Traverse the depth and breadth of the iconic Bering Strait and venture deep into the two distinct worlds it joins. Encounter the rich culture of Provideniya, “the Gateway to the Arctic,” before exploring the Pribilof Islands, a naturalist’s paradise sometimes referred to as "the Galápagos of the North.” From those lively breeding grounds continue on to explore the dynamic history, culture, and natural wonders of the remote islands along Alaska’s rugged coast. A visit to Katmai National Park, one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world and a unique petrified forest round out this immersive Arctic travel expedition.
• Cross the iconic Bering Strait and the length of the Bering Sea
• In the Pribilof Islands, witness the largest breeding rookery of northern fur seals, comprising about half the world’s fur seal population
• Spot rafts of sea otters in the Baby Islands
• Walk among a forest of petrified sequoia stumps along the shores of Unga Island
• Observe brown bears digging for clams or fishing for salmon in Katmai National Park
Fly to Nome via Anchorage. Embark National Geographic Orion in the afternoon.
Spend the first day at sea crossing one of the most iconic bodies of water on the planet. If conditions permit, we may stop at the very remote Little Diomede Island, in the center of the Strait.
At the western limit of the rich transboundary area known as Beringia, Provideniya is often called “The Gateway to the Arctic”. It’s also the administrative center where we will conduct our outbound clearance from Russia. Visit the excellent museum, and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance.
A naturalist’s paradise, the Pribilof Islands welcome three million seabirds and a million marine mammals each summer as they arrive to breed. Go ashore at St. Paul to explore on land, at St. George go by Zodiac to view puffins, kittiwakes and red-faced cormorants, as well as a northern fur seal rookery.
This morning, arrive at Dutch Harbor, site of a fierce WWII battle and now one of the world’s most important fishing ports. Continue to the Baby Islands, just east of Unalaska, where dynamic tides offer exciting potential to spot sea otters and fur seals, as well as rare seabirds, both from the ship’s deck and from Zodiacs. Continue along the eastern shore of the Alaska Peninsula, with time for exploration and wildlife watching.
Go ashore on Unga Island to explore a unique petrified forest of sequoia or metasequoia trees that were buried in a volcanic mudslide nearly 25 million years ago. These fascinating and colorful stumps and logs have washed out of the sediment at the rocky shoreline, with some only visible at low tide.
Spend today exploring the shorelines and waters of coastal Katmai National Park & Preserve, known for its abundant brown bear population, this area provides countless opportunities to watch and photograph bears digging for clams at low tide, or fishing for salmon in the creeks.
The second largest island in the U.S., Kodiak is best known for its brown bears and its fishing industry. Less well known is its unique mix of Native Alutiiq and Russian-American history. Join your Undersea Specialist for a “dock walk” among the commercial fishing boats in Kodiak’s inner harbor. Photograph the beautiful Holy Resurrection Church on a photo walk, or peruse native art and artifacts at the Alutiiq Museum. Later, explore one of the island’s outer bays by Zodiac.
Nearly 40 glaciers flow out of the Kenai's Harding Icefield, so the opportunities for exploration abound. Cruise one of the ice-scoured fjords to the face of a tidewater glacier, while searching for mountain goats and other wildlife along the way.
Arrive in Seward this morning, transfer to the airport in Anchorage for flights home or onward.
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.