Category: Wildlife

Silversea Arctic Experience Offers

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1131 0

Take the plunge and travel into one of the most enigmatic regions on Earth. Mountains of ice calve gracefully while seals, sea birds and of course the mighty Polar Bear search for food in this frozen wonderland. Dreamlike, beautifully bleak, yet bursting with energy both above and below sea-level, hike upon tundra and sail amidst fjords – after all, this is the land of the midnight sun so anything is possible. A must for any modern traveller, Silversea Expeditions allows you to explore the Arctic Circle with expert guides in comfort and class. Making way for you to have a truly memorable experience.

 

Take advantage of one or more of these special offers and connect with an Cruise Specialist to start you on your planning journey.

Arctic Air Offer: Book by September 30, 2019 and enjoy Reduced Airfares in Business Class or Free Economy Class Airfares + Free Pre-Cruise Hotel, 1 Day Use Post-Cruise Hotel &Transfers + Free In-Country Flights (if required) + Free Shore Excursions

Early Booking Bonus: Book and pay in full by October 31, 2019 and save 10% on select departures

Family Cruise Savings: Guests under the age of 18 receive 50% or more savings depending on their age when travelling with two full paying guests on select voyages.

 

Arctic Sailings – all promotions may not apply to all sailings 

Silver Cloud Expedition June 10, 2020 – 11 days from Reykjavik to Longtearbyen
Silver Cloud Expedition June 21, 2020 – 9 days from Longyearbyen to Tromso
Silver Cloud Expedition June 30, 2020 – 9 days from Tromso to Longyearbyen
Silver Cloud Expedition July 09, 2020 – 11 days from Longyearbyen to Reykjavik
Silver Cloud Expedition July 20, 2020 – 16 days from Reykjavik to Churchill (Manitoba)
Silver Cloud Expedition August 05, 2020 – 16 days from Churchill to Kangerlussuaq
Silver Cloud Expedition August 21, 2020 – 24 days from Kangerlussuaq to Nome (Alaska)

Silver Explorer Expedition September 17, 2020 – 14 days from Tromso to Reykjavik
Silver Explorer Expedition October 01, 2020 – 13 days from Reykjavik to Halifax

 

Ask about Venetian Society Savings of 5% on select voyages

Gentoo penguin in Antarctica

Explore Antarctica with Lindblad Expeditions

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 848 0

Active, immersive expedition travel
Explore Antarctica in expedition style, aboard an authentic expedition ship is an incomparable experience and your guarantee of an in-depth encounter with all its wonders. Lindblad Expedition’s pioneering polar heritage and 50 years of experience navigating polar geographies is your assurance of safe passage in one of the wildest sectors of the planet. Lindblads veteran polar expedition team enables you to:

~ See more of the legendary landscapes and habitats
~ Encounter iconic penguins, leopard seals, and marine mammals
~ Kayak among icebergs, Zodiac cruise past resting leopard seals, and hike on the continent with the best ice team on Earth
~ Experience the seldom-seen Antarctic undersea, too––through the efforts of our undersea specialist
~ Benefit from our 175 collective years of Lindblad-National Geographic expedition experience to see and do all you came for and more


Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent

14 days with Expeditions departing in January, February, November and December 2020
From US $14,680 to US $35,330 p.p.
NG Explorer – 148 Guests | NG Orion – 102 Guests

Special Offers
FREE AIRFARE | Book select departures by December 31, 2019 for free round-trip economy group airfare between Miami and Buenos Aires (or Santiago).

FREE BAR TAB AND CREW TIPS INCLUDED | We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion voyages.

 

 

Have up-close, personal penguin encounters
Travel with virtually any company to Antarctica, and you will see penguins. They are the citizens of the white continent, present in astounding numbers, and endlessly fascinating. Travel with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, however, and you’ll travel equipped for up-close, personal encounters—with a fleet of Zodiacs and kayaks to enable you to get closer. And a team of engaging experts that enable you to spend more time enjoying penguin society, and understand more of the adaptations that enable these remarkable animals to survive their environment.

Take advantage of all the superb photo ops
You’ll have a National Geographic photographer as your traveling companion, to inspire you and provide tips in the field. And the services of a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, as well—to help you turn your point-and-shoot camera into an “aim and create.” You’ll find no end of subjects and the help you need to return home with your best photos ever.

Every day is active and engaging
You’ll get out on adventures every day we’re in Antarctica, sometimes twice a day—to walk or hike, kayak or Zodiac cruise among the bergs. Because National Geographic Explorer has a fleet of both Zodiacs and kayaks, the entire expedition community can embark at once on forays, no waiting around for returning parties. You’ll have a choice of activities each day, and the option to join the naturalist whose interests mirror yours. Choice also includes opting to enjoy the view from the bridge, the all-glass observation lounge, the library or the chart room. To visit the fitness center with its panoramic windows, or ease into the sauna or a massage in the wellness center.

Travel in excellent company
Journey to Antarctica under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer, plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, an undersea specialist, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, a video chronicler, and a wellness specialist. Their knowledge and passion for Antarctica is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 

ITINERARY

DAY 1: Fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina (Explorer) or Santiago (Orion)
Depart this evening on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires (Explorer) or Santiago (Orion).

