Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound)

Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound)

Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound)

Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound)

Travel information 18 days MS Roald Amundsen
Departure
2 July 2023
Price from
7990 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

This voyage brings you along Alaska’s rugged coastline and around the remote Aleutian Islands to Nome. You’ll visit historic ports and enjoy bear watching in Katmai National Park.

Inside Passage from Canada

We’ll sail north of Vancouver Island, past fjords and into the Johnston Strait and then the Hecate Strait. Our first site in Alaska is the aptly named Misty Fjords, blessed with sheer mountains and waterfalls. You’ll go on to look for Tlingit totem poles and petroglyphs on the beach in Wrangell at the foot of Mount Dewey.

You’ll also visit Sitka, former capital of Alaska when it belonged to Russia and home to the Russian Orthodox St. Michael’s Cathedral. Next is Icy Bay where icebergs often float. Our aim here is to explore Guyot Glacier, hoping to see harbor seals relaxing on the icebergs as we do.

Around the Aleutian Islands

The Emerald Isle of Kodiak features the Alutiiq Museum and Baranov Museum, chronicling the city’s mixed heritage. We’ll then visit one of three possible sites in the Katmai National Park which is known for its populations of bears. The ship then goes to the small fishing village of Chignik on the Alaskan Peninsula and then to the abandoned island settlement at Unga.

Dutch Harbor is one of the most important fishing ports in the US, famous for its appearance on the TV show ‘The Deadliest Catch’. St. Paul Island is the largest of the Pribilof Islands, an Important Bird Area that also has as many as 500,000 fur seals. You’ll then visit deserted St. Matthew Island, the most isolated place in Alaska before disembarking in the famous Gold-Rush-era town of Nome for your flight back to Vancouver.

Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound) Alaska and British Columbia – Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands (Northbound)
  • Day 1
    Vancouver, Canada

    British Columbia's Vibrant Port City

    2 July 2023

    Your exploration starts in Vancouver. Set amidst beautiful mountain scenery and the waters of English Bay, Vancouver is both a bustling seaport and a cosmopolitan city. If you arrange to arrive a few days ahead of your cruise, you’ll soon find out just why people rave about British Colombia’s largest city.  

    Its various neighbourhoods buzz with world-class, farm-to-table cuisine. Chinatown and Punjabi Market have arguably the best Asian food in North America while Commercial Drive is the home of Little Italy.  

    Don’t miss Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood either. Gastown’s Victorian buildings house some of the hottest restaurants and its 167-metre-high Vancouver Lookout also offers a perfect panorama over the city. 

    You can take in the neon lights and nightlife along the Granville Street strip or just go and chill on one of the beaches in West End. The latter is also the gateway to explore the wide-open spaces and towering red cedars of Stanley Park.  

    Enjoy your first night in Vancouver in a nice, centrally located hotel.

    The hotel welcomes you to relax and use its amenities after your long journey. This day is at leisure, dinner on your own.

    Why not extending your stay in this lovely scenery with our unique Pre-Programme and taking a trip aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train through the Canadian Rockies? The scenery is nothing short of spectacular.

    Day 1
    Vancouver, Canada

    British Columbia's Vibrant Port City

  • Day 2
    Vancouver, Canada

    Start of the Expedition

    3 July 2023

    After an enjoyable breakfast at your hotel, we will take you on a city tour along the main highlights of fabulous Vancouver. 

    The excursion will end at the pier where MS Roald Amundsen is waiting for you to take you onto an unforgettable journey.

    Day 2
    Vancouver, Canada

    Start of the Expedition

  • Day 3
    At sea

    Cruising the Canadian Inside Passage

    4 July 2023

    Sailing north into the open ocean, we make our way towards the narrow channels of Canada’s Inside Passage. You’ll feel the thrill of setting out on a great adventure as we navigate through the thousands of islands of the Pacific Northwest.

    The great North American Pacific Fjordland is a protected stretch of water almost 1,500km long and known for its relatively calm waters and lack of ocean swells.

    As our journey gets underway you may want to join our Expedition Team at the onboard Science Center and attend a fascinating lecture, spend time getting to know your fellow travellers, or go out on deck to look out for dolphins, porpoises, orcas and humpback whales.

    Our expedition ship is small enough to pass through and get close to the many interesting and scenic channels of the Inside Passage. Don’t forget your binoculars!

