Wildlife and Forests of Alaska
13 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 – SEWARD, ALASKA
Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure at 18H00.
Seward is located on the Kenai peninsula, south of Anchorage. This bustling port, built for the fishing and shipbuilding industries, will show you just how vibrant it is, with its shops and galleries. The entrance gate for the sublime Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward nestles in the heart of very beautiful scenery, between glaciers, mountains and very rich marine life (whales, sea otters, orcas, seals…).
Day 2 – BARRY ARM FJORD, ALASKA AND COLLEGE FJORD, ALASKA
Located in a fjord on Alaska’s southern coast, secluded Barry Arm bay offers the infinite silence of a still pristine land. Its blue cove and dark-green hills bordered by black pebble beaches invite you to recharge your batteries in the heart of raw, mineral terrain. A highlight is the tidewater cascade glaciers whose white cliffs kiss the water’s edge. All year round, these glaciers break up into iceberg chunks the size of cathedrals.
A secret inlet in a hewn-out bay on the southern coast of Alaska, College Fjord features outstandingly rich glacier scenery. Come and admire the five tidewater glaciers and high-altitude glaciers. These glaciers were named after the prestigious US East Coast schools attended by the professors who first laid eyes on them at the end of the 19th century. The setting is awe-inspiring, but don’t forget to listen out for the thunderous crack as great pillars of ice break off from the glaciers… Or would you rather be charmed by the song of the seals?
Day 3 – CORDOVA, ALASKA
Nestled between Hawkins Island and Lake Eyak, to the east of Prince William Sound, the small town of Cordova will welcome you to a natural setting of great beauty. It is home to very rich wild life, in particular to millions of birds flocking in the migratory period. The Million Dollar Bridge stands at the very end of the Copper River Highway. It has superb views over Miles Glacier to the east while, on the western side, you can observe Childs Glacier, one of the most active in Alaska, advancing by more than 150 metres every year. Although Cordova’s 2,000 inhabitants now live mainly off fishing, the town experienced a real boom in the past thanks to copper mining, at the beginning of the20th century.
Day 4 – HUBBARD GLACIER, ALASKA
Located in Yakutat bay, Disenchantment Bay is a feast for the eyes. Happy explorers of this sublime wilderness, you will perhaps surprise a seal, an otter. Into this fjord flows Hubbard glacier, the largest North American tidewater glacier. Its front dates from about 400 years ago. This was the time it took for the first ice to cross the 122 kilometres separating it from the sea. Sometimes, chunks of this ice wall break off and fall into the water: a vision that leaves you utterly speechless!
Day 5 – ELFIN COVE, ALASKA AND INIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA
At the tip of an island in the Alexander Archipelago, not far from the Canadian border, peaceful Elfin Cove shelters a fishing community that’s only linked to the rest of the world by the sea. There is just a dozen wooden houses, a long wooden pontoon and a tiny port surrounded by crystalline waters… It doesn’t get any quainter than this. Choose from a network of hiking paths that weave through a pristine forest, to lead you to secret beaches where silence reigns. The wonders of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, accessible by a short boat trip, are many.
Located in the heart of the fresh waters of the Icy Strait, between Chicago Island and the Glacier Bay National Park, the Inian Islands offer a concentration of nature in its raw state. This small group of picturesque islands boasts a particularly rich ecosystem, on land as in the sea. Covered in dense and humid forests, the islands bravely endure the action of the wind and the tides in order to offer their visitors a unique spectacle. During your Zodiac outing, you will probably be welcomed by a cacophonous orchestra of Steller sea lions. From the rocky islets, they dive into the sea to treat themselves to fresh salmon. Seagulls, Tridactyl gulls, cormorants and sea otters complete this happy scene.
Day 6 – RED BLUFF BAY, BARANOF ISLAND, ALASKA AND ROWAN BAY, ALASKA
When you arrive in Red Bluff bay, you will be overwhelmed by its beauty and natural surroundings. Here, summits etch the sky, and the waterfalls cascade through luxuriant forest. Yet this haven of peace owes its name to its red cliffs, on which practically nothing grows. The contrast of greens and reds in this pristine land of south-east of Alaska where nature reigns is striking. You may spot a shoal of salmon, a few brown bears lumbering nonchalantly along the water’s edge or hear the cries of mergansers.
You’ll explore the site of Rowan Bay aboard our Zodiacs. Made up of islets covered in Sitka spruce, the bay is often frequented by otters. With a little luck, you will perhaps have the opportunity to observe these appealing animals swimming in the middle of giant kelp.