DAY 2: Overnight Hotel in Buenos Aires (Explorer) or Santiago (Orion)
Guests traveling aboard National Geographic Explorer arrive this morning in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, set on the Rio de la Plata, and check in to the fine Alvear Art Hotel (or similar). In the afternoon, we have a guided overview of the city, seeing its Beaux Arts palaces, grand boulevards, and the famous balcony forever associated with Eva Peron. In the early evening we gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (Day 2: L)

Guests traveling aboard National Geographic Orion arrive today in Santiago. We check in to the fine Mandarin Oriental (or similar), centrally located in Santiago, and have the morning to relax. Santiago is nearly surrounded by the Andes, which form an inspiring backdrop to our afternoon guided overview of this vibrant city. We explore the Plaza de Armas, the main square, and nearby Presidential Palace, enjoying wonderful views from the many hills that dot the city. In the early evening we gather for an informal reception and a drink at the hotel. (Day 2: L)

DAY 3: Fly to Ushuaia, Argentina/Embark Ship
Today we fly by private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Guests traveling aboard National Geographic Explorer will from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Ushuaia to embark the Explorer; and guests traveling aboard National Geographic Orion will fly from Santiago, Chile to Ushuaia to embark the Orion. This morning’s charter flight will bring us over Patagonia before landing in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. If the weather is fine, you’ll have a chance to view the spectacular mountains rising out of the Beagle Channel as you enjoy lunch on a catamaran cruise. Then, you’ll embark the expedition ship and set sail, (B,L,D)

DAY 4: At Sea
We awake this morning well into our journey across the Drake Passage. Lying between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula, the Drake holds a unique place in maritime lore. Sometimes misty and gray, other times calm and clear, crossing the legendary Drake Passage is unforgettable—a milestone in any adventurer’s personal travel history. (B,L,D)

DAY 5-10: Antarctica
With nearly 24 hours of daylight, we make the most of our days, keeping a flexible schedule to take advantage of the unexpected — perhaps watching a 40-ton whale surface off the bow. We are out daily. One day, you may take a Zodiac foray amid towering bergs under a bright sun, walk along the shoreline amid a huge penguin colony, hike to a summit for a breathtaking view, or kayak along a cliff-side rookery in search of blue-eyed shags. And the next, you’ll have the thrill of watching the ship crunch through the pack ice, or step ashore to the cries of thousands of gentoo penguins. You’ll learn from our experts how to identify penguins and get photo tips from a National Geographic photographer while watching those same penguins. Back aboard, our Undersea Specialist may present video from that day’s dive — rare images taken up to 1,000 feet below the surface using our ROV. Our expert staff will craft an expedition where you will learn more, see more and experience more. (B,L,D)

DAY 11-12: At Sea
As we sail back to Ushuaia, an albatross or two may join the avian escort of seabirds that cross our bow, and our spotters will keep an eye out for marine life. There’ll be plenty of time to enjoy a wellness treatment, log some time in the gym, or catch up on the book you haven’t had a minute to read. Talks from our staff will reflect on all you have seen and learned.(B,L,D)

DAY 13-14: Disembark Ushuaia/Fly to Buenos Aires (Explorer) or Santiago (Orion)/Home
After breakfast, we disembark in Ushuaia with some time to explore before proceeding to the airport for our LAN charter flight (guests on Explorer fly Ushuaia to Buenos Aires; guests on Orion fly Ushuaia to Santiago.) Please confirm departure and arrival cities with an Expedition Specialist before booking your flights. (Day 13: B,L)

 

Connect with a cruise specialist and check this incredible experience off your bucket list! 

 

 

Photo: Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) parent with two downy chicks on Pleneau Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula.
Copyright: Michael S. Nolan

Travelling with Kids on the m/s Paul Gauguin

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 594 0

A model on a Paul Gauguin Cruises photo shoot, Elke enjoyed her shipboard experience so much, she returned as a guest—twice. She shares some of the moments that made the voyages so special for her now 11-year-old son.

What comes to mind for you when you think of French Polynesia? Visions of stilted bungalows nestled over the crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora and Moorea? Honeymooners holding hands and strolling under swaying palm trees? For me, it’s the image of my son frolicking in sun-warmed waters, giggling, with a huge smile on his face. As a seasoned traveler, I’m always surprised when people tell me, “We always leave our kids at home when we take a vacation.” I get that couple time is important. To me, though, the amazing life lessons kids learn from travel and the enrichment they receive from local culture stay with them for a lifetime and shape who they become as adults. So, for me, the question is: why wouldn’t you take your kids?

My husband, son, and I have taken the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin twice, and to me, The Gauguin is truly the best way to experience French Polynesia as a family. So many choices filled each day! The only question is: where to begin? I think the easiest way to way to explain how wonderful French Polynesia and The Gauguin are for families is to describe our experiences and adventures in each port.

