Small ship specialist PONANT has unveiled four itineraries and ten departures in Alaska for 2024.
With departures from Vancouver, Seward, and Sitka, the sailings will range from 7-11 nights, making it possible for guests to get up close and personal with Alaska’s vast beauty and get glimpses into the 49th state’s rich history.
All itineraries will feature a crew of naturalists specializing in geology, ornithology, glaciology, marine mammals, botany, and ethnology. Travellers can also opt for two co-branded expeditions in alliance with Smithsonian Journeys — the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex — providing a deep-dive on Alaska’s history, landscapes, and wildlife.
The seven- and eight-night sailings will explore the Inside Passage, with local boat landings and outings, humpback whale sightings, and tours of natural areas teaming with ancient conifer and resinous trees.
With a focus on forests and fjords, travellers will enjoy close-up views of some of Alaska’s most extraordinary wildlife: black bears, orcas, bald eagles, sea lions, and more. As the ship navigates the narrow Endicott Arm fjord, views of the Dawes Glacier will unfold along with the 653,000-acre Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness nature preserve.
A 10-night sailing departing from Sitka — with its eclectic blend of Alaska, Russian and American history — to Vancouver will offer all the highlights of the shorter voyages, with more of an emphasis on community experiences, such as conversations with a local of Elfin Cove, who will speak to the local way of life in the quaint fishing settlement.
Off the west coast of British Columbia, guests will meet with the local Kwakwaka’wakw people — the original inhabitants of the Northern Vancouver Island area — to experience a traditional cultural dance in a log house. The 10-night sailing comes with more opportunity to discover British Columbia’s coastal landscapes, including the Johnstone Strait and the Pearse Islands.
Finally, the 11-night voyages (from Seward to Vancouver/Vancouver to Seward) offer a complete Alaska experience.
Guest will get to chat with local fishermen in the “Little Norway of Alaska;” meet the Tlingit peoples of Kake, home to one of the largest totem poles in Alaska; dive into gold rush history in Skagway; glimpse mighty peaks like Mount Saint Elias, the second-highest mountain in Canada and the United States; and cruise the Prince William Sound to spot orcas, grizzly bears and humpback whales and marvel at the Harvard and Bryn Mawr glaciers.
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