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In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
This voyage aboard the state-of-the-art expedition vessel Le Soléal offers the very best of what Alaska's Inside Passage has to offer-myriad bays, coves, inlets and islands, teeming with whales, dolphins, bears, and sea birds. It also introduces you to the diverse cultural history of the area, from the Alaska Native Tsimshian and Tlingit tribes of Metlakatla and Kake, to the Scandinavian and Russian heritages of Petersburg and Sitka.
Setting out from Vancouver, you sail through the Johnstone Strait, renowned as the best place in the world to see orcas in the wild, and then into the Inside Passage proper, home to bald eagles, deer, black bear, salmon, dolphins, seals, and much more, before calling at Metlakatla, where Tsimshian dancers perform in full regalia.
In Misty Fjords National Monument, you will want to be on the lookout for grizzly bears, orcas, and bald eagles, and when Le Soléal calls in Petersburg, known as "Little Norway," you will have the opportunity to see the lush vegetation of the region up close on a hike through Tongass National Forest.
The ancient village of Kake is your introduction to the customs and traditions the Tlingit people, as you visit their community center and see totem carvings, including one of the largest totem poles in the world, while nearby Endicott Arm provides a close encounter with Dawes Glacier aboard local excursion boats.
A day on the northern end of Chichagof Island includes whale watching at Point Adolphus and a visit to the remote fishing village of Elfin Cove for a leisurely hike in the surrounding forest.
The final day of your expedition is spent in Sitka, originally a Russian trading post, where a cruise among the small islands and inlets of Sitka Sound provides your last chance to observe sea otters, whales, sea lions, porpoise, harbor seals, brown bears, blacktail deer, bald eagles and a variety of marine birds, and where a walking tour through Sitka National Historical Park includes a host of Tlingit totems.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. The itinerary, landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible.