Albino Spirit Bear on a downed log in green forest.
Orca coming up to breathe and blowing through its blowhole in Chatham Strait, Southeast Alaska.
Close up on one section of a totem pole in Ketchikan Alaska, showing a white face with red and green accents.
Native American Totems and Clan Houses in Ketchikan, Alaska, set against bright green forest and blue sky.
Three women stand-up paddleboarding with a National Geographic expedition ship in the background, on a sunny day.
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North America Canada Cruise

Great Bear Rainforest Cruise: The Land of the Spirit Bear

Sail into the narrow, winding fjords of northern British Columbia and enter the domain of the rare Spirit Bear on this 8-day small ship cruise through Canada and Alaska. The Spirit Bear, also known as a Kermode bear, is a variant of the North American black bear and can only be found in the pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest. The forest is roughly the size of Ireland and one of National Geographic’s “Places of a Lifetime.” It stretches 250 miles across the central and northern coast of British Columbia and encompasses a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. Hike along its salmon-rich streams, enter forests of towering cedars and see the protected region’s abundant wildlife.

Travel aboard the 100-guest National Geographic Venture, with National Geographic photographers and photo instructors on board to share tips and years of expertise. The Nat Geo Venture is an ideal basecamp for luxury Alaska cruises due to her upscale amenities and thoughtful design. Appreciate the onboard expedition technology, including a hydrophone, splash-cam, underwater video camera and video microscope. Also on board is a cultural interpreter who will share the legends and lore of their people, and the lands explored throughout the itinerary.

Set off on excursions to kayak deep into verdant fjords and along wildlife-rich shores; cruise by Zodiac in protected waters in search of grizzly, black and Kermode bears; experience the silence while standing among towering, monumental cedars; witness the surprisingly colorful undersea through video shot by the undersea specialist; and soak in rustic hot spring pools—conditions and wildlife permitting. Discover the region’s abundant wildlife, including mountain goats, cougars, grizzly bears, coastal grey wolves, killer whales, sea lions, sea otters and more. These amazing nature and wildlife opportunities qualify this itinerary for our handpicked selection of Alaska family cruises.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Canada cruises, Alaska trips and Alaska small ship cruises.



Itinerary

A Voyage to Great Bear Rainforest-Native Culture & Wildlife in the Land of the Spirit Bear Itinerary

The Voyage to Great Bear Rainforest: Native Culture & Wildlife in the Land of the Spirit Bear cruise operates round-trip from Ketchikan, Alaska. Sail into the narrow, winding fjords and pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest with daily off-ship activities to search for abundant coastal wildlife and learn the history of First Nations people.

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Day 1
Embark Ketchikan, Alaska

Arrive in Ketchikan and head to the Totem Heritage Center to view the priceless collection of 19th-century totem poles. This afternoon, board the ship.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

Wake up in Prince Rupert, a scenic harbor town on British Columbia’s rugged northwest coast. Get immersed in First Nations history at the Museum of Northern British Columbia, built in the style of a coastal longhouse. Breathe in the scent of cedar beams and peruse an impressive collection of ornate carvings, weavings, ceremonial objects, and regalia. Visit the North Pacific Cannery Museum, a collection of cannery buildings located in a pristine wilderness surroundings that highlight BC’s economic, cultural and natural development over the last century.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 6
Exploring the Great Bear Rainforest

Over the course of the next four days, cruise far into the fjords and deep valleys that carve into the Coast Range, looking for black and grizzly bears. A cultural interpreter who knows the area intimately joins on board to share the legends of their people. Circumnavigate Gribbell Island, what the Valhalla Wilderness Society has dubbed “Mother Island of the White Bear,” in search of this elusive bear. It is believed that 10-20% of bears in this region are born with the recessive gene that causes the white fur; fewer than 400 are estimated to exist.

