In the Wake of the Pioneers
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15 days trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.


In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.PONANT invites you to follow the steps of trappers and gold miners in Alaska, during a 15-day expedition voyage aboard L'Austral.From Nome to Vancouver, discover a remote territory still unknown and wild, landscape from wide spaces to gigantic glaciers, steep mountains, infinite tundra and glittering lacs. During your trip, discover the unique wildlife at some of the sites that have marked the history of Alaska.Your ship will first sail along the Bering Strait, before heading south to reach the lush lands of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. During your Zodiac outing in Geographic Harbor, you could get the chance to observe a few grizzlies on the prowl, roaming around the stunning landscapes of Katmai National Park.Further east, succumb to the charms of Alaska'sforestsand discover the Tlingit village of Kake, where you might be lucky enough to spot some black bears.Then, set off to meet the whales and other marine mammals in Alert Bay, in British Columbia, before making your way to Vancouver, your disembarkation port.Subject to ice and weather conditions. The expedition highlights and itineraries described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

Itinerary - 15 Days

1 Nome, Alaska

Nome is located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, and it offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. Discover how people here live from their manual labour, and the strong traditions of fishing, reindeer rearing or sledge-racing. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna.

2 King Island, Alaska

L’Austal is an innovative and environmentally-friendly ship with a design that blends tradition and innovation. A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light will make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. This day at sea will give you the chance to explore the ship and enjoy all the services and activities on board.

3 St Matthew Island

Between Siberia and Alaska, Saint Matthew island is right in the middle of the Bering Sea. Although populated by the Aleut during prehistoric times Saint Matthew Island is uninhabited today. This island is classified as a National Wildlife Refuge by the United States and it corresponds to the northern boundary of the polar bear’s range during winter. It’s home to many birds as well, including the endemic species of the McKay's bunting.

4 St Paul Island

Part of the Earth’s History was written between Alaska and Russia. We invite you to discover a unique environment that seems to stretch out to infinity. Lost in the middle of the Bering Sea, the Pribilof archipelago is made up of four volcanic islands where nature has crafted exquisitely beautiful landscapes. Here, on the islands of Saint Paul and Saint George, you will find majestic volcanoes, lava deserts and crater lakes, offering travelers a magnificent vantage point from which to observe a fauna composed almost exclusively of fur seals. The archipelago is also renowned as a paradise for birds, especially on Saint Paul, as more than 240 different species of seabirds take flight from the top of its majestic cliff.

5 Dutch Harbor, Unalaska

Unalaska Island and its port, Dutch Harbor, is one of the exceptional stops of this voyage. This is the only deep-water port of the Aleutian Islands and the landscapes of the island are unique: volcanic summits surrounded by the sea and lush green valleys. Unalaska is not only an island with astonishing nature and very varied wildlife, it is also rich in history, with ancient indigenous cultures and remains from World War II.

6 Unga Island, Alaska

Take a Zodiac® journey with our naturalist-guides before landing in the remains of a former village originally called Ougnagok by the Aleuts. It was renamed Delarof, after Evstratii Ivanovich Delarov. While working for the Shelikhov-Golikov Company, he was the first Greek mariner to discover the Aleutian Islands. Nowadays, this small ghost-village now overrun by willowherb is called Unga.

7 Geographic Harbor, Alaska

Geographic Harbor is in the heart of Katmai National Park. Board your Zodiac® and explore every part of this Harbor and its tall cliffs covered in vegetation and plunging into the sea. If you’re lucky, you’ll experience the fascinating and unforgettable show of seeing grizzly bears hunting in the sandy beaches, in search of fish and clams.

8-9 At sea

During this day at sea aboard L’Austral you’ll have a unique, intimate and comfortable experience. From treating yourself in the spa to exercising in the fitness centre or having a swim in the swimming pool, there’s a choice for everyone. You can also enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, or simply visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

10 Sitka, Alaska

Formerly a Russian colony located on Baranof Island, Sitka is full of history. Totems carved out of red cedar, a tree that is omnipresent in the historical national park of Sitka, demonstrate the former presence of Tlingit Indians. This place is full of natural wonders too with the huge mountain range around the port and the snow-peaked Edgecumbe volcano. Numerous islands scattered around Sitka also stretch out before you in a vision of preserved Alaska.


Kake is a beautiful beachfront village blessed with breath-taking scenery. It is in many ways a traditional Tlingit town, and while visiting it you can learn about the traditions of this community. One of the village’s most iconic traditions is to stand at the foot of its 132-foot totem pole (one of the world’s largest) to learn the history and heritage of the community. You can also embark on your own wildlife adventure or hike among this pristine mountain landscapes with dark reflective eaters that mirror the crystalline mountaintops.

12 Prince Rupert

Located on the remote Kaien Island, off the coast of British Columbia, the wild and extraordinary town of Prince Rupert witnessed the history of the North West Pacific with the birth of American Indian nations, such as the Haida and Gitksan. Enjoy its interesting history and grandiose landscapes.

13 At sea

Make the most of all the services L’Austral offers. If there are still some activities for you to try, you will be able to do it during this day at sea. Remember to check the shows and activities programme, as it offers different and unique experiences every day. If you haven’t done so yet, try visiting the National Geographic photographers and experts on board to make the most of your experience.

14 Alert Bay

Right near the north coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, hides the small wooded island of Cormorant. Surrounded by pebble beaches, it offers wonderful opportunities for hikes and for whale watching. The surrounding waters are also home to harbour seals, orcas, Steller sea lions, dolphins, and a multitude of seabirds. When your ship calls at Alert Bay, a small sheltered fishing port located in the island’s south, set off to discover the indigenous culture and its traditions. The ‘Namgis community, which is part of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, lives here in harmony with the other village inhabitants.

15 Vancouver

The cosmopolitan city of Vancouver is located in western Canada, in British Columbia, and it’s one of Canada’s most multi-cultural spots. Surrounded by mountains it offers a wide range of outdoor activities. In the city, you can explore the historic area of Gastown, the Asian bustling neighbourhood of Chinatown and the Indian district with Punjabi Market. Granville Island is a fascinating revitalised industrial area that hosts galleries, restaurants and a huge produce market.