Cruise through Alaska's legendary Inside Passage surrounded by some of the most dramatic and wildlife-rich scenery on Earth; a perfect combination of natural and cultural history...
Travel through awe-inspiring ice-capped waters; take a gentle float trip through an eagle preserve; enjoy wildlife and canoe safaris, wilderness kayaking, a sled dog experience, scenic rail journeys, and opportunities to view orcas, seals... and just possibly, the ever-elusive bears. Days are diverse, including visits to a Gold Rush city, and Sitka National Park. Your 7-night cruise aboard the luxurious Le Soléal offers all outside staterooms, a choice of dining spots, all-day complimentary beverages and more. And enjoy a Tauck Exclusive special presentation on all departures! Chris Morgan – wildlife researcher and TV host – shares insights, observations and stories on Alaskan grizzly bears and conservation efforts. Space is certain to fill quickly – make your reservations early!
Tour begins: 3:30 PM, Juneau. Arrive in Juneau by 2:00 PM. A transfer is included from Juneau International Airport to Centennial Hall in downtown Juneau. At 3:30 you will be transported from the hall to your handsome yacht, Le Soléal. Dinner is served onboard as you get to know your fellow guests.
Cruising Endicott Arm Fjord
Anchor in Haines, dress warmly, and pack extra socks for a day that starts with a drive along Haines Highway – a National Scenic Byway lined with deep green rainforest and snow-topped mountains – past Fort Seward and up the Chilkat River to the Alaska Chilkat Eagle Preserve. Within the preserve is the Tlingit village of Klukwan where you’ll take in a tribal performance and gain insights into local culture and customs. Tour a traditional longhouse; a salmon smokehouse and drying house; and a shed where artists deftly wield a Stone Age tool called an adze to carve totems and canoes. Then board a zodiac for a gentle ride through the preserve – the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world; the river is filled with salmon, one of their favorite snacks. Or take a narrated drive through Fort Seward and the Chilkoot Valley, home to brown bears, mountain goats, river otters, and bald eagles; the area is a birdwatcher's paradise, and the Chilkoot River is the best bear watching in Alaska. Or see downtown Haines and Fort Seward, then go kayaking on Chilkoot Lake (no experience necessary), or embark on a wildlife safari by motorized canoe, exploring inlets, coves, salmon spawning streams, and waterfalls with expert naturalist guides who enjoy sharing their love and knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness. Alternatively, hike with a naturalist guide along the Chilkat Inlet at Chilkat State Park, where you'll be treated to magnificent glacier views across the fjord. Wildlife sightings are common, so be sure to bring your camera and a keen eye! Afterward, spend an afternoon pursuing your own interests – enjoy lunch on the ship or spend time exploring Haines. You might want to poke around the shops, or check out the Hammer Museum, “the world’s first museum dedicated to preserving man’s first tool, the hammer.” This evening, enjoy a lecture by Chris Morgan – wildlife researcher and TV host as he shares insights, observations and stories on Alaskan grizzly bears along with a focus on conservation efforts. Afterward, join us for the Captain's welcome reception followed by dinner as we sail towards Skagway.
Gold Rush Skagway, White Pass railway & sled dogs
Take a ferry to Skagway this morning for a day steeped in Gold Rush lore, and a choice between three different sightseeing activities. The first choice is an opportunity to explore the National Landmark District of Skagway and White Pass. Take an antique streetcar tour of the frontier city and a round-trip excursion by vintage train to White Pass Summit, an elevation of 2,885 feet; following the original White Pass trail, hear stories of brave fortune-seekers pursuing their dreams in the wildest of the Wild West as you travel through an arresting terrain of mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls so challenging that it’s hard to imagine how anyone ever survived to reap a golden reward. The second choice allows you to experience Alaska's favorite sport – dog sledding – as you board a custom-designed wheeled summertime sled for a memorable ride! Your third choice departs from the ship in Haines and begins with a 75-minute cruise aboard an enclosed custom-built vessel designed for marine wildlife viewing and photography as you watch for whales and seals en route to a remote beach at Glacier Point with opportunities for hiking and canoeing in one of Alaska's most scenic natural wonders. Return to the ship for dinner as you set for Endicott Arm fjord.
