Summary : Explore the wildlife-rich coast and islands of Southeast, Southcentral, and Western Alaska. Begin on Alaska’s Panhandle, exploring the fjords, villages, and wildlife of the Inside Passage. Enter the Gulf of Alaska where you’ll gaze up at the face of the towering, six-mile-wide Hubbard Glacier. Spend several days within Prince William Sound, known for its spectacular mountains and massive tidewater glaciers. In Katmai National Park, spot the region’s legendary coastal brown bears foraging for clams or salmon. Cruise along the Aleutian Islands and up to the Pribilofs—a place renowned for its thriving seabird and marine mammal populations, as well as its rich Aleut culture. Encounter Provideniya, “The Gateway to the Arctic,” and its Yupik cultural traditions. Finish this incredible exploration with a crossing of the Bering Strait, one of the planet’s most iconic bodies of water.
Visit the town of Wrangell and learn about the rich indigenous Tlingit culture along the Alaska coast. Cruise past St. Lazaria Island by Zodiac and see the nesting area of thousands of storm petrels and rhinoceros auklets. Visit rugged Kayak Island and go ashore where Vitus Bering’s expedition of 1741 made landfall. On Unga Island hike among the fascinating petrified remains of a sequoia forest buried in a mudslide 25 million years ago. In Prince William Sound, explore among the ice of dozens of tidewater glaciers that empty out into the sea, rich with Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and humpback and killer whales. Hike or Zodiac at St. Matthew and Hall Islands, one of the few breeding colonies of the rare McKay’s Bunting and visit the Pribilofs—home to the largest northern fur seal rookery in the world. Call on Dutch Harbor, the site of a fierce World War II battle, and one of the world’s largest and most important fishing ports.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$27,440 to $52,790
Arrive in Ketchikan and view the priceless collection of 19th-century Tlingit totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center. Embark National Geographic Orion.
Wake up this morning to catch the sunrise over the stunning cliffs of Misty Fiords National Monument, rising more than 2,000 feet above the deep blue waters of the fjord. Watch wisps of cloud drift down the winding waterway and drape over green peaks as you cruise through the mists that give this extraordinary landscape its name. Set out by Zodiac and kayak to get close to the forested banks and the many dramatic waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. Continue up the Behm Canal, which separates Revillagegido Island from the Alaskan mainland, and cruise through the Behm Narrows en route to the town of Wrangell.
Visit the remote town of Wrangell, situated on the northern tip of Wrangell Island. The indigenous Tlingit people have made their home on this island for thousands of years. Spend the morning exploring the town, including a visit to a tribal house and a beach famous for native petroglyphs, or set out on an optional jet boat excursion up the Stikine River.
Set sail on the Sumner Strait, keeping watch for humpback whales and pods of killer whales gliding through the clear water around our ship. Fix your binoculars on the banks of Kuiu Island to spot Sitka black-tailed deer and moose, as well as black bears, wolves, and bald eagles that frequent the shoreline in search of plentiful salmon.
Today explore the fantastically sculpted, remote outer coast of Baranof Island, the smallest island of Alaska’s ABC Islands (along with Admiralty and Chichagof). It was named in 1805 by a captain of the Imperial Russian Navy to honor Alexander Andreyevich Baranov, senior manager of the Russian-America Company that controlled the region's fur trade.
This morning step ashore in Sitka, Southeast Alaska’s only oceanfront town. Visit the Raptor Rehabilitation Center and stroll the forested trails of the Sitka National Historical Park. The 113-acre park is rich in history and features roughly 20 majestic Haida and Tlingit totems scattered along the scenic coastal trail. This afternoon, cruise via Zodiacs to tour the shoreline of 65-acre St. Lazaria Island where more than 500,000 seabirds nest. You will be searching for albatross, shearwaters, burrow-nesting storm petrels, rhinoceros auklets and ancient murrelets, pelagic cormorants, and common and thick-billed murres.
Spend the morning in the Gulf of Alaska, transiting up the coast to Yakutat Bay. The scenery is rugged and beautiful, and you’ll be on the lookout for a glimpse of Mt. Fairweather (over 15,000 ft.). Late this afternoon, enter the Bay and head toward the face of Hubbard Glacier. This mammoth sheet of ice is more than six miles wide at its face and is contained within the boundaries of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Depending on ice and conditions, you may board the Zodiacs to explore.
Uninhabited Kayak Island is best known as the location where Bering’s Great Northern Expedition of 1741 set foot in Alaska. Here, naturalist Georg Steller found a jay now named for him and recorded over 150 plants new to science. Conditions permitting, the hope is to make a landing to explore this small, jagged island and to cruise by Zodiac near Cape St. Elias and its lighthouse.
