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15 nights
from £8695

Alaska’s Inside Passage

An expedition exploring the Alaskan Coast & Inside Passage aboard Le Soleal

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  • Expedition Cruising
  • Otter

Coastal Alaska is incredibly beautiful. A vast area of fjords, channels, rivers, glaciers and bays, all of which can be best appreciated from the deck of a ship as she weaves her way through the seemingly endless coastal wilderness. Our voyage aboard the luxurious Le Soleal promises to be a true expedition, an exciting journey of wildlife discovery and spectacular scenery.

Witnessing this vast landscape has a humbling effect on those who journey along its dramatic fjord and coastal scenery, past towering mountains, their foothills covered with never ending spruce forests. Seeing the Alaskan wildlife in their natural habitat is a wonderful experience. Words cannot adequately describe what it feels like to stand on the crest of an age old glacier, see a whale gracefully breach above the sea’s surface or watch a grizzly hunt for spawning salmon in the gushing Alaskan rivers.

With Le Soleal, we will follow a flexible course avoiding the lanes frequented by the big resort ships whenever possible and instead navigate narrow fjords and passages. These are perfect waters for expedition cruising as we get close to glaciers, rivers, and for a real close-up experience we will use our Zodiacs to view wildlife such as bird colonies, bears and swooping bald eagles if we are lucky. Our voyage is perfectly timed for wildlife viewing and August is traditionally one of the months of the ‘salmon run’ which attracts bears to the rivers. The day to day itinerary will be determined by weather and wildlife sightings and for a closer look, Zodiac craft will be used to explore the coastline and to land on isolated spots. You will be able to appreciate the peace and beauty of Alaska, explore in small parties ashore and visit places which the passengers aboard the big ships will never be taken.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • Our View

    “Alaska is one of those regions that is perfect for small ship expedition cruising. With Le Soleal as our base and the fleet of onboard Zodiacs, we can access the small coves, glaciers and inlets of the Inside Passage which open up to wilderness areas teeming with wildlife and astounding scenery. The Captain and Expedition Leader will keep an open mind to the planned schedule so we can amend our route, stop the ship to see pods of whales or perhaps extend our time viewing bears ashore. The chance to meet the fisherman in Petersburg and residents of Elfin Cove will enlighten us as to life in these remote areas.“ 

    More information
  • What To Expect...

    Flexibility is the key to an expedition cruise; sometimes the whole day’s schedule will be changed to maximise your experience, something that would not be possible on a large cruise ship. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from the ship’s log from a previous voyage in the region which will provide you with an idea of what to expect during our Alaskan adventure:

    Point Adolphus: As we prepared to venture out into the wilds, we could see the small islands harbouring the activity we had hoped to see….Steller sea lions hauled out on exposed rocks in large numbers. It was endless fascination, watching huge sea lion bulls tearing up food into bite sized pieces, catching one salmon after another & seeing bits of fresh fish flesh fly about to the great delight of the scavenging gulls! On the colonial rocky outcrop perhaps 200 more, bulls with harems of up to 20 females were hauled out and one raft of resting females numbered 70 or 80, floating in front of us. Many testing sub-adult males came close to showing both curiosity and that they were not afraid of us. Colin called on the radio that if anyone was in reception of his message, they “might want to come and take a closer look” at his location. We responded and sped to the other side of the island where he sat gazing at at least 20 Humpback whales, scattered around a small bay, feeding on small fish in the relatively shallow water. In every direction blows went up and we all enjoyed very close views of these gentle giants of the marine world. Then after almost half an hour of enjoying this rare display… the crescendo… three whales dived in unison right in front of us, showing their tail flukes as they did, then without warning the first 40 tonne creature shot up through the surface, spiraling sideways & crashed down with a loud crack of a slap, then the second then the third. Before we could even register what we had just seen, the three whales repeated the acrobatics, then again and again, all in tight times so that at least one whale was breaching at any given time for a minute or two. We were speechless….it was certainly one of the most incredible things we had ever witnessed.

    Misty Fjords: Immediately after breakfast we took our first Zodiac cruise of the day along Misty Fjord’s “canals” (glacial valleys naturally filled by sea water). Misty Fjord did not really live up to its name – there were some shreds of mist and low cloud, but the full height and glory of this beautiful fjord could still be seen, with forests clinging on to near-vertical rocky slopes right at the end of our ride, in Walker Cove, word went around that there was a brown bear down on the mud flats, all Zodiacs headed for the spot as silently as possible to witness the bear before it retreated into some long grass. As we returned to the ship a black bear was also spotted nearby.

    More information

Le Soleal

Le Soleal

Launched in 2012, Le Soleal is a luxury expedition ship with 128 staterooms and suites and an onboard fleet of Zodiacs allowing for ease of exploration. This superb vessel offers a subtle blend of sophistication combined with casual comfort creating the feeling of being on a private yacht. After a day of exploration, you can return to personalised comfort and luxurious surroundings as well as high quality cuisine. Whilst cruising, the vessel benefits from spacious deck areas from where you can watch for passing wildlife and appreciate the dramatic scenery. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and informal with the focus on the wonders of the destination you are visiting which, combined with the luxury surroundings, excellent service, superb cuisine and expert expedition team, makes for an expedition of a lifetime. 

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Vancouver, Canada.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 2 - Vancouver.

Enjoy a morning at leisure to explore independently. Take a stroll around this charming city and perhaps visit Chinatown, Gastown and Stanley Park. This afternoon meet at the hotel for a transfer to Le Soleal which will be moored in the city. After settling in to your cabin there will be a safety briefing followed by an introduction to your expedition team before enjoying dinner on board as we set sail.

Day 3 - Johnstone Strait.

Be out on deck very early this morning looking for birdlife, whales and other marine and terrestrial mammals as we cruise the spectacular 110 kilometre Johnstone Strait. The strait is between 2.5 kilometres and 5 kilometres wide and is home to large numbers of orcas during the summer months. The largest member of the dolphin family, orcas (also known as killer whales) can measure nearly ten metres in length and weigh up to six tons. Enjoy a leisurely day on board attending some of the informative lectures about Alaska’s varied history, wildlife and nature.

Day 4 - Fiordland.

Off the beaten path on a waterway far to the east of the usual ship route is one of the newest Canadian Parks, Fiordland. Seldom visited and truly magnificent, this area is packed with wildlife. Humpback whales, wolves, deer, eagles, harbour seals and dolphins are often seen here. We will spend the day cruising the waters on the lookout for wildlife whilst soaking up the stunning scenery.

Day 5 - Walker Cove, Misty Fjords, Alaska.

This morning we will retrace a portion of Captain George Vancouver’s voyage through this region as Le Soleal cruises into Walker Cove, one of the great bays of Misty Fjords National Monument. Part of the Tongass National Forest, which is the largest wilderness area in Alaska’s forests and the second largest in the nation, it has been described as an almost untouched coastal ecosystem with outstanding geological features. Gigantic granite domes, forested hills and huge waterfalls are everywhere in this beautiful spot. If we are lucky, we might glimpse the great Alaskan brown bear, a frequent visitor to these streams whilst in the skies we will hopefully see bald eagles circling overhead.

Day 6 - Petersburg & Le Conte Glacier.

Over breakfast we hope to cruise through the spectacular Wrangell Narrows which run for 22 miles between the islands of Mitkof, Kupreanov and Woewodski. Later this morning we arrive at the village of Petersburg, a commercial fishing harbour. From here we can either take a nature walk looking for bears, dear, eagles and other large birds of the area or discover the plants and flowers. Alternatively learn more about the local fishing industry and lives of the fisherman with a tour of the harbour. Continue this afternoon to Le Conte Glacier, set deep in a steepsided fjord choked with gigantic icebergs, we will approach it in our Zodiacs, ice conditions permitting. View the massive glacier as it winds its way down from the mighty Stikine Icefield.

