Crystal Cruises’ award-winning luxury ocean ship, Crystal Serenity, successfully entered the historic Northwest Passage and anchored in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories on August 27, and Cambridge Bay on August 29. The calls mark Crystal Serenity’s official arrival in the Northwest Passage – a region so remote that it was only first transited in 1906, and on only a handful of occasions since then.
More than 1,000 guests on board, the largest amount of travelers to traverse the route, immersed themselves in the local culture and shared interactive moments with the Inuit residents.
The ship is 14 days into a 32-day journey, which will conclude in New York City on September 16.
Crystal Serenity’s visit to Ulukhaktok was a first for everyone, as the residents of the village had never before welcomed a luxury cruise ship to their shores. Traditional dancers boarded the ship for a special performance representative of their culture, then showcased handcrafted goods at the area’s art center. Crystal guests were brought ashore by zodiacs operated by the expedition team, Expedition Voyage Consultants.
Travelers experienced a similar kinship with the welcoming residents of Cambridge