    Day 3
    At sea

    Cruising the Canadian Inside Passage

  • Day 4
    Misty Fjords National Monument

    Unspoiled Wilderness

    5 July 2023

    The first area you’ll explore on your expedition is none other than the spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument. Part of the two million acres of Tongass National Forest, this is a pristine coastal wilderness of evergreen trees, deep fjords, and majestic snow-capped peaks.

    The region receives more than 150 inches (380 cm) of rain a year, feeding rivers and lakes that run into waterfalls that tumble from the dark granite cliffs. The mountains rise almost vertically from the fjords to heights of 3,000 feet (1,000 m) or more, covered in cedar, spruce, hemlock, and moss.

    Influential Scottish-American mountaineer John Muir, also known as ‘Father of the National Parks’, famously declared the Misty Fjords as one of the most beautiful places he’d ever seen. We hope you’ll be similarly inspired as we explore the area. If the weather allows, you’ll tour the area aboard our small explorer boats or while kayaking on an optional excursion.

    Keep your eyes peeled to possibly spot mountain goat, brown bear, black bear, and moose, whether along the shores, the ridges, or slopes. In the waters, all five species of Pacific salmon swim, along with river otters, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, orcas and Dall porpoises. Have your binoculars at the ready for the likes of hummingbirds, trumpeter swans, herons, and that great icon of America: the bald eagle.

    • Included Misty Fjord Small Boat Cruising
    Day 4
    Misty Fjords National Monument

    Unspoiled Wilderness

  • Day 5
    Wrangell, Alaska

    Petroglyph Beach

    6 July 2023

    You’ll really feel like you’re stepping back in time at Wrangell, one of Alaska’s oldest and most historic island towns. Ancient petroglyph carvings dot the beach here, and it’s only a 15-minute walk to where you can start noticing them. There are about 50 in total, so see how many you can find.

    Afterwards, why not pay a visit to the Wrangell Museum, which is packed full of interesting artefacts and information about the history of the town. While Wrangell is now part of America, it was previously governed by Great Britain, Russia, and the Tlingit people as far back as 8,000 years ago.

    Then there’s the moss-covered totem poles at the Chief Shakes Tribal House which tell the story of the local Tlingit people. You’ll find the Tribal House, which is beautifully constructed from cedar wood, a short walk from the town centre over the wooden bridge to Shakes Island.

    Being surrounded by such alluring scenery at the mouth of Stikine River and at the foot of Mount Dewey, it’ll be easy to get back to nature on one of the local trails to the edge of the rainforest.

    • Included Wrangell - Small Boat Cruising
    Day 5
    Wrangell, Alaska

    Petroglyph Beach

  • Day 6
    Sitka, Alaska

    A history of cultures

    7 July 2023

    Situated on Baranof Island on the outer coast of the Inside Passage, Sitka can only be reached by sea or by air. It’s also surrounded by Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Sailing here, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the Sisters Mountains and of Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano reminiscent of Japan’s Mount Fuji.

    Originally inhabited by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago, it was conquered by Russia in 1804 and renamed ‘New Archangel’. By 1808, the city was the largest in the region and was designated the capital of Alaska. Today, you’ll find Sitka to be a place of blended culture. Tlingit traditions remain strong, existing side by side with Russian and American influences.

    With Russia reeling from the Crimean War, it sold Alaska to the US to keep it out of the hands of the British. The location of the transfer ceremony in 1867 was none other than New Archangel which was promptly renamed as ‘Sitka’. At the meagre price of $7.2 million for the entire region, it was a steal at just two cents per acre!

    There are historic sites aplenty in Sitka, such as the Russian Bishop’s House which is the oldest intact building here, dating back to 1842. Or you can visit the Russian Orthodox St. Michael’s Cathedral which still features its original chandelier, religious art, and a range of other artefacts.

    A highlight for most visitors to Sitka is the 107-acre Sitka National Historic Park. There is a fascinating museum here with a range of exhibits. You can then follow a trail that leads you by the ocean through a peaceful forest. Along the way, you’ll also discover beautiful examples of ornate Haida and Tlingit totem poles.

    Day 6
    Sitka, Alaska

    A history of cultures

  • Day 7
    Icy Bay

    A trio of tidal glaciers

    8 July 2023

    Discover Icy Bay near Prince William Sound – a place that really lives up to its name. Three prominent glaciers of Guyot, Yahtse, and Tyndall feed vast chunks of floating ice into the waters of the bay.