Day 7 - Tracey Arm & Endicott Arm.

A journey along the winding Tracy Arm Fjord leads us some twenty miles through an ethereal wilderness of soaring peaks and high cliffs, crystalline icebergs and tumbling waterfalls to the foot of the twin Sawyer Glaciers. These icy blue glaciers are unrivalled in their majestic beauty. We will explore in Zodiacs with our naturalists; see calving glaciers, often mirrored in the glassy fjord water.

Day 8 - Admiralty Island.

This morning we arrive at The Brothers, a group of small islands off the southern coast of Admiralty Island. These remote islands are a photographer’s paradise. Look out for whales, Steller sea lions and eagles. Sail over lunch to Admiralty Island which boasts one of the densest populations of brown bears in Alaska.

Day 9 - Tebenkof Bay & Baranof Island.

In Tebenkof Bay we will use our Zodiacs to explore this complex of fertile fjords carved into 65 mile-long Kuiu Island. Marine mammals thrive in Tebenkof, including humpback, minke and orca whales, porpoise, harbour seals, northern sea lions and sea otter. Eagles and other marine birds abound whilst on land there are black bears, timber wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, river otters, mink, martin, beaver and more. Over lunch we will sail through the Chatham Straits to Baranof Island, a rugged and beautiful island with many coves, bays and inlets featuring towering peaks with alpine glaciers and waterfalls draining its lush rain forests.

Day 10 - Point Adolphus & Elfin Cove.

At breakfast time we will arrive at Point Adolphus, across from the entrance to Glacier Bay. Here on the exposed rocks we will see groups of Steller sea lions feeding on the salmon. We also hope to observe the congregation of humpback whales who spend their summer feeding in the rich upwelling which occurs here. This afternoon we anchor off the tiny hamlet of Elfin Cove, a remote village on Chichagof Island accessible only by boat or float plane. Upon our arrival, we hope to be joined on board by local resident Mary Jo Lordwild for a presentation on Elfin Cove and life in a boardwalk community. After tendering ashore by Zodiac, you are free to explore this unique and seldom-visited fishing community by strolling along the elevated boardwalk that serves as the town’s sidewalk and Main Street. Elfin Cove has something for everyone: photography buffs can try to capture the picturesque setting and colourful fishing boats on film; wildlife enthusiasts may be rewarded by the sight of a sea otter, harbour seal or bald eagle.

Day 11 - Hubbard Glacier.

Today cruise the St Elias Range, the tallest coastal mountain range in the world. Enter Yakutat Bay to view Hubbard Glacier, at over 75 miles long, the longest tidewater glacier in North America, with a face six miles wide. This is one of the few advancing glaciers, and Le Soleal will manoeuvre a comfortable distance off the face of the glacier and watch for “glacier calving”. This evening, if weather permits, we will enter Icy Bay, with Mount St Elias framing an imposing 18,000 feet backdrop, we will see the mighty Malaspina and Guyot Glaciers. With glistening crevasses, serrated ridges and sparkling pinnacles, these glaciers have carved the land formations over the millennia.

Day 12 - Kayak Island.

This morning we arrive at Kayak Island. Here, Captain Vitus Bering landed in 1741 after crossing the North Pacific from Russia and we hope to visit the cave and plaque that commemorate his visit. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at sea as we cruise north keeping an eye out for wildlife.

Day 13 - Prince William Sound.

Waking up to a vision of massive glaciers and icebergs is a reminder of the advantages of small ship cruising. We will manoeuvre our way past the icebergs and coves of Prince William Sound and hope to explore Barry Arm and College fjord. Opportunities for capturing incredible images with your camera and binoculars are endless as harbour seals and otters bob around in the water and Bald eagles fly overhead.

Day 14 - Seward to Anchorage.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Anchorage. On the way we will visit the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Centre and enjoy lunch before transferring to our hotel for an overnight stay. The rest of the day and evening will be at leisure to explore Anchorage independently.

