Kamchatka & Aleutian Islands Discovery

14/06/22 to 03/07/22
SH Minerva
20 Days
2 Guest
Price From
$ 19,411
Per Person
Trip Details

Set sail north from Otaru on our boutique ship to the isolated reaches of the northern Pacific. Here, among the chains of oceanic islands - Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands in Russia and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska - we learn about volcanic activity as we hike around craters and lake-filled caldera in the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Discover the unique flora and fauna that thrive in these fertile ecosystems. Look out for northern fur seals, steller sea lions and grey whales, Kodiak brown bears in Alaska and so many seabirds that you are sure to take home everlasting memories.

Trip Highlights
Learn about plate tectonics from our experts as you hike around one of the world’s most outstanding volcanic regions
Compare the trading histories of indigenous peoples living on both sides of the Pacific
Take in the breathtaking oceanic scenery as whales breach alongside our ship
Explore relics of World War II Pacific battles on remote Alaskan islands
Get close to haul outs of northern fur seals and stellar sea lions along the Kamchatka coast
Itinerary Map
Otaru Day 1

An important port on Hokkaido - Japan’s northernmost island - Otaru retains much of its original architecture. Restored warehouses along its picturesque canal, lined with Victorian street lamps, have been converted into restaurants and boutiques selling sake, music boxes and renowned Otaru glass. Built on the herring industry, its trading history is evident from the terminal station of Hokkaido’s first railway line to the Herring Mansion on the outskirts of town, once owned by rich herring fishermen.

Korsakov Day 2

Our ship docks off Korsakov, a port city on the south coast of Sakhalin Island - Russia’s largest island - in the Pacific Ocean. From here, most passengers take the short trip to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the island capital. Between 1905 and 1945, Japan ruled this part of the island and the mix of architecture is evident, while the local Korsakov museum documents this turbulent period.

Tyuleniy Island Day 3

Tyuleniy means “seal” in Russian, so it is hardly surprising to see steller sea lions cohabiting with more than 100,000 northern fur seals - the largest species of seal - who gather here on overcrowded beaches. Our cruise coincides with breeding season in the Sea of Okhotsk, so we should get to see black fur pups being nursed in these dense rookeries. Equally prolific are seabirds: tufted puffins, crested auklets, Pallas’ warbler to name a few.

At Sea Day 4

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Yankicha Island Day 5

A highlight of the Kuril Islands, the flooded caldera surrounded by emerald green peaks is the summit of a submerged volcano where the lagoon waters bubble and fumaroles plume around the perimeter. And if hiking around this beauty spot is not enough, then a chance to catch sight of alcids - Brunnich’s, common and pigeon guillemots, crested and whiskered auklets, tufted and horned puffins - that breed here are an added bonus, especially as night falls and they swarm in their thousands.

Atlasov Island Day 6

The highest volcano in the Kuril Islands volcanic archipelago, Vulkan Alaid rises to 2,340m above black lava beaches where you might spot shorebirds and waders, such as long-toed stint, Eurasian wigeons, black and white-winged scoters, harlequin and tufted ducks, Red-faced cormorants clinging to the cliffs complete the scene. This remote island was also the site of a gulag - labour camp - for women political prisoners in the Soviet era who were sent here to raise foxes for fur.

Petropavlovsk (Kamchatsky) & At Sea Day 7

With a backdrop of conical-shaped, snow-capped volcanoes, the rustic Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the main city of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Nearby Avacha Bay is considered one of the world’s most picturesque bays, dubbed by UNESCO as being in “one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world”. A visit to the iconic Three Brothers sea stacks, where Steller sea lions bask, or to the dramatic volcanic area with geysers, craters and active calderas is an unforgettable treat.

Attu Island Day 8

A site of great historical significance, Attu Island was the location of the only World War II land battle fought in the United States. More than 3,500 hundred American and Japanese soldiers died at Massacre Bay on the southeastern coast. Now a birders’ paradise, it is the setting for the movie, The Big Year - starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson as avid ornithologists – and you can spot soaring peregrine falcons, lapland longspur and Aleutian Canada goose.

Kiska Harbor Day 9

The site of one of Japan’s few American toeholds during World War II, Kiska Island was held for more than a year in 1942–1943 as a naval base. Stark relics of that time such as artillery guns, a Shinto shrine, bullet casings and ruined piers can still be seen. The striking cliffs of Sirius Point are visited by large numbers of least and crested auklets, while keeping alert for the distinct black-footed albatrosses, ptarmigans and bald eagles.