Huahine

My son loves history, and Huahine is a great first stop to take in the history of French Polynesia! Starting from the port town of Maroe, we took a tour around the island. From the dock, we stopped at Fare, a sleepy fishing village, where you can see the mountain whose ridge gave the island its name (literally, pregnant woman). At Maeva, there is Fare Pote’e, a replica of an open, traditional house that is a museum with historical and cultural information. Fare was the seat of local power for the island, so there are a host of marae (religious sites built from stone) scattered along the shoreline. This stop was very interesting to my son and transported us back in time to how life was lived here so many moons ago.

If you are interested in how pearls or vanilla are produced, you can easily visit farms for each here and be amazed by their elaborate production processes. My son was fascinated by both! The small boat ride out to the pearl farm was also a lot of fun.

Another stop that fascinated him was our visit to Faie, where you can see and even feed sardines to Huahine’s famous and sacred blue-eyed eels. My son was mesmerized by these friendly and curious creatures swimming around his feet.

Motu Mahana

French Polynesia is a water playground for all ages because of its calm waters, beautiful sandy beaches, and gently sloping shores. Motu Mahana, The Gauguin’s private islet, is just the place to dip in and enjoy some great snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Or you can just lounge on the sandbar or build a sand castle. My son gladly participated in all the motu has to offer! Throughout the day, The Gauguin’s troupe of Tahitian ambassadors, Les Gauguines and Les Gauguin, provided entertainment, demonstrations, and storytelling. The fascinating legend of how the coconut tree came to be was one that children and adults could enjoy equally. And everyone gets a fresh coconut to drink from while lounging under the dappled shade of coconut trees. What could be better or tastier than that?

Bora Bora

When we were on Bora Bora, my son the history buff appreciated the stories of World War II and how Bora Bora played a strategic role in the conflict.

And here’s something else he appreciated about Bora Bora: the beautiful coral reefs that make the island an ideal place to snorkel and dive. The Gauguin offers an onboard Discover SCUBA Diving class that can count toward PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification. My son took the class on both voyages so that we could all dive together as a family. The ship’s dive team is very knowledgeable, nice, and thorough, and they put my son right at ease.

Bora Bora and Moorea both have wonderful shallow dive sites for beginners (under 30 feet) where beautiful coral and fish are abundant. The clarity is wonderful to the point that you forget you are underwater! I think I have hundreds of pictures of my son giving me underwater OK and hang-ten hand signals, he enjoyed it so much. He especially loved the blacktip sharks, giant turtles, slews of colorful fish, dynamic coral, little underwater Christmas trees, and blue-lipped clams that closed up as if by magic when he waved his hand over them.

The Gauguin also has a private beach on Bora Bora—a restful spot to lounge in shallow waters with Mount Otemanu in the background. My son played a little trick on me with a coconut that looked like an eel coming out of the water. I guess he WAS paying attention when Les Gauguines told the Polynesian legend of a prince becoming the first coconut tree. If you look at a coconut shell, it really does look like an eel’s face. Uncanny!

Moorea

Moorea was our favorite island! In fact, we loved it so much, we spent another week there both times after our cruises. We loved visiting the little idyllic motus and snorkeling until our fingers and toes turned into little prunes, which was forever since the water is so warm. My son spent so much time underwater petting the gentle and graceful rays. And what little boy wouldn’t be over the moon to be face to face with blacktip sharks? He definitely had some interesting and adventurous stories to tell his buddies back home!

On our last trip to Moorea, we kayaked out to a little motu and gathered little hermit crabs along the beach and had hermit crab races, ending in a rainbow over the water. Great memories!

By land, make sure you make it up to the Belvedere lookout point, where there are lush and gorgeous vistas of Opunohu and Cook’s Bays and Mt. Rotui. Just before you get there, you can stop at Marae Titiroa to wander among the many preserved marae platforms linked by a walking track. My son loved this trek through the cool dense forest of chestnut trees that shelters these pieces of history. There are lots of signs marking and explaining everything, and the trail is easy for families to follow. The archery platform was his favorite.

Tahiti

Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. Need I say more? My son, the little shopper, loved le Marche de Pape’ete to buy friends, family, and himself beautiful black pearl and shell jewelry, monoi (coconut oils) and fragrant tiare soaps, and colorful island-y trinkets.

Aboard ship

Of course, you don’t have to be visiting an island to have a great time! Life aboard ship fleshed out the experience for our family. On each voyage, we were blown away by the kindness of the ship’s crew and how especially sweet they were to my son—always joking with him and genuinely looking after him. I don’t think there was a staff member who didn’t know my son’s name and what he liked to eat and drink.

Their attention to detail is simply incredible. My son has a severe peanut allergy, which can be very stressful when you’re eating out, especially when you’re abroad. Hernie from the dining staff went way beyond the call of duty to make sure my son was safe AND enjoyed the amazing culinary creations on board. My son has broadened his palate, developing a taste for pâté and brie with baguettes, and he ate desserts with abandon. We definitely all tipped the scales a little heavier when we departed the ship!

There’s a lot more to life aboard than just the gourmet-quality local and French foods. We enjoyed interesting lectures about the history, culture, and the environment of the region by very knowledgeable speakers. My son loves the ocean and was very interested in hearing about coral reef restoration by one of the lecturers. We also learned local stories and legends and listened to beautiful songs sung by Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins along the way.

