A year after its historic voyage, the Crystal Serenity is preparing to sail the Northwest Passage again

By The Arctic Journal - May 24, 2017

Physically and financially capable travellers looking to visit the Arctic are in luck: the Crystal Serenity, a luxury cruise ship, will be staging a repeat of its 2016 transit of the Northwest Passages this summer, according to an announcement from Crystal Cruises, the firm that operates the vessel.

The Crystal Serenity, which has a capacity of 1,700 passengers and crew, made history in the summer of 2016 when it became the largest passenger vessel to sail the waterway passing through Canadian Arctic territory.

As with the 2016 voyage, this summer’s route will start in Alaska and visit Greenland en route to New York.

In an undated handout photo, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity sails waters off Antarctica. The ship is slated to sail the Northwest Passage in 2016 carrying nearly 1,700 passengers and crewmembers. (Courtesy Crystal Cruises)
In an undated handout photo, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity sails waters off Antarctica. The ship is again slated to sail the Northwest Passage in 2017. (Courtesy Crystal Cruises)

Fares for 32-day cruise, which departs Seward, Alaska on August 15, start at $21,855. During the trip, passengers will have the opportunity to “immerse themselves in the nuances of the local communities and breath-taking nature and terrain of the region.”

Such activities include scuba-diving, an “overland adventure” in Nunavut from Pond Inlet to Grise Fjord, visiting other communities, fly fishing and golfing. The full list of 100 activities, as well as the “unplanned adventures” the likes of Zodiac landings on glaciers, is billed by the firm as “unprecedented adventures and unsurpassed luxury.”

The Crystal Serenity’s first Northwest Passages voyage, according to Crystal Cruises, was three years in the planning, and the voyage itself included the advice of ice-pilots, guides and community leaders.

During the voyage itself, an ice-breaking support vessel was on hand and ice pilots were on the bridge of the vessel. This will be the case again this year. According to Crystal Cruises, the Ernest Shackleton, a British vessel, will offer logistical and safety support.

This summer’s cruise will be based on the same planning last year’s trip, but will also make use of the lessons learned during the first voyage. Crystal Cruises says it will also take into account the recommendations of the U.S. and Canadian coast guards, Transport Canada, and other federal, state, provincial, territorial and local government agencies.