Itinerary Overview

An exhilarating North Pacific odyssey

Discover the wild, northeastern most reaches of the Asian continent on an epic journey through one of the most geologically active regions of our planet. Set sail from Alaska aboard the National Geographic Orion, crossing the fabled Bering Strait to explore the unspoiled shores of Russia’s Chukotka and Kamchatka peninsulas. Navigate the Commander Islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve harboring fascinating wildlife of both Asian and North American origin, and continue south to the remote Kuril Archipelago, a pristine wonderland of volcanic geology, indigenous cultural sites, and diverse flora and fauna. Hike amid the enchanting lakes and forests of northern Japan’s national parks, and cap off your voyage in the thriving metropolis of Tokyo.


A symbol of good luck and longevity, red-crowned cranes are an enduring emblem of Japanese culture. Only 2,000 of these elegant birds remain—and half of them live in Kushiro Shitsugen National Park on the island of Hokkaido, one of our stops on this extraordinary itinerary.

Expedition Highlights 

  • Explore the rugged coastline of the Russian Far East, stepping ashore at remote Koryak villages and hiking through breathtaking fjords and valleys.
  • Witness a profusion of rare wildlife from the ship’s deck or aboard a nimble Zodiac: whiskered auklets, northern fur seals, Pacific walrus, sea otters, brown bears, Steller’s sea eagles and more.
  • Navigate among the remote and mostly uninhabited Kuril Islands; marvel at their fascinating geology as you trek the tundra-covered volcanic slopes and Zodiac into a caldera.
  • In Hokkaido, spot the sacred red-crowned crane on a visit to the wetlands of Kushiro, and discover the unique culture and complex history of Japan’s indigenous Ainu people.
  • Immerse yourself in vibrant Tokyo where ancient history and sacred traditions live in harmony with modern-day culture.

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