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Thursday, September 12 - SEWARD (ANCHORAGE), ALASKA 

Monumental scenery surrounds you in this remote corner of the world, where glaciers calve, and whales cruise through inky waters before an immense mountain backdrop. Almost totally submerged by the colossal landscapes around it, Seward - and the wonders of Kenai Fjords National Park - offer some of Alaska's most thrilling scenery. Located in a deep gash of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is a place to immerse yourself in nature's majesty. Fjords carve into the landscapes, while the Harding Icefield - which caps Kenai Fjords National Park - reaches out its icy fingers, with glaciers spilling down between mountain peeks. Head to Holgate Glacier and reach face-to-face with a breathtaking stack of intense blue and white ice. Get up close in a kayak or boat ride to slalom through the discarded confetti of ice chunks, and perhaps even witness the powerful spectacle of an ice ledge creaking and groaning before plunging to the waters below. The city of Anchorage is easily within reach from here, offering an incongruous contrast to the wild wonders of Alaska. A place where deep-sea fishermen bump shoulders with businesspeople on the 9-5., it's a fascinating, remote city. Home to almost half of the Alaskan population, Anchorage and its humble skyline are dwarfed by the snowy peaks of the wilderness beyond. Don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique culture, traditions, and heritage of the First Nation people of these lands, too.


Friday, September 13 - KODIAK ISLAND, ALASKA

The domain of grizzlies and brown and black bears, Kodiak Island is a raw, wild, and utterly authentic Alaskan wilderness. The Emerald Isle is the USA's second-largest island, and with a wilderness stretching out over 3,670 square miles, it's a thrilling voyage into the Alaskan unknown. The weather may get a little cloudy at times, but the locals actively welcome a covering of clouds - perhaps partly because the clouds and fog are said to have deterred Japanese attacks during World War II's hostilities. Be sure to bring your camera with you; it's nigh on impossible to take a bad photo of these irresistible vistas - and you'll quickly see why Kodiak Island is the destination of choice for wildlife documentary producers. Cinematic setpieces regularly play out as eagles soar over expansive sweeps of fir-tree forested mountains and still lakes, releasing occasional piercing calls. Some of the animal kingdom's most feared and revered creatures call Kodiak Island home, and your first sight of a bear reaching a massive paw into the water or treading through a gently burbling stream will live with you forever. Soar in a seaplane to track the bears with an expert guide. Masters of disguise, it often takes a trained eye to spot the bears in their natural habitats. Brush up on the skills you'll need in advance with a read of our bear-watching blog. The waters of Kodiak Island are also home to some of the world's most productive fishing. Try out your skills, or accompany a seafaring fishing vessel to witness life on the waves first-hand as they plunder the depths of the ocean.

3 Included Shore Excursions:

  • Kodiak Highlights - Activity Level: Moderate

  • Self-Guided Nature Walk - Activity Level: Extensive

  • Kodiak Waterfront Walking Tour - Activity Level: Extensive

Saturday, September 14 - DAY AT SEA

Sunday, September 15 - DUTCH HARBOR

With Bald Eagles soaring overhead, emerald-green volcanic peaks chafing the clouds, and raw ocean scenery as far as the eye can see, this far-flung destination is the definition of remote and wild. Part of the outlying Aleutian Islands archipelago, which spirals out across the Bering Sea into the wilds of the Pacific, Dutch Harbor offers a dramatic backdrop and rich military history - as one of the few pieces of US soil to be directly attacked by the Japanese during World War II. The town settles into the embrace of a vast deepwater harbor, which helps to protect it from the unpredictable churn of the Bering Sea. Enjoy hikes along coastal trails to birdwatch among more than 100 additional species - and look on as massive clouds of cawing seabirds float on gusts of wind, filling the air with their raucous calls. Dutch Harbor is famous for its crab fishing industry - a dangerous, challenging pursuit - and the town is well known to many Americans as the setting of the television show Deadliest Catch. The Aleutian WWII Visitor Center and the Museum of the Aleutians provide extensive information on WWII in the Aleutians, prehistory, the Russian period, Unangan (Aleut) culture, and recent history. A visible reminder of the Russian past, the Holy Ascension Cathedral is the oldest cruciform-style Russian Orthodox church in North America and a National Historic Landmark.

2 Included Shore Excursions:

  • Hop-on Hop-off Shuttle Bus - Activity Level: Minimal

  • Bunker Hill Hike - Activity Level: Extensive


Monday, September 16 - DAY AT SEA

Tuesday, September 17 - DAY AT SEA

Wednesday, September 18 - INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE - Lose a day

Planet Earth is divided into 24 different time zones; regardless of where you are, the time and date always change at midnight. So, for those who travel westwards, time moves seemingly "slower" over the time zones, gaining one hour per time zone crossed, but you suddenly find yourself one day older when crossing the date line from the Western to the Eastern Hemisphere since you have to adjust for the time "gained"! To confuse matters even further, the International Date Line is arbitrary, and countries can request to move it as they please! For two hours every day (between 10 am and 12 pm GMT), the world has three different dates, meaning that when it is 11:30 pm on Sunday in American Samoa (GMT-11), it will be 6:30 am on Monday in New York City (GMT-4) and 12:30 am on Tuesday in Kiritimati, Line Islands (GMT+14)!

