UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
Crystal Cruises recently hosted a 32-day expedition voyage through the Northwest Passage this August aboard Crystal Serenity. Getting ready to sail in that part of the world, the ship would be outfitted with additional equipment which is not typically found on cruise ships. For any other cruise line, that would be quite sufficient in the preparation area. Crystal luxury demands more.
The Northwest Passage can be a dangerous place to sail. It connects the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean. Located along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, this is no place to come unprepared. The Crystal luxury focus brings an agreement with Tactical Marine Solutions of Victoria, Canada and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) headquartered in Cambridge, UK to have the icebreaker ship RRS Ernest Shackleton escort Crystal Serenity on the historic sailing.
The RRS Ernest Shackleton carries two helicopters, ice navigation and communications equipment, on board supplemental damage control equipment, oil pollution containment equipment, and survival rations for emergency use.
Crystal luxury brought an expedition crew made up of expert guides with experience transiting the Northwest Passage, a diver and support team members trained in the use of the emergency equipment carried on board Crystal Serenity. In addition, the Master and bridge team will attend ice navigation training at a simulator in St John’s, Newfoundland. Two veteran Canadian ice pilots were on board to assist the bridge team in managing the information provided by state of the art forward looking sonar, ice detection radar, ice searchlights and thermal imaging. An ice navigation system will display near real time satellite ice imagery and ice forecasts.
The RRS Ernest Shackleton supported Crystal’s adventures ashore, carrying newly acquired zodiacs for “wet landings,” while the vessel’s crew gave expert assistance during flight-seeing adventures and the line’s recently unveiled “Unexpected Adventures,” which offer more spontaneous ways of exploring the region. The RRS Ernest Shackleton also carried her own very experienced ice pilot.
The environment this sailing will operate in is far from elegant and what we might associate with a luxury cruise. In this case, that contrast clearly highlights the detail that goes into Crystal luxury. It’s a recipe for success that should serve them well if applied as liberally to new ventures in the air and on the rivers of Europe.
For more information and Crystal reservations, call your travel agent or Crystal Cruises at 888-799-2437, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.
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