British Columbia has one of the highest proportions of protected land of any jurisdiction in the world. Almost 15% of the land is protected, with a wide range of provincial parks, national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Go ashore and explore several remote locations where few people venture. Discover hidden gems by Zodiac and kayak, navigate the tidal narrows that lead to the spectacular Foch Lagoon and glide into the rugged valleys of Owyacumish Bay, while constantly scanning the rocky shoreline for bears.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Cruising & Union Passage Provincial Marine Park

Sail alongside pods of killer whales and look for foraging brown bears while sailing north through the narrow Grenville Channel, a dramatic navigational experience. Not only does the channel narrow to less than a quarter of a mile across, but a slight bend in the passage makes the waterway seem to disappear into the hills ahead and behind the ship. Drop the Zodiacs and kayaks to explore the salmon run at Verney Falls in Lowe Inlet Provincial Marine Park on the way to Prince Rupert.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

n/a

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Day 8
Disembark Prince Rupert, Canada, Fly to Seattle, Washington & Depart

After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport in Prince Rupert. Board a charter flight to Seattle for your connecting flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

n/a

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard ship; all meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; park and entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.

Exclusions

Air transportation; one-way charter flight from Prince Rupert to Seattle ($350 per person in 2022); voyage DVD; personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, etc.; discretionary tips to naturalist staff and crew.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Great Bear Rainforest Cruise begins in Ketchikan, Alaska (KTN), and ends in Seattle, Washington (SEA). Please note the Ketchikan airport is located on a small island a ferry ride away from the main town. In order to join the provided group transfer and Ketchikan city tour, plan flights to arrive to Ketchikan by 11:00am on day 1 of the itinerary. Otherwise, you may plan flights and independently transfer to the dock or the hospitality suite at the Cape Fox Lodge for a vessel embarkation at 5:00pm on Day 1. Plan flights to depart Seattle after 2:00pm on Day 8. Disembarkation is after breakfast on Day 8 of the outlined itinerary; departure times may vary depending on group flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit ourBooking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include wildlife viewing, photography, onboard wellness treatments and massages, off-vessel hiking, kayaking and inflatable boat/skiff excursions.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Travelers under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

Sep 05 - Sep 12, 2022
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5400USD
Per Person
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Sep 12 - Sep 19, 2022
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5400USD
Per Person
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Sep 19 - Sep 26, 2022
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5400USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Venture

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built expedition vessel made for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels while sailing with the luxury of supreme comfort.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires December 31st, 2021
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

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Offer expires December 31st, 2021
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

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Offer expires September 30th, 2021
Flexible Cancellation Available Up To 14 Days Before Departure on 2021 National Geographic Expeditions

Book or re-book travel departing by March 31, 2022, aboard the National Geographic fleet of ships, with confidence using these risk-free, flexible policy details.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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9 Day Cruise
Inside Passage Sojourn

The 9-day Inside Passage Sojourn aboard the 49-guest Baranof Dream combines easy wilderness cruising with visits to Alaska's unique towns and Native villages. Cruise between Ketchikan and Sitka with a has a focus on Alaska's nature, history and First Nations culture.

Special Offer
From $5195USD
May Jun Jul Aug Sep
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6 Day Land Tour
Denali Backcountry Explorer

Spend 3 nights at a remote backcountry lodge situated 90 miles inside Denali National Park. Unbeatable wildlife viewing, landscape photography, guided hikes, fishing, dog sleds and an Alaska railroad ride can be customized to complement any Alaska small ship cruise.

From $2365USD
Jun Jul Aug Sep
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11 Day Cruise
Sea Wolf Southeast Alaska Adventure

The flexible 11-day Sea Wolf Southeast Alaska Adventure aboard the historic 12-passenger Sea Wolf explores the Inside Passage with a seasoned local captain and naturalists. Kayak, hike and cruise per the collective whim of those on board!

From $7800USD
Apr May Sep
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5 Day Land Tour
Brown Bears of Katmai

Alaska bear viewing in Katmai National Park is one of the state's greatest wildlife spectacles. From your home base at Brooks Lodge, see the brown bears of Brooks River. This independent package includes hotels in downtown Anchorage and a seaplane flight to Katmai.

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The Great Alaskan Grizzly Encounter

The most intimate and up-close Alaska bear viewing available is aboard the 8-guest Ursus cruising to remote reaches of Katmai National Park. View the largest coastal grizzlies in the world, Alaskan brown bears, as they feed on summer's bounty of spawning salmon!

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14 - 15 Day Cruise
Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia

This 14-day itinerary between Seattle, Washington, and Sitka, Alaska, is an educational voyage aboard the National Geographic fleet of small expedition ships. The 15-day alternative route also visits Haida Gwaii.

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Great Bear Rainforest Cruise: The Land of the Spirit Bear

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