Alaska and Canada – Aleutian Islands, Bears and Inside Passage

Nome (Alaska, USA) to Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada)

This exciting voyage begins in polar waters, sailing among glaciers, wildlife and tundra, and progresses towards warmer ports with fascinating cultures. Our cutting-edge explorer ship weaves southbound through islands and fjords, seeking out horned puffins, brown bears, hardy indigenous cultures, fascinating fossil forests and volcanoes.

  • Discover coastal Alaska at its most remote
  • Explore the fascinating Aleutian Islands, home of the Deadliest Catch
  • Good chance to see brown bears
  • Experience the beauty of the tundra and forest landscapes in glorious autumn colours

Overview

No place like Nome

Nome was the end point for two of Roald Amundsen's expeditions and it is the starting point for ours! The great Norwegian explorer completed his crossing of the Northwest Passage in 1906 in Nome and this was a landing place for his first flight over the North Pole in an airship. We will bring you to this fascinating Alaskan frontier town by air, before boarding MS Roald Amundsen.

Coastal Alaska at its most remote

Our first days will be spent exploring the Bering Sea Wilderness. We aim to do our first landing at Saint Matthew Island, situated right in the middle of the Bering Sea, between Alaska and Siberia.

At the island of St. Paul, we will encounter a wildlife lovers' paradise. Northern fur seals live in the waters surrounding the island that is itself a breeding ground to many different species of sea birds and an important stop-off place for migratory species.

Islands, villages and bears

Next, we reach the Aleutian chain. Look at any map of the world and this sinuous archipelago seemingly at the edge of the world draws the eye, beckoning to explorers. Our first stop is Dutch Harbour, home to the fishing fleet featured in the "Deadliest Catch". The area features the Mount Makushin volcano, a World WarII center and wonderful green scenery atop steep cliffs.

At Unga village, we will have the chance to walk in a 25 million year old forest of petrified trees. These fossils are the remains of a wood flattened by a volcano and preserved.

We hope to see brown bears on this voyage, and you should keep a particularly sharp eye out in Geographic Harbour in the Katmai National Park for the predators.

Russian and Native American interaction can be explored at Kodiak. The area has a history of fur traders from Russia and the Russian influence remains here in the form of a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church.

Stunning Southeast Alaska

After crossing the Gulf of Alaska, we arrive on the northern reaches of the Inside Passage region. Our ice-strengthened ship will attempt to negotiate Disenchantment Fjord and cruise along the spectacular Hubbard Glacier so that you can enjoy the many shapes and colours of the icebergs.

Alaska's inside passage boasts lush forest scenery and fjords full with life. It is also home to native Alaskan cultures whose history is reflected in towering totem poles. At Icy Strait Point, we will learn about the Tlingit culture and enjoy a wide range of activity options.

Our next stops, Sitka and Ketchikan, are larger ports where you can explore cultural and historical highlights, learn about the rich Alaskan native presence, and visit fine galleries, restaurants, museums and shops. Still, wild Alaska is not far away with plenty of chances to hike through the forest and scan for wildlife.

Cosmopolitan Vancouver

After a wonderfully peaceful day at sea, we arrive in Vancouver where our expedition ends. Canada's third largest city offers plenty to see and do. Several museums and art galleries cater for all tastes and there is a lively arts and music scene to enjoy.

Sold Out

This voyage is no longer available. Please see our other voyages to Alaska and North America.

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition with cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • One overnight in Vancouver before the voyage including breakfast
  • Economy flight from Vancouver to Nome
  • Transfers before the voyage from hotel to airport in Vancouver and airport to ship in Nome
  • Wind and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities

Related voyages

Itinerary

The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Departure 10 September 2019

Departs from Vancouver, Canada
Day 1
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Photo: TDLucas Photo

Start of the Expedition


Location: Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is often rated at the top of lists for liveability and quality of life.  The city grew from a humble tavern by a river, expanding upon the arrival of the railroad in 1884. Despite its large size today, this city retains the laid-back charm typical of Canada. Take your time to explore some of this young and energetic city’s cultural institutions. Enjoy an overnight here.

Day 2
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Photo: Chris Lott Photo

Gold Rush and Serum Run


Location: Nome, Alaska

Early in the morning, we will transfer you after breakfast to Vancouver airport for your flight to Alaska. After arrival in Nome, we will transfer you for embarkation to the ship, MS Roald Amundsen.

Nome is a place of fascinating history. In 1898, three lucky Swedish men discovered gold in the nearby Anvil Creek, and within a year, 10,000 men had arrived desperate to repeat the feat.  In the winter of 1925, Nome suffered an outbreak of diphtheria whilst cut off from the rest of the world by snow and sea ice.  The only way to get the serum from Anchorage, 1,600 km away, was by a rely of dog sledges.  