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Thursday, September 19 - Saturday, September 21 - DAYS AT SEA

Sunday, September 22 - KUSHIRO (HOKKAIDO), JAPAN

Surrounded by spectacular national parks - and sheltered from the majority of winter's ice, Kushiro is one of northern Japan's most important cities. A deep-sea fishing port specializing in Pacific saury, Kushiro hugs the coastline of the most northerly of Japan's major islands. See the riches plundered from the ocean at the busy Washo Fish Market, dive into the native Ainu culture, or head out to explore the immersive beauty of Japan's immense wetlands. Kushiro City Museum is an imposing, castle-like structure, but a warm welcome waiting inside, where exhibitions showcase the area's history and the extraordinary animals you can meet on your adventures here. Explore Japan's wilder side at the vast wildlife oasis of Kushiro Marshland. A world away from the country's urban metropolises, look out for the tancho-zuru red-crowned cranes, which are some of the world's rarest and a revered symbol of luck and longevity. Spot pairs of elegant birds as they dance together on the plains of the wetlands. Head to Lake Akan - in Akan National Park - to see another side of the area's landscapes and encounter the bizarre marimo moss. Growing here only, it forms large, perfectly manicured bowling balls. Hot mud pools also burble while the cone of the volcanic Mount Oakan watches over the area, echoing Mount Fuji's symmetrical splendor. Ainu Kotan is close by, and you can visit to experience the authentic culture of northern Japan's native people.

1 Included Shore Excursion:

  • Kushiro Exploration - Activity Level: Extensive

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Monday, September 23 - HAKODATE (HOKKAIDO), JAPAN

Gaze down over Hakodate from the heights of its namesake peak - Mount Hakodate - to see the city stretching out spectacularly, with back-to-back twin bays splitting the ocean. Hakodate port was one of the first to open Japan up to the world and international trade in 1859 - a fact reflected in the architecture, with its influences from the West and beyond. The port area is a redbrick wash of warehouses turned shopping malls, all observed by the onion domes of the city's Russian Orthodox church. Elsewhere, the star-shaped Goryokaku fortress glows with natural colors and a beautiful haze of cherry blossoms during the season. Goryokaku Tower, which rises beside it, offers a sweeping bird's eye view of the green fortress and mountain backdrop. Buses trundle up the 335-metre incline to the top of Mount Hakodate, but the best way to reach the views is to jump on the ropeway, which swings high above downtown buildings, love carpet of pine trees. Head up to the mountain's heights as sunset approaches. With darkness sweeping in and the lights flickering to life, the scenery is one of Japan's most spectacular. Soak it all in and look out to the horizon, dotted with the shimmering lights of ships hauling in harvests of the city's renowned squid. The plankton-rich waters attract a delicious variety of feasting sea life to Hakodate's coast, which is then plated up in the city's numerous skilled restaurants. For an eye-opening whirring morning, see the freshest produce being doled out at Hakodate Morning Market - amid a cacophony of noise and activity.

6 Included Shore Excursions:

  • Introduction to Hakodate - Activity Level: Moderate

  • Hakodate Museum & Mount Hakodate - Activity Level: Moderate

  • Onuma National Park - Activity Level: Extensive

  • Strolling Around Motomachi District - Activity Level: Extensive

  • Trappistine Convent & Goryokaku Park - Activity Level: Moderate

  • Strolling Around Hakodate - Activity Level: Extensive

Tuesday, September 24 - MIYAKO, IWATE, JAPAN

Set on the eastern coast in Japan's Iwate prefecture, Miyako promises stunning scenery and Jorman history in equimeasure. The coastal city of around 50,000 inhabitants is almost 600 km (372 miles) from Tokyo but boasts one of the finest beaches in Japan as well as a treasure trove of succulently fresh seafood restaurants. While travelers to Miyako might arrive expecting the usual amalgam of cultural attractions and high-tech wizardry, they will leave with memories of one of the greatest garden cities they have ever experienced. During the Edo period (1603-1868), the town was once considered Japan's main seaport, and it is still an important port today with a thriving fishing industry. Mother Nature does come into her own in Miyako. The city is bordered by the vast Sanriku Fukko National Park, one of the National Parks of Japan. Sanriku Fukko stretches for 180 km (111 miles) along the coast and is home to a remarkable mixture of flora and fauna, including groves of Japanese red pine, rhododendrons, and Rosa rugosa. Numerous bird species, including the black-tailed gull and shearwater, call the park home. Butterflies float gently on the breeze, and hummingbirds sail like darts through the trees. What's more, bird lovers will undoubtedly love that the nearby Hidejima Island and Sanganjima Island are the only breeding grounds in Japan for the band-rumped storm petrel.

3 Included Shore Excursions:

  • Miyako Geo Park - Activity Level: Minimal

  • Jodogaham & Ryusendo - Activity Level: Moderate

  • Tsunami Aftermath & Sanriku Geo Park - Activity Level: Moderate


Thursday, September 26 - DAY AT SEA

Friday, September 27 - TOKYO, JAPAN

Dense and delightful, there's nowhere else like Japan's kinetic capital - a city where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with a relentless pursuit of the future's sharpest edge. See the city from above as elevators rocket you up to towering viewing platforms, from which you can survey a vast urban ocean interspersed with sky-scraping needles. Look out as far as the distant loom of Mount Fuji's cone on clear days. Futuristic - second-accurate - transport seamlessly links Tokyo's 14 districts while the glow of flashing advertisement boards, clanks of arcade machines, and waves of humanity flowing along its streets add to the sense of mesmerizing, dizzying, and glorious sensory overload. One of Tokyo's most iconic sights, don't miss the flood of people scrambling to cross Shibuya's famous intersection. Join the choreographed dance as crowds of briefcase-carrying commuters are given the green light to cross at the same time - bathed in the light of massive neon advertisements. The culture is immensely rich and deep, with 7th-century, later-decorated temples, stunning palaces, and tranquil scarlet shrines waiting below cloaks of incense and nestling between soaring skyscrapers. Restaurants serve up precisely prepared sushi and wafer-thin seafood slivers, offering a unique taste of the country's refined cuisine. Settle into traditional teahouses to witness intricate ceremonies, or join the locals as they fill out karaoke bars to sing the night away.

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