Albino Spirit Bear on a downed log in green forest.
Orca coming up to breathe and blowing through its blowhole in Chatham Strait, Southeast Alaska.
Close up on one section of a totem pole in Ketchikan Alaska, showing a white face with red and green accents.
Native American Totems and Clan Houses in Ketchikan, Alaska, set against bright green forest and blue sky.
Three women stand-up paddleboarding with a National Geographic expedition ship in the background, on a sunny day.
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North America Canada Cruise

Great Bear Rainforest Cruise: The Land of the Spirit Bear

Sail into the narrow, winding fjords of northern British Columbia and enter the domain of the rare Spirit Bear on this 8-day small ship cruise through Canada and Alaska. The Spirit Bear, also known as a Kermode bear, is a variant of the North American black bear and can only be found in the pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest. The forest is roughly the size of Ireland and one of National Geographic’s “Places of a Lifetime.” It stretches 250 miles across the central and northern coast of British Columbia and encompasses a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. Hike along its salmon-rich streams, enter forests of towering cedars and see the protected region’s abundant wildlife.

Travel aboard the 100-guest National Geographic Venture, with National Geographic photographers and photo instructors on board to share tips and years of expertise. The Nat Geo Venture is an ideal basecamp for luxury Alaska cruises due to her upscale amenities and thoughtful design. Appreciate the onboard expedition technology, including a hydrophone, splash-cam, underwater video camera and video microscope. Also on board is a cultural interpreter who will share the legends and lore of their people, and the lands explored throughout the itinerary.

Set off on excursions to kayak deep into verdant fjords and along wildlife-rich shores; cruise by Zodiac in protected waters in search of grizzly, black and Kermode bears; experience the silence while standing among towering, monumental cedars; witness the surprisingly colorful undersea through video shot by the undersea specialist; and soak in rustic hot spring pools—conditions and wildlife permitting. Discover the region’s abundant wildlife, including mountain goats, cougars, grizzly bears, coastal grey wolves, killer whales, sea lions, sea otters and more. These amazing nature and wildlife opportunities qualify this itinerary for our handpicked selection of Alaska family cruises.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Canada cruises, Canada adventure travel, Alaska trips and Alaska small ship cruises.



Itinerary

Voyage to Great Bear Rainforest: Native Culture & Wildlife in the Land of the Spirit Bear Itinerary

The Voyage to Great Bear Rainforest: Native Culture & Wildlife in the Land of the Spirit Bear cruise begins in Ketchikan, Alaska, and ends in Prince Rupert, Canada, with a charter flight to Seattle, Washington. Sail into the narrow, winding fjords and pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest with daily off-ship activities to search for abundant coastal wildlife and learn the history of First Nations people.

Route map of Great Bear Rainforest cruise, round-trip from Ketchikan, Alaska, with visits along British Columbia's shoreline.
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Day 1
Embark Ketchikan, Alaska

Arrive in Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska, spread at the base of forested slopes on Revillagigedo Island, in the early afternoon. Its many monikers, from “salmon capital of the world” to “rain capital of Alaska,” capture the spirit of this city, famous for colorful buildings and abundant fishing boats and canneries. Embark the ship in time for cocktails and an introduction of the vessel staff and crew.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

Wake up in Prince Rupert, a scenic harbor town on British Columbia’s rugged northwest coast. Get immersed in First Nations history at the Museum of Northern British Columbia, built in the style of a coastal longhouse. Breathe in the scent of cedar beams and peruse an impressive collection of ornate carvings, weavings, ceremonial objects, and regalia. Visit the North Pacific Cannery Museum, a collection of cannery buildings located in a pristine wilderness surroundings that highlight BC’s economic, cultural and natural development over the last century.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 3 - 6
Exploring the Great Bear Rainforest

Over the course of the next four days, cruise far into the fjords and deep valleys that carve into the Coast Range, looking for black and grizzly bears. A cultural interpreter who knows the area intimately joins on board to share the legends of their people. Circumnavigate Gribbell Island, what the Valhalla Wilderness Society has dubbed “Mother Island of the White Bear,” in search of this elusive bear. It is believed that 10-20% of bears in this region are born with the recessive gene that causes the white fur; fewer than 400 are estimated to exist.

British Columbia has one of the highest proportions of protected land of any jurisdiction in the world. Almost 15% of the land is protected, with a wide range of provincial parks, national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Go ashore and explore several remote locations where few people venture. Discover hidden gems by Zodiac and kayak, navigate the tidal narrows that lead to the spectacular Foch Lagoon and glide into the rugged valleys of Owyacumish Bay, while constantly scanning the rocky shoreline for bears.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Cruising & Union Passage Provincial Marine Park

Sail alongside pods of killer whales and look for foraging brown bears while sailing north through the narrow Grenville Channel, a dramatic navigational experience. Not only does the channel narrow to less than a quarter of a mile across, but a slight bend in the passage makes the waterway seem to disappear into the hills ahead and behind the ship. Drop the Zodiacs and kayaks to explore the salmon run at Verney Falls in Lowe Inlet Provincial Marine Park on the way to Prince Rupert.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture

Meals

n/a

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Day 8
Disembark Prince Rupert, Canada, Fly to Seattle, Washington & Depart

After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport in Prince Rupert. Board a charter flight to Seattle for your connecting flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations aboard ship; all meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; park and entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens. Complimentarybeer, wine & full bar.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Prince Rupert to Seattle ($TBD in 2024, inquire for details); immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.)

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Great Bear Rainforest Cruise begins in Ketchikan, Alaska (KTN), and ends in Seattle, Washington (SEA). Please note the Ketchikan airport is located on a small island a ferry ride away from the main town. In order to join the provided group transfer and Ketchikan city tour, plan flights to arrive to Ketchikan by 11:00am on Day 1 of the itinerary. Otherwise, you may plan flights and independently transfer to the dock or the hospitality suite at the Cape Fox Lodge for a vessel embarkation at 5:00pm on Day 1. Plan flights to depart Seattle after 2:00pm on Day 8. Disembarkation is after breakfast on Day 8 of the outlined itinerary; departure times may vary depending on group flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit ourBooking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

The charter flight between Prince Rupert, Canada and Seattle, Washington is not included in the cruise price, but is arranged for you by AdventureSmith Explorations through your ship. Your Adventure Specialist will book this flight for you on the scheduled charter flight for your particular departure. There is a strict luggage limit of 50 lbs (23 kg) checked luggage in addition to one carry on and one personal item on the flight from Prince Rupert to Seattle. Airfares vary by departure; your Adventure Specialist will detail these for you in their proposal and on your invoice. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include wildlife viewing, photography, onboard wellness treatments and massages, off-vessel hiking, kayaking and inflatable boat/skiff excursions.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Travelers under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Sep 02 - Sep 09, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5846USD
Per Person
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Sep 09 - Sep 16, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5846USD
Per Person
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Sep 16 - Sep 23, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5730USD
Per Person
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Sep 01 - Sep 08, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6020USD
Per Person
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Sep 08 - Sep 15, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $6020USD
Per Person
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Sep 15 - Sep 22, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 8 days
From $5901USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Venture

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built expedition vessel made for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels while sailing with the luxury of supreme comfort.

Expert Review

Ship Reviews from our Experts so You Know What to Expect

Mary Montalbano • August 1st, 2023
Expert Aboard: Venture & National Geographic Quest Reviews

Learn from two AdventureSmith experts about identical sister ships Nat Geo Venture and Quest. Tips on choosing your cabin, what the food is like and why choose to sail aboard.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

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Great Bear Rainforest Cruise: The Land of the Spirit Bear