Day 15 - Anchorage to London.

After breakfast in the hotel we transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Day 16 - London.

Arrive today.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER - SAVE £500 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
9 to 24 August 2019
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Superior Stateroom Deck 3 Fully Booked Fully Booked
Deluxe Stateroom Deck 3 £9195 £8695
Prestige Stateroom Deck 4 £9395 £8895
Prestige Stateroom Deck 5 £9595 £9095
Prestige Stateroom Deck 6 £9795 £9295
Deluxe Suite Deck 6 £10295 £9795
Prestige Suite Deck 5 £10995 £10495
Prestige Suite Deck 6 £11295 £10795
Owner’s Suite Deck 6 £12295 £11795
Deluxe Stateroom Deck 3 for sole use £10845 £10345
Prestige Stateroom Deck 4 for sole use £11095 £10595
Prestige Stateroom Deck 5 for sole use £11295 £10795

Tour Reference Code: SCLS090819

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, overnight hotel accommodation in Vancouver and Anchorage on bed and breakfast basis, 12 nights aboard Le Soleal on a full board basis with open bar, expedition team, shore excursions, gratuities, group transfers, permits, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, US visa, Canadian visa, rubber boots (available to hire on board for 60 euro per person). 

  • All Decks

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Le Soleal

Launched in 2012, Le Soleal is a luxury expedition ship with 128 staterooms and suites and an onboard fleet of Zodiacs allowing for ease of exploration. This superb vessel offers a subtle blend of sophistication combined with casual comfort creating the feeling of being on a private yacht. After a day of exploration, you can return to personalised comfort and luxurious surroundings as well as high quality cuisine. Whilst cruising, the vessel benefits from spacious deck areas from where you can watch for passing wildlife and appreciate the dramatic scenery. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and informal with the focus on the wonders of the destination you are visiting which, combined with the luxury surroundings, excellent service, superb cuisine and expert expedition team, makes for an expedition of a lifetime. 

 
  • Le Soleal
    Le Soleal
  • Le Soleal
    Le Soleal
  • Lounge
    Lounge
  • Theatre
    Theatre
  • Bar
    Bar
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • Library
    Library
  • Suite
    Suite
  • Le Soleal
    Le Soleal
  • Your Stateroom / Suite

    Staterooms and suites are spread over four decks and include superior staterooms, measuring 21 square metres, deluxe and prestige staterooms which measure 18 square metres, deluxe suites which measure 27 square metres, prestige suites which measure 37 square metres and the owner’s suite which measures 45 square metres. With the exception of the superior staterooms (which feature a picture window), all staterooms and suites feature a private balcony ranging in size from 4 to 8 square metres dependent on cabin category. All staterooms and suites feature en-suite facilities, individually controlled air-conditioning, desk with stationery, minibar, flat screen satellite television, video on demand, DVD player, CD and I-pod players. A security safe, hairdryer, direct dial telephone, internet access with Wi-Fi, bathrobes and French bath products are also provided. In addition, the larger suites have a sitting area. 

  • Your Space

    Whether you want to join other guests in the theatre or games area or relax on your own in a quiet corner of the library, Le Soleal has been designed to meet the needs of every guest. There is a large lounge, lecture theatre, a Panoramic Lounge which leads out onto a terrace, library and internet corner. Outside deck areas are spacious and feature comfortable deck furniture as well as a heated pool and on the top deck you will find the open-air bar. The fitness centre features the latest equipment such as a kinesis wall and running machines. In the beauty centre you can relax and enjoy a massage as well as other treatments. The cuisine on board is worthy of the finest restaurants where discreet, attentive service is standard. The two singlesitting restaurants welcome you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Gastronomic Restaurant is situated on Deck 2 and serves French and international cuisine accompanied by fine wine. At the Grill Restaurant, you have the opportunity to eat outside and enjoy buffet lunch and themed dinners. There is also 24-hour room service available. 

