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A humpback whale breaches from Alaskan waters

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage – with Smithsonian Journeys

Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Le Soleal
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Embark on a 9-day expedition cruise aboard Le Soléal, exploring Alaska's Inside Passage. Experience abundant wildlife, including whales, dolphins, bears, and sea birds, amidst the region's breathtaking scenery. Immerse yourself in the diverse cultural heritage, from indigenous tribes to Scandinavian and Russian influences. Sail through Johnstone Strait for thrilling orca sightings and venture into the Inside Passage, home to bald eagles, deer, black bears, salmon, dolphins, and seals.
Traveler on a glacier tour of Alaska.Alaska cruise and wildlife viewing toursGet up close to amazing glaciers in AlaskaExploring Alaska's glaciersLook for whales in AlaskaExplore the magnificent blue hues of an Alaskan glacierPristine landscape found in AlaskaA humpback whale breaches from Alaskan waters
Highlights
  • Sail through the Johnstone Strait and observe humpback whales and orcas in their natural habitat
  • Discover the Tlingit culture in the small village of Kake and see the world's tallest totem pole
  • Explore Sitka, a former Russian colony, and witness totems carved by the Tlingit Indians
  • Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Misty Fjords, with its rain forest and glacier valleys
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Vancouver | Embark

Verdant and cosmopolitan, Vancouver is one of Canada's most multicultural 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 Gastown. The 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, revitalized industrial area that hosts galleries, restaurants, and a huge produce market.

Day 2: Sailing in the Johnstone Strait | At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Along the north-east coast of Vancouver Island, Johnstone Strait is a 100-kilometer-long channel formed by an old glacier bed, dotted with a string of lush islands. Sailing amid this wilderness offers fantastic opportunities to observe 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 center. 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.

Day 3: Inside Passage | Metlakatla, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 a wonderful sailing experience. Conifer forests stretch on forever, interspersed with numerous coves, bays, huge valleys, and deep fjords formed by ancient glacial 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, emblematic 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. Have the opportunity to discover their culture through local arts and crafts, artistic performances, 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.

Day 4: Misty Fjords, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Rain forests, hypnotic blue lakes, snowy peaks, glacier valleys, and waterfalls—this United States monument covering some 8,600 square kilometers 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.

Day 5: Petersburg, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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, and 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.

Day 6: Kake | Endicott Arm, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discover the small Tlingit village of Kake, around 60 kilometers west of Petersburg. Located on Kupreanof Island, it houses a community of over 500 inhabitants. Kake is a 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 is the presence, on a hill, of a totem pole standing over 60 meters 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 harbor seals frolicking in the icy waters.

Day 7: Point Adolphus | Elfin Cove, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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, 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, and other marine species in these landscapes of fjords and ice fields can be seen. One thing is sure: these 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 are 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 Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, accessible by a short boat trip, are many.

Day 8: Sitka, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 to 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.

Day 9: Sitka, Alaska | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
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 to 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.

Ship/Hotel

Le Soleal

Enjoy a show in the movie theater.
Bar and lounge with a view.
Restaurant aboard the Le Soleal.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$6,330
Rates are dynamic and fluctuate based on capacity. Contact us for a specific quote.
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
The Superior Stateroom has a capacity of up to 3 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
The Deluxe Stateroom has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 4
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 4 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 5
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom Deck 6
The Prestige Stateroom on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
The Deluxe Suite has a capacity of up to 2 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and a private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 5
The Prestige Suite on Deck 5 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite Deck 6
The Prestige Suite on Deck 6 has a capacity of up to 4 passengers per cabin, with a king-sized bed or twin beds and an 8m² private balcony.
Owner's Suite
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Owner Suite
The Owner's suite is situated on Deck 6 with a capacity up to 2 passengers per cabin. With a king-sized bed, it has been decorated by French interior designers and provides you with a breathtaking panoramic sea view.

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and are subject to change without notice.

Discounts are available for children sharing a cabin with two adults and third adult passengers in select cabin categories. Please contact us for details.

Single travelers can opt for a solo cabin - supplements start at 50%.
Included
  • 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
  • A program of onboard enrichment provided by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts
  • Transfers and luggage handling from the airport in Vancouver to the ship on the day of embarkation
  • Comprehensive 8-night cruise aboard the deluxe Le Soléal, with all the amenities for which PONANT ships are famous
  • One included activity in each port of call (see “Itinerary” for more information and choice of excursions, if applicable)
  • Transfer from the ship to the airport in Sitka at the end of the cruise on the morning of disembarkation
  • One-way flight Sitka/Seattle selected by PONANT, in economy class
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • CDP recommends that every Traveler has full and adequate travel insurance covering the risks of cancellation, assistance being required, repatriation, damages to and loss of baggage, and medical expenses

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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