In 2018, Silversea started offering an itinerary that wound its way through the far-flung islands of Alaska and the Russian Far East. It was a hit; Silversea is wait-listing guests who are interested in its 18-day Russian Far East voyage, scheduled for June 2019, and has scheduled a similar itinerary for July 2020. It might be the only trip on this list that touts its white-gloved butler service and its fleet of 12 Zodiac boats.
After departing from the Japanese city of Otaru on Hokkaidō, things start with a visit to Korsakov, site of an Ainu fishing village, and a Zodiac cruise around Tyuleniy Island. Thousands of seals and sea lions swarm the island during the June breeding season, filling it with the exuberant sounds of strutting bulls, chirpy pups and their mothers. Stops in Russia’s Kuril archipelago include Yankicha Island, home to arctic foxes and more than 250 species of birds, and Atlasova Island, which once hosted a women’s gulag. Guests may view its remains if they wish.
America beckons after the ship crosses the international date line and gains a day. Attu Island now belongs to the peregrine falcons, Lapland longspurs and other birds that nest there, but it’s also the site of the only World War II battle that took place in North America. The Japanese fought an American-Canadian force for two weeks in May 1943 in a loss that cost the Japanese more than 2,300 troops. Guests may explore the main battlefield provided they remain alert and careful — the vintage ordnance could be live. Kiska Harbor, a subsequent stop in the Aleutian Islands, testifies to a WWII-era Japanese occupation of 6,000 soldiers who left behind a small abandoned submarine and a Shinto shrine. Unga, another Aleutian island, features a ghost town and a forest of petrified wood. The latter is the trickier of the two to visit; it can only be approached at low tide or else the forest will be underwater.
Once in the Alaskan peninsula, the itinerary devotes a day to Kodiak Island, where guests visit the small outposts at Larsen Bay and the city of Kodiak. If the previous opportunities did not convert you to bird-watching, the stop in the Chiswell Islands might, with its colonies of auklets, pelagic cormorants, black-legged kittiwakes and other seabirds. The journey ends in Anchorage, which will seem like a bustling metropolis after two weeks of wet landings on islands that redefine the word “remote.”
The Best Berth: Both of the owner’s suites, located on Deck 7, measure a generous 728 square feet, including the furnished balcony. The bedroom can have a queen-size bed or a pair of twin beds, and the marble-decorated bath has a tub and separate shower. It also features a walk-in closet, an espresso machine, a writing desk and a living room with sitting area. The owner’s suite is designed to accommodate three.
More Information: Silversea’s Hokkaidō to Seward, Alaska, itinerary in 18 days
Galápagos Islands: Face-to-Face With Fantastic Beasts