At Sea Day 10

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Seguam Island Day 11

Part of the Andrean of Islands group in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, Seguam Island is made up of several stratovolcanoes and two calderas, the latest eruption occurring as recently as 1993 at Pyre Peak, the tallest of the island’s volcanoes. The oval- shaped island is mountainous, craggy and home to the short-billed northern fulmar and enigmatic whiskered auklet. Keep your camera ready for whales as we move through the surrounding waters.

Dutch Harbor Day 12

A mile-long spit on Amaknak Island in the Fox Islands, Dutch Harbor was one of the few sites to suffer from aerial bombardment in World War II and you can still see concrete bunkers and former gun emplacements. The native Aleut people have inhabited this area for around 9,000 years but the strong influence of the Russian Orthodox Church can be seen in the characteristic onion domes. The sprightly arctic fox and bright-beaked horned and tufted puffins are all residents here.

Unga Village Day 13

An abandoned village on Delarof Harbor at the southern end of Unga Island in the Aleutian Islands, Unga Village was established by Aleuts in 1833 as a fur trading post but the last family moved from Unga in 1969. It has a ghost town feel with half- standing shacks, demolished buildings and remnants of a church. View its green spaces with bright wildflowers, see kittiwakes hustle at the cliffs, and observe otters and puffins play in the waters.

The Haystacks Day 14

A chain of four tiny islands south of Andronica island and east of The Whaleback in the West Nagai Strait, The Haystacks are part of the Shumagin Islands, themselves named by an Imperial Russian Navy officer, Captain Commander Vitus Bering, after one of his sailors who died of scurvy and was buried there in 1741. Watch out for Taverner's Canada goose, sea lions, sea otters, and whales, while on land you can spot foxes.

Chignik Day 15

A remote village 250 miles southwest of Kodiak Island, before you reach the Aleutian Islands, Chignik is built on fishing and famed for its salmon in particular. There are fewer than 100 inhabitants year-round and its attractively coloured houses and bobbing boats stand in front of waterfalls that cascade down the encircling mountains. There are healthy numbers of marbled murrelets, large flocks of emperor goose and steller's eider, and bald eagles soar on the ocean cliffs.

Aghiyuk Island Day 16

You will see the tall, dramatic rock formations of Aghiyuk Island as we approach, while on land its gentle slopes are covered with vibrant wildflowers and lush flora. Part of the Semidi Islands, southwest of Kodiak Island, Aghiyuk is one of the largest of the group and a hot spot for the impressive black and white Horned Puffins, which perch on the high rocks. Aghiyuk is derived from Achaiak, the Aleut word for cormorant.

Larsen Bay Day 17

Set in a spectacular valley off a narrow fjord, Larsen Bay lies 60 miles southwest of Kodiak and within Kodiak Island’s National Wildlife Refuge; a 2,800-square mile refuge of diverse habitat. Because of this there’s the opportunity to see mighty Kodiak brown bears, deer, sea lions, seals as well as eagles. In 1991, the Smithsonian Institution returned the remains of 756 Alutiiq Natives, a burial that marked the largest repatriation of Native remains ever conducted by the Smithsonian.

Kodiak Day 18

Known as the Emerald Isle for the green shrubs and bushes that cover its verdant, rolling hills, the city of Kodiak sits on Kodiak Island, Alaska’s largest island and the second largest in the United States. The architecture reflects its 18th-century Russian roots as the capital of Russian Alaska. The star attraction is its bears, especially the extraordinary Kodiak bear which can reach heights of three metres. You can also spot sitka deer and elk.

Chiswell Islands & Holgate Glacier Day 19

Exposed and hewn from the full force of wild ocean waves and seismic activity in the Gulf of Alaska, the Chiswell Islands rise as a rugged landscape carved of rough rock formations that are home to a huge variety of bird species. Located within the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska they are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife refuge. Those coming to nest include horned puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, auklets and, in the water, endangered steller sea lions.

Seward Day 20

“Alaska starts here” is the motto of this charming port town situated on Alaska's southern coast that acts as a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. This is an epic landscape of dense forest and snow-capped mountains that is home to brown bears and bald eagles. Nearby Exit Glacier gives you the chance to see porpoises and majestic whales flex and flip in crystal-clear waters. The busy harbour has a quaint collection of welcoming cafes, galleries and shops.

Rates Include
One night pre-cruise 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation with breakfast
All transfers between the hotel, port and airport
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
Use of rubber boots for shore landings
Standard WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
Number of Guests
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
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Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
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If you really like this cruise but the date is not suitable for you, we are glad to offer other dates for the itinerary.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777