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Breaching Orca Whale

Exploring British Columbia and the San Juan Islands

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Quest
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Discover the powerful wilderness and warm charm of the Pacific Northwest during this cruise in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. Venture to spectacular, remote islands and sail through channels that teem with sea life. This 8-day voyage sails one-way between Seattle and Vancouver, allowing ample time to venture far north into Alert Bay, including Victoria and the Robert Bateman Center, with remote stops in the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and deep in the fjords of British Columbia. Kayak, hike, and expedition landing craft cruise the wildlife-rich coasts of Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands. Learn the histories of First Nations people through their art and powerful dance performances. Search for killer whales in the region where they’re most reliably found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Seattle | Embark
Day 2 : Exploring the San Juan Islands
Day 3 : Friday Harbor
Day 4 : Victoria, British Columbia
Day 5 : Exploring the Gulf Islands
Day 6 : Johnstone Strait | Alert Bay
Day 7 : Desolation Sound
Day 8 : Vancouver | Disembark

Highlights

  • Explore the remote San Juan Islands in Washington State
  • Discover the Whale Museum's exclusive collection of artifacts & skeletons
  • Eat like a local on a culinary walk through Victoria's Old Town
  • Kayak and hike a rich archipelago in the Strait of Georgia

Ship

National Geographic Quest

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Breaching Orca Whale Colorful kayaks line the docks of coastal Washington Vineyard on a beautiful day Sunken Garden at Butchart Garden, British Columbia A bald eagle rests off the shore

Day 1 Seattle | Embark

Arrive in Seattle and be transferred to the National Geographic Quest to begin your expedition.

Day 2 Exploring the San Juan Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit the more remote of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in northern Washington State perfect for kayaking, exploring by expedition landing craft, and hiking. Search for seals, sea lions, river otters, bald eagles, and killer whales. 

Day 3 Friday Harbor

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Friday Harbor, a picturesque town on San Juan Island. Visit the Whale Museum, with its fascinating collection of artifacts, artwork, and whale skeletons. Stop in at small shops and galleries. Later, search for killer whales on your way to British Columbia.

Day 4 Victoria, British Columbia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Clear into Canada in the charming city of Victoria and choose from several tailor-made options to explore based on your interests. Visit private gardens, bike along the waterfront, eat like a local on a culinary walk through Old Town, or peruse the collections at local art galleries. In the evening, enjoy a private wine tasting and reception at the Robert Bateman Centre while taking in the incredible collection of paintings. 

Day 5 Exploring the Gulf Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake this morning among the Gulf Islands, a rich archipelago in the Strait of Georgia, and a yachter’s paradise. Then take your pick of perfect spots to kayak, hike, and search for wildlife. 

Day 6 Johnstone Strait | Alert Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sail through Johnstone Strait, one of the foremost viewing areas for killer whales in the northern hemisphere. In the afternoon, land in Alert Bay and make your way to the U'Mista Cultural Centre, home to a stunning collection of potlatch masks created by the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples. Then walk or ride to the Big House, just a short distance away where the Tsasala Cultural Group puts on a dance and the performers explain the story of the dance movements. 

Day 7 Desolation Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Desolation Sound, on the north end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, is a mecca for kayakers and small yachts. It’s easy to understand why, with its calm, sheltered waters and outstanding natural beauty. By kayak there are many isolated bays to poke into and islets that beckon for exploration. On land there are meadows and forest trails for hiking. Tonight, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell dinner. 

Day 8 Vancouver | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Vancouver is British Columbia’s largest city and the major port for all of western Canada. It lies in a stunning setting, surrounded almost completely by water, with snowcapped mountains rising vertically from its very backyard. After breakfast, disembark the ship for connecting flights home.

National Geographic Quest

Per person starting at
$4,990
Select a Date
Category 1
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and two portholes. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
Select a Date
Category 2
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and two portholes. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
National Geographic Quest Cabin
Select a Date
Category 3
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, and a large view window. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
Select a Date
Category 4
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, a writing desk, sliding glass door, and small, private balcony. Individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are all available in cabin bathrooms, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.
National Geographic Quest Cabin
Select a Date
Category 5
Cabins feature two lower single beds that can convert to a Queen, large view windows, an expanded bathroom, writing desk, ample storage space, and a convertible sofa bed to accommodate a third person. Each cabin has individual climate controls. Shampoo, lotion, and hair dryer are all available, as well as an Expedition Essential Kit.

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability. 
 

Rates Include:

Aboard ship
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
  • Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
  • The guidance and company of the expedition staff
  • The services of a physician on certain ships/destinations
Ashore
  • Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
  • Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • The expertise of the expedition staff
Activities
  • All excursions
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
  • Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
 
Rates Exclude:

Airfare
  • International and internal airfare
Pre- and post-expedition
  • Additional hotel nights
  • Private transfers
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Expedition extensions
  • Gratuities
Aboard ship
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Spa treatments
  • Gratuities
  • Scuba diving
  • Laundry
  • Internet and phone
  • Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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