High-end cruise operator Crystal Cruises has announced plans to become the world’s first luxury cruise line to sail the Arctic Ocean via the world famous and elusive Northwest Passage.
Crystal says that starting in August 2016, their award-winning Crystal Serenity cruise ship will depart on 32-day expedition-style voyage through the once un-passable Arctic route, maneuvering through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords, and vast unspoiled landscapes north of mainland Canada.
The first trip is scheduled to depart August 16, 2016 from Anchorage/Seward, Alaska and will end in New York City.
“Crystal’s inaugural Northwest Passage offers guests the opportunity to begin a new story of thrilling adventure, all the while indulging in the world’s very best luxury vacation experience,” said Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. “The voyage combines intrepid adventure, the great outdoors, and immersive cultural experiences with Six-Star service as only Crystal can deliver.”
For the cruise, Crystal has hooked up with Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions, a private yacht charter specializing in the polar regions and some of the most remote places on earth. During the voyage, the Crystal Serenity will be accompanied by an escort vessel that will carry additional safety and environmental protection equipment, as well as specifically-trained personnel, and also serve as a platform for a helicopter and zodiacs. Both the escort vessel and cruise ship will run on low-sulphur fuel exceeding environmental regulations, Crystal says.
The itinerary will include ports of call at Kodiak, Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut in Canada and Greenland, as well as various ship and shore excursions and activities for guests.
“From reviewing operations with Canadian officials to meeting with Inuit elders of the Arctic who have provided their backing, our team has spent almost two years diligently gathering the field experts, information, resources, and support to ensure an epic experience that is exceptionally rewarding and safe for guests and crew, and respectful of local lands and cultures,” says Crystal’s Executive Vice President Thomas Mazloum. “During this voyage, speakers will enlighten guests on information regarding climate change, and how it has impacted this passage. With the recent retreat of polar ice, the time is right for us to lead the way within the travel industry, as Crystal has done throughout our 25-year history.”
Crystal Cruises is owned by Tokyo-based Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), one of the largest shipping companies in the world. Crystal currently operates two vessels; the 1,070-passenger Crystal Serenity and the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony. The ships boast some of the highest passenger to crew ratio of any luxury line.