When, where to go on Alaska cruise


New Member
If I'm going to cruise to Alaska in the late summer, what is the best itinerary for views and wildlife seen from the ship? When should we buy to get the best deal?

We have cruised once on NCL to the Carribean, and liked the vibe of the ship (Jewel) so we'll probably go NCL again. I may be interested in an excursion to visit a town or see salmon, but we are mostly interested in being able to enjoy the area from our balcony. Speaking of which, is there a side of the boat that is better?

I see that prices go down as you get further in to August. Is that because the weather gets dicey? Or just because kids are starting school?

When are we likely to get the best price? Is there any way to defer having to come up with the big bucks until closer to cruise time?

Thanks for any advice!

- Bob


Forum Manager
Staff member
The best views are on ships that do the Inside Passage. Traveling along between Vancouver Island and the Coast. All cruises do what there is of the Inside Passage up in Alaska but up there it is limited.

A Seven day return cruise from Seattle vs. Vancouver.. The later will see way more coast line and is a better choice for actual sight seeing from the ship. Early season is better chance of no fog and more daylight hours. All other bets on weather are off as far as my travels go. Along the coast the weather is what you get not what you can plan for and it's often cool and wet regardless of time of year. I have however had really great warm sunny weather also at different times of the cruise season. Later season cruise are affected by shorter daylight hours. It gets dark way faster up there.

Sitka and Ketchikan have salmon streams that are walkable from the docks. You just have to hit the runs and off hand I can't remember which time of the year we saw them. Later rather than early I think. Check on line at the city sites. One great tour is the WhitePass Railway in Skagway.

Prices. Early and later are generally less expensive. Last minute (2-3 weeks) bookings can be cheaper also. But watch the cost of getting there if you do that. We just have to drive so it's not an issue. The real cruise bargains are the one ways North or South...But the airfare is what gets you.

All cruise lines take a deposit and then there is a final payment date 60-90 days out. Depending on the type of cruise.