Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
This unbelievable national park is home to some of the world’s most amazing tidewater glaciers. Enjoy sailing past snow-capped peaks, towering fjords and dramatic glaciers.
Few destinations possess the natural allure of Alaska. With its glittering icefields, deep cobalt fjords and soaring mountain peaks, the Last Frontier is as wild and untamed as it is beautiful.
Here we explore the unique sights and experiences you can expect to savor on a cruise to Alaska, and how to get the most from a voyage to this majestic wilderness.
So where do cruises to Alaska make port? At Cunard, our Alaska cruises combine a thrilling mix of natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage, so you experience all this icy frontier has to offer. Let us introduce some of the fascinating coastal cities and cruise ports you can visit on an Alaska cruise.
Every cruise to Alaska will be full of unforgettable sights and memories, but there are several must-dos that you simply won’t want to miss. Make sure your Alaska cruise itinerary includes these essential highlights, available every year on Cunard’s Alaska cruises.
The best time to see the Northern Lights on an Alaska cruise is either very early or late in the cruise season, which runs from late April to September. The nights are longer and darker at these times of year, making it more likely that the Northern Lights will be visible.
As for viewing location hotspots, Anchorage offers the best odds of the ports we visit. A dark, clear night with no cloud cover provides the best viewing conditions, as does getting away from sources of man-made light.
Budding photographers should opt for a tripod or monopod to aid image stability, and adjust the shutter speed to no slower than 1/200th second if on board, to account for the ship’s movement.
The Alaska cruise season typically runs from May to September, to include the warmest and lightest months of the year. Cunard Alaska cruises tend to sail in June and July as this part of the year offers the mildest weather and longest hours of daylight.
An old Alaskan saying goes, there are four seasons in Alaska – winter, June, July and August. While this is true to an extent—weather is cold and wintery bar the months of high summer—May and September can also offer a warmer climate.
While ice and snow abound, Alaska cruise routes steer clear of the Arctic zone, which means that the weather during Alaska cruise season is not as cold as you might think. In fact, many mid-summer days are surprisingly warm.
Most of the regions Alaska cruises visit are in the South-Eastern and Southern parts of the state, which both have a milder, wetter climate than the Northern Arctic regions.
May is the start of the warmer season in the Alaska Inside Passage, although on average the weather is still very cold, with highs of around 57°F/14°C and lows of around 35°F/1°C. This is the driest time of year, although skies tend to be cloudy. Winds are low, and there are generally at least 15 hours of daylight.
Cruise temperatures in Alaska in June are generally comfortably warm or cool, ranging from highs of 62°F/16°C and lows of 43°F/6°C. June is still likely to be somewhat cloudy and wet, with low wind speeds.
The Alaska cruise season is warmest in July, with highs of 68°F/20°C and lows of 50°F/10°C, although it can still be very cold at night and in the early mornings.
The Alaskan summer starts to cool down in August, although temperatures are still pleasant yet cool on average. Highs are around 62°F/16°C and lows are around 45°F/7°C.
As the cruise season in Alaska starts to draw to a close in September, the temperatures can drop sharply, reaching only around 43°F/6°C on average. Skies tend to become cloudier and wetter, although there are still at least 12 hours of daylight to enjoy.
Alaska has inspired many literary works over the last century, from fictional tales set against the backdrop of real events to captivating travel memoirs, and where better to read them than in the great land itself? Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban, Travels in Alaska by John Muir, and Coming into the Country by John McPhee, are just three books you may wish to pack for your Alaska cruise.