Lindsay, my favourite time for Alaska cruising is late May and early June, and my 2 cruises on the Radiance of the Seas have been wonderful - far better than the other 2 ships I've been on. At http://www.explorenorth.com/cruises/cruise-alaska.html you'll find historic weather averages which will show you why I choose to cruise when I do, and detailed reviews of my 3 Alaska cruises.
Re: Best Cruise line and best time of year to cruise Alaska
Originally Posted by lkirkland
This is my first time cruising alaska which is the best ship and when is the best time to go would love to go in jan is this a good time
Alaska's mountains probably would be quite spectacular in January, when they are covered with snow, but I'm not aware of any ships that cruise there at that time of year. Nearly all ships that ply Alaskan waters leave for warmer climes -- Hawai'i, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, the Caribbean, and even exotic destinations like Australia and New Zealand and South America -- in September and return to Alaskan waters in May.
As to choice of ship (or at least cruise line), I would strongly recomend sticking wih your favorite line If you have not cruised before, do your homework -- stop in a bookstore, buy a guidebook to cruise lines and cruise ships (Fodor's, Frommer's, Sterns, and Berlitz are very good), read the descriptions of the various lines carefully, and choose a line that seems like a good match for your personality. A reputable travel agent also can assist you in this process. The cruise industry is far from monolithic, and you will get the most bang for the buck on a line that's a good match for your preferred lifestyle.
June is a good time to cruise Alaska for a couple of reasons. One, it's before peak season and prices are little cheaper. Two, it's near the summer solstice. It kind of cool to take a picture of your spouse at 4am without needing a flash. Three, although weather is not predictable, historically speaking, June is dryer.
As for cruiseline. Princess and Holland America have been doing it the longest, have the most infrastructure in place, and have great itineraries (land and sea). They also sell out very fast. At minimum, you want a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay. In 2007, the Coral Princess is sailing a great itinerary with long days in port, Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The prices aren't bad, either.
Princess and Holland also get the best spots in port. For example, while onboard the HAL Ryndam, we sailed past ultra luxury Seven Seas Mariner and docked in the best spot in Juneau. Meanwhile, the Mariner passengers were tendering into town.
Even if you don't choose Princess and Holland, it a cruise. How bad can it be?
We are taking our third Alaskan cruise May '07 since our two other cruises in May '04 and May '05 had such nice weather. Plus being less expensive and less crowded. I've heard there's not as much rain in May than in July or August. All I know is that we can't wait to go again!!!
Weather in the Pacific Northwest / Alaska is very unperdictable( I've have lived on the coast for over 50 yrs). One week is sunny and the weeks on either side are wet. In 2005 there were only a few good weeks or even days.
The weather can change daily , hourly or by the minute.
I've seen it where is will rain , snow and be sunny within 5 minutes
Check any weather site a get historical data. July & Aug are usually the best weather .My favorite weather site is "The Weather Underground) link attached
Many of my co-workers went to Alaska this past summer which is what made us decide to go this coming up Sept. After looking at the time frame that the ships are in the ports we felt the Princess line was best for us. So I also recommened looking over the trips you want to take in each port and the time you need and then decide on the ship that fits into that time frame. Good luck and stick with these boards because they can give you a lot of help on your trip.