Fascinating wildlife, geology & native culture on one epic journey

On this expansive voyage, travel within the legendary Ring of Fire, home to 75% of Earth’s volcanoes—and some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. Sail down Russia’s rugged coastlines, through the remote Kuril Islands, all the way to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. Along the way observe a myriad of wildlife from brown bears and walrus to rare birdlife like the endangered red-crowned crane and the largest living owl species. Hike through fairytale forests, encounter once-forgotten ancient cultures, and get an up-close geology lesson as you Zodiac into a water-filled caldera. As always flexibility is the hallmark of our expeditions and the day-by-day itinerary may change as we take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or a chance to linger ashore for golden hour photo ops.


  • DAY 1: Anchorage, Alaska, U.S./Nome/Embark

    Arrive in Anchorage and fly to Nome, Alaska to embark the National Geographic Orion. (L,D)

  • DAY 2: At Sea/Crossing the Bering Strait

    Spend the first day at sea settling into your cabin as we cross the international dateline along with the Bering Strait, one of the most iconic bodies of water on the planet. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 3: Provideniya, Russia

    Often called the “gateway to the Arctic,” Provideniya lies at the western edge of the Bering Strait. This former Soviet military port is also the administrative center where we’ll conduct our ship’s clearance into Russia. Visit the excellent local museum filled with regional artifacts, and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4-7: Chukotka and Koryak Coasts

    Over the next several days, explore the seldom-visited Koryak coast and Chukotka Peninsula in the remote Russian Far East. Hike the vast tundra, surrounded by volcanic mountains and diminutive flora, and photograph elusive brown bears, Pacific walruses, and a variety of seal species congregating in onshore rookeries. During a visit to a picturesque coastal village, learn about the local Koryak reindeer-herding culture. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8-9: At Sea/Commander Islands

    Spend two days sailing the wildlife-rich waters of Russia’s Commander Islands, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Spot northern fur seals, Russian sea otters, and flocks of nesting seabirds. Step ashore at Bering Island to visit the gravesite of Danish explorer Vitus Bering, and look out for arctic foxes and horned and tufted puffins. Weather permitting, ride Zodiacs to a northern fur seal rookery at Cape Severo-Zapadni. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 10-11: Chazhma & Zhupanova Rivers

    Continue south along the Kamchatka Peninsula and navigate into two pristine rivers, teeming with rainbow trout, salmon, and char. Explore by Zodiac, seeking out Steller’s sea eagles, one of the largest raptors in the world, as well as wading birds and spotted seals hauled-out on the sandbars. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 12: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy

    Sail into the protected waters of stunning Avacha Bay, the sea gate to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Visit the port town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, framed by a trio of soaring snow-capped volcanoes: Koryakskiy, Avachinskiy, and Kozelskiy. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 13-16: Kuril Islands

    Spend the next several days discovering the Kuril Islands, a volcanic archipelago stretching from Kamchatka to the northeastern corner of Japan’s Hokkaido island. Mostly uninhabited, the Kurils boast incredible wildlife, dramatic scenery, and a complex political history. Weather permitting, we’ll visit several of the islands, including Atlasov—home to the archipelago’s highest volcano, as well as the remains of a women’s gulag, or Soviet-era labor camp; Ptichiy, a haven for migratory birds and sea otters; Shiashkotan, the site of an ancient village of the Ainu—an indigenous people of the Kuril, Hokkaido, and Sakhalin islands; and Simushir, where volcanic peaks loom over an abandoned submarine base. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 17-18: At Sea/Korsakov, Russian Federation

    Enjoy a relaxing day aboard as we cross the Sea of Okhotsk to Korsakov, located at the southern end of Sakhalin, Russia’s largest island. Here, we’ll conduct our ship’s clearance out of Russia. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 19: Abashiri, Japan/Shiretoko National Park

    Arrive in Abashiri on the island of Hokkaido. After our ship’s clearance into Japan, visit the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, dedicated to the indigenous tribes of the Earth’s subarctic regions. Later, we’ll venture to Shiretoko—the “end of the Earth” in the native Ainu dialect. One of Japan’s most spectacular national parks, Shiretoko is home to an abundance of land and sea mammals including brown bears, Steller sea lions, and sperm whales. We’ll also be on the lookout for white-tailed eagles, Blakiston’s fish owls (the largest living species of owl), and Steller’s sea eagles, which spend winters here. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

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