On the Trail of the Gold Prospectors (Juneau - Vancouver)
13 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 JUNEAU, ALASKA
In 1880, gold diggers flocked here, and it didn't take long before Juneau was singled out, getting itself a solid reputation and henceforth becoming the capital of Alaska. Along the Gastineau Strait, in the heart of the spectacular Inside Passage, the 31,000 or so inhabitants of Juneau enjoy some of the world’s most incredible fauna and scenery every day of their lives. Perhaps you’ll even be able to watch the antics of humpback whales against a backdrop of majestic glaciers. Culture and shopping are certainly not lacking; the city is full of places to experience, enjoy and relax in.
DAY 2 ENDICOTT ARM, ALASKA / TRACY ARM FJORD, 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.
When you reach Tracy Arm fjord, 80 kilometres south-east of Juneau, you will sail into the middle of the inlet, surrounded by waterfalls cascading down granite cliffs into the sea. A few seals guarding their spur of ice may add unexpected spice to your expedition. This is your opportunity to see the Sawyer glacier close up. Majestic and otherworldly, it spans the whole length of the mountain in shades of crystalline blue: without a doubt, this is one of the most breath-taking wonders of Alaska.
DAY 3 SKAGWAY, ALASKA
In the 19th century, it was through Skagway, a small town in south-east of Alaska, that swarms of gold seekers passed in their quest for gold. You can get a sense of these pioneers as you wander along the main street, Broadway, edged with the painted houses typical of this region. From White Pass & Yukon Route station, trains across pristine landscapes over the Alaskan border. All around the town, a handful of paths taken by the seekers of the precious metal, fan out into superb natural surroundings offering a glorious scenery of mountains, waterfalls, lakes and glaciers.
DAY 4 HAINES, ALASKA
Hidden in the heart of this spectacular wilderness, between jagged peaks and a sapphire ocean, the legendary small port of Haines lays out all the richness of its traditions. Founded by the Tlingit Indians, peopled by the pioneers of the famous gold rush, the village is now a rallying point for modern day adventurers. You can visit its streets trimmed with colourful houses, soak up local history at Fort Seward or visit the Indian art museums, before a possible excursion into the nearby wilderness. The very beautiful Chilkatriver is especially worth a visit.
DAY 5 KETCHIKAN, ALASKA
The most southern town in the State is called Ketchikan. This spectacular doorway into the Inside Passage, the glory of Alaska cruises and the old world capital of salmon will blow you away. It takes no time at all to realise how deeply peaceful this port and its surrounding wilderness is. Nearby, you can delve more deeply into the rich indigenous culture in the Totem Heritage Center, which houses one of the largest totem pole collections in the world. The town also offers a number of charming art galleries. Ketchikan’s richness resides in it hospitality and sense of adventure.
DAY 6 MISTY FJORDS, ALASKA
Rain forest, hypnotic blue lakes, snowy peaks, glacier valleys, waterfalls... You will behold a heavenly vision. This United States monument covering some 8,600 square kilometres is a designated Wilderness Area. This awesome countryside rolls out its majestic carpet of cedars, fir spruces and hemlocks. Here, you can feel Nature’s throbbing heartbeat. You may be lucky enough to spot some of the many animal inhabitants, such as river otters, sea lions, seals and porpoises.
DAY 7 SAILING IN THE JOHNSTONE STRAIT
Along the north-east coast of Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait is a 100 km-long channel formed by an old glacier bed, dotted with a string of lush islands. Sailing amid this wilderness offers fantastic opportunities to observe the wildlife. Indeed, blue whales, humpback whales and the world’s largest population of orcas can be found in the cool and sheltered waters of the strait, and you can try to spot some from your ship’s deck.
DAY 8 VANCOUVER
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
Follow in the footsteps of the gold prospectors on this 8-day cruise brought to you by PONANT. This exceptional itinerary aboard Le Soléal will take you from Alaska to British Columbia, to discover magnificent landscapes marked by the Gold Rush.
After embarking in Juneau, the capital of Alaska long inhabited by the Tlingit people, sailing along Tracy Arm, one of Alaska’s most beautiful fjords, will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your cruise.
Do not miss the chance to visit Skagway, where many pioneers came in search of gold at the end of the 19th century, and Haines, where majestic bald eagles are often spotted flying over the houses.
You will then continue sailing between rain forest and glacier valleys to reach the small city of Ketchikan, home to charming, colourful stilt houses, and the wonderful landscapes of the Misty Fjords.
Before disembarking in Vancouver, you will make your way down the east coast of Alaska, whose Inside Passage, shaped by the sculpture of imposing glaciers, is home to vertiginous fjords. Here, the natural environment includes glaciers, coniferous forests, and myriad islands and islets magnified by the wonderful play of light.
The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.
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.