  • Your Dining

    Cuisine onboard is worthy of the finest restaurants, where discreet, attentive service is standard. The two single-sitting restaurants welcome you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Gastronomic Restaurant, is situated on Deck 2 and serves French and international cuisine accompanied by fine wine. At the Grill Restaurant, you will have the opportunity to eat outside and enjoy buffet lunch and themed dinners. There is also 24-hour room service available.

  • Life Onboard

    Aboard Le Soleal, the atmosphere is akin to being on your own private yacht. The independence and space of each guest has been considered in the design of the vessel and therefore you will find plenty of places to sit and relax in solitude, as well as areas for social gatherings and to meet fellow guests. The Captain, his officers and the hotel management are European and all crew members are fully bilingual. 

  • For your comfort

    With a 1C ice class and stabilisers, Le Soleal meets the highest safety specifications. The ship is equipped with a GMDSS emergency communication system and a satellite weather system, receiving real-time satellite images of weather and ice conditions in the area. A crew of 140 will ensure the best possible service. There is also a doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. 

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

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Our View

“Alaska is one of those regions that is perfect for small ship expedition cruising. With Le Soleal as our base and the fleet of onboard Zodiacs, we can access the small coves, glaciers and inlets of the Inside Passage which open up to wilderness areas teeming with wildlife and astounding scenery. The Captain and Expedition Leader will keep an open mind to the planned schedule so we can amend our route, stop the ship to see pods of whales or perhaps extend our time viewing bears ashore. The chance to meet the fisherman in Petersburg and residents of Elfin Cove will enlighten us as to life in these remote areas.“ 

What To Expect...

Flexibility is the key to an expedition cruise; sometimes the whole day’s schedule will be changed to maximise your experience, something that would not be possible on a large cruise ship. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from the ship’s log from a previous voyage in the region which will provide you with an idea of what to expect during our Alaskan adventure:

Point Adolphus: As we prepared to venture out into the wilds, we could see the small islands harbouring the activity we had hoped to see….Steller sea lions hauled out on exposed rocks in large numbers. It was endless fascination, watching huge sea lion bulls tearing up food into bite sized pieces, catching one salmon after another & seeing bits of fresh fish flesh fly about to the great delight of the scavenging gulls! On the colonial rocky outcrop perhaps 200 more, bulls with harems of up to 20 females were hauled out and one raft of resting females numbered 70 or 80, floating in front of us. Many testing sub-adult males came close to showing both curiosity and that they were not afraid of us. Colin called on the radio that if anyone was in reception of his message, they “might want to come and take a closer look” at his location. We responded and sped to the other side of the island where he sat gazing at at least 20 Humpback whales, scattered around a small bay, feeding on small fish in the relatively shallow water. In every direction blows went up and we all enjoyed very close views of these gentle giants of the marine world. Then after almost half an hour of enjoying this rare display… the crescendo… three whales dived in unison right in front of us, showing their tail flukes as they did, then without warning the first 40 tonne creature shot up through the surface, spiraling sideways & crashed down with a loud crack of a slap, then the second then the third. Before we could even register what we had just seen, the three whales repeated the acrobatics, then again and again, all in tight times so that at least one whale was breaching at any given time for a minute or two. We were speechless….it was certainly one of the most incredible things we had ever witnessed.

Misty Fjords: Immediately after breakfast we took our first Zodiac cruise of the day along Misty Fjord’s “canals” (glacial valleys naturally filled by sea water). Misty Fjord did not really live up to its name – there were some shreds of mist and low cloud, but the full height and glory of this beautiful fjord could still be seen, with forests clinging on to near-vertical rocky slopes right at the end of our ride, in Walker Cove, word went around that there was a brown bear down on the mud flats, all Zodiacs headed for the spot as silently as possible to witness the bear before it retreated into some long grass. As we returned to the ship a black bear was also spotted nearby.

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