An unusual cruising destination, the North Pacific and the Russian Far East feature on a small number of cruise itineraries, sometimes as part of a 'Circle Pacific' voyage.
Although relatively unknown, it is a fascinating area dominated by the effects of volcanic activity, and the area from Petropavlovsk to the Kuril Island chain is often called 'The Northern Ring of Fire'.
Those undertaking a cruise to the Russian Far East have the opportunity to see thirty two volcanoes stretch across the Bering Sea, between Russia and Japan.
These, the Kuril Islands, are sparsely inhabited, their people living from a sea which is still among the most productive in the world.
Huge bird colonies dot the cliffs and large seal rookeries are scattered along the coast.
Orcas are known to inhabit these rich hunting grounds, along with sea otters, seals, thousands of sea birds, bears and foxes.
This region also has former Soviet Military bases, which date back to the Cold War and offer fascinating insight into the history of the area.
These voyages often start and finish in Japan and the north of Alaska, although the more in depth voyages will end in Russia (flights are included for those cruises beginning and ending in Russia).
Day 1 - Fly London to Tokyo
Day 2 - Transfer to a central Tokyo hotel
Day 3 - Tokyo to Niigata. Half day tour of Tokyo, culminating in a journey by bullet train to Niigata where you embark MS Caledonian Sky
Day 4 - Hakodate. Take a cable car up Mt Hakodate and visit Onuma Park known for its dormant volcano and beautiful lakes
Day 5 - Tomakomai. Visit the bird sanctuary at Lake Utonai or see traditional dance and the Ainu village at Shiraoi Poroto Kotan
Day 6 - Kushiro. Visit the wetlands at Kushiro National Park
Day 7 - Yzno Kurilisk & Kunashir Island. Enter Russia and explore the Kiril Islands. Take Zodiacs to Kurilskiy Nature Preserve to try and see red foxes and fur seals
Day 8 - Urup & Chirpoy Islands. Part of a chain of volcanoes, Urup itself is home to four dormant volcanoes and was home to Ainu settlements and Russian fur traders. Chirpoy Island is active. Explore the volcanic coastline by Zodiac and see Steller's sea lions
Day 9 - Yankicha & Matua. At Yankicha, enter the lagoon and see the hydrothermal field with hot springs and boiling puddles. On Matua Island explore the abandoned Soviet airbase
Day 10 - Lovysski Island & Onekaton. See the huge populations of northern fur seals and sea lions
Day 11 - Atlasov Island & Shumshu Island. Visit the Soviet era buildings which are in the shadow of the volcanic Alaid. Off the coast of Shumshu observe sea otters and explore the wetlands of the island
Day 12 - Vestnik Bay & Listvenichnaya. Zodaic cruise around the bay which is home to various birds see mammals. In Listvenichnaya Bay you have the chance to see bears
Day 13 - Petropavlovsk. Tour Petropavlovsk, one of the regions oldest towns
Day 14 - Kamenistaya Bay & Chazma River. See the extinct volcanoes
Day 15 - Bering Island, Commander Islands. See local birdlife including puffins
Day 16 - Zhupanova River. Look for the Steller sea eagle and brown bears
Day 17 - Petropavlovsk to Moscow. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Moscow. Overnight in Moscow
Day 18 - Moscow to London. Take a city tour of Moscow before catching your return flight to London
This is not all we can offer. If you would like to discuss more ways to visit this destination give us a call. Contact us for more options.
Day 1 - Fly from London to Petropavlovsk - Russia
Day 2 – Embark Le Soleal in Petropavlosk - Russia
Day 3 – Petropavlosk - Russia
Day 4 – Atlasovo - Russia
Day 5 – Shumshu / Paramushir - Russia
Day 6 – Onekotan / Sailing Okhotsk Sea
Day 7 – Ekarma / Shaishikotani / Sailing close to Lovushki Islands and Matua - Russia
Day 8 – Yamkicha / Simushir or Ketoy - Russia
Day 9 – Iturup / Ptroskov Rocks - Russia
Day 10 – Iturup / Zolotov Bay / Lions Mouth - Russia
Day 11 – Sailing the Kuril Basin & Oriental Sea of Japan
Day 12 – Otaru – Japan. Disembark for a one night stay in Tokyo
Day 13 – Return flight to London
12 Nights fly-cruise
Departures: 4 October 2013
The best time to go is during the summer time, when the weather is pleasant, and the marine and birdlife is busy.
Layers and thermals are essential – it is hard to predict what the weather will be like, and it could be rainy too. Farther north there will still be snow on the mountain tops – take good quality sunglasses, and high factor sunblock. This destination is all about the scenery and very appealing to photographers – remember to come well equipped as you are unlikely to be able to get everything you need locally.