Spend the next two days exploring majestic Prince William Sound. Your guides will take advantage of the best conditions and opportunities that arise each day. Perhaps you’ll visit a small community or deploy kayaks, and explore the incredible beauty of the Sound, filled with glaciers and ringed by the Chugach Mountains.
On your second day in Prince William Sound, wake up in College Fjord, one of the most iconic locations in the region. Drop Zodiacs and cruise around the ice generated by no less than five tidewater glaciers. The afternoon will be spent exploring by ship and Zodiac. Throughout the day, be on the lookout for Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and the humpback and killer whales who make their summer home in the Sound.
Enter Resurrection Bay on the southern coast of Kenai Peninsula. At the terminus of the fjord and at the base of Mt. Marathon sits charming Seward. Begun as a fur-trading port, Seward was also strategically important during WWII. Visit the Alaska Sealife Center, an important research and rehabilitation facility for marine mammals and seabirds. Hike to the base of Exit Glacier, an arm of the Harding Ice Field.
Nearly 40 glaciers flow out of the Kenai's Harding Icefield, so the opportunities for exploration abound. Cruise one of the ice-scoured fjords to the face of a tidewater glacier, while searching for mountain goats and other wildlife along the way.
The second largest island in the U.S., Kodiak is best known for its brown bears and its fishing industry. Less well known is its unique mix of Native Alutiiq and Russian-American history. Join your Undersea Specialist for a “dock walk” among the commercial fishing boats in Kodiak’s inner harbor. Photograph the beautiful Holy Resurrection Church on a photo walk or peruse native art and artifacts at the Alutiiq Museum.
Spend today exploring the shorelines and waters of coastal Katmai National Park & Preserve. Known for its abundant brown bear population, this area provides countless opportunities to watch and photograph bears digging for clams at low tide, or fishing for salmon in the creeks.
Explore along the eastern shore of the Alaska Peninsula, with time for exploration and wildlife watching. Go ashore on Unga Island to explore incredible tundra and scattered remnants of a unique petrified forest of sequoia trees that were buried in a volcanic mudslide nearly 25 million years ago.
The next morning, arrive to the Baby Islands just east of Unalaska, where dynamic tides offer exciting potential to spot whales and bald eagles, as well as rare seabirds, both from the ship’s deck and from Zodiacs. Arrive at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, site of a fierce WWII battle and now one of the world’s most important fishing ports.
A naturalist’s paradise, the Pribilof Islands welcome three million seabirds and a million marine mammals each summer as they arrive to breed. At St. George, go by Zodiac to view puffins, kittiwakes and red-faced cormorants, as well as a northern fur seal rookery. Go ashore at St. Paul to explore on land. Zodiac cruise or land at uninhabited St. Matthew and Hall Islands, places of incredible bird habitat.
At the western limit of the rich trans-boundary area known as Beringia, Provideniya is often called “The Gateway to the Arctic”. It’s also the administrative center clearance into and out of Russia is processed. Visit the excellent museum and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance.
Spend the last day at sea, crossing one of the most iconic bodies of water on the planet.
Arrive in Nome, Alaska and fly to Anchorage for flights home or onward.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera—point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Post-Voyage Extension: Tutka Bay Lodge
The lodge’s seaside location—on the shore of Kachemak Bay—gives guests unique access to both mainland adventures (glacier hiking, bear viewing & more), and water-based activities. Walk through intertidal zones, visit an oyster farm, and keep watch for whales, seals, and otters in the waterway stretching between the lodge and the well-known town of Homer. 5 Days. A 50% deposit is required to book a reservation, and final payment is due 90 days prior to arrival at the lodge. Prior to 90 days before arrival, cancellations are accepted less a $200 cancellation fee per person. After 90 days, cancellations are non-refundable.
Double Occupancy from $7,180 per person
Single Occupancy from $7,340
Post-Voyage Extension: Winterlake Lodge
The Alaska Range and nearby lake provide a perfect backdrop for adventures that make the most of this lodge’s remote location. You’ll have direct access to wildlife like moose, black bears, and Dall sheep, as well as to the surrounding glaciers, river valleys, and old-growth forests—with options to explore it all on hikes or by helicopter. 5 Days. A 50% deposit is required to book a reservation, and final payment is due 90 days prior to arrival at the lodge. Prior to 90 days before arrival, cancellations are accepted less a $200 cancellation fee per person. After 90 days, cancellations are non-refundable.
Double Occupancy from $7,040 per person
Single Occupancy from $7,245
Transfers between airport/ship if booked on recommended flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking; certified photo instructor; video chronicle of your trip; all meals onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; crew gratuities. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; immigration fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as Internet and laundry; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Wolfgang Kaehler (eagles, flowers); Laure Patricot (otter)