My son and I also had so much fun immersing ourselves in creating crafts with local materials, making several different types of bracelets (shell bracelets, local bean bracelets, and textile bracelets), hand-painted bookmarks and postcards on tapas (paper made from hibiscus bark), and leis (fragrant floral necklaces) with the local mamas of Moorea.

You can also go on land/sea excursions—or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the lush green islands surrounding you, as you listen to Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins strumming ukuleles as you sit on the pool deck or paddle around the pool.

My son made a friend on board, and we found that our voyage gave us a good mix of family and new-friend time.

It was with heavy hearts that we departed the ship. My son loved The Gauguin, the ports, the activities, and the crew so very much! The amazing people and places we visited linger in our hearts and minds with the melody of the islands, and we are all forever changed as a family by our experiences there. So, yes … definitely take your kids on a trip of a lifetime!

 

 

Post c/o the Paul Gauguin Cruises Blog April 12 2019
Original content can be found here

New Luxury Guest Accommodations at McKinley Chalet Resort

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 610 0

Holland America celebrates the Grand Opening of their new 99-Room Addition at McKinley Resort in Alaska

Holland America Line held a grand opening ceremony for its new luxury guest accommodations at McKinley Chalet Resort Friday, June 14. Officially dedicating the new Ridge View building that opened for the 2019 Alaska cruise season, the ribbon-cutting celebration was attended by Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation and plc president and CEO; Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK; Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Charlie Ball; executive vice president, land operations and customer service for Holland America Group, and several other staff members, business partners and community members. Also attending were representatives from Alaska State Senators Lisa Murkowski’s and Dan Sullivan’s offices and Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker.

The new 99-room addition features the first-ever junior suites at the McKinley Chalet Resort where guests stay on Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys. Fifty-four of the new rooms are luxurious junior suites with balconies, larger living areas and enhanced amenities including heated bathroom floors and a stunning floor-to-ceiling map of Denali National Park and Reserve.

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line’s overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition is located just west of Denali Square, with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park and Preserve.

The new three-story facility, named Ridge View, features junior suites and standard rooms with modern rustic-chic décor. All junior suites have balconies, so guests can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness while relaxing on their private deck.

The first two floors have central, open-air lobbies with cozy furniture and gas fireplaces. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers so guests can take in the panoramic scenery.

The new rooms are an exciting addition to the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line’s magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring guest rooms, dining facilities and extensive walking trails — serves as home base for all adventures in and around Denali National Park, such as the full-day Tundra Wilderness Tour included on most Land+Sea Journeys as well as optional flightseeing, ATV adventures, fly fishing, river rafting right from the hotel property and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Alaska-based companies that worked on the project include general contractor Ghemm Company, Inc., based in Fairbanks. Lead architect Heliotrope is based in Seattle, Washington, and also developed Karstens Public House at Denali Square. Heliotrope worked with the Fairbanks office of Alaskan architectural firm Bettisworth North. Costigan Integrated of Seattle served as project manager.

Denali Square Complex Immerses Guests in Alaska Culture
Steps from the new rooms, Denali Square lies at the heart of Holland America Line’s Denali property and is centrally located between the main area of the McKinley Chalet Resort and the riverfront guest rooms.

The largest building in the complex is Karstens Public House, the grand 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant showcasing outdoor deck seating and views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. At the center of Denali Square sits an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows and ranger talks. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater.

Denali Square also features fire pits, outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting.

Land+Sea Journeys Offer Most Comprehensive Alaska Adventure
Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage or Glacier Discovery cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior.

Holland America Line is the only cruise company to combine must-see sites such as Denali National Park and Preserve — the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey — with rare ones such as Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush Country. Offering up to three days at Denali for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.

If you’re looking to visit Denali and book one of these new suites, connect with on of our cruise specialists and discover Holland America’s Land+Sea itineraries today!

 

Photography Ideas While Travelling in Alaska

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 530 0

Did you know Alaska means “great land” in Aleut? If you travel to Alaska, you’ll quickly see why. Alaska is one of the most spectacular places in the world to photograph wildlife and breathtaking scenery. In Alaska, you’ll find 17 of the highest mountain peaks in the country, more than 3 million lakes, an estimated 100,000 glaciers and more than 70 volcanoes. It’s no wonder Alaska is a photographer’s dream come true.

You may be wondering where to start, since there is so much beauty to behold in the Last Frontier. We’ll inspire your photography journey, and show you some of the most jaw-dropping locations to take photos in Alaska.

Most Beautiful Places in Alaska to Take Photos
Alaska may be best known for Denali National Park, but the entire state is full of photogenic jewels. Consider the following locations for your photography excursions. By the end of this post, you might agree — photography in Alaska should be on everyone’s bucket list.

1. Kodiak
Kodiak is a city on Kodiak Island —Alaska’s largest island. It’s one of the top fishing destinations in the country, where you might catch halibut, cod, trout and salmon. It’s also home to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, where you’ll find enchanting fjords, impressive mountains, alpine lakes and peaceful meadows.

Wildlife photography is a top activity for refuge visitors. Birdwatching photographers have a chance to capture the beauty of over 200 species of birds. In the winter, they’ll find sea ducks and other migratory birds, and in the summer they may see puffins from the North Pacific.