    The area here was once a giant tidewater glacier that ran directly into the Gulf of Alaska. The bay has only become accessible to ships in the past 100 years or so.

    This was also the site of a mega-tsunami in 2015 when 180 million tonnes of mountain rock and forest collapsed into the fjord. The resulting wave is thought to have been one of the highest in the past century. Thankfully, the tsunami dissipated without doing any damage.

    Our aim will be to visit the 55-km-long and 13-km-wide Guyot Glacier, depending on the amount of ice along the way and the local weather conditions. You’ll hopefully be able to go ashore as near to the glacier as is safe or explore the waters on kayaks as part of an optional excursion.

    As ever, we’ll be on the lookout for all the awesome wildlife that abounds in the Gulf of Alaska, including humpback whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals and many others.

    This tough and rugged area is only matched by its natural beauty and there will be ample photographic opportunities throughout the day. The harbor seals, in particular, love to laze on floating ice.

    • Included Icy Bay Small Boat Cruising
    Day 7
    Icy Bay

    A trio of tidal glaciers

  • Day 8
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

    9 July 2023

    A day at sea gives you all the time you need to rest, relax, take stock of what you’ve experienced so far and to build excitement for your adventure ahead. You’ll definitely want to enjoy onboard facilities like the infinity pool, hot tubs, sauna, indoor gym, outdoor running track and spa.  

    Informative lectures from the Expedition Team continue in the Science Centre. Each topic, ranging from wildlife, tectonic activity, glaciology, or local history and culture, is designed to help you appreciate the areas you are sailing through and inform your upcoming landings. 

    You can also spend time getting to know the crew, Expedition Team, and fellow explorers. Aside from a passion for adventure, you may find you have similar interests and experiences. Why not share some drinks with them at the bar and strike up a camaraderie with your new ship mates. 

    Sailing through the Gulf of Alaska, there is a chance to see North Pacific albatrosses. There are three species to look for; laysan and black-footed albatrosses are common in the Gulf of Alaska, while the short-tailed albatross is a much rarer sight.

    Day 8
    At Sea

    Serenity at Sea

  • Day 9
    Kodiak, Alaska

    Emerald Isle

    10 July 2023

    The bustling fishing port of Kodiak, largest in Alaska, sits on the eastern shores of Kodiak Island. The surrounding spruce forest and grassland here have inspired its nickname as the ‘Emerald Isle’. At 3,670 square miles and over 100 miles in length, this is the largest island in Alaska, and the second largest in the US after Hawaii.

    Alutiiq natives lived here for over 7,000 years before the Russian crown came and claimed the island as its earliest capital in Alaska. There are thousands of artefacts and photos to admire at the Alutiiq Museum. You can also visit the 1808 Baranov Museum, the oldest standing building in the state and a former Russian fur pelt storehouse.

    World War II saw Kodiak transformed into an important launch pad for US naval operations in the North Pacific. You can visit Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park to see the 1939 fort and a series of coastal bunkers. The fort itself now serves as the base for the largest Coast Guard team in the country.

    The best-known park here though is the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, covering two-thirds of the island. A range of habitats from mountains to meadows are home to the islands most famous residents: about 3,500 Kodiak brown bears.

    • Included Fort Abercrombie Shuttle
    Day 9
    Kodiak, Alaska

    Emerald Isle

  • Day 10
    Geographic Harbor / Kukak Bay / Kinak Bay

    Searching for brown bears

    11 July 2023

    Welcome to Katmai National Park. This is four million acres, over a dozen active volcanos, and the location of the dramatic Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes – itself the site of one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions ever recorded.    

    We’ll spend the day cruising and looking for bears from deck or from our small explorer boats at one of three possible sites in the park, each of which are known for their communities of brown bears. Katmai National Park is almost synonymous with excellent bear watching. It has the largest population of protected grizzly bears alone, numbering more than 2,000.

    Of the three areas we’ll sail to, it could be Geographic Harbor at the top of Amalik Bay, a lagoon fringed by moss-covered rocks and rolling hills and famous for its brown bear population. Or perhaps you’ll get to visit secluded Kinak Bay to uncover its hidden yet charming beaches. Or maybe it’ll be Kukak Bay where a wide estuary provides a steady stream of salmon for the hungry bear.

