Largest Cruise Ship Undertakes Historic Arctic Journey

Largest Cruise Ship Undertakes Historic Arctic Journey

The Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route over the top of Canada has historically been impassable, due to being frozen over at all times of the year. But times have changed, and the rapid ice melting in the Arctic in recent years has cleared a path for shipping vessels.



Now, a 1,600-person, 13-deck cruiser has become the largest passenger ship to have undertaken this journey of a lifetime. The Crystal Serenity weighs nearly 69,000 tons and the $350 million luxury ship measures 250 meters (820 feet) in length and 32.2 meters (105.6 feet) in width.



It took three years of planning and preparation for this extra-ordinary event to happen. The ship was equipped with an ice navigation system and thermal imaging to avoid hitting any floating ice chunks.



On a 32-day cruise, the Crystal Serenity left Seward, Alaska last week then around Alaska, through the Canadian Arctic, past Greenland and finally arriving at New York on Sep 16th.



Passengers on board were treated to “Wet” zodiac landings, icy hikes, and intrepid treks in remote arctic locations, hitherto unaccessible. Other impromptu opportunities included encounters with wildlife, including close-up greetings with polar bears and numerous whale pods.



The month-long voyage was priced between 21,000 and 120,000 dollars per passenger. Buoyed by the success of the maiden voyage, Crystal has announced a second Northwest Passage route in 2017, open for booking now. It seems to be just the start of a growing Arctic tourism industry.
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