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You’ll board an Anchorage-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 Denali optional pre-trip extension, you’ll likewise join the base program today.
Transfer to the fishing village of Seward and embark the m/s Roald Amundsen
After breakfast, you’ll transfer by land on a scenic motorcoach ride from Anchorage to Seward. This scenic fishing town sits at the edge of Resurrection Bay, beneath otherworldly panoramas of the surrounding mountains, forest, ocean, and endless skies. Speaking of skies — while in Alaska, you’ll experience sunsets that sometimes stretch as late as 11 p.m.! Depending on your location, however, daylight hours may be shorter or longer.
Along the way to Seward, you’ll make a couple of stops — at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska SeaLife Center. Get an early glimpse at some of the wildlife you may encounter on this voyage! 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.
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!
Hubbard Glacier, the world’s largest tidewater glacier
At 76 miles long and almost 7 miles wide, the 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 — and it 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!
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.
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. Cultural Discovery: 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.
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!
Uncovering Russian influence in 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.
A slice of Norway in Petersburg
Nicknamed “Little Norway,” the rarely-visited Petersburg was founded more than a century ago by Norwegian fishermen. 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.”
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, and is 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 have been a method of communication, even a language or a way to record events.
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.
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!
Cruising the Inside Passage
Today we’ll sail toward Vancouver, 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.
Our Alaskan expedition comes to a close in cosmopolitan Vancouver, a city of waterfront parks, international cuisine, galleries, museums, colorful neighborhoods, and resplendent nature all around. Disembark the m/s Roald Amundsen and transfer to the hotel.
Fly home, or join the Vancouver extension
Today you’ll transfer to the airport and board your return flight home; or, stay a few more days in Vancouver on an optional post-trip extension.
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.