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Embark the newest ship in our fleet, the National Geographic Quest, for an incredible inaugural* voyage from the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia and Alaska. Cruise pristine coastlines, boarding kayaks or expedition landing craft to get a closer look at hidden coves, dramatic fjords, pristine backwaters, and bays dotted with massive icebergs. Hike through old-growth forests teeming with wildlife—from brown bears to bald eagles—and listen for the thunder of calving ice while exploring the incomparable Glacier Bay National Park.
Kayak the pristine backwaters of Misty Fiords and its secluded waterfalls.
Seek out orcas in the San Juan archipelago, and hike in the old-growth Tongass National Forest, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of brown bears.
Meet with members of a Kwakwaka’wakw community—indigenous peoples of British Columbia—and enjoy a traditional performance.
By special permission, spend a full day discovering the massive icebergs and calving ice of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Itinerary - 13 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Seattle, Washington/San Juan Islands
Arrive in Seattle in the afternoon and embark our ship. Spend the next day discovering the San Juan Islands on naturalist-led hikes and kayaking excursions, and seek out orcas in the surrounding waters. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Gulf Islands, Canada
Located in the Strait of Georgia, between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands are a kayaker’s paradise. Paddle along rocky coastline and explore some of the many islets that dot these sapphire waters, keeping an eye out for harbor seals and some of the region’s many bird species. (B,L,D)
Days 4, 5, & 6 — Alert Bay/Johnstone Straight/ British Columbia’s Inside Passage
In the village of Alert Bay, visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre to meet with members of a Kwakwaka’wakw community and watch a traditional First Nations performance. Continue north along pristine coastline, looking for orcas, bears, and other wildlife. Disembark to explore the surrounding bays and inlets by kayak and on foot. (B,L,D daily)
Days 7 & 8 — Misty Fiords, Alaska/Petersburg
Cruise amid the glacially carved cliffs of Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness. Set out by expedition landing craft or kayak to explore stunning forested backwaters framed by snowcapped peaks. The following day, search for humpback whales as we navigate to the quaint fishing village of Petersburg on Mitkof Island. (B,L,D, daily)
Day 9 — Tracy Arm—Fords Terror Wilderness
Enter Tracy or Endicott Arm—both spectacular fjords where waterfalls cascade from towering, glacially carved walls. Board our expedition landing craft to maneuver among large icebergs, and get close-up views of a glacier. Keep your eye on the coastline to spot feeding bears and mountain goats climbing the cliffs above. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
By special permission, we’ll have the entire day to explore Glacier Bay, where enormous glaciers are actively calving from towering ice fields. Venture near islets harboring puffins and guillemots, and look for humpback whales and orcas. A Huna Tlingit cultural interpreter joins us on board today to give us a firsthand perspective on Alaska’s indigenous people, sharing stories passed down through oral tradition and art. (B,L,D)
Days 11 & 12 — Inian Islands/Icy Strait/Baranof or Chichagof Island
Hike and kayak among the Inian Islands, where an abundance of Steller sea lions and sea otters reside; and search for whales in the Icy Strait. The next day, explore either Baranof or Chichagof Island by foot and kayak. Both of these rugged isles are part of the ancient Tongass National Forest and are home to diverse wildlife, including brown bears and bald eagles. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening. (B,L,D, daily)
Day 13 — Sitka
Disembark in Sitka. Step into the St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and walk through the Sitka National Historical Park, where Tlingit and Haida totem poles line coastal trails. Visit the Alaska Raptor Center for an up-close look at area birds of prey. Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
National Geographic photographer and marine biologist Flip Nicklin is one of the world's leading photographers of whales. His majestic images and amazing audio tracks of humpbacks and killer whales have appeared in numerous National Geographic publications and television specials. The North American Nature Photography Association has named him Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year. Flip migrates with the humpbacks, spending summers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and winters off Maui, Hawai'i.