Day 7 – THE BROTHERS, ALASKA AND KAKE, ALASKA
In the heart of the Inside Passage, at the tip of the south-western Alaska, The Brothers islands are located in an area inaccessible to big ships. You will be travelling by Zodiac® to explore these protected lands on an adventurous trip through striking landscapes of rocky outcrops and luxuriant moss-carpeted forests. If lady-luck is smiling on you, perhaps you will make some unexpected encounters: here, a Steller sea lion, and there a humpback whale. There are many of both, especially in summer.
Discover the small Tlingit village of Kake, around 60 kilometres west of Petersburg. Located on Kupreanof Island, it houses a community of over 500 inhabitants. During your visit, the children from the school and the inhabitants will be delighted to put on a show of traditional song and dance. Kake is paradise for salmon, which spawn in the Gunnuk River near the village. Bald eagles often make an appearance, as do black bears, which come to enjoy the fish. Another singularity of these parts: the presence, on a hill, of a totem pole standing over 60 metres tall, considered the highest in the world.
Day 8 – ENDICOTT ARM, ALASKA
In the heart of the Alexander Archipelago, Endicott Arm fjord is a short inlet on the southern coast of Alaska that boasts spectacular views of virgin wilderness. The azure-blue waters, snow-capped mountains and lush forest are incredible but the main attraction is the Dawes glacier, whose vast, bluish back snakes down the mountain’s flank. Weather permitting, you can observe how icebergs are formed by getting a closer look at the white cliff where glacier meets water, or just enjoy watching the resident harbour seals frolicking in the icy waters.
Day 9 – PETERSBURG, ALASKA AND WRANGELL NARROWS, ALASKA
Picture this: all around you, translucent waters. In the distance - snow-capped mountains. This is the vision that greets you on disembarking in Petersburg, one of Alaska’s largest commercial fishing towns. The heart of the Tongass National forest is for people who yearn for a lungful of the great outdoors. There is some fauna here including no less than 240 species of birds, seals, sea lions, humpback whales. Another special feature of this very lively town is its penchant for art. On its pavements and facades you can admire several murals, totems and sculptures.
Day 10 – RUDYERD BAY, ALASKA
Welcome to the Misty Fjords region, in the heart of a natural reserve of breathtaking beauty. A coastal temperate rainforest, hypnotic blue lakes, snow-capped summits, glacial valleys and waterfalls come together to compose the real picture postcard scenery of the “Panhandle” region in Alaska. You will perhaps have the chance to spot some of the many animal species that inhabit these parts, such as black bears, black-tailed deer, seals and brown bears. During a Zodiac® outing, we will take you up the Behm Canal, which leads to the very beautiful site of Rudyerd Bay. An exceptional place, surrounded by the Tongass National Forest.
Day 11 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Day 12 – SEYMOUR NARROWS
Your ship will sail along Discovery Passage, between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island. As the channel tapers, you will arrive at Seymour Narrows, a narrow, 5-km long passage which, in the past, posed a significant challenge for sailors. Between 1850 and 1950, some one hundred ships hit the rocks hidden under the water, and the outcome was often fatal. At the time, due to the strong currents that run through Seymour Narrows, it was considered to be one of the most dangerous waterways in British Columbia. But in 1955, the decision was made to blow up Ripple Rock, two submerged rocks responsible for most of the shipwrecks. This historic explosion made access to this passage much safer.
Day 13 – VANCOUVER
Disembarkation at 07H00.
Verdant and cosmopolitan, Vancouver is one of Canada's most multi-cultural cities. Located in British Columbia on Canada's west coast, it's surrounded by mountains and outdoor activities are popular. In the city, you can immerse yourself in the Asian atmosphere of bustling Chinatown, shop for pashminas and silk saris at the Punjabi Market Indian district and explore the historic area of Gastown. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses important First Nations collections. Granville Island Jetty is a fascinating revitalised industrial area that hosts galleries, restaurants and a huge produce market.
All This Included
With PONANT, discover Alaska’s stunning landscapes and the incredible wildlife they contain. Board Le Soléal for a 13-day expedition cruise from Seward to Vancouver, for a journey to the heart of wild and unspoiled natural environments.
In Prince William Sound, in the Gulf of Alaska, surrender to the beauty of the icy décor all around you. During your Zodiac outings, exploring the meanders of stunning fjords will lead you to impressive glacier fronts like that of the Hubbard Glacier.
A little further south, you will reach the tiny port of Elfin Cove. Its calm and glistening waters are an unrivalled peaceful haven that the local community of fishermen will invite you to discover.
During the first part of your cruise, Le Soléal will continue to clear a path through the Interior Passage and will draw closer to the temperate rainforest on Canada’s west coast. This primary forest is a biodiversity hotspot where you will be able to observe numerous species such as bald eagles, black bears, grizzlies, sea otters, humpback whales and orcas. Here you’ll find a concentration of life in an enchanting setting of mountains and conifers that is typical of these wild regions.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Le Soleal
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.