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Arrival in Vancouver
You’ll board a Vancouver-bound flight today to begin your Alaskan expedition cruise! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to the hotel. After check-in, enjoy an afternoon at leisure. If you’ve joined our Vancouver optional pre-trip extension, you’ll likewise join the base program today.
Explore Vancouver on your own, embark the m/s Roald Amundsen
Take some time this morning for independent exploration of Vancouver, a cosmopolitan city full of renowned cuisine, including Chinese restaurants established by the area’s high concentration of Chinese immigrants. Vancouver also boasts beaches and nearby mountains for skiing, including Whistler, one of North America’s largest ski resorts. This afternoon, transfer to the pier and embark the m/s Roald Amundsen, your new expedition hub! Toast the adventure to come at the Captain’s Cocktail Reception this evening, followed by your first dinner on ship.
Cruising the Inside Passage
Today we’ll sail toward Ketchikan, passing through the narrow weaving channels and straits of Canada’s Inside Passage. Be on the lookout for the dolphins, porpoises, orcas, and whales that frequent these protected inland waters. Regroup in the Amundsen’s Science Center for lectures by the Expedition Team, or spend some time on deck, enjoying the scenery, or relaxing alongside your fellow travelers.
Exploring the salmon capital of the world
On a full-day excursion, discover Ketchikan, the salmon capital of the world and Alaska’s fourth-largest city. Cultural Discovery: Despite its size, you’ll find a true frontier town surrounded by mountains and colorful Gold Rush-era clapboard homes nestled on Creek Street, which runs along the shores of Ketchikan Creek. You’ll find great shopping here, as well as restaurants, people-watching, and opportunities to view salmon making their way upstream. With its strong Tlingit presence, Ketchikan also boasts one of the largest collections of standing totem poles!
Exploring Misty National Fjords Monument
This ancient landscape was once covered with ice, but as that ice broke and disbanded, it carved the long, deep fjords that now comprise Misty Fjords National Monument. We’ll spend a full day exploring this region’s thick evergreen rainforests, granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls, mountain rivers and coastal wetlands, with milky fog often filling the bays and coves. This quiet and tranquil outpost will speak to your soul, and show you why so many people are proud to call this state home.
Seeking Wrangell’s petroglyphs
One of the oldest island towns in Alaska, Wrangell has been governed by four different nations — Tlingit, Russia, Britain, and the United States — and these shifts in culture and power, coupled with a collapsed lumber industry, have given the town its rough-and-tumble outback soul. But peel back Wrangell’s layers and you’ll find that it’s a nature lover’s paradise with its proximity to the Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory and the Stikine River Delta. Birdwatchers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Stikine, which is comprised of 11,000 hectares of freshwater and tidal wetlands home to lesser snow geese, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, and other important waterfowl.
Cultural Discovery: On your full-day explorations here, uncover some of the best surviving examples of Native American art at Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park, which is home to the highest concentration of petroglyphs in Southeast Alaska. These petroglyphs — designs carved into rocks, boulders, logs, and more — are typically found near important salmon streams and habitation sites. While no one truly knows the intent or motivation of these native artisans, archaeologists speculate that petroglyphs may be a method of communication, even a language or a way to record events.
A slice of Norway in Petersburg
Nicknamed “Little Norway,” the rarely-visited Petersburg was founded more than a century ago by Norwegian fisherman. The city’s name can be traced to Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant who arrived in the late 1890s and within 10 years had built a cannery, sawmill, and a dock, luring more people of Scandinavian origin to this area. Today, Buschmann’s cannery still operates and Petersburg remains one of Alaska’s most thriving fishing villages. Cultural Discovery: Discover this village’s Norwegian heritage, breathtaking scenery, and abundant marine life on an exploration. Proud of their Scandinavian roots, local residents even celebrate Norwegian holidays, and the heart of the community is the “Sons of Norway Hall.”
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit Sitka. Tlingit, Russian, and American settlers have all made a lasting impact on the town of Sitka, nestled on the western side of Baranof Island. With its snowcapped mountains, small islands, and even a visible volcano, Sitka oozes adventure — but its culture is just as alluring. Cultural Discovery: Once the capital of Russian Alaska, the town boasts a Russian Orthodox cathedral, historic buildings, and even a forest full of totem poles, which you’ll discover on an exploration of this town.
The Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm Fjords
This morning, awaken to some of the most spectacular scenery around — the Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm fjords. On a full-day exploration of these fjords, we’ll discover lush greenery and steep valleys, as well as intricately shaped icebergs bobbing in the water, calved from the radiant blue glaciers at the end of the fjords. We may also encounter mountain goats and harbor seals!