    Which point of interest will depend on weather conditions in the area at the time. This will be at the Captain’s discretion, in collaboration with the Expedition Team. If time allows, we may even try to see more than one site. Rest assured that whichever place you visit today, it’ll really be the best choice that takes into account a whole range of factors.

    Accompanied by an experienced bear guard, you’ll hopefully be able to observe brown bears from a safe distance, getting close but never too close. In any case, the bears will likely be too busy foraging for berries along the shore, diving for clams, and fishing in the mountain rivers to even pay us much attention.

    Aside from bear watching, you’ll have great chances of seeing the amazing sea otter today too. The Shelikof Strait is also notable for humpback whales. Then, there’s the splendid scenery of snow-capped mountains and verdant forest to admire, and a good number of seabirds to spot.

    • Included Geographic Harbour Small Boat Cruising and Nature Landing
    Day 10
    Geographic Harbor / Kukak Bay / Kinak Bay

    Searching for brown bears

  • Day 11
    Chignik

    Where the Aleutian Mountains meet the Gulf of Alaska

    12 July 2023

    The small village of Chignik Bay is a prime example of the typical fishing settlements in Alaska. Red salmon fishing has been the core of the community’s economy for over a century. Stop in at the fish factory, meet the welcoming locals, or explore the salmon streams in the scenic surroundings. Scan the shores to spot the 20-or-so waterfowl species, or the skies for bald eagles.

    • Included Scenic Chignik
    Day 11
    Chignik

    Where the Aleutian Mountains meet the Gulf of Alaska

  • Day 12
    Unga Village, Alaska

    Alaskan Ghost Town

    13 July 2023

    Unga Village is a picturesque but abandoned town on the southern end of uninhabited Unga Island in the remote Aleutian Islands. Settled by Aleuts in 1833, subsistence fishing proved insufficient to support the community, which had all but moved by 1969. Today, a collection of wooden buildings is all that remains, surrounded by a carpet of pink louseworts and fireweed.

    • Included Unga Village Nature Landing
    Day 12
    Unga Village, Alaska

    Alaskan Ghost Town

  • Day 13
    At Sea

    Enjoying the moment

    14 July 2023

    Part of being on an expedition is knowing how to enjoy the moment; taking time out to reconnect with nature and the world around you. 

    So park yourself in the panoramic Explorer Lounge or soak in a hot tub out on deck, sit back and simply take in the serene scenery as untouched isles and green mountains roll quietly by. 

    You’ll also be able to join the Expedition Team in the Science Centre so that they can continue to enthrall you with details about the local geography, climate and birdlife. 

    There’s also a chance to see seabirds like the endemic and rare Red-legged Kittiwake, Puffins, Auklets, and Murrelets, especially when we are closer to the coast.

    Day 13
    At Sea

    Enjoying the moment

  • Day 14
    St. Paul, Alaska

    Birdwatching haven

    15 July 2023

    The windswept island of St. Paul is the largest of the Pribilof Islands. The only inhabitants huddle in the village of St. Paul with a population of 480 residents. Close to 90% are indigenous Aleuts, representing the largest Aleut community in the US.

    As part of the strong Aleut heritage here, there are historical sites that showcase the remains of barabaras, traditional semi-subterranean Aleut houses made from soil. The unique design allowed for the abode to be less exposed to the strong winds of the Bering Sea and for the ground to act as natural insulation to keep in the heat.

    Designated as an Important Bird Area, St. Paul Island is an ideal resting point for migrating birds, attracting some 300 species. See if you can spot a horned or tufted puffin or a Pribilof sandpiper during your visit. The big draw for birders and ornithologists here though is the endemic red-legged kittiwakes who nest on the island.

    The isle is also home to the northern fur seal, with about half the world’s population living around the Pribilof islands. You can watch these active creatures waddling along the shore and splashing in the water, and in the early summer months you may even see seal pups playing on the beach.

    • Included St Paul Landing
    Day 14
    St. Paul, Alaska

    Birdwatching haven

  • Day 15
    St. Matthew Island, Alaska

    Deserted Island in the Bering Sea

    16 July 2023

    St. Matthew Island lies halfway across the Bering Sea, between Russia and the USA. Coming ashore on its black sand beaches, we’ll be the only humans on the isle.

    Separated from the nearest village by more than 200 miles, this is probably the single most isolated place in Alaska. And that’s saying something given how sparsely populated the state is to begin with.

