Alaska Photo Tour - May 14th to 28th, 2023
Alaska Photo Tour - Journey from Vancouver to Seward and Anchorage. Discover Alaska’s many fjords, Gold-Rush–era history, glistening glaciers, rare wildlife, primeval rainforest, and rich indigenous and culture.
I would like to invite you to join us as we photograph and explore Alaska onboard the hybrid electric-powered MS Roald Amundsen. We'll sail north past the islands and fjords of the Johnstone Strait of Vancouver Island, continuing up the Hecate Strait. The magnificent Misty Fjords wilderness will be your introduction to Alaska. Next stop, Wrangell. In this historic town, look for petroglyphs strewn along the beach. Your first glimpse of glaciers will come at either the Tracy or Endicott Fjords. Discover a ‘Little Norway’ in Petersburg and admire art at the many galleries in Haines. William Henry Bay is known for its old-growth forest—and the chance to find gold—while Point Adolphus is famous for its superb whale watching. We will also visit Sitka, Alaska’s former capital when it belonged to Russia.
We will sail to Icy Bay, featuring icebergs that have calved off three glaciers farther into the bay. In the friendly salmon fishing hamlet of Cordova, you’ll find frontier charm at its finest. Then it’s on to College Fjord, a spectacular stretch of water flanked by snow-dusted mountains and glaciers offering views of as many as eight glaciers! Seward then travelling on to Anchorage.
I look forward to sharing our Alaska experience with you.
Our tour includes complementary Wi-Fi onboard our ship.
Alaska Photo Tour Itinerary - May 14th to 28th, 2023
Welcoming fully vaccinated guests on all our tours.
Day One: Sunday May 14th, 2023: Early morning departure offered from Staybridge Suites London to Toronto pick-ups available en route. Toronto and area guests will meet at Pearson International. We fly from Toronto to Vancouver via Air Canada our fight departs at 10:00 a.m. Arriving early afternoon into Vancouver.
Our expedition cruise starts in Vancouver. Set amid gorgeous mountain scenery and along the waters of English Bay, Vancouver is both a bustling seaport and cosmopolitan city. Enjoy your first night in Vancouver our hotel is centrally located hotel. After check-in we have time to relax. The group will meet and head out for an afternoon photo walk and well find an interesting location for dinner, posssibly some night photography opportunities. Dinner on our own, overnight Vancouver.
Day Two: Monday May 15th, 2023: After breakfast at our hotel, we will take a city tour of the main highlights of Vancouver as we travel to the pier, where the MS Roald Amundsen is waiting for us to board and begin our expedition cruise. Our sailng time is set for 4:00 p.m. We will have time to settle onboard and enjoy some great city views as we depart. During our sailing we will issue rubber boots for our landings and complementary windproof jackets the jackets are yours to keep. (B) (L) (D)
Day Three: Tuesday May 16th, 2023: Crusing along the Briish Columbia coastline ... As we travel north, we’ll make our way toward the narrow channels of Canada’s Inside Passage. Feel the thrill of a great adventure as we navigate through the thousands of islands of the Pacific Northwest. The great North American Pacific Fjordland is a protected stretch of water almost 933 miles long, known for its relatively calm waters and few ocean swells. As our journey begins, consider joining the Expedition Team at the onboard Science Center for fascinating lectures. Spend time getting to know your fellow travelers and head on deck to look for dolphins, porpoises, orcas, and humpback whales. Our expedition ship is small enough to pass through the Inside Passage making approaches to interesting and scenic channels. Many photo oppprtunities. (B) (L) (D)
Day Four: Wednedsay May 17thth, 2023: Misty Fjords National Monument. The first area we will explore on our expedition is none other than the spectacular Misty Fjords National Monument. It forms part of the two-million-acre Tongass National Forest, a pristine coastal wilderness of evergreen trees, deep fjords, and majestic snow-capped peaks. This region receives more than 150 inches of rain per year, which feeds lakes and rivers that run into waterfalls and tumble from the dark granite cliffs. These mountains, covered in cedar, spruce, hemlock, and moss, rise almost vertically from the fjords to heights of more than 3,000 feet.