Cruising Endicott Arm Fjord
Hit the decks with your camera ready for one of the highlights of your cruise in the Inside Passage: a day sailing in the Endicott Arm Fjord. The drama of its sheer cliffs and towering waterfalls is rivaled only by the massive chunks of ice scattered across the water, like so many ice sculptures. Calved from the glacier at the head of the fjord, they come in every shade of blue and white – some even seem fluorescent. Don’t be surprised to find families of seals sunning themselves on the ice – and noting your arrival with interest. Also keep an eye open for orcas and, on the rugged cliffs that rise up from the water, mountain goats. You will take it all in while cruising aboard the yacht, and get an insider’s view of this special corner of the wilderness from presentations by Tauck’s onboard naturalist.
Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest
In Sitka today, join us onboard an Alaskan-built expedition tour vessel designed to navigate Southeast Alaska's narrow island passages for a 3-hour cruise that pretty much guarantees wildlife viewing. You'll have an opportunity to observe sea otters, whales, sea lions, porpoise, harbor seals, brown bears, blacktail deer, bald eagles and a variety of marine birds, as an onboard naturalist explain the workings of the remarkable ecosystem found here. You’ll also learn about the sea otters’ recovery, following their near-extinction at the hands of Russian fur hunters in the early 1800s. Afterward, return to the ship for a relaxing afternoon at sea as you sail towards Ketchikan.
Totem poles, rainforests & more in Ketchikan
Welcome to Ketchikan, Alaska, nestled on the bluffs of the southwestern coast of Revillagigedo Island. Founded as a salmon cannery site and once known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” this lively port boasts historic Creek Street, lined with an engaging mix of galleries, restaurants, artisan shops, and bookstores. Drive to Saxman Native Village, home of what may be the world’s largest collection of standing Native American totem poles – each a story unto itself. Get to know more about tribal traditions – and maybe learn a few dance steps – in the clan house. Alternatively, you can take a short drive up the coast to rustic Herring Cove for a tour by a local naturalist at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. Walking the trail through this dense forest of hemlock, spruce, and Alaska cedar, with its mossy floor, berries, and wildflowers, gives you a chance to spot the local residents, including flocks of singing birds. Then it’s on to the historic Herring Bay Lumber Company sawmill to meet a master totem carver, and see eagles and other birds of prey up close at the Alaska Raptor Center. Or drive up the coast to George Inlet Lodge and take a catamaran cruise to crab pots in fjords throughout the Mahoney River Valley; pull up the Dungeness crabs (with help from volunteers), then return to the lodge for a crab feast. Or choose instead a kayak excursion to the Eagle Islands in Tongass Park, keeping an eye out for bald eagles, seals, jumping salmon, and, when tide conditions are right, sea stars. Have lunch and dinner aboard ship with time to enjoy the many amenities Le Soléal has to offer as we sail for Vancouver.
Cruising the British Columbia coast
Spend a full day aboard your handsome yacht heading south in Canada’s Inside Passage, en route to Vancouver, your final stop. As you wend your way along the serpentine line of glacier-forged fjords at the foot of the mountains edging British Columbia, you’ll pass the Great Bear Rainforest; miles of untouched wilderness; the 1918 ghost town of Butedale (weather permitting); and, if you’re lucky, whales, dolphins, and sea lions. Today is also the perfect opportunity to really enjoy the many comforts and amenities aboard Le Soléal, as your cruise comes to a close. Please join us tonight to celebrate an extraordinary trip with the captain’s farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.
Tour ends: Vancouver, British Columbia. Disembark this morning in Vancouver. Tauck will provide transfers from Le Soléal to Vancouver International Airport or to your post-stay hotel. Flights should not be booked earlier than 1:30 PM. Allow at least two hours for flight check-in.