The Crystal Serenity has embarked on a 32-day journey through the Northwest Passage. Following more than three years of planning and preparation, according to Crystal, the ship sailed from Seward, Alaska, and will conclude its trip next month in Manhattan.
“Every aspect of this voyage is literally unparalleled in the luxury cruise industry, and nearly the entire travel industry as well,” says Crystal’s CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. “It is a tremendous undertaking to embark on such a historic journey, but also an honor for us to be able to offer the world’s most discerning travelers the opportunity to experience a region of the world that so few others have or ever will.”
Crystal Serenity will sail with additional crew, training and equipment in consideration of the unique operating conditions in the far north. Two veteran Canadian Ice Pilots will be onboard to advise the Master of Crystal Serenity, Captain Birger J. Vorland and his bridge team. Earlier this year, the Captain and ice pilots attended an ice navigation simulator training in St John’s Newfoundland, and during a routine scheduled dry-dock in May, Crystal Serenity was outfitted with two ice searchlights, forward looking sonar, a thermal imaging camera and software to improve the ability to pick up small contacts on the radar such as small amounts of ice.
In addition, Crystal Serenity will be receiving constant ice condition updates form Canadian Ice Services that can be overlaid on its electronic navigation systems.
During the route of the Northwest Territories the ultra-luxury ship will be accompanied by the RRS Ernest Shackleton, an ice classed vessel with a crew that has years of experience operating in polar conditions. It is well outfitted to be a first responder to virtually any emergency that might arise, and carries two helicopters and supplemental safety equipment, as well as additional expert guides and adventure equipment.