    Many pioneers attempted to settle this island over the centuries, but none ever stayed long due to the frequent fog, storms, and tough winters. Even introduced populations of hardy reindeer which grew into the thousands soon dwindled and disappeared.

    Traces of human life still remain on the island though, with abandoned dwellings half buried in the wildflower-speckled tundra. Lichen-covered bones and fishing debris are also strewn across some of the beaches, washed up in sea storms.

    The island is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and home only to nesting seabirds like Murres, Puffins, and Cormorants, as well as foxes who pilfer eggs from the nests.

    Listen out for the native singing voles, who were named after their distinctive warning cry, and get your camera ready in case the rare McKay's Bunting appears, which breeds almost exclusively on St. Matthew Island.

    • Included St Matthew Island Nature Landing
    Day 15
    St. Matthew Island, Alaska

    Deserted Island in the Bering Sea

  • Day 16
    At sea – Bering Sea

    Crossing the International Date Line

    17 July 2023

    On your last day at sea, keep an eye on the waters here for humpback whales. As the ship sails through the Bering Strait, look to the skies to spot a range of sea birds. You’ll have Russia to the east and the USA to the west. This is also the international date line, so you’ll have ‘tomorrow’ on your right and ‘today’ to the left. 

    It’s the ideal time to wind down from all the excitement of Alaska. Pamper yourself in the Wellness Spa with a few soothing treatments. And reminisce on the trip’s special memories with new-found friends in the bar.

    The Expedition Team will be in a similar mood as they recap the expedition in the Science Center. Here, you can proudly compare your best photographs and swap stories of the different excursions.

    Day 16
    At sea – Bering Sea

    Crossing the International Date Line

  • Day 17
    Nome, Alaska

    There’s No Place Like Nome

    18 July 2023

    Situated on the Seward Peninsula, Nome’s name went down in Alaska history the day the ‘Three Lucky Swedes’ discovered gold in Anvil Creek in 1898. Prospectors soon flocked from the Yukon and from San Francisco in steamers. Even the famous sheriff Wyatt Earp followed the call of gold and opened a saloon here. 

    You can see evidence of the gold rush era everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, and old railroad tracks. Cries of ‘Gold! Gold!’ can still be heard today by those foraging on the banks of the Snake River and elsewhere in the area.  

    The town also marked the end point of three of Roald Amundsen’s great expeditions; the Northwest Passage in 1906, the Northeast Passage in 1921, and an aircraft attempt to the North Pole in 1926.  

    It seems only fitting therefore that you’ll end your own modern-day adventure along the Alaskan coast here, having sailed aboard an expedition ship bearing the Norwegian explorer’s name. Bidding the Captain, crew, and Expedition goodbye, you’ll be taken to the airport and fly to Vancouver for an overnight stay.

    Day 17
    Nome, Alaska

    There’s No Place Like Nome

  • Day 18
    Vancouver, Canada

    End of the Expedition

    19 July 2023
    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    Your expedition concludes back in Vancouver. If you’ve arranged to spend more time here at the end of your journey, there’s always something cultural going on in this picturesque metropolis between water and mountains.

    Take in a few of its many art galleries or learn about First Nations cultures at the museums. Go on a café crawl on trendy Granville Island, or visit the multicultural food stalls at the night market in Richmond. You can also make the most of the summer weather over at sandy Kitsilano Beach.

    We also offer a tempting optional Post-Excursion to the nearby mountain resort of Whistler via Shannon Falls and a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola 880m (2,900 feet) above sea level.

    Day 18
    Vancouver, Canada

    End of the Expedition

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
July:
2.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Flights

  • Flight in economy class from Nome to Vancouver at the end of the expedition cruise

Hotel

  • One pre-night in Vancouver, including breakfast before the expedition cruise.
  • One night in a hotel in Vancouver, including breakfast after the expedition cruise.

Transfers

  • Transfer from hotel to pier in Vancouver incl. City tour excursion.
  • Transfer from ship to airport in Nome
  • Transfer from airport to hotel after the expedition cruise in Vancouver

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included excursions

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and outdoor running track
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area

Notes

MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila
MS Roald Amundsen
Aune Restaurant, MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Espen Mills
Your ship

MS Roald Amundsen

Year built 2019
Shipyard Kleven Yards
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila

In 2019, Hurtigruten added a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.

Read more about MS Roald Amundsen

Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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