Many people travel to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge to view Kodiak bears, as 3,000 bears call the refuge home. Frazer Lake, which is at the southern portion of the refuge, is a popular spot for bear viewing. The best time to look for bears is at dawn or dusk. You have a greater chance of seeing bears at salmon streams from July to September. The refuge staff recommends taking a guided tour to view and photograph bears. With a guided tour, you can make the most of your experience and ensure your safety.

There are tons of other photography opportunities in Kodiak. For example, you could take a boat tour of nearby islands and snap photos of sea otters, sea lions, puffins or maybe even whales. Or, you could stay in Kodiak and capture images of St. Paul Harbor and the colorful fishing boats set against a backdrop of mountain greenery.

 

2. Seward
Seward is a port city located south of Anchorage, surrounded by the majesty of the snow-capped peaks and Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is one of the state’s oldest and most picturesque communities.

To start your photography expedition, you might take a picture of the Seward Boat Harbor at the northern tip of Resurrection Bay and capture the essence of Seward. You could also go on a boat tour of Resurrection Bay, camera in hand, and explore hidden coves or photograph sea otters, harbor seals and eagles. Head down to Lowell Point for calming pictures of deep blue water and misty mountains.

You could easily capture hundreds of photos without ever leaving the bay area. However, photographers do not want to miss the chance to explore Kenai Fjords National Park— a top destination for visitors who wish to surround themselves with glacial beauty. You’ll find almost 40 glaciers drifting from the Harding Icefield and an abundance of wildlife in the park’s lush forests and crystal waters.

You might get to photograph sea otters, sea lions, moose, mountain goats, gray wolves, bears and a variety of birds. You might also see orcas and humpback whales. Imagine snapping a shot of a whale rocketing from the water, or capturing the striking contrast of a red kayak in front of a glacier.

Most of the park is only accessible by water, but a boat tour offers incredible opportunities to photograph breathtaking scenery and wildlife. If you’re a photographer visiting Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park is a must-see.

 

3. Metlakatla
Metlakatla, located on Annette Islands Indian Reservation, is the only American Indian Reserve in Alaska. It’s also the only settlement of the Tsimshian people in the country. The community has an active economy due to its natural resources and the ability to harvest halibut, cod, clams and salmon. Metlakatla features lush forests and salmon-rich streams. Visitors usually travel to Metlakatla by boat or seaplane.

For traveling photographers who want to capture Alaska’s cultural diversity and history, Metlakatla is the place to go. Plan to take pictures of skillfully crafted totems, traditional dance, a longhouse painted with a Tsimshian design or the tranquil harbor. You might also take photos of the island from atop Yellow Hill, which stands 540 feet above the community and offers a panoramic view.

 

4. Wrangell
Are you looking to photograph a colorful array of totems and Native American art? Or would you rather snap pictures of Alaskan wildlife? You can choose both if you head to Wrangell.

Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll find over a dozen totems scattered through the town. Make sure to take your camera to Chief Shakes Longhouse, located on an island in the middle of the harbor, to take close-ups of totems and tribal designs. You can easily reach Chief Shakes Longhouse by walking over the pedestrian bridge. Keep on the lookout for bald eagles too while you explore the island.

While in Wrangell, you might also visit Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park to photograph primitive rock carvings. If you want to take a short trip south of Wrangell, you can visit the Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory to watch eagles, harbor seals and bears feast on salmon. However, you don’t have to leave Wrangell to view wildlife. You only need to look to the trees to catch a shot of an eagle or to the shoreline for herons. Everywhere you turn, you can find something picture-perfect.

 

5. Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm
Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are long, narrow fjords located about 45 miles south of Juneau. From aboard a boat, photographers can capture some of the most unforgettable scenery in Alaska. Imagine plunging waterfalls crashing down cliffs into turquoise water, or brilliant blue ice formations dotting the water like gems. You’ll also have the chance to see eagles, seals, bears and whales if you go in the summer.

You might take your camera with you as you stand within a half mile of South Sawyer Glacier if conditions are right. This glacier, at the head of Tracy Arm, extends deep underwater, producing a vibrant blue hue. If you’re lucky, you might also find mountain goats at the base.

For dramatic glacial scenery that will take your breath away, make sure to explore Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm. When you look at your gorgeous photos post-trip, you’ll be so glad you did.

 

6. Inian Islands
Inian Islands is a unique and pristine designated wilderness area located between Chichagof Island and Glacier Bay National Park. The area is only accessible by floatplane or boat. There are no established trails on the islands, but visitors still have plenty of ways to explore. If you tour Inian Islands by boat, you’ll get to treat your eyes, and your camera, to the unspoiled beauty of dense temperate rainforests, rocky shorelines and shimmering icy water. You’ll mostly want to focus on the water, so you don’t miss the chance to capture photos of humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and otters.

 

7. Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point is a tourist destination privately owned and operated by Huna Totem Corporation. It’s on Chichagof Island outside of Hoonah — Alaska’s largest Tlingit village. Lush rainforest and clear, blue waters surround Icy Strait Point. Here, you can choose from over 20 tours, check out a restored Alaskan salmon cannery, walk nature trails or set up your gear on the shore and wait to capture shots of whales or eagles soaring overhead.

