Magnificent Volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands
13 days with Ponant Rating:
Day 1 – PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMTCHATSKI
Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure at 18H00.
Petropavlovsk, the oldest town in the Russian Far East, was established in October 1740, when the ships Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, captained by Vitus Jonassen Bering, the Danish explorer working for the Russian Navy, first entered the bay. The Military Glory Museum, found in the town centre, is the most important in all of northern Russia. Keep your camera at the ready, though, as nearby is the picturesque Petrovskaya Hill, which also has some surprises in store for you - don’t forget to admire the sumptuous views across the Bay of Avacha from its summit. The bay’s circular shape creates a natural protection against the impetuous wind, all the while providing ships with easy access into port.
Day 2 – 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 3 – ATTU ISLAND, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
Located at the western edge of the Aleutian Islands, Attu Island, belonging to the Near Islands group, also represents the westernmost part of the United States. Caught in a vice between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, it has to contend with a difficult climate, characterised by storms and often violent winds. During the Second World War, it was the scene of a forgotten battle. In June 1942, the Japanese landed on the island in order to occupy it. On 11 May 1943, it was the Americans’ turn to disembark on Attu and drive out their enemy after a fierce battle lasting several days that left very few survivors on the Japanese side.
Day 4 – KISKA ISLAND AND DAVIDOF ISLAND, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
Kiska belongs to the Rat Islands group, located to the west of the Aleutian Islands. It is home to a cone-shaped active volcano, culminating at over 1,200 metres. Along with Attu Island, some kilometres further west, it makes up the only two American territories to have been occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War. During the summer of 1943, American troops disembarked in order to bring this enemy occupation to an end. They discovered, to their surprise, that the Japanese had already fled the island, under the cover of bad weather.
We invite you to discover Davidof Island, a tiny lost island to the west of the Aleutians. Davidof is part of the Rat Islands, a volcanic archipelago. Between the end of the 18th century and the very beginning of the 21st century, rats were the main occupants of these islands, which are now believed to be completely rodent-free. The archipelago, located on the boundary of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, is in an area of very high seismic activity.
Day 5 – ADAK ISLAND, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
Set off to discover Adak Island, in the Aleutian Islands. Located to the west of the Andreanof archipelago, this mountainous and volcanic treeless island, where strong winds and fog are often the order of the day, shows many traces of its past. During the Second World War, the American military set up an airbase there in order to repel the Japanese. Many remnants of this era (shells, abandoned infrastructures, fire hydrants, bunkers) are still visible today. The town of Adak, located to the north of the island, is considered the southernmost city in Alaska. It has seen its population diminish significantly since the military left at the end of the 1990s and lives essentially from fishing.
Day 6 – AT SEA
Day 7 – DUTCH HARBOR, UNALASKA
During your cruise, discover an exceptional site: Unalaska Island and its port, Dutch Harbor. Located between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, on the Aleutian Islands, Dutch Harbor is the only deep water port in the archipelago. As for the island itself, it offers you unique landscapes: volcanic summits swept by the wind and surrounded by the sea, lush green valleys, sometimes covered with bright summer flowers, sometimes with deep winter snow… Unalaska is not only an island with astonishing nature and very varied wildlife, it is also rich in history, where ancient indigenous cultures and remains from World War II can be seen and their tales be told.
Day 8 – UNGA ISLAND, ALASKA
After a short Zodiac® journey between the rocks in the company of your naturalist-guides, you will land in a former village of which many vestiges remain: run-down wooden houses scattered around a flowery meadow, a church with crumbling walls but a roof that still stands, a cemetery… Originally called Ougnagok by the Aleuts, this small hamlet, which was home to some 100 inhabitants in the 19th century, was renamed Delarof, after Evstratii Ivanovich Delarov. While working for the Shelikhov-Golikov Company, he was the first Greek mariner to discover the Aleutian Islands. These days, this small ghost-village now overrun by willowherb is called Unga.
Day 9 – GEOGRAPHIC HARBOR, ALASKA AND HIDDEN HARBOR, KINAK BAY, ALASKA
Here you are in the heart of Katmai National Park and Preserve. Here, the rocky cliffs are punctuated with white marks. These are the remains of ash deposits that accumulated following a volcanic eruption in the past. Board your Zodiac® and, a little further south, explore every part of Geographic Harbor and its tall cliffs covered in vegetation and plunging into the sea. Along the sandy beach, grizzly bears improvise hunting sessions, in search of fish and clams. In the thickets, these omnivores eat berries, roots and grasses. Brown bears are at home here and the presence of humans doesn’t seem to disturb them. This makes for a fascinating and unforgettable show.
In the heart of the stunning Katmai nature reserve, renowned for its bewitching landscapes of rivers and lakes, discover Kinak Bay. This bay is more sheltered than Geographic Harbor. At the end of a narrow passage where strong currents flow, it leads to a few small beaches that are each more charming than the next. You have arrived at Hidden Harbor. Stay alert: a large colony of brown bears reigns here. They love to wander along the coast and dip their paws in the clear currents in the hope of catching a salmon. As for the bear cubs, they prefer to catch seabirds on the beach. Look up and you might spot two or three bald eagles, proudly perched on the cliffs.
Day 10 – HOLGATE GLACIER, ALASKA
Exceptional scenery surrounds you. You are in Aialik Bay, in the heart of a gigantic fjord located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Your ship is heading towards the vertiginous slopes of Holgate Glacier, which is still very active. Regularly, blocks of ice break free from its snout and crash into the water. This phenomenon, called calving, is magnificent to witness. During your Zodiac® outing, you will get closer to this ever-fascinating world of ice. In this mineral setting, sea otters and spotted seals will observe you as they bask in the golden rays of sunshine, while gulls and seagulls feast on fish trapped by the ebbing tide.
Day 11 – TSAA FJORD, ICY BAY, ALASKA
Formed by the retreat of the Guyot, Yahtse and Tyndall glaciers over the past 100 years, Icy Bay is one of those timeless places where silence reigns supreme. Let yourself be enthralled by landscapes of breathtaking beauty, enhanced by magnificent views over the Saint Elias Mountains, visible in the background. The bay, several kilometres wide, is often scattered with icebergs sliding on clear and deep waters. It will let you access several sounds, among which are the Tsaa fjord, very close to the Guyot glacier. Many marine mammals and sea birds have chosen to live on this territory with very few visitors in the south of Alaska, where one can sometimes see bear paw prints on the sand.
Day 12 – INIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA AND ELFIN COVE, ALASKA
Located in the heart of the fresh waters of the Icy Strait, between Chicagof 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.
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.
Day 13 – 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.
All This Included
With the exceptional presence of Jean-Louis Étienne.
PONANT invites you on a fabulous sea journey between Russia and Alaska, along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Board Le Soléal for a unique 13-day expedition cruise and prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Aleutian Islands.
This elongated archipelago that marks the boundary between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea forms a natural bridge between Kamchatka and Alaska, extending in an arc over nearly 2,000 km.
You will board your ship in Petropavlovsk, the oldest city in the Russian Far East, before heading eastward.
Over the course of your cruise, you will get up close to the most active volcanoes in the world and you’ll be able to see for yourself the exceptional diversity of wildlife that reigns in these parts.
Surrounded by waters that are particularly rich in nutrients, the string of Aleutian Islands is home to an incredibly rich fauna. It is common to see whales, orcas and seabirds here.
Le Soléal will then continue to sail eastward to reach the sublime landscapes of Alaska, including glaciers, old-growth forest, luxuriant vegetation and superb bays where grizzlies roam.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Le Soleal
Terms and Conditions
For Ponant terms and conditions, please click here.
* 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.