Superior Stateroom Deck 3
25% Ponant Bonus
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 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 cruise 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 will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible.
A voyage specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included activity in each port of call. Engaging discussions...
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
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Dr. Nick Pyenson is curator of fossil marine mammals in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In the past decade, he has worked with and trained over 25 scientists on every continent, collaborating on discoveries that appear frequently in the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as on NPR, CBC, and the BBC. Along with the highest research awards from the Smithsonian, he has also received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the Obama White House. Nick is a National Geographic Explorer and a Kavli Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences and has worked with the World Economic Forum. He is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Spying on Whales and co-author with science illustrator Alex Boersma of the children’s book The Whale Who Swam Through Time. He has degrees from Emory University and the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia.
Language spoken: English
James R. Zimbelman is Senior Geologist Emeritus, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institutionin Washington, D.C.
Jim has published more than 110 peer-reviewed manuscripts, geologic maps, and book chapters. He is the lead author of The Volcanoes of Mars (Elsevier, 2021) and he co-authored Dune Worlds: How windblown sand shapes planetary surfaces (Springer, 2014). He is the 2020 G. K. Gilbert Award winner from the Geological Society of America, the 2013 Ronald Greeley Distinguished Service Award winner from the Planetary Geology Division of GSA, and the 1995 Professional Achievement Award winner from Northwest Nazarene University. His research interests include analysis of high-resolution imaging data of Mars, studies of long lava flows on planetary surfaces, and planetary sand transport processes. From 2016 to 2020, he was Lead Curator for the new “Exploring the Planets” gallery at NASM (scheduled to open in 2022). He has been Study Leader on numerous Smithsonian Journeys trips, including five trips to Iceland, and two more NASA-supported research trips to Iceland. He retired in September of 2020.
Jim holds a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics (1976) from Northwest Nazarene University, an M.S.in Geophysics and Space Physics (1978) from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Geology (1984) from Arizona State University.
Language spoken: English
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
To guarantee your entry into one or several countries, you must ensure that you comply with the formalities and health requirements specific to each destination. In just a few clicks on our online search engine, find all the formalities you must complete prior to your departure (visas, entry authorisations for each country, vaccinations, etc.).
The international situation can change rapidly, so be sure to check this information regularly prior to your departure. However, please note that we always recommend our guests contact the relevant national immigration and customs and border control authorities directly to find out what rules apply to their specific situation. PONANT is not responsible for any decisions made by guests based on the information provided by the online search engine.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Canada: Entry (or transit) by air - The ETA is required for Australian and British citizens, US citizens are exempt. Other nationalities, please contact Canada consulate website for details. http://www.canada.ca/en/index.html. A copy of your visa or ETA must be sent to PONANT at the very latest 45 days prior to your cruise date. In case the ETA is sufficient to enter Canada, we also ask you to keep a copy of your ETA with your passport throughout the duration of your trip.
List of items prohibited on board
To guarantee the safety and well-being of our guests, certain items are strictly prohibited on board. Should you have one of these products or objects in your possession, they will be confiscated immediately and will not be transported on the ship. When an item transported aboard is considered illegal, the relevant authorities will be notified systematically.
Click here for the full list of items prohibited on board.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Embarkation 20/07/2024 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 20/07/2024 at 18:00
Verdant and cosmopolitan, Vancouver is one of Canada's most multi-cultural cities. Located in British Columbia on Canada's west coast, it's surrounded by mountains and outdoor activities are popular. In the city, you can immerse yourself in the Asian atmosphere of bustling Chinatown, shop for pashminas and silk saris at the Punjabi Market Indian district and explore the historic area of ﾠGastown. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses important First Nations collections. Granville Island Jetty is a fascinating revitalised industrial area that hosts galleries, restaurants and a huge produce market.
Along the north-east coast of Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait is a 100 km-long channel formed by an old glacier bed, dotted with a string of lush islands. Sailing amid this wilderness offers fantastic opportunities to observe the wildlife. Humpback whales and resident orcas can be found in the cool and sheltered waters of the strait, and you can try to spot some from your ship’s deck.
During your journey at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This journey without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, depending on the activities offered, or to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
Sheltered from the ocean currents of the Gulf of Alaska, this maritime route that weaves a path around the islands and islets of Southeast Alaska will offer you wonderful sailing experience. Conifer forests stretch on forever, interspersed with numerous coves, bays, huge valleys and deep fjords formed by ancient glavial valleys. Accessible only by sea, the fishing villages are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers that plunge into the waters of this veritable wildlife sanctuary. From your ship’s deck, you can try spotting humpback whales or the famous bald eagle, emblem of the region.
On the western coast of Annette Island, the small settlement of Metlakatla will welcome you for a timeless experience. Founded in 1887 by a group of Tsimshians, from British Columbia, the Annette Island Reserve is today the only federal reservation for the indigenous peoples of Alaska. You will have the opportunity to discover their culture, between local arts and crafts, artistic performance and discovering the famous totem poles. A walking tour is also on the agenda for this port of call, in the heart of Alaskan culture.
Rain forest, hypnotic blue lakes, snowy peaks, glacier valleys, waterfalls... You will behold a heavenly vision. This United States monument covering some 8,600 square kilometres is a designated Wilderness Area. This awesome countryside rolls out its majestic carpet of cedars, fir spruces and hemlocks. Here, you can feel Nature’s throbbing heartbeat. You may be lucky enough to spot some of the many animal inhabitants, such as sea otters, sea lions and grizzlies.
Picture this: all around you, translucent waters. In the distance - snow-capped mountains. This is the vision that greets you on disembarking in Petersburg, one of Alaska’s largest commercial fishing towns. The heart of the Tongass National forest is for people who yearn for a lungful of the great outdoors. There is some fauna here including no less than 240 species of birds, seals, sea lions, humpback whales. Another special feature of this very lively town is its penchant for art. On its pavements and facades you can admire several murals, totems and sculptures.
Discover the small Tlingit village of Kake, around 60 kilometres west of Petersburg. Located on Kupreanof Island, it houses a community of over 500 inhabitants. Kake is paradise for salmon, which spawn in the Gunnuk River near the village. Bald eagles often make an appearance, as do black bears, which come to enjoy the fish. Another singularity of these parts: the presence, on a hill, of a totem pole standing over 60 metres tall, considered the highest in the world.
In the heart of the Alexander Archipelago, Endicott Arm fjord is a short inlet on the southern coast of Alaska that boasts spectacular views of virgin wilderness. The azure-blue waters, snow-capped mountains and lush forest are incredible but the main attraction is the Dawes glacier, whose vast, bluish back snakes down the mountain’s flank. Weather permitting, you can observe how icebergs are formed by getting a closer look at the white cliff where glacier meets water, or just enjoy watching the resident harbour seals frolicking in the icy waters.
Adolphus Point is located opposite the magnificent Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. This dreamlike site is world famous for watching humpback whales. In the summer season, these majestic mammals come to feed in the nutrient-rich waters. They sometimes even come a few dozen feet from the shoreline, close to the houses and marinas. Orcas, sea lions... maybe you’ll happen upon other marine species in these landscapes of fjords and ice fields. One thing is sure; here are the most beautiful Alaskan waters.
At the tip of an island in the Alexander Archipelago, not far from the Canadian border, peaceful Elfin Cove shelters a fishing community that’s only linked to the rest of the world by the sea. There is just a dozen wooden houses, a long wooden pontoon and a tiny port surrounded by crystalline waters… It doesn’t get any quainter than this. Choose from a network of hiking paths that weave through a pristine forest, to lead you to secret beaches where silence reigns. The wonders of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, accessible by a short boat trip, are many.
Disembarkation 28/07/2024 at 08:00
Formerly a Russian colony located on Baranof island, to the west of the Alexander archipelago, Sitka is brimming with history. The historical national park of Sitka shelters totems carved out of red cedar, a tree that is omnipresent in the region. These totems are testimonials of the former presence of Tlingit Indians. This place is full of natural wonders too. You just have to look up to admire the mountain range around the port. In the distance, the snow-peaked Edgecumbe volcano stands majestic. Numerous islands scattered around Sitka stretch out before you in a vision of preserved Alaska.
Aboard your ship, an English-speaking lecturer will enlighten you about the culture and history of your destination to deepen your knowledge of the origins of local traditions, the history of emblematic sites, and stories involving famous personalities and those of major historical significance. During on-board lectures or on your shore visits, this expert will be there to share their precious knowledge with you throughout your PONANT cruise.