One of the benefits of visiting Icy Strait Point, besides its stunning beauty, is the chance to search for wildlife with the help of a tour guide. For example, you might head with a guide to see brown bears at the Spasski River Valley, which is known for a high brown bear density. While on a tour, a guide can show you the best spots for taking wildlife photos. You’ll also get to learn about the animals and enhance your overall experience. You’ll enjoy the meaning of your photographs with greater depth if you learn the story and history behind them.

 

8. Juneau
Juneau is Alaska’s capital city. Downtown Juneau sits at the bottom of Mount Juneau on the Gastineau Channel. Tongass National Forest surrounds the city — the largest national forest and home to the highest density of black bears in the world. An estimated 32,247 people call Juneau home.

Juneau in itself is a photogenic location. While in the city, watch the sky, and you might catch a bald eagle or great blue heron flying overhead. You may also find whales swimming past you as you walk through town, or seals peeking at you from the channel. Search the steep sides of Mount Juneau, and you might catch a black bear or mountain goat feasting on vegetation.

To get closer to the abundance of wildlife in Juneau, you can ride the Mount Roberts Tramway almost 2,000 feet above downtown and explore subalpine trails. In the summer, you’ll find marmots and grouse. You might also see bears, deer, porcupines and other mammals along the trails.

Finally, you won’t want to miss Mendenhall Glacier while you’re visiting Juneau. Here, you can view the 13-mile-long glacier, which ends at Mendenhall Lake, from the historic visitor center. You can also walk along the lake for spectacular views of icebergs or to photograph Nugget Falls cascading down the mountain. You might also snap shots of moss-covered trees or wildlife while exploring the area. To get there, you can take a bus or taxi from downtown.

 

9. Misty Fjords
Located a short trip east of Ketchikan, Misty Fjords National Monument is a designated wilderness area and part of the Tongass National Forest. Thousands of years ago, ice covered the area, carving deep fjords with cliffs reaching thousands of feet into the sky. You can travel by boat on the Behm Canal to enter the heart of the fjords and take jaw-dropping photos. It’s possible you’ll see whales, porpoises, mountain goats and bears along the way. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to photograph plunging waterfalls, abundant wildlife, dramatic cliffs, dense green forest and pure, astonishing beauty.

 

10. Ketchikan
Situated near the entrance of the Inside Passage, Ketchikan is a city that offers charming scenery, surrounded by wildlife-rich waters and forest. Besides being in the Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan is also home to a vibrant arts scene. In other words, there is a ton of potential to photograph something incredible anywhere you turn in Ketchikan.

For example, did you know Ketchikan has the largest collection of totem poles in the world? Some of them are also among the oldest. You can get shots of totems scattered around town or at one of their totem parks. If you want to immerse yourself in nature while visiting Ketchikan, consider taking a trip just outside town to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary to possibly get photos of eagles or black bears. At the sanctuary, you can also stop at a historic sawmill or stroll through the totem park.

Alaska scenery is hard to believe unless you’ve been there. Words can’t describe the majesty of steep rocky cliffs jutting out from deep blue-green water, or the sight of massive ice formations carved by time and nature. If you explore Alaska, you will never forget the scenery. Taking pictures is one way to remind yourself of your journey, but the beauty of Alaska will likely remain embedded in your mind and your heart.

 

 

Post shared from Windstar Cruises Blog
Written by Curtis Carr and Original can be found here

First Time to Antarctica? Here’s What You Should Know

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 507 0

Imagine a place where the summer sun never sets, where endless ice surrounds you, and snow-covered peaks reach high into a cobalt blue sky. Where jagged glaciers plunge into the ocean, and huge tabular icebergs form wall-like corridors through which ships sail.

Picture thousands of penguins clattering and calling for as far as the eye can see, with their fluffy chicks feeding, learning to walk and fledging. Imagine looking into the big, mahogany-brown eyes of a weddell seal as it lies on a floating piece of ice, or admiring the majesty of a humpback whale as it raises its tail flukes before diving to the depths of the Southern Ocean.

This is Antarctica—one of the wildest and most stunning regions in the world. “Nothing can prepare you for the first time you encounter a penguin colony of 60,000 birds on a beach,” says Conrad Combrink, Silversea Cruises’ Senior Vice President Strategic Development Expeditions and Experiences. “Or when you [first] witness a towering iceberg, floating alone in the water.” For many reasons, the first trip to Antarctica is a life-defining moment.

Meeting Antarctica’s Incredible Wildlife
Antarctica is home to some of the largest marine mammals and most fascinating birds for much of the year. However, it’s during the summer months—from November to February—that the region visibly teems with wildlife.

The most accessible part of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula, is home to several species of penguins, such as the Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap. Weddell and crabeater seals are commonplace along the Peninsula coastlines, and the elusive leopard seal is also spotted here. On the nearby Subantarctic island of South Georgia, King Penguins rule the beaches by the thousands, with Antarctic fur seals and elephant seals living side-by-side around them.