The influential Scottish-American mountaineer John Muir, known as the ‘Father of the National Parks’, famously called the Misty Fjords one of the most beautiful places he’d ever seen. Weather permitting, we will tour the area aboard small boats zodiacs (or by kayak on an optional excursion). Keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, brown bears, black bears, and moose along the shores, the ridges, or slopes. All five species of Pacific salmon swim in the waters, along with river otters, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, orcas, and Dall porpoises. Also hummingbirds, Trumpeter Swans, herons, and the greatest American icon: the majestic Bald Eagle can be photographed in this region. (B) (L) (D)
Day Five: Thursday May 18th, 2023: Petroglyph Beach - Wrangell, Alaska. Feel like you’re truly stepping back in time at Wrangell, one of Alaska’s oldest and most historic island towns. After a short 15-minute walk, you’ll start to see the ancient petroglyph carvings that dot the beach here. There are about 50 in total, afterward, pay a visit to the Wrangell Museum. It’s packed full of interesting artifacts and information about the town’s history. Wrangell is now part of the U.S., but was previously governed by Great Britain, Russia, and the Tlingit people, as far back as 8,000 years ago. Don’t miss the moss-covered totem poles at the Chief Shakes Tribal House, which tell the story of the local Tlingit people. The beautiful Tribal House, constructed from cedar wood, is only a short walk from the town center, over the wooden bridge to Shakes Island. Reconnecting with nature is easy on one of the local trails to the edge of the rainforest, surrounded by alluring scenery at the mouth of Stikine River and at the foot of Mount Dewey. We will do small boat (zodiac) crusing today too, which is included in the tour. (B) (L) (D)
Day Six: Friday May 19th, 2023: Tracy / Endicott Arm Fjords, Alska - Glaciers in all thier glory. Crossing Holkham Bay, we can choose between exploring Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm. These fjords are lesser-known gems of Alaska, due to their relative inaccessibility for larger vessels. You’ll appreciate just how special they are when you see them. The water is often so calm here it seems like a mirror reflecting the sky and the mountains around it. Calving glaciers lie at the end of each fjord, releasing beautiful fresh icebergs out into the tranquil waters—some as tall as buildings. Tracy Arm is the home of the combined North and South Sawyer Glaciers, while the Dawes Glacier lies in the Endicott Arm. Both arms are home to rugged and radiant blue-ice glaciers and icebergs, set against a stunning backdrop of Alaskan forests and towering cliffs. Endicott Arm is one of the world’s largest breeding grounds for harbor seals, which are often seen loafing on the floating ice. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, bears, mountain goats, moose, and other wildlife. If conditions are right you might catch a closer view from our zodiacs (or by kayaks on an optional excursion) (B) (L) (D)
Day Seven: Saturday May 20th, 2023: Petersburg, Alaska aka Little Norway. From the waterfront, you’ll have enviable views of the snowy summits across Frederick Sound. The most prominent of these peaks is the Devil’s Thumb, the site of the biggest rockface in North America. Founded by a Norwegian named Peter Buschmann in the 1800s, the 3,000 residents of this ‘Little Norway’ are very proud of their Scandinavian heritage. Enjoy the quaint wooden houses decorated with traditional Norwegian rosemaling as you stroll quiet streets like Sing Lee Alley. Learn all about the town’s Nordic history at the Sons of Norway hall, a large white building built in 1912. You’ll even find a locally constructed replica of a Viking ship, the Valhalla, which was constructed nearby. Included Petersburg - Sons of Norway. (B) (L) (D)
Day Eight: Sunday May 21st, 2023: Haines, Alaska - Art on the wild side. Haines is an ideal location for adventurers seeking hiking and wildlife-photography opportunities. Known as the ‘Valley of the Eagles’, Haines is a Bald Eagle magnet. Its varied ecosystems also support bears and moose. Also discover this rugged frontier Alaskan town with a heart for art. Haines is postcard perfect, located in the northern part of the Alaskan Panhandle beside the Lynn Canal deepwater fjord. Before the Gold Rush, Haines was the home to the Chilkat Tlingit people. who are well-known for weaving intricate designs with mountain goat fur and yellow cedar bark. Visit the Haines Sheldon Museum to see authentic Chilkat blankets on display. The creative spirit lives on in Haines through its flourishing art scene. There are more artists per capita here than any other town in Southeast Alaska. Totem carving, silverwork, sculpture, and photography are just some of the art forms. (B) (L) (D)
Day Nine: Monday May 22nd, 2023: William Henry Bay, Alaska. Explore the Wilderness. William Henry Bay lies south of Haines, at the edge of the Chilkat Range mountain range. We’ll drop anchor and explore the shores lined with old-growth forest with local guides. Keep your eyes open for brown and black bears, black-tailed deer, and moose.
The area here was the site of copper mining, and later gold, in 1921. With the Cold War and nuclear arms proliferation of the 1950s, the U.S. government spurred on a ‘uranium rush’ around William Henry Bay, but failed to find any significant deposits. Recent surveys seem to suggest that there still be gold in these hills… This evening, we’ll pass by Point Adolphus, located on the northern tip of Chichagof Island, across from Glacier Bay National Park. These nutrient-rich waters are famous for attracting large numbers of humpback whales and other marine life. See why Point Adolphus is known as one of the best whale-sighting spots in North America. Our adventure continues. (B) (L) (D)
Day Ten: Tuesday May 23rd, 2023: Sitka, Alaska - A highlight for many visitors to Sitka is the 107-acre Sitka National Historical Park. There is a fascinating museum here offering a range of exhibits. You can then follow a trail that leads you by the ocean through a peaceful forest. You’ll also discover beautiful examples of ornate Haida and Tlingit totem poles along the way. Situated on Baranof Island on the outer coast of the Inside Passage, Sitka can only be reached by sea or by air. It’s also surrounded by Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world. While you sail here, enjoy views of the Sisters Mountains and of Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano reminiscent of Japan’s Mount Fuji. Originally inhabited by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago, Sikta was conquered by Russia in 1804 and renamed ‘New Archangel’. By 1808, the city was the largest in the region and designated the capital of Alaska. Today, Sitka is home to a blend of cultures. Tlingit traditions remain strong, existing alongside Russian and American influences. Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. to keep it out of the hands of the British. The location of the transfer ceremony in 1867 was none other than New Archangel, which was promptly renamed ‘Sitka’. At the meager price of $7.2 million for the entire region, it was a steal at just two cents per acre! Historic sites abound in Sitka, like its oldest intact building, the Russian Bishop’s House, dating back to 1842. Or you can visit the Russian Orthodox St. Michael’s Cathedral, which still features its original chandelier, religious art, and a range of other artifacts. A location of many landscape and wildlife photo opportunities. (B) (L) (D)
Day Eleven: Wednesday May 24th, 2023: Icy Bay - A trio of tidal glaciers. Today we will explore Icy Bay, near Prince William Sound—a place that really lives up to its name. Three prominent glaciers—Guyot, Yahtse, and Tyndall—feed vast chunks of floating ice into the bay’s waters. This area was once a giant tidewater glacier that ran directly into the Gulf of Alaska. Icy Bay has only been accessible to ships for the last 100 years or so. This was also the site of the 2015 megatsunami, when 180 million tons of mountain rock and forest collapsed into the fjord. The resulting wave is thought to be one of the tallest in the past century. Thankfully, the megatsunami dissipated without doing any damage.
Our aim will be to visit the Guyot Glacier, measuring 34 miles long and 8 miles wide, but that depends on ice we encounter along the way and on local weather conditions. Explore the waters by kayak as part of an optional excursion.
Like always, we’ll be on the lookout for the awesome wildlife that abounds in the Gulf of Alaska, including humpback whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, and many others. Photo ops will abound throughout the day in this rough and rugged area steeped in natural beauty. The harbor seals, in particular, love to loaf around on the floating ice. We will explore the bay via zodiacs. (B) (L) (D)
Day Twelve: Thursday May 25th, 2023: cordova - Alaska's little secret ... Cordova is an authentic Alaskan salmon fishing town surrounded by the vast Chugach National Forest. As it’s only accessible by boat or plane, only a few visitors each year admire the town’s spectacular setting between Orca Inlet, Hawkins Island, Mount Eccles, Eyak Lake, and the Copper River Delta. Thanks to this remoteness, Cordova has preserved its small-town, traditional feel more than many other communities in Alaska. Enjoy the friendly atmosphere and chat with the welcoming locals about their lives.
Head down to the Ilanka Cultural Center and see a collection of tribal artifacts and artwork, including a fully reconstructed orca skeleton. You can also check out the museum on Main Street for a snapshot of Cordova’s history. Some might know of Cordova due to the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, when a tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef northwest of the town. Major efforts helped clean up the coastline. While the region’s sea otters, eagles, Tundra Swans, beavers, moose, and bears have largely recovered, certain after-effects remain. (B) (L) (D)
Day Thirteen: Friday May 26th, 2023: Ivy League Glaciers. This area in northern Prince William Sound is home to five magnificent tidewater glaciers, five large valley glaciers, and a dozen smaller ones. From afar, the glaciers look like frozen waterfalls, tumbling slowly down the black rock of the Chugach Mountains into the blue seas below. Glaciers such as Vassar, Smith, Yale, and Harvard were named after their discoverers’ Ivy League alma maters during the 1899 Harriman Expedition. Princeton is notably missing—the discoverers are said to have taken great delight in this deliberate snub! Harvard Glacier is the largest among these glaciers. Its face is 200-feet-thick and over a mile wide. We’ll get as close as we safely can to these natural wonders, provided that the wind, waves, and conditions are favorable. Photography of wildlife, including humpback whales, bald eagles, otters, and sea lions, which are often spotted in this remote area. There is also a possibility of small-boat zodiac cruising on the fjord. (B) (L) (D)
Day Fourteen: Saturday May 27th, 2023: Seward - Heading Inland. Sitting on the Kenai Peninsula at the head of Resurrection Bay and beneath Mount Marathon, Seward boasts incredible natural scenery. This is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, a vast mountainous area containing one of Alaska’s largest ice fields. Founded in 1903, Seward is the only deepwater ice-free port that also connects to Alaska’s interior via plane, train, and highway. It is named after William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who negotiated the U.S’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.
When we arrive at this lively harbor, you’ll bid farewell to the ship and enjoy a scenic drive through spectacular backcountry to Anchorage for an overnight stay. The route between Anchorage and Seward is also well known for sightings of the horned Dall sheep. We’ll also make a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center along the way. Surrounded by mountains and glaciers, this sanctuary in Portage Valley cares for orphaned and injured Alaskan animals. Here, you might see bears, bison, moose, caribou, elk, eagles, owls, musk oxen, and a variety of birds. Overnight Anchorage. (B) (L) (D)
Day Fifteen: Sunday May 28th, 2023: Ancharge, Alaska. Our expedition ends in Alaska’s largest city, home to almost 40% of the state’s population. In fact, Anchorage sits almost exactly midway between New York City and Tokyo, Japan; but it’s even further north than Oslo, Norway, and Saint Petersburg, Russia. Flowers will be in full boom in Town Square Park, while locals will be fishing for salmon in downtown Ship Creek, making the most of the long summer days. Moose are commonly seen roaming certain neighborhoods, with brown and black bears also known to wander into parts of the city. Mid afternoon we will transfer to the airport for our Air Canada flight home flying via Vancouver back to Toronto. We will say good-bye to our connecting and GTA guests and board our motor coach for our drive back to London, with any drop offs en route arriving at approximating 10:00 a.m. (B)
Alaska in May has a tempertature ranging from coastal temperatures 8C to 15C and 16 hours of daylight, and interior temperatures of 2C to 17C and 18 hours of daylight. Packing for our tour think casual and in layers. You will also need to pack a pair of splash pants to wear over your clothing as it can be cold when on our zodiacs. Included with your package is a HH Expedition Jacket which you will receive once onboard our ship. You will also be suppled with rubber boots for our landings.
Pre-tour Information Night: As with all our photo tours, we will hold a photo information night approximately three weeks prior to departure. We will present the final itinerary, travel suggestions, what gear to pack, and hand out all related travel documents. The pre-tour presentation is designed to give our photographers all the information needed for our trek, this also allows a chance for you to meet your fellow travellers. The tentative information night is Thursday April 27, 2023.
The cost of our Alaska Photo Tour is $9,399.00 CAD based on double occupancy Outside Cabin USPO, including return air from Toronto, plus air tax $208.00 and $17.55 HST, single supplement available an additional $3,220.00.
A non-refundable deposit of $500.00 CAD is due at the time of booking an additional deposit of $1,000.00 CAD is due July 29th, 2022 based on the base cabin price, deposit will be adjusted for upgrades. Final payment is due 180 days prior to departure Tuesday November 15, 2022. Cancelations 50% refund between 180 and 90 day before departure, 25% refund between 89 and 61 days prior to departure, less than 60 days 100% non refundable.
You may also choose to pay over 12 monthy payments through our Uplift finance program estimate - $957 per month. You select 12, 18 or 24 month payment options under the payment section during registration.
- Round trip coach for departures from London to Pearson Airport
- Other pick-up locations available upon request along the 401 corridor
- Round Trip Airfare via Air Canada to Vancouver
- Airfare from Anchorage to Vancouver
- 15 days 14 nights onboard MS Amundsen
- 2 nights pre and post Alaska expedition cruise in Vancouver and Anchorage
- All airport and hotel transfers
- Breakfast included each day
- All meals onboard the ship
- Dinner included beverages house beer and wine, soads and mineral water
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Streaming not supported
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations onboard
- Complimentary wind and water-resistant HH expedition jacket
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
- Escorted landings with small boats zodiacs
- English speaking expedition guides
- Photo Workshops
- Tour hosted and escorted by photographer James Cowie
- Items of a personal nature, laundry, phone calls, etc.
- Local guide tips and gratuities
- Alcoholic beverages purchased on land or at the ships bar
- Personal Travel and Medical Insurance
- All planned activities are subject to weather conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- no gratuities are expected by crew
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research projects
- The ship has hot tubs, an infinity pool, a sauna, an outdoor and indoor gym, and an outdoor running track
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
** Schedule may vary according to weather - please note landings in itinerary are at the ships captain descrection and decisions are made according to weather and ice flows always make travel safetly the first priority.
Tourcan Vacations and Photo Tour Trekkers recommends the purchase of travel and health insurance as our tour takes us out of the country. Health insurance is highly recommended. Please note your passport expiry date must be valid for 6 months past our return date of May 28, 2023.