Day 3
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Photo: NOAA Photo

South through the Bering Sea


Location: At sea

Enjoy a relaxing first day on board!  MS Roald Amundsen sets course to the south through the Bering Sea, named for the Danish navigator Vitus Bering who in 1728 became the first to explore this route to the Arctic Ocean.  This sea area is biologically rich – more than half of the US seafood catch comes from this sea – so take time on deck to look out for the fin and humpback whales which also benefit from nature’s bounty.  Onboard, the Expedition team will start the lecture programme covering history and the great explorers, marine biology, wildlife, oceanography and climate change.

Day 4
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Photo: Kevin Schafer Photo

Deserted Island


Location: St. Matthew Island

As we step ashore on the black sand and gravel beaches of St. Matthew Island, you and your fellow explorers from MS Roald Amundsen will be the only humans on the isle.

St. Matthew has enjoyed status as a nature reserve since 1909, and is today home to countless nesting seabirds. The only mammals currently found on the island are the native St. Matthew island vole and the arctic fox.  

Day 5
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Photo: Mazaletel Photo

The Galapagos of the North?


Location: St. Paul

A bird lovers’ paradise! One cannot help but be enchanted by the horned and tufted puffins found here.  The rare red-legged kittiwake makes use of the cliffs as a breeding site.  During the fall, migratory species can also be seen around the green, rolling hills or on the black basalt beaches.

Around 400 people live on St Paul, all descended from Aleut slaves forcibly moved to the island by Russian fur traders in 1780’s.  Today, the fur seal population is thriving, around half the world’s northern fur seal population live in the waters around the island.

Day 6
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Photo: Hilmil1/Flickr Photo

Lectures and Relaxing


Location: At sea

MS Roald Amundsen continues south through the Bering Sea, approaching the Aleutian Islands and our next stop of Dutch Harbor. The Expedition team will prepare you for our upcoming destinations and continue their lecture series. 

Day 7
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Photo: NOAA Photo

The Toughest Job in the World


Location: Dutch Harbour

Also known as "Unalaska", Dutch Harbor sits in the middle of the Aleutian Islands chain.  As we sail towards the harbor, you will see the highest point on the island, Mount Makushin, a steaming volcano almost 6,000 feet high. 

One unexpected product of the rich seas around Dutch Harbor is a well-known television programme, "Deadliest Catch", which features the crews from the area as they venture into the often-dangerous world of commercial fishing.  We are looking forward to calm conditions for our visit. 

Take a walk around the town, maybe call in at the Museum of the Aleutians to discover more about the history of this fascinating region where Native Americans met Russian fur traders.  There is even a Russian Orthodox Church. 

Visit the World War Two Center, where US code breakers intercepted messages warning of a Japanese attack but were unable to prevent the Battle of Dutch Harbor in June 1942.  If you would like to escape the town, why not hike up Ballyhoo Mountain, 498 metres high, for a view over the green island and steep sea cliffs.  

Day 8
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Photo: Joseph/Flickr Photo

25 Million-year-old Forest


Location: Unga Village

Unga is the largest of the dozen or so Shumagin Islands, 970 km southwest of Anchorage.  Today, the constant ocean winds prevent much by way of tree growth; but that was not the case 25 million years ago and incredibly, tree stumps and logs from that time survive as a petrified forest.  The woody remains are found along the beaches at low tide, and stumps range in diameter up to about four metres across.

Unga Village, nearby, is an eerie ghost town. Settled by Aleuts in 1833, the sparse mining and subsistence fishing were not enough to support the community which moved to the larger Sand Point settlement in 1969.  Today, a collection of wooden buildings, including a church with the roof and floor are all that remain, surrounded by a carpet of pink louseworts.

Day 9
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Photo: Christopher Michel Photo

Ocean Beauty


Location: At sea

Enjoy a day at sea as we sail east along the south side of the Alaskan Peninsula. Our Expedition team will present the plans for the upcoming days.  

Day 10

Seeking out Brown Bears


Location: Geographic Harbour

Katmai National Park is located where the Alaskan Peninsula joins the continent, and Geographic Harbor, named for the National Geographic Society who funded five expeditions here in the early 1900’s, lies within the park.

The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes gives a clue to the dramatic volcanic nature of the landscape, and with mountains rising to almost 915 meters (3,000 feet) there is snow too. Here we hope to find brown bears as they forage along the shore for clams, and lunch on berries or fish in the clear running waters of the mountain streams.

Day 11

Close to Wildlife


Location: Kodiak

Kodiak is a bustling fishing harbor with around 6,000 residents.  It has two float plane harbors, testament to the opportunities to explore the expansive surrounding countryside from the air for another chance to find brown bears.

