Are you thinking about cruising the Inside Passage (the Alaska Panhandle) or the Gulf of Alaska? May thru September is cruise season in Alaska, with May and September considered to be the shoulder seasons when you can expect to find discounts. June is usually drier than July and August, but the weather can fluctuate dramatically so you’ll want to be prepared for anything. It’s not unusual to book a cruise a year in advance since most people want to go during the peak period when the weather is more predictable.
If you’ve never been on a cruise, consider what fits your style. Do you like party crowds and all the amenities of the larger ships or would you be happy with fewer luxuries on a smaller vessel that may offer more intimate encounters with wildlife? Whether you choose to book with a travel agent or not, researching the possibilities first is key to helping you determine where you want to go, what you want to see, the availability of shore excursions, how much you want to spend, and what questions you should ask a trusted travel professional.
Start your research in the Travel Neighborhood by checking out books and DVDs about Alaska. To learn more about the history and culture of Alaska, read The Quiet World, Coming into the Country, Shopping for Porcupine, and essays by Nick Jans.
If you’ve explored Alaska, we want to hear from you! Where and when did you go? What did you enjoy most about your Alaskan adventure? What surprised you? Do you have recommendations you would like to share?