Russian Far East Cruises

The region stretches from the islands of Japan in the Sea of Okhotsk running up through the Kuril Islands in the Kamchatka area of Russia, via the Bering Sea to Alaska and via the Aleutian Islands, and up above Russia to the Chukotka province and on to remote Siberian islands.

The least explored of the world’s great wildernesses, this vast area was isolated until fairly recently, with access only by Russian military or with special permission. Here, time has stood still for millennia.

Through exploring the area we will uncover mystical and ancient sites such as the enigmatic Whale Bone Alley on the Siberian island of Yttygran Island, abandoned fishing villages and Paleo-Eskimo camps on Wrangel Island where tusks strewn across the tundra and beaches are testament to the long-extinct dwarf mammoth that once roamed here, and petrified forests on Unga Island in the Aleutians.

This is also where east meets west. Only 2 miles separates the US from Russia where they collide at the Diomedes Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. Islands such as Amaknak, Attu and Kiska, fought over in World War II between Russia, Japan and the US, reveal dilapidated buildings, runways, battlefields and artefacts. 

Volcanic and geothermal activity produced a stunning landscape in the Pacific Ring of Fire. The natural beauty of these dramatic volcanic areas with snow-covered peaks, pluming fumaroles, bubbling lagoons, hot springs, geysers, craters and active calderas are an exceptional site to behold.

In turn, the mineral-rich environment creates ideal conditions for bountiful marine and birdlife.

From the warmer waters near the Kuril Islands to lands locked in ice for much of the year, thousands upon thousands of migratory birds come to the area. For many birders, this is the highlight with cliffs crowded with seabirds on St George and Attu Islands in the Aleutians and on Kolyuchin Island off the Siberian coast. Auks, puffins, cormorants, thick-billed murres (Brünnich’s guillemots), northern fulmars, whiskered auklet, black-footed albatross, black-legged and red-legged kittiwake are all spotted in these waters, while peregrine falcons take to the skies and snow geese nest on the blossoming tundra.

Salmon leap and cetaceans swim alongside as we cruise these far-flung waters, ice-filled for much of the year. Keep alert for breaching minke, grey and beluga whales and northern fur seals on Tyuleniy Island, as well as steller sea lions, bearded and ringed seals that play close to the shores. On land, Canadian lynx, wolves, brown and black bears, grizzlies, Kodiak bears, arctic foxes, arctic hares, reindeer, hairy muskoxen, snow monkeys all show up in places throughout the region.

Lands that are covered in ice for much of the year wake up for a few short months in summer. Wrangel Island in the East Siberian Sea is a nature-lover’s paradise where the lush tundra harbours rare lichen, mosses and colourful wildflowers, and snow geese nest. The island’s shores are also home to the world’s largest breeding rookery of Pacific walrus as well as the world’s largest denning area for polar bears.

Through exploring the area we will uncover the human histories and folklore of isolated indigenous peoples who have roamed these lands for centuries hunting whale and herding reindeer, hearing the tales of the displacements of Alutiiq, and Alaskan and Siberian Yupik, and visit villages where they still produce traditional crafts.

With restricted access due to climate and limited transit, the Russian Far East is one of the best places on the planet to explore on an expedition ship. This is a unique part of the world, and we look forward to showing you around.

Northern adventures to Greenland
This is the world’s largest island with serrated mountainscapes, narrow fjords and far-reaching valleys, where you can combine adventure and culture by discovering the Inuit’s rich heritage, while all the time following polar bears. This icy realm is home to the mysterious midnight sun, an incredible phenomenon where the sun never leaves the horizon but smoulders at sunset until sunrise comes again. Our powerful vessel will guide you through cerulean waters as you witness the fjords, glaciers and tundra that have captured the hearts of explorers in their pioneering endeavours.
Our Cruise Itineraries
Kamchatka & Aleutian Islands Discovery
Set sail from Seward 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.
Russia’s Ring of Fire: Sea of Okhotsk wildlife & Volcanoes
Explore the volcanic peaks, human history, and rich wildlife of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire on this 11-day adventure. You’ll experience traditional Japanese culture on Otaru and witness the blend of Russian and Japanese influence in the fascinating city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk before setting sail through the volcanic Kuril Islands. Hike on the vibrant green peaks of active volcanoes and search for the diverse wildlife that is supported by the fertile environment here. Our expedition team will be on hand to explain everything you need to know about the geothermic activity in this region. Experience all of this aboard your small, boutique cruise ship as you cruise this fiery corner of the world in comfort and style.
Kamchatka & Aleutian Islands Discovery (Otaru to Seward)
Set sail north from Otaru to the isolated reaches of the northern Pacific. As you hike among the chains of oceanic islands, you’ll discover the unique flora and fauna that thrive in these volcanic lands, and delve deep into sites of historical significance alongside our team of experts.