“You can never be near penguins without having a massive smile on your face,” reveals repeat Silversea Expeditions guest Mick Toller. “Whether they’re waddling along in a line, battling their way up a hill, sliding down on their bellies or getting up the courage to dive off a rock, they are a constant source of amusement everywhere you look.”

The southern summer is also when humpback whales arrive from the tropics to feed; at this time of year, calves will usually accompany their mothers. It’s not uncommon to see them as they rest or play at the surface of the water, before diving—up to 600 feet (200 meters)—to feed on krill, crustaceans and small fish.

“Simply being on a Zodiac and right next to a humpback whale—there is something very humbling about that,” beams Combrink. “A humpback whale coming right up to your Zodiac and spyhopping—It’s what most people dream of.”

Thanks to its remote location, the majority of visitors to Antarctica come by cruise ship, usually aboard an ice-class vessel. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) oversees tourism to the region. As part of its policy, anyone traveling to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands must adhere to strict biosecurity and animal welfare guidelines. It prevents the spread of non-native species, pests and pathogens and also protects wildlife.

The measures include a full inspection of all clothing and gear to be used by both passengers and guides before arrival, as well as a decontamination procedure after every landing, so boots, bags, walking poles and other equipment are regularly cleaned. No food, including nuts, seeds or sweets, or drink, other than potable water, is to be taken ashore. Any waste must be brought back to the ship. The guidelines also stipulate a safe distance limit for observing animals, but still close enough to be able to get a great photo with the right equipment. “Seeing how a concerted effort has been able to keep Antarctica pristine is incredibly important,” reveals Toller. “It makes you more aware of how much we have to do to clean up the planet.”

The Best Time of Year for an Antarctic Expedition
Most expedition ships begin their season in mid- to late-November and operate until early March. “Animals congregate in masses between December and the end of February,” Combrink explains. When you visit can be decided by determining what you want to see most.

November and December offer the best chance to witness female seals nurturing their adorable pups or penguins laying and protecting their eggs. As January and February arrive, the penguin chicks hatch and begin fledging. Whales are also more commonly seen towards the end of the season.

What to Pack for Antarctica?
The key to a comfortable excursion in Antarctica is layered clothing and durable boots. Layers allow you to regulate your body temperature according to the weather conditions and activity, while pull-on boots with sturdy soles will keep you dry during “wet” Zodiac landings in shallow, icy water.

Regarding clothing for your first trip to Antarctica, remember to pack a base, insulating and outer layer. At least two sets of each are recommended. Base layers should be lightweight, quick-drying, breathable and thermal, while the insulating layer should be warm and flexible. Finally, the outer layer should be windproof, waterproof and large enough to fit over all other layers. Waterproof pants should have a wide enough base to fit over boots that are at least mid-calf length.

Woolen hats that cover your ears are highly recommended, as are sunglasses to protect against the glare from the ice. Neck gaiters provide an easy-to-manage alternative to scarves. Windproof and waterproof gloves are a must—bring spare pairs in case they get wet.

Handy accessories might include a waterproof backpack or sealable waterproof sack to ensure possessions stay dry. Collapsible trekking poles help with walking in the snow, and foot and hand warmers add warmth on particularly cold days. Lip balm with UV protection is also recommended. And Toller has one last piece of advice for first-time visitors: “Buy good binoculars. They are a great investment.”

While traveling to Antarctica for the first time is the ultimate adventure, it’s still a trip that can be enjoyed by everyone. “You don’t have to be in top physical shape to go to Antarctica,” explains Combrink. “[Even] going by Zodiac to the landing site is a unique experience. Just sitting at the landing site, there is already so much to see. Or just enjoy the view from your suite—you will never ever be bored.”

 

 

Blog Post c/o Silversea Cruises blog
Written by Karen Edwards
Original post can be found here

Silver Cloud Expedition

What is an Expedition Ship?

Posted By : Alka Subin/ 927 0

adventure canadaMore and more Canadians are discovering the joys of cruising, on large megaliners, on intimate river cruise ships, and even on traditional sailing vessels.  And there’s another niche which is seeing growing interest, particularly among the 50+ crowd:  expedition ship cruising.  You could say it’s both the latest trend and the last frontier.

What’s an expedition ship?  It’s a small ship (maximum around 175 passengers) dedicated to visiting some of the world’s most inaccessible places. On board, rather than a karaoke club or champagne bar, you’re more likely to find scientists and researchers whose lectures are one of the main attractions. “If their profession ends in ‘ist’ – botanist, archaeologist, marine biologist – chances are you’ll find them on an expedition ship,” says Pat Rochon, Vision Travel’s senior manager of active travel who likens the ships to floating classrooms.

Days are spent explore ashore (or afloat) hiking, kayaking, on board a zodiac or snowshoeing.  Perhaps you hike through a pristine jungle or get up close and personal with a few hundred penguins.

Sample destinations include the polar regions, both north and south, the Amazon or the South Pacific.

Dlx 3D Perspective Oct 2010Not surprisingly, the folks on board are not first time travellers. “You tend to find people from all over the world, North America, Europe, Asia, on board and they’re well-travelled, well-heeled, well-educated and curious people,” says Rochon, who has sailed on expedition ships in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Once fairly primitive in their amenities, now that they are not purely research vessels the ships are now becoming more comfortable, with the addition of libraries, bars, saunas and hot tubs. “Think of it as adventure by day, comfort at night,” says Rochon.

