- Come face to face with immense glaciers on Prince William Sound, Yakutat Bay, and the Kenai Peninsula; observe grizzly bears in Katmai; and spot killer and humpback whales along our route.
- Explore Alaska’s rich indigenous culture on visits to Ketchikan, Sitka, and the remote town of Wrangell.
- Encounter millions of nesting seabirds, from tufted puffins to rhinoceros auklets—in the remote wildlife preserves of St. Lazaria Island and the Pribilof Islands.
- Meet indigenous Yupik people in Russia’s seldom-seen Far East before crossing the legendary Bering Strait
Trace the full length of the Alaska’s extraordinary southern coast from the gem-like fjords of the Inside Passage to the far-flung islands of the Bering Sea. Traveling aboard the National Geographic Orion, explore spectacular natural treasures like Misty Fjords National Monument, the Kenai Peninsula, and Prince William Sound by kayak, Zodiac, and on foot. Learn about Alaska’s Native cultures while examining ancient petroglyphs and totem poles, and visit the historic outposts of Seward and Sitka. As we make our way across the Gulf of Alaska to the Russian coast of the Bering Sea, encounter an incredible diversity of wildlife in the sea and on land.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Arrive in Ketchikan, a city on Alaska’s famous Inside Passage. Visit the Totem Heritage Center, home to an unrivaled collection of 19th-century Tlingit totem poles and other Native art, before settling into your cabin aboard the National Geographic Orion.
Rise early to watch the sunrise over magnificent Misty Fiords National Monument, where sheer cliffs and pine-covered peaks tower more than 2,000 feet above a sparkling blue fjord. Set out by Zodiac and kayak to explore the shoreline and its many waterfalls cascading from high above. Cruise Behm Canal between Revillagegido Island and the Alaskan mainland, and pass through the Behm Narrows en route to Wrangell Island.
Spend the morning in the remote town of Wrangell, situated on the northern tip of Wrangell Island. Visit a tribal house of the Tlingit, who have lived here for some 5,000 years, and see petroglyphs at a nearby beach. Or set out on an optional jet boat adventure up the Stikine River. Later, cruise the Sumner Strait, on the lookout for humpbacks and killer whales. As we pass Kuiu Island, watch for wildlife on the shores, including Sitka black-tailed deer, moose, black bears, wolves, and bald eagles
Explore the western edge of Baranof Island, a wild coastline laced with narrow fjords. Drop anchor in Sitka, Southeast Alaska’a only oceanfront town, and pay a visit to the Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Take a walk in the forests of Sitka National Historical Park to see Haida and Tlingit totems standing along the scenic coastal trail. In the afternoon, ride Zodiacs to St. Lazaria Island, a wildlife refuge where more than 500,000 seabirds nest, including albatross, shearwaters, storm petrels, rhinoceros auklets, ancient murrelets, and more.
Enjoy a relaxing morning on the Gulf of Alaska, following the rugged coast north to Yakutat Bay. Late this afternoon, we’ll enter the bay and head toward Hubbard Glacier, a six-mile-wide sheet of ice within the boundaries of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Depending on ice and conditions, we may deploy our Zodiacs to explore.
This long and jagged isle was the first place that Russian explorer Vitus Bering set foot in Alaska on his Great Northern Expedition of 1741. If conditions allow, we’ll land here to hike amid tooth-like peaks and unusual plant species, and ride Zodiacs near Cape St. Elias to see the island’s lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark in operation since 1916.
Sail into Prince William Sound and enjoy two days to explore this majestic wilderness, taking advantage of opportunities that arise each day. Paddle kayaks past waterfalls that tumble down from the surrounding Chugach Mountains, stroll through coastal villages, and watch for the humpbacks and killer whales that spend their summers in the sound. Venture into College Fjord, where five tidewater glaciers converge, and get up close to the ice in Zodiacs.
Sail to Seward, set at the end of the Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. Step ashore in this charming former fur-trading port and visit the Alaska Sealife Center, an important research and rehabilitation facility for marine mammals and seabirds. Later, hike to the base of Exit Glacier, one of the nearly 40 glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield. Spend a day exploring Kenai’s fjords and the glaciers that feed into them, on the lookout for wildlife along the way.
The second largest island in the U.S., Kodiak has a unique cultural heritage that blends Russian, Alutiiq, and American influences. Join our undersea specialist for a dock walk to learn about the marine life found among the fishing boats anchored in Kodiak’s inner harbor. Then photograph the onion-domed Holy Resurrection Cathedral on a photo walk or peruse Native art and artifacts at the Alutiiq Museum.
In Katmai National Park and Preserve, known for its robust brown bear population, observe these iconic creatures from a safe distance as they fish for salmon and dig for clams. Then follow the southern coast of the Alaska Peninsula, stopping to explore its many islands and bays. Go ashore on Unga Island to see the remains of a petrified sequoia forest that was buried by a volcanic mudslide some 25 million years ago.
Continue to the Baby Islands, a tiny archipelago where dynamic tides offer the chance to spot sea otters, whales, and rare seabirds such as the whiskered auklet. Then cruise into 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 more.
By special permission, spend the next several days exploring Alaska’s Pribilof Islands, a wildlife-lover’s paradise scattered in the middle of the Bering Sea. On St. Paul, encounter an enormous population of northern fur seals. Glide beneath the cliffs of St. George in a Zodiac, getting a close-up look at horned and tufted puffins, red-legged kittiwakes, and crested auklets in one of the largest seabird colonies in the Northern Hemisphere. Continue north to uninhabited St. Matthew and Hall Islands, both excellent spots for bird-watching.
Set foot in Russia in the former Soviet port town of Provideniya, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic.” On a walk through town, visit the small museum dedicated to local cultural heritage and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance.
On our final day at sea, cross the legendary Bering Strait, which separates the Americas and Asia by only 53 feet at its narrowest point. Disembark in Nome after breakfast and fly to Anchorage to connect with your flight home.