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit Petersburg. See Day 7 for itinerary information.
Located on the edge of North America’s longest and deepest fjord is Haines, which bills itself as the state’s adventure capital. The town was home to the Tlingit people for centuries, before Europeans arrived in the late 1800s, followed by Gold Rush settlers. Today, on an exploration of this town, you’ll discover that Haines is famous for its community of local artists, adventure lovers and RV travelers, as well as avid birders who arrive with the hopes of witnessing bald eagles in the wild.
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit the Tracy and Endicott Arm Fjords. See Day 8 for itinerary information.
Inside the Tlingit culture
Today we arrive at Icy Strait Point, an outpost originally built as a salmon cannery in the early 20th century. Today, it offers a glimpse into the life of the indigenous Tlingit people, whose culture developed within southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest and along the Alexander Archipelago. Cultural Discovery: Learn more about the Tlingit’s history and lifestyle when you explore a native settlement featuring houses adorned with intricate carvings and totem poles, and even visit the free local museum, too.
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit Haines. See Day 9 for itinerary information.
Hubbard Glacier, the world’s largest tidewater glacier
At 76 miles long and almost 7 miles wide, Hubbard Glacier is North America’s largest tidewater glacier, and yours to explore today. Framed by an amphitheater of snowcapped mountains, it sits at the end of Disenchantment Bay like a sleeping giant. But this glacier was once very active after its surges — when glaciers move at velocities up to 100 times faster then normal — crossed the bay, transforming the fjord into a lake, and threatening to flood nearby Yakutat. With icebergs and brash ice in the bay, the scenery is simply breathtaking!
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit Icy Strait Point. See Day 10 for itinerary information.
Exploring College Fjord’s glacial wonderland
Experience a true expedition day and rare treat when we make landfall at the lesser-visited College Fjord, a natural wonderland home to an impressive array of glaciers. Here, the ice and forests meet, and forge the world’s largest collection of tidewater glaciers, five valley glaciers, and other smaller glaciers — all named after prestigious East Coast colleges, including Vassar, Smith, Harvard, and Yale. Have your camera at the ready — you’ll get awesome shots of glacier fronts, ice calving into the sea, and sea lions and whales may make a cameo, too!
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit Hubbard Glacier. See Day 11 for itinerary information.
Exploring Prince William Sound
Framed by the Chugach Mountains and the Kenai Peninsula, the rarely visited Prince William Sound will be our expeditionary focus today. This is a glacial paradise where rugged coastline is carved by fjords and inlets, many with tidewater glaciers sending icebergs towards forest-covered islands in the Sound. In summer, humpback, sei, fin, minke, and killer whales frequent the sound, as well as other wildlife. More than 200,000 seabirds summer in this sound, including marbled murrelets, black-legged kittiwakes, and bald eagles. Black bears, brown bears, and moose may also appear—not to mention, sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters, too.
Please note: Travelers on the July departure will visit College Fjord. See Day 12 for itinerary information.
Explore the fishing village of Seward, disembark the m/s Roald Amundsen and transfer to Anchorage
Seward is your focus today. This scenic fishing town sits at the edge of Resurrection Bay, beneath otherworldly panoramas of the surrounding mountains, forest, ocean, and endless skies. But on the way there, you’ll make a couple of stops — at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska SeaLife Center. You'll also enjoy a tram ride to the top of Mt. Aleska — you'll revel in views of the Turnagain Arm, up to seven “hanging” glaciers, and endless peaks deep into the Chugach Mountain range. In the summer months, moose and bear sightings are common on the aerial tram rides, too.
Afterward, transfer by motorcoach through incredible scenery to Anchorage, where you’ll check into your hotel.
Transfer to Anchorage’s airport for your return flight home; or, join the optional post-trip extension to Denali National Park.
North America’s highest mountain peak is yours to explore on an exhilarating 4-day post-trip extension through Denali National Park. Just a lone ribbon of road bisects this natural wonder, which is comprised of six million acres of pristine wilderness, alpine tundra, and towering mountain ranges. Even better — you’ll experience Denali in summertime, which means warmer temperatures and less ice, but the same unsurpassed tranquility and beauty. No matter what season you visit, though, you’ll witness small and large wildlife roaming uninhibited, as they have for centuries. Welcome to Alaska, the last frontier!
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert. Vantage reserves the right to refuse compensation to any traveler due to itinerary changes not listed on our web site.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.