An expedition ship will take you places no other ship can even get near to…some of the world’s most remote and pristine corners.  No wonder it can be a life-changing trip.

Seabourn's new Expedition Ship - Seabourn Venture - ship rendering

Seabourn Names First New Ultra-Luxury Expedition Ship

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 547 0

Seabourn Cruise Line has announced the name of their new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Venture, paying tribute to the remote destinations visited by their highly successful expedition and Ventures by Seabourn™ excursion programs and the fascinating places yet to be explored in the future.

Seabourn expedition history …
Seabourn began offering expedition experiences during their first sailing to Antarctica in 2013 led by a highly qualified, world-class Expedition Team and those itineraries have been offered every season since. The success of the Antarctica program opened the door for similar optional experiences under the name Ventures by Seabourn featuring Zodiacs, kayaks, and guided hikes offered on Seabourn ships in a number of desirable destinations around the world, including Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, South America, and Northern European destinations such as Norway and Greenland.

About the new ship …
“The name Seabourn Venture is an exciting step in the process of launching even more immersive voyages designed specifically for the expedition traveler who dares to go beyond the norm in terms of destinations and experiences they seek,” said Richard Meadows, President of Seabourn. “Combined with the team of 26 experts that will bring the expedition experience to life, we are going to draw on our pedigree to deliver breathtaking experiences and I know Seabourn Venture is going to create lifetime memories for the adventurer that wants to go farther, into more remote destinations than they may have ever seen before, in true Seabourn ultra-luxury.”

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. Both ships will be designed and built for diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards and will include a plethora of modern hardware and technology that will extend the ships global deployment and capabilities. The new ships, which are being built by T. Mariotti, will be a brand new innovative design, created specifically for the ultra-luxury expedition traveler, and will include many features that have made Seabourn ships so successful. A new and exciting offering will be two custom-built submarines carried onboard, providing an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean’s surface. The ships will also be designed to carry a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs that can accommodate all onboard guests at once, which will allow for a truly immersive experience. Each ship will feature 132 luxurious ocean-front veranda suites. More details and full-color renderings of the ship and its interior spaces will be released in the months ahead.
Specific details about itineraries and booking availability will be released in spring 2019. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.

Both expedition vessels will feature an onboard crew that will include outstanding and well-traveled Expedition Teams comprised of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. During each sailing, team members regularly interact with guests, providing keen insight to deliver a rich holistic travel experience. These fascinating, accomplished experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing you with in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places you’ll visit. Their valuable insights are offered both in formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations over meals or at leisure.

 

The Seabourn Expedition Difference:

• Intimate ships with a private club atmosphere
• Intuitive, personalized service provided by staff passionate about exceeding guests expectations
• Complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times
• Welcome Champagne and complimentary in-suite bar stocked with guest preferences
• Tipping is neither required, nor expected
• Ventures by Seabourn, optional shore excursions, enhance and extend the guest experience in select destinations
• Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, featuring an exclusive mindful living program
• World-class dining venues are all complimentary, dine where, when and with whom you wish
• Purpose-built expedition ships, PC6 ice-strengthened hull, with advanced maneuvering technology for superior stability, safety and comfort
• World-class Expedition Team, delivering immersive experiences
• Handcrafted itineraries developed for the expedition traveler to the most coveted and familiar remote destinations in the world
• Two custom-built 6-guest submarines giving the option to extend their expedition further for greater ocean exploration
• Enhanced expedition experiences with Zodiacs, mountain and ebikes, scuba diving, snorkeling and optional kayaks
• Open bridge policy*, hosted by members of the Expedition Team providing firsthand access to the ship’s command center and officers navigating the journey
• Meticulous and purposeful adventurers’ resort at sea designed for the luxury traveler with unique attributes and spaces to enhance their experience
• All veranda, all ocean-front suites luxuriously appointed
• Committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability

Whale viewing from ship

Whale Spotting from our Balcony

Posted By : Morgan Gibson/ 0 0

It was day four of our Alaskan Cruise and I sat luxuriating on our private balcony, drinking a glass of wine, and admiring the rugged beauty of the snow-capped mountains that lined the horizon.

Gazing over the railing , I mentally reviewed the wildlife we had been fortunate enough to spot so far: Noble bald eagles soaring with amazing grace, the black bear who wandered across our path during a drizzly ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and a  playful otter we spotted out for a swim in Sewards port. Abruptly my thoughts were interrupted. An orca spectacularly breached the ocean, propelling itself high into the air and then crashing back down with a tremendous splash.  It was so exciting!  We had been waiting to see a whale! It really made our trip complete! My husband came out and joined me on the balcony and we sat and watched the whale play. Amazing!

 

 

 

Photo credit:  Holland America

Ocean Endeavour

Ocean Endeavour

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 0 0

Outfitted with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, multiple lounges, and a top-deck observation room, she is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments. The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling her to explore throughout the Arctic summer.