Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • From the decks of the National Geographic Orion, see smoking volcanoes along the Pacific Ring of Fire, and watch for walruses, orcas, and Steller sea lions.
  • By special permission, visit the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu, where rusty World War II relics tell a fascinating story of Japanese and Allied combat.
  • Sail along the seldom-seen coast of the Russian Far East and delve into Koryak reindeer-herding culture during a visit to a traditional village.
  • In the Commander Islands, marvel at cliffs crowded with seabirds, and spot massive Steller’s sea eagles in the skies above Kamchatka’s Zhupanova River.



Join us aboard the National Geographic Orion for an epic journey across the Bering Sea. Sail along the Alaska Peninsula and trace the volcanic Aleutian superchain to its westernmost reaches, visiting uninhabited isles that played a pivotal role in World War II and now harbor an incredible variety of bird and marine mammal species. Cruise along the coasts of Russia’s Kamchatka and Chukotka regions to discover wild shorelines where few humans have ever set foot, and return to Alaska via the legendary Bering Strait.

This trip is operated in collaboration with Lindblad Expeditions.

Day 1: Anchorage, Alaska/Seward

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer to Seward to embark the ship.

Meals Included:Dinner

National Geographic Orion for the entire voyage

Days 2-3: Katmai National Park and Preserve

Enjoy two full days to explore the shores of Katmai National Park & Preserve, home to one of the largest concentrations of brown bears in the world. Set out by kayak or Zodiac to explore the park’s wildlife-rich inlets, including Geographic Harbor and Kukak Bay, and watch the resident bears dig for clams along the shoreline.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 4-5: At Sea/Unalaska

Watch from on deck as our ship cruises past the Baby Islands during a transit of Baby Pass. Dynamic tides here offer the chance to spot sea otters and northern fur seals, as well as rare seabirds such as the whiskered auklet. Arrive at Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska—site of a Japanese air attack during World War II, and now an important fishing port for crab, salmon, and a host of other species.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 6-10: Aleutian Islands

Spend the next several days discovering the Aleutian Islands, a superchain of rugged volcanic isles that span roughly 1,200 miles, separating the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea. Cruise past some of the many active volcanoes that form the Ring of Fire’s concave northern rim, and seek out diverse marine life, including northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, and multiple species of whale. By special permission, disembark to visit the uninhabited isles of Kiska and Attu, both of which were occupied by Japanese forces during World War II. See rusted war relics and shipwrecks, as well as craters left by Allied bombing campaigns. These islands are also home to large colonies of least, whiskered, and crested auklets and red-faced and pelagic cormorants.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 11-12: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia/Zhupanova River

Cross the international date line and sail into Avacha Bay, the sea gate to Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula. Visit the port town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, framed by a trio of soaring snow-capped volcanoes: Koryaksky, Avachinsky, and Kozelsky. The next day, continue north and head inland along the pristine Zhupanova River, teeming with rainbow trout, salmon, and char. As we glide along the lower portion of this 100-mile-long waterway, seek out massive Steller’s sea eagles, as well as spotted seals hauled out on the sandbars.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 13-14: Commander Islands

Sail northeast toward Russia’s Commander Islands—a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve harboring fascinating wildlife of both Asian and North American origin. As we sail the archipelago, watch for Russian sea otters and some of the whale species that inhabit these waters, including the elusive Stejneger’s beaked variety. Go ashore at Bering Island to visit the gravesite of Danish explorer Vitus Bering, and search for arctic foxes and horned and tufted puffins. Weather permitting, ride Zodiacs to Cape Severo-Zapadnyy, home to a northern fur seal rookery.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 15-19: Coastal Kamchatka and Chukotka

Over the next several days, we’ll make our way up the seldom-visited Koryak Coast and Chukotka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. Hike the tundra, surrounded by volcanic mountains and minute flora. Photograph brown bears fishing, Pacific walruses feeding, and three species of seals in onshore rookeries. Learn about the local Koryak reindeer-herding culture during a visit to either Tymlat or Ossora village.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 20-22: Provideniya/Bering Strait/Nome/Anchorage

At the western edge of the rich transboundary area known as Beringia, Provideniya is known as “The Gateway to the Arctic.” Visit the local museum and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance. The next day, we’ll cross the legendary Bering Strait en route to our disembarkation point of Nome. From here, fly to Anchorage and catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Day 19 & 20 (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) / Day 21 (Breakfast)

Optional Extensions

Optional Extensions

  • Winterlake Lodge Extension
    5 days from $7,040
  • Tutka Bay Lodge Extension
    5 days from $7,180
Winterlake Lodge Extension

Delve into the breathtaking wilderness of the Alaska Range during a stay at Winterlake Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Fly by seaplane to this lakeside sanctuary set along the historic Iditarod Trail, and take advantage of abundant opportunities to explore the surrounding landscape, from fly-fishing in a secluded river to hiking across a glacier. Relax in the sauna or stroll along the lakeshore in the late evening sunlight after each day’s adventures.

Day 1: Anchorage, Alaska

Disembark in Anchorage and check in to our hotel. During a free afternoon, discover the region’s rich indigenous culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Center or stroll the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, keeping an eye out for moose and bald eagles.

Accommodations:Hilton Anchorage Downton (or similar)
Day 2: Winterlake Lodge

Rise early this morning and transfer to Lake Hood, the world’s largest floatplane base. Board your floatplane and enjoy stunning views of three different mountain ranges on the short journey to the docks of Winterlake Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge situated on a lakeshore deep in the Alaska Range. Start your morning with a guided hike on the lodge’s extensive trail system, and learn about the National Historic Iditarod Trail that runs through the property. After lunch, hike to an overlook offering views of the Tordrillo Mountains and the spectacular Skwentna River Valley. Enjoy a hearty dinner, followed by an evening kayaking excursion on Winter Lake.

Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.
At the edge of a lake along the historic Iditarod Trail, the hand-built wood cabins of Winterlake offer a beautiful base for your adventures fishing, hiking, or dogsledding in Alaska's backcountry.
Day 3: Winterlake Lodge

Join an optional morning yoga session before heading out for a day of exploration by helicopter. Accompanied by an experienced guide, choose between a variety of different flightseeing and hiking excursions. Ascend by helicopter to the summit of Wolverine Ridge or a peak in the Tordrillo Range and spend the day hiking stark tundra landscapes or lush wildflower meadows. Fly to the banks of the Happy River to search for brown bears and their favorite food source, salmon. Land on the ice of a nearby glacier to hike past moulins, glacial pools, and dramatic crevasses, or choose to enjoy time fly-fishing in seldom seen rivers. Return to the lodge in the evening for a wine and cheese tasting, delicious dinner, and a relaxing soak in the hot tub.

Accommodations:Winterlake Lodge
Day 4: Winterlake Lodge

Venture out for a guided morning hike along a trail once used by fur trappers. Arrive at the shores of Red Lake and paddle a canoe across the water, watching for moose, black bears, swans, and loons. Fish for grayling in the lake’s clear eddies, then disembark to explore the Iditarod Trail. Hike back to the lodge, foraging for wild berries along the way, and enjoy a massage or head out on a paddleboard to explore Winter Lake with an expert guide. This evening, try your hand at a cooking class featuring fresh Alaskan ingredients. Go for a stroll in the surrounding woods or practice your fly-fishing cast on the lakeshore after dinner.

Accommodations:Winterlake Lodge
Day 5: Anchorage

After breakfast, meet your floatplane at the dock for the return flight to Anchorage, and then transfer to the airport to connect with your flight home.