It has taken more than two years and collaboration with countless worldwide experts to plan Crystal’s first-ever Northwest Passage voyage, set to sail August 16. That collaboration continues, as the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line will welcome a host of specialized leaders in the many fields pertinent to this remote region in which Crystal Serenity will traverse during its 32-day journey from Seward, Alaska to New York. From marine biologists and divers to climatologists and naturalists, the guest lecturers and expedition leaders will travel with Crystal’s globetrotting guests to enhance this once-in-a-lifetime adventure with informative insights on the distinct characteristics of life in the polar region.
Zodiac Expedition in Arctic
For shore-side support, Crystal is working with the experts from Expedition Voyage Consultants while Crystal Serenity’s escort vessel, the RRS Ernest Shackleton, will carry additional guides and crew. Aboard Crystal Serenity, guests will enjoy interactive and illuminating presentations from 21 guest scientists, adventurers and lecturers with a collective repertoire of conservation, education and destination immersion that spans decades and several fields of study, including:
- National Geographic photographer and marine biologist, Flip Nicklin – regarded as the premier whale photographer in the world and a seasoned Arctic diver with decades of experience approaching whales to record their habits.
- Marine biologist & naturalist, Linda Nicklin – a Certified Interpretive Trainer with the Association for Interpretation, expert in immersing people in the nature of a destination.
- Arctic marine mammal ecologist, Lois Harwood – with a 30+-year portfolio of work encompassing the behavior and distribution of marine mammals.
- Dive master, Justin Hofman – a marine biologist and lifelong student of wildlife behavior will dive to capture images and video of the underwater world, utilizing a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), to be shared with guests in onboard presentations.
Conservation & Animal Behavior
- Polar bear specialist, Tom Smith – holding a PhD from McGill University’s Marine Science Centre and having pioneered innovative research on polar bears and the Ringed Seal of the Canadian Arctic, with focus on environmental impact in Polar Regions.
- Naturalist, Art Sowls – with nearly four decades of experience in marine conservation and working as a biologist for the national Park Service and Alaska Maritime national Wildlife Refuge.
- Geologist & climatologist, Henry Pollack – a Professor of Geophysics (emeritus) at the University of Michigan and Chair of the International Heat Flow Commission, with specialty in global climate change.
- Geologist, Tom Sharpe – hailing from Glasgow with 30 years’ geological experience working for the National Museum of Wales and interpreting the geology of regions from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
- Inuit Guides – A team of local wildlife guides from Arctic communities will accompany the voyage to provide local perspectives and expertise of the lands we are visiting.
- Expedition leader, Tim Soper – A professional Expedition Leader with over two decades of experience in the polar regions will lead the team and manage expedition operations during the Northwest Passage voyage.
- Polar explorer, Sigrid Henjun – outdoor professional in a wide realm of specialties, including mountaineering, kayaking and cycling, having also summited South America’s highest peaks and circumnavigating the globe by kayak.
- Arctic guide, Laali Berthelsen – a native of Nuuk, Greenland, with several years’ experience managing logistics for boat and helicopter expeditions throughout the world.
- Expedition videographer, Kevin Freeny – a celebrated travel videographer with an additional background in commercial post-production, having captured journeys through the Galapagos, Rwanda, China, Antarctica, Alaska, the High Arctic and Greenland.
- Expedition logistics experts, Linnea Soper & Saskia Travert – experts in the logistics of expeditions to the Northwest Passage and Greenland will manage operations in these remote regions.
History & Culture
- Historians, Ken Burton and Hector Williams – the Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum (Burton) and a classical archaeologist hailing from Churchill, Manitoba, the “polar bear capital of the world,” (Williams), with collective expertise in history’s most extraordinary expeditions.
- Archaeologist, Margaret Bertulli – with three decades working in sites through the Canadian North, and having recovered skeletal and artifact remains of the Franklin expedition in the Arctic and recording endangered polar bear research.
In addition to the onboard enrichment and educational opportunities, guests will benefit from local guides’ expertise and extra insights from the team aboard the RRS Shackleton during shore-side adventures. In addition to the Crystal Adventures listed on Crystal’s website, the ship’s captain will position the vessel to take advantage of impromptu “Unexpected Adventures,” including Zodiac outings to view glaciers, kayaking in protected bays, trekking the tundra with an expert guide, and helicopter flights to view the Arctic landscape from the air, favorable weather conditions permitting. Likewise, the expedition teams will be on the lookout for wildlife sightings along the journey, and will alert guests to visible polar bears, whales and other wildlife whenever possible. Specialized viewing equipment on board will allow guests to experience wildlife sightings from the comfort of the vessel.
While the 2016 Northwest Passage voyage has long been sold out, Crystal has added a second journey through the historic route for 2017 due to the tremendous demand for the experience. Through June 30, “Book Now” fares for the 2017 Northwest Passage cruise – sailing Anchorage to New York on August 15, 2017 – start at $21,855 per person.
Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line™, having earned more “World’s Best” accolades than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. Crystal Cruises has won “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 22 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso for two-consecutive years (2014 & 2015). In summer 2015, Crystal embarked on the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality, introducing three new classes of cruising – the recently launched Crystal Yacht Cruises (December 2015), Crystal River Cruises (July 2016), Crystal Exclusive Class Ocean Cruises (Fall 2019), Crystal Luxury Air (April 2016) and Crystal AirCruises (2017).