In the town, you can shop at souvenir and local handicraft and artwork stores. The Baranov Museum presents artifacts from the area’s Russian past, as does the stunning Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, with exhibitions on the local flora and fauna, includes a complete 36-foot skeleton of a male gray whale.

Take a walk to Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park where you can combine history with wildlife spotting. The historic ruins of a World War II coastal defense installation are coupled with the steep surf-pounded cliffs, deep spruce forests and meadows laden with wildflowers.  Stop for a while on the cliff edge of Miller Point, and watch the sea for the chance to see fin or humpback whales.

You can also join one of our excursion options for the day, taking you to scout for bears in this scenic blend of tundra, deep fjords and mountains. 

Day 12
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Photo: C Watts Photo

At Sea in the Gulf of Alaska


Location: At sea

A day at sea means you can join the lectures by the Expedition team, spend time on deck or in the Panorama Lounge with fellow travellers as we sail towards Alaska’s Panhandle.

Day 13

Magnificent Iceberg Cruising


Location: Cruising the Hubbard Glacier

The ice you see today as we cruise the Hubbard Glacier fell as snow around 400-500 years ago and more than 100 km inland.  A glacier is a flowing river of ice, albeit a slow-flowing river.  In the last few decades, the Hubbard Glacier has surged forward and in 1986 completely blocked the fjord until a build-up of water burst through the ice. Bergs come in all shapes, sizes, and colours, so have your camera ready! 

This waterway was named Disenchantment Fjord by Spanish naval officer Alessandro Malaspina in 1792, when he was disappointed to discover it was not the Northwest Passage, as he had hoped.  We trust that you will be enchanted, maybe even spellbound, by the beautiful ice scenery here.

Day 14
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Photo: Moira Dunworth Photo

Fish Filleting or Zip Lining?


Location: Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island and boasts attractions owned and managed by local Alaskan natives with aboriginal ties to the area.  Expect to be greeted by local guides in traditional costumes.  Experience Alaska's Wildest Kitchen, which shows visitors the importance of salmon and subsistence fishing in the Tlingit culture. 

There is even a culinary instruction space where local residents demonstrate how to fillet fish such as halibut and salmon. We can visit a 1930s Hoonah Packing Company facility, now converted into a museum. If you feel this is all a little sedate, stimulate your adrenaline by tackling one of North America’s longest zip lines: 1,620 metres long!

Day 15
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Photo: Andrew Malone Photo

History and Natural Beauty


Location: Sitka

Located on Baranof Island, Sitka faces the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska to the west and striking scenery with mountains and forest to the east. The majestic Mt Edgecumbe with its perfect volcanic cone looms above the horizon across the Sitka Sound.

Sitka is a town of about 9.000 people, brimming with history, natural wonders and fascinating sites for you to discover. Sitka National Historic park with tall trees and totems carved out of red cedar are testimonials of the Tlingit culture and Sitka’s first inhabitants. St. Michaels Cathedral is a picturesque remnant of the town’s Russian heritage. You may explore the town at your own pace or join one of the optional excursions. 

Day 16
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Photo: Greg Matthews Photo

Adventures Abound


Location: Ketchikan

Our southernmost Alaskan port call is Ketchikan, located on the southwest corner of Revillagigedo Island. The town of just more than 8,000 bills itself as the salmon capital of the world, and is known for both its commercial salmon fishing and sport fishing. 

Ketchikan offers plenty of natural and cultural attractions. Enjoy a stroll around the town and visit some of the delightful shops, cafes and galleries. Explore the town’s indigenous heritage and visit the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Discover Ketchikan at your own pace or join one of the many excursions on offer here, taking you on fishing tours, scenic flights over the Misty Fjords or hiking through or zip lining above Alaskan rainforest.

Day 17
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Photo: Island Conservation Photo

Relax at Sea


Location: At sea

Our last day on board is a chance to chat with new friends, read, or just relax and watch the world sail by. 

Day 18
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Photo: Ruth Hartnup Photo

Time to say Farewell


Location: Vancouver, Canada

Sailing into Canada’s third-largest city and busiest seaport may come as a bit of a shock after so many days exploring the wilderness and enjoying small settlements. But this green city´s foliage will be beginning to show their wonderful autumn colours, and local beaches are plentiful and close at hand. Our expedition ends where we started, in the beautiful city of Vancouver. 

Arrival 27 September 2019

Location Vancouver, Canada
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Extend your holiday

Complete your holiday with a Hurtigruten land adventure before or after your sailing. Choose between excursions of several hours and multi-day tours including hotels. (NOTE: Hurtigruten land adventures can only be added to your voyage after booking. Please call to book!)