Crystal Cruises is introducing a new expedition-style voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean via the legendary Northwest Passage – one so mysterious and remote (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle) that explorers spent centuries seeking the passage, until it was first completed successfully by Roald Amundsen just over 100 years ago.
Crystal will be the first ultra-luxury cruise line to ever navigate the route, manoeuvring through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilisation and tourism, north of mainland Canada.
Beginning 16th August 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, the Crystal Serenity will sail for 32 nights from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City.
Following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers, the once-in-a-lifetime journey through once-impassable 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: extra ‘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: Crystal will introduce ‘Wilderness Adventures’ that take guests across polar tundra, up ice-strewn fjords and into scenic coves to explore areas in and near maiden ports-of-call.
New enrichment: a 14-person expedition team of experts in a variety of subjects – including a local Arctic guide, scientists and accomplished wildlife and landscape photographers – will not only provide lectures on subjects such as the science and history of the area, but also offer hands-on seminars and workshops, host dinners with guests, guide wildlife watching from the ship and accompany excursions, where appropriate.
Respect & understanding of the local culture: guests will be given a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in the lifestyles of these small and remote communities during port visits, with activities created in partnership with the communities.
The first call in the Canadian Arctic is planned for the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, a settlement of just a few hundred people on the shores of the Amundsen Gulf, just 1,400 miles from the North Pole. “
With the new cruise comes a new booking process. A 20% initial deposit will be required to secure all bookings, with 50% of the deposit being non-refundable. Starting 17th July, the initial booking window will only be available to guests who have sailed with Crystal before (i.e. Crystal Society members). Non-members may add their name to a wait list and remaining space, if any, will open to the public on 2nd September. Crystal Adventures will open for pre-reservation 18 months in advance of the cruise.
All-inclusive ‘Book Now’ cruise only fares start at £13,953 per person, double occupancy, with additional Crystal Society savings starting from £309 per person and £1,875 in savings if booked by 29th August 2014.
For further information and reservations please call Crystal Cruises on 020 7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk.