Cover photo by Chris Droukas on Unsplash

When most of us think of Alaska, we think of it as our ultimate destination. And with good reason - America’s final frontier has so much to offer, from history and culture to mesmerizing natural scenery both on land and at sea. However, there are even more amazing trips you can take, starting from Nome or Anchorage, to such far-flung locales as the Bering Strait and the North Pacific. Think outside the box and consider one of this epic small-ship expedition voyages with Alaska as your starting point. 

(Almost) Complete Navigation of the Bering Sea 

Setting sail from Anchorage, you’ll cover more than 3,800 nautical miles as you nearly circumnavigate the Bering Sea. The rewards are many: coastal brown bears in Katmai National Park and on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Steller’s sea eagles along the stunning Zhupanova River and sea otters, fur seals and whales in the Aleutian and Commander islands. If you're a World War II history buff, you'll recognize some of the spots along the way, including Dutch Harbor and Attu and Kiska islands. Sailing into Kamchatka, glimpse the rugged Koryaksky, Avachinsky and Kozelsky volcanoes. And in far eastern Siberia, go hiking over the tundra of the Koryak and Chukotka coasts, perhaps seeing brown bears, walruses and reindeer along the way. 

Iconic Bering Strait 

Depart Nome Alaska to venture deep into the worlds joined by the wild Bering Strait. Your first day will be spent crossing this iconic body of water before reaching Provideniya, where you'll experience Russian cultural music and dance. Cruise by Zodiac to the uninhabited St. Matthew & Hall Islands and view the northern fur seal rookery at St. Paul. Visit Dutch Harbor, once a World War II battle site and today one of the world’s most important fishing ports. See puffins and rare whiskered auklets in the Baby Islands near Unalaska. Photograph brown bears in Katmai National Park and Kodiak Island. Finally, marvel at more than 40 glaciers of the Kenai Peninsula’s Harding Icefield. 

North Pacific Odyssey 

Ready to venture far from home? Discover the northeasternmost areas of the Asian continent and the Ring of Fire. In the rugged Russian Far East, you’ll visit remote Koryak villages, sail through massive fjords, explore the unspoiled shores of the Chukotka and Kamchatka peninsulas, meet the wildlife of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Commander Islands, hike through northern Japan’s national parks and enchanting forests, marvel at the volcanic landscapes of the Kuril Archipelago and meet the sacred red-crowned crane in the wetlands of Kushiro. Bonus - you’ll end your voyage in vibrant Tokyo, a commingling of modern culture and ancient traditions. 

Remote Siberia, Russian Far East and Wrangel Island 

Commune with the mythical polar bears of the Wrangel Island Reserve, well above the Arctic Circle. This area is home to the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens in the world - it’s actually referred to as the “polar bear nursery.” Meet Pacific walruses and see a huge variety of plant life. Witness an ancient and mysterious collection of whale bones and skulls on Yttygran Island. Meet the indigenous artists of the Siberian coastline who are known for their delicate walrus ivory carvings. Explore this untamed wilderness in the capable hands of top naturalists, undersea specialists and cultural experts who will guide you on land, by kayak and in Zodiacs. 

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