece or down jacket/sweater
    3. Waterproof layer: Thin waterproof jacket suitable for when it rains

    The idea is you can take off or put back on any of these layers at any given time. 

    Base Layer

    The base layer is suitable for when you are on the cruise ship, or when the sun is shining while outdoors.  This is essentially the kind of clothing you would wear in the early spring or fall back at home, where it is warm, but not hot, outside.

    You should plan to pack primarily t-shirts or other casual mostly warm weather shirts as your base layer. Plan on having one for every day.

    Warm layer

    This is the layer you put on when temperatures start to go down and it gets chilly.  

    It seems like most people opt for fleece jackets or pullovers from brands such as North Face or Columbia.  Brands aside, you want something that will keep you warm without resorting to something too "poofy".  Parka jackets, need not apply.

    I invested in a quality fleece jacket, and also packed one or two hoodies that I can swap out interchangeably. You do not need one for each day, but should have a back up option or two just in case.

    Waterproof layer

    This is what you put on when it rains.  Rain in Alaska varies, and is often misty and light, but definitely occurs off and on sporadically.

    Just like the warm layer, you do not want something bulky, because more than likely you will be carrying around this layer with you just in case it rains. 

    A windproof rain jacket is a solid bet. Be sure to get one that is lightweight.

    A popular choice are three-in-one jackets that have the warm layer and waterproof layer bundled together, and can be taken off as needed. 

    Regardless of what rain jacket you opt for, you want to make sure it is light enough to put in a backpack to carry around without being a nuisance.

    Shoes

    There is a lot of advice when it comes to the proper footwear in Alaska, and I believe the proper footwear depends on what you plan to do on your shore excursions.

    At the very minimum, you need sneakers or other closed toed shoes suitable for walking and perhaps light hiking (as in going up a paved trail).

    If you plan on doing real hiking, where you will be going into the brush and going off-road, then water-resistant shoes/hiking boots are the way to go.  Unless you are the Bear Grylls type, hiking boots are likely overkill, and waterproof hiking shoes are a more practical bet.

    Binoculars

    Something you would (likely) never pack in the Caribbean are binoculars, and there is definitely good reason to bring one.

    Whether on sea or land, you will be surrounded by beautiful landscapes filled with wildlife spotting opportunities. Binoculars with a great ability to zoom is what you want, and quality is important here.  

    I will caution that you do not need to get binoculars, and should not spend a great deal of money in a pair that you may never use again. Ideally, borrow one from someone else, or perhaps look for a sale.  But if the price is too high, this is one area I think can be left off.

    Clothing accessories to keep you warm

    In addition to the layering advice earlier, you may want to pack other items to keep you warm(er).  These are items that help with keeping your extremities warm, including:

    Backpack

     

    You want to bring a high quality and durable backpack for your time on shore in Alaska. 

    Your backpack will need to carry your personal documents, water bottle, rain jacket (if not wearing it), warm layer (if not wearing it), snacks, sunscreen, bug spray and more.

    Ideally, you will want a water resistant backpack in case it rains all day.

    Alternatively, some people prefer a lightweight, water-resistant crossbody bag. Regardless, you will need a means of carrying your supplies.

    Bathing suit

    Yes, seriously.

    While it may not seem like you will swim, your Royal Caribbean ship still has a hot tub and you would be surprised how many people end up going for a swim.

    Odds are you already own a bathing suit, so throw it in your bag just in case you find the desire to go.

    Sunscreen

     

    Yes, seriously. The reflection of the sun off snow or ice on a glacier is a recipe for getting sunburnt easily.

    This is especially true on faces, so pack some to avoid paying ridiculous prices for it in Alaska or on your ship.  

    Camera

    If you have been wanting to upgrade your camera for a while, a cruise to Alaska is the perfect excuse.

    Not only do you want a high-pixel camera that can take the kind of photos you would want to humble brag about on Facebook, you are going to want a a good zoom lens to go with it.

    Be sure to also invest in plenty of memory cards to ensure you never run out of space for photos. Quite often, you will be snapping photos in rapid succession in hopes one of them came out well. 

    A DSLR camera is not for everyone, so if you prefer something more compact, consider a higher-end point-and-shoot camera.  I really like the Sony RX series of cameras for this purpose.

    If you are going to rely on your phone, you can purchase phone lens attachments to enhance your photo taking capability.  

    Insect repellent

    Mosquitoes in Alaska have a nasty reputation (where don't mosquitos have a bad reputation?), especially in the summer months.

    Be sure to pack insect repellent and apply liberally to avoid becoming a walking Windjammer for the official state bird of New Jersey.

    What is the best time to cruise to Alaska?

    In:
    Category: 
    21Dec2019

    Finding the cheapest time for an Alaska cruise will depend on your vacation budget, how much time you can dedicate to the cruise and weather considerations. To help pick the best time of year to cruise, we have a comprehensive look at what you need to know about taking a cruise to Alaska.

    The Alaska cruise season spans the months of May through September. Nearly all of Royal Caribbean's cruises are seven nights sailings, although there are land tours you can tack onto the cruise to expand the adventure.

    May

     

    May is the early part of the Alaska cruise season, and it is the time of year when things begin to truly thaw in Alaska after winter. The average high temperature in Juneau in May is 56°F. May is also one of the driest months of the Alaska cruise season, which means less of a chance of being rained on during your shore excursion.

    May is also one the best values for cruising to Alaska, with the lowest fares of the season. In fact, May is part of the "shoulder season" because of the lower temperatures and the fact school is still in session, so bargain hunters will want to target this month. To that point, you will generally find lower crowds in Alaska during this month.

    June & July

      

    The summer cruise season is during the months of June and July, and is one of the most popular times of the year to go on a cruise to Alaska. You will find the most daylight hours (14 to 18) during this time of year. The average temperatures range between 62°F - 65°F in June and July. The weather can still be a little drier in early June, but that will change by July.

    July is the warmest month of the Alaska cruise season, with average highs around 65°F. Predicting the weather in July is difficult, as you can experience rain, hot temperatures and everything inbetween. 

    In terms of crowds, you will find peak cruising season begin in mid-June, and extend through much of August. In short, this is peak cruising season, so deals and low fares are few and far between.  Bargains can still be found in early June, but the closer you get to July, the higher those prices.

    If wildlife is of interest, then early June is a great time for whale watching because this is around the time of year where whales reach Alaska waters and active near or at the surface.

    It is also worth noting that peak Mosquito season is from mid June though about the end of July. The good news for cruisers is that mosquitoes are not seagoing and they do not like wind at all. Moreover, mosquitoes tend to be worst in Northern Alaska, so it is less of a concern for cruise ship guests.

    August

    August is another busy time of year for cruises to Alaska, but it also represents the tail end of the peak cruise season. The closer to the end of the month, the better prices you will find on cruises. In general, prices in August tend to be lower than June or July, making it a more affordable time of year to cruise.

    August averages about 16 hours of daylight, so this means daylight hours are at their peak. Most of the month is still quite busy from a crowds standpoint. Rainfall is at its highest in August, with around half the days in August experiencing rain.

    The Alaska berry picking season is anywhere from late August to late September. In addition, bears are quite active in August due to the great salmon spawn. Whales are also active in August, as they start their migration south.

    September

    September culminates with the end of the Alaska cruise season, and it is a shoulder season for sailings. As a result, you can find some of the best deals of the year for Alaska.

    Autumn arrives early in Alaska, and that means leaves changing colors and cooler weather. Temperatures are usually closer to the beginning of the cruise season. The average rainfall is still rather high.

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says moose, caribou and muskoxen all mate during this time, so they are active in open areas while they search for a mate or spar for dominance within the herd. Bears, however, tend to begin their hibernation during this month.

    Which month to choose

    To pick the right time of year to cruise for you, you will have to weigh cruise costs, weather, and what you are most interested in seeing. Alaska cruise prices are lowest in May or September. The least amount of rain is typically in May or early June. June, July and August offer the warmest temperatures and some of the most active wildlife spotting opportunities.

    • Best value: May or September
    • Best time for whale watching: June or July
    • Best time for bears, moose and other animals: August

    The bottom line is a cruise to Alaska is rarely disappointing. Regardless of which month you choose, Alaska is a fantastic place to explore and each month provides some intriguing benefits.

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