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PONANT invites you on a fabulous sea journey between Russia and Alaska, along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Board Le Soléal for a 13-day expedition cruise and prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Aleutian Islands.
This elongated archipelago that marks the boundary between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea forms a natural bridge between Kamchatka and Alaska, extending in an arc over nearly 2,000 km.
You will board your ship in Petropavlovsk, the oldest city in the Russian Far East, before heading eastward.
Over the course of your cruise, you will get up close to t he most active volcanoes in the world and you’ll be able to see for yourself the exceptional diversity of wildlife that reigns in these parts.
Surrounded by waters that are particularly rich in nutrients, the string of Aleutian Islands is home to an incredibly rich fauna. It is common to see whales, orcas and seabirds here.
Le Soléal will then continue to sail eastward to reach the sublime landscapes of Alaska, including glaciers, old-growth forest, luxuriant vegetation and superb bays where grizzlies roam.
We are privileged guests in these remote lands where we are at the mercy of weather, ice, tidal and current conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO.
Petropavlovsk is the oldest town in the Russian Far East, founded in the 1750’s. The town which was heavily steeped in military industry during Soviet years is a popular port city. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is located on the bank of Ishim River where it sits upon high hills and is surrounded by volcanos.
Le Soleal is an innovative and environmentally-friendly ship that embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is PONANT’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and herintimate size (only 132 staterooms and suites) make this a rare and innovative yacht on the cruise market. This day at sea will give you the chance to explore the ship and enjoy all the services and activities on board.
Attu Island is the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. It was once home to the only WWII land battle that was fought on an incorporated territory of the United States, and the said battlefield area isa US National Historic Landmark. Located between the Bering Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, Attu Island experiences an unusual climate which culminates in storms and violent winds.
Kiska belongs to the Rat Islands group, located to the west of the Aleutian Islands.During WWII, Kiska was occupied by Japan along with neighbouring Attu Island. The aftermath of World War II is visibly evident today, with bomb craters still visible both from the ground and in satellite images on the hills surrounding the harbour. Furthermore, there are numerous equipment dumps, Japanese gun emplacements and shipwrecks which have been untouched since 1943.
Amchitka is also located in the Rat Islands Group and is a volcanic, tectonically unstable island. It’s part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and it’s recognised for wilderness qualities. The Island has also been used in the past to do nuclear tests.
Atka Island is the largest island in the Andreanof Islands of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. In the northeast of the island you can find the Korovin volcano, which reaches a peak of 5,030 feet. After the Japanese attacked Unalaska and seized Attu and Kiska, the U.S. Governmentevacuated Atka residents and burned the town to the ground to prevent Japanese forces from using it and advancing. The community was rebuilt after the War. Discover this traditional Unangan settlement and its customs and lifestyle during your visit to theisland.
Yunaska Island is the largest of the Islands of Four Mountains group in the Aleutian Islands of south-westernAlaska. It offers a stunning volcanic landscape as the island is formed by two volcanic mountains, with a flay valley between.
Chuginadak Island is locatedin the Islands of Four Mountains of the Aleutian archipelago. The western part of the island is dominated by Mount Cleveland, one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc.A narrow strip of land separates the volcano from the rugged and lower eastern side of the island.
Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, on the Aleutian Islands, Dutch Harbor is the only deep-water port in the archipelago.The town is on the coasts of both Unalaska and Amaknak Islands, connected by a bridge appropriately called “The Bridge to the Other Side”. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of Christ is the oldest cruciform-style cathedral in North America and worth a visit if you disembark.
Hidden from plain sight is Chankliut. Located off the Alaska Peninsula, the diverse landscape makes for an interesting experience. From mountainous terrain to lush valleys, there is a distinct charm about Chankliut Island. Explore the neighbouring valley and its ancient calderas for a unique experience that reflects the islands uninhabited nature.
Geographic Harboris the heart of the Katmai National Park and Preserve. The distinctive rocky cliffs are characterised by white marks that are the remains of ash deposits that accumulated following a volcanic eruption. Explore the Geographic Habor and its tall cliffs in more detail as you board a Zodiac® inflatable with a National Geographic Expert.
Hidden Harbor lies at the heart of the Katmai nature reserve in Kinak Bay. Recognised for its tranquil landscapes and beautiful rivers and lakes, Kinak Bay is a treasured findthat many don’t get to experience. Head towards a narrow passage where you’ll find a few small beaches that are the epitome of serene but do keep your eyes out for the brown bears that reign here.
During your time at sea, make the most of the amenities and services onboard. Take a moment to relax in the spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. There is plenty of entertainment to keep you entertained as well as access to the upper deck which allow you to take in the journey from a spectacular viewpoint.
Part of the Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park, Icy Bay is a body of water in south-east Alaska that was formed in the past 100 years due to the retreat of the Guyot, Yahtseand Tyndall glaciers. Icy Bay lives up to its name with an active tidewater glacier often clogging the fjord with icebergs. Here you can witness fantastic representations of geologic action over thousands of years whilst soaking in the magnificent views and exploring the landscape up-close.
The Inian Islands are a collection of half a dozen small, rocky islands located at the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Icy Strait. The islands possess a particularly rich ecosystem, on land as in the sea with Steller sea lions, Tridactyl gulls, cormorants and sea otters calling the Inian Island home which you can explore further with a Zodiac® outing.Elfin Cove is a serene and peaceful island that is only connected to the rest of the world by sea. The remote cove lies at the tip of an island in the Alexander Archipelago. The tiny port is enclosed by crystal clear waters and on land lies a small collection of quaint wooden houses. Elfin Cove is a quiet port that is overcome by tranquillity.
Juneau is the capital of Alaska that is surrounded by some of the world’s most incredible fauna and scenery. Along the Gastineau Strait, in the heart of the spectacular Inside Passage, you’ll witness mother nature at her finest. Glacier cut mountains line the water where you may be lucky enough to see humpback whales or try your hand at kayaking. On land explore the area via foot during a hike through the forest or go bear watching for an unforgettable experience.
National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.
*Welcome Offer: $800 saving is in Australian Dollars (AUD), per person and is valid for passengers travelling with PONANT for the first time. Offer is not redeemable for cash, not retroactive, and not combinable with any other offer, unless stated otherwise. Valid for bookings made before 31 March 2019.
^PONANT Bonus Saving is subject to change based on availability. PONANT Bonus fare is per person, in Australian Dollars (AUD), based on double occupancy, including port taxes, is yield managed and correct at time of writing - 25/01/2019. Refer to www.au.ponant.com for full terms and conditions.
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