A new Crystal Cruises expedition-like voyage unfolds like an Agatha Christie with uncharted areas and twists and turns so mysterious and exciting. We're talking history in the making come 2016 when the luxury ship operator will launch an exciting new expedition-style voyage across the Arctic Ocean by way of the legendary Northwest Passage. Crystal will be the first luxury cruise line to make this mysterious and remot journey so mysterious that goes 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle and one that took explorers centuries to find, until discovered by Roald Amundsen just over 100 years ago.
What a way--onboard a ship so luxurious--to witness a captain navigating a route through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords, and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilization and tourism, north of mainland Canada. It all starts on August 16, 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, when the Crystal Serenity sets sail for 32 days from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City. Consider this cruise of a lifetime a month-plus worth of pampering by a top-notch crew, enjoying some of the best food afloat, getting spa treatments, going to exciting enrichment lectures and/or just doing as you please in the lap of luxury.
“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.”
Spearheading this fantastic voyage is cruise line executive vice president Thomas Mazloum, with the help of Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions, providers of bespoke expeditions to the most remote regions on Earth in safety and luxury. “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 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.”
The bucket-list lie, once-in-a-lifetime trek through once-unpassable waterways marks Crystal’s maiden expedition-style itinerary and a break from many cruising traditions. Approaches to itinerary scheduling, destination visits, onboard offerings, and safety standards are all new or enhanced, with major changes including:
A flexible itinerary with some surprise days are built into the schedule to allow unplanned calls of the wild for polar bear-viewing, whale-watching, glacier-cruising, scenic helicopter flights, and/or seeking out the best wildlife and weather on the advice of local specialist guides.
New adventures ashore such as “Wilderness Adventures” that transport passengers across polar tundra, up ice-strewn fjords, and into scenic coves to explore areas in and near maiden ports-of-call. Travelers will also be able to respectfully visit the small, remote communities and uninhabited, unscheduled spaces/lands/waterways en route – often with champagne waiting at the other end. Some excursions will be dependent on circumstances and environment. Crystal says it will spend the next two years planning a plethora of expeditions and “Arctic safaris” involving kayaks, Zodiacs, a helicopter, ATVs, fishing, hiking, climbing, golfing at the world’s northernmost nine-hole course, and even possible camping and/or overnighting away from the ship.
Ports-of-Call: Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Nome*, Alaska; Ulukhaktok*, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay* and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat*, Sisimiut*, and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island, and New York, New York. (*=maiden call)
Waterways: North Pacific Ocean; Bering Sea & Bering Strait; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas; Amundsen Gulf; Dolphin & Union Strait; Coronation Gulf; Dease Strait; Queen Maud Gulf; Victoria Strait; Larsen Sound; Franklin & Bellot Straits; Peel Sound; Parry Channel; Barrow Strait; Prince Regent Inlet; Lancaster Sound; Croker Bay; Navy Board Inlet; Eclipse Sound; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; North Atlantic Ocean.
Enhanced safety and environmental standards: Crystal Serenity and its escort vessel will be using low-sulphur Marine Gas oil fuel, exceeding environmental regulations. The escort vessel will carry additional safety and environmental protection equipment, as well as personnel specifically trained in its use. In addition, it will serve as a platform for a helicopter and zodiacs, and be manned by a crew highly experienced in all aspects of operating safely in this unique area.
All-inclusive “Book Now” fares start at $19,755 per person, double occupancy, with an additional Crystal Society savings starting from $495/person and $3,000 included in savings if booked by August 29, 2014. For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.