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JOHN 57

September in Alaska

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we will be on the Holland America Volendam, in Alaska 18-25 September 2019.  Are ports are Vancouver, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikin.  My question, what is the weather like and does it rain a lot.  Thank you, John

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I haven't been there that late in September, but from what I know, it's likely to rain a lot. However, you could also have bright sunny days.  Take lots of layers for the cool temps, including waterproof ones, and just remember that Alaska weather is very changeable.  My early September trip wasn't any rainier or significantly cooler than my July or August trips.  A lot of it comes down to luck.  But Alaska's mysteriously beautiful in the rain too.  🙂 

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Check weather sites for accurate statistical info John - e.g. I like Weatherspark, because they present the raw data in several different ways including some really nice visuals.  Here's their Ketchikan in September page - I'm sure you can figure out getting the other towns from there.

 

Key thing is to remember that your weather will ALMOST certainly fall within the two extremes of hottest/coldest, wettest/driest - the odds of your one day in any of the ports being a new record-setting day are vanishingly-slim! So if you have appropriate clothing for the worst weather in the wettest/coldest of your ports, and the best weather in the hottest/driest of your ports, you'll cover all your bases. On the ship, especially near glaciers, ambient temp can feel a lot colder than on land (moving ship, plus wind, plus giant blocks of ice in the vicinity = cold) so do not skimp on your layers - a scarf, toque (beanie) and gloves all bundle up small and a pair of waterproof over-pants also cuts wind very well (though personally I prefer long undies on days I know it'll be cold - they trap warmth right next to your skin so are even better at keeping the heat in). If you're a typical Texan, more adapted to heat than cold, you will definitely want your extremities well-covered on glacier days!

 

Realistically even in summer Alaska means packing layers - and in Fall even more so. IIRC you were talking about driving up over the Rockies pre- or post-cruise and altitude means cold again plus even snow in Sep/Oct, so read up on layering techniques if you're not already familiar and pack appropriately. Worst-case the shops will likely have sales on, so you'll be able to add extra warmth layers easily enough by picking up local sweaters & fleeces - just be sure that your top layer is a size bigger than normal so you can fit the warmth layers underneath!

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Besides weather, it gets dark early in September. Rain poncho is a must have when cruising Alaska. Ketchikan has the best deals on sweaters & fleeces.

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Posted (edited)

September is rain and fog plus hours of sunshine are reduced.  The big advantage of September are the cruise/airfare prices and the huge discounts on shore as the end of season sales are in full swing.  The ship will also be trying to get rid of their Alaska merchandise.  My last HAL September cruise had smoked salmon, totem poles, ulu knives, and Alaska t-shirts for 75% off.  I purchased an extra bag to hold all of the salmon I brought home.

Edited by Crew News

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thank you all for the information, which I am going over now.

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Yup, have been to Alaska in Sept, be prepared for rainy or cold weather. You will experience the real Alaska when its rainin!!

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We've been there but in early September..Compared to our other cruise's in May (4) even though we had good weather, September would not be my choice again ever. JMHO

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Never sailed that late in the season either but the best weather I had on any of my Alaska cruises was when I sailed south from Whittier on August 30 and arrived in Vancouver on September 6.  Sunny all the way with only a few sprinkles in Ketchikan.   I wish I had packed shorts on that trip! The cruise tour passengers that spent time in Denali saw snow yet arrived in Whittier under sunny skies and 65 degree weather.

 

Had more rain on my May and May into early June sailings.  Hope we see the same this year when we sail RT from Vancouver on August 30 :classic_biggrin:  No matter what it is nice to get out of the FL heat by then!

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Completed 2 full Alaska seasons, including September - expect more rain, cooler temperatures, shorter days and each year we experienced one of the first storms.

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Posted (edited)

Weather is a crap shot,but we had better weather last Sept 15-22 than a previous June or July cruise.  Plan for more rain though.  Watch the time for sunset when planning excursions.  Have fun!

Edited by katrina915

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