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Embark the newest ships in our fleet, the National Geographic Quest or National Geographic Venture, for an incredible 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.
The nimble National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture
were designed to navigate narrow Alaska inlets and passageways that
are inaccessible to larger ships.
By special permission, spend a full day discovering the calving ice fields
and wildlife-rich waters of spectacular Glacier Bay.
Meet with members of a Kwakwaka’wakw community—indigenous peoples of British Columbia—and enjoy a traditional performance.
Kayak in the dramatic bays of Baranof and Chichagof Islands, home to
bears, bald eagles, and sea otters, and glide into the pristine backwaters
of Misty Fiords in a Zodiac.
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)
During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States.
Phil is drawn to high-latitudes, and has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Schermeister seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.