Discover Alaska and the Russian Far East Aboard National Geographic Orion

An extraordinary abundance of wildlife. Spectacular scenery. Encounters with intriguing indigenous people. Little-known 20th century history, Including remote WWII sites. And a wealth of hidden gems to discover. This is what awaits you on these exceptional expeditions. Experience massive tidewater glaciers and delve into Katmai National Park to spot the region’s legendary coastal brown bears foraging for clams or salmon. Cruise along the Aleutian Islands and up to the Pribilofs—renowned for its thriving seabird and marine mammal populations, as well as its rich Aleut culture. Encounter Provideniya, “The Gateway to the Arctic,” and its Yupik cultural traditions. Cross the Bering Strait, one of the planet’s most iconic bodies of water. Or learn about the Harriman Expedition of 1899 and its impact on Alaska and history. Experience epic Alaskan wildness from the premium perspective of National Geographic Orion.

  

 

zodiac in water snow-covered mountain

Alaska End to End: Ketchikan to Nome

June 14, 2020 | 22 Days | Aboard National Geographic Orion

 

The closest any expedition, since the 2001 PBS re-tracing documentary, has come to replicating the legendary 1899 Harriman Expedition. Our expedition will cover the same regions—from Alaska’s Panhandle to Provideniya for a glimpse of life on the Russian side of the Bering Sea, and Nome. Accompanied by an expert expedition team, we’ll see the extant wildness— the fjords, glaciers, mountain ranges, forests, and wildlife—that preserves Alaska’s status as a last great wilderness. And as John Muir and the other great naturalists did far earlier, we’ll note the continuity of change, and future threats.

Across the Bering Sea: From Katmai to Kamchatka

July 17, 2020; Jun. 10 & Jul. 13, 2021 | 22 Days | Aboard National Geographic Orion

 

Our Bering Strait cruise covers more than 3,800 nautical miles and nearly circumnavigates the Bering Sea. It explores one of the most rugged and wildlife-rich regions of the planet. Spot coastal brown bears from Katmai National Park to the Kamchatka Peninsula, search for Steller’s sea eagles along the scenically stunning Zhupanova River, and be awed by the abundance and variety of marine mammals and seabirds from the Aleutians to the Commander Islands. 


walrus seals

Exploring Russia’s Far East & Wrangel Island

Aug. 7, 19, 31, 2020; Aug. 3, 15, 27, 2021 | 13 Days | Aboard National Geographic Orion

 

Experience rich culture and an astounding wealth of wildlife, including the most bio-diverse island in the High Arctic: near-mythic Wrangel island. Used to seeing individual polar bears on the pack ice, last season’s guests and staff had to adjust to seeing bears at a distance. When they did, they realized what they were seeing was truly gasp-inducing: polar bears in groups, scattered across the landscape. Some counts were upwards of 100 bears or more in a day. This alone is reason to choose this unique 13-day itinerary, and it offers even more.

Bering Sea: Pribilofs, Katmai & Kodiak

Jun. 23 & Jul. 5, 2020; Jul. 21, 2021 | 13 Days | Aboard National Geographic Orion

 

This 13-day voyage ranges from the far northern city of Nome, across the iconic Bering Strait, to stop in Provideniya, Russia, the Gateway to The Arctic—juxtaposing two proximate, yet vastly different, worlds. Then it’s southward, to explore the rugged Pribilofs, breeding grounds for massive numbers of seabirds and marine mammals. A mantle of WWII history lays over Unalaska. And Katmai National Park will beguile us with the sight of clam-digging, salmon-snagging brown bears.

 


Provideniy

History buffs will be in their element on these voyages. There is quite a variety to delve into, from a historic geological event to World War II and Cold War landmarks. In Katmai National Park, you’ll learn about the 20th century’s largest volcanic eruption—the 1912 eruption of Mt. Novarupta—which subsequently created the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in an area nearby. On a clear day, you can even see an immense layer of ash that remains on the surrounding mountains. In the Aleutian Islands, discover the details of the Thousand-Mile War when Japanese forces bombed the port of Dutch Harbor. It’s also known as the Forgotten War since many Americans are unaware American soil was occupied during World War II. And on the Russian side, the city of Provideniya was a thriving, remote, deep-water military port during the Cold War. As we explore, you’ll discover remnants of this that are still easily seen, and our expedition team will help peel back the layers to reveal the wonders of this lost era.

Watch this mini-documentary on life in Provideniya >

 


Meet Guest Speaker, Nancy Lord | Alaska End To End

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Nancy Lord, a former Alaska writer laureate, is a long-time resident of Homer, Alaska. She has traveled widely throughout Alaska. The author or editor of ten books related to Alaska and the north, she is passionate about place, history, and the natural environment. Her book Green Alaska: Dreams from the Far Coast is a then-and-now account of the 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition and changes through the last century. Since that book’s publication, she has followed the Harriman route multiple times and is recognized as an authority on the expedition. In recent years she has been awarded writing residencies in Denali National Park, the Wrangell Mountains, Harriman Fjord in Prince William Sound, and the Aleutian Islands, and on a research ship in the Gulf of Alaska.


Travel with Top National Geographic Photographers

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JJ Kelley | June 14, 2020

Alaska End To End: Ketchikan to Nome

Chris Rainier | July 17, 2020

Across The Bering Sea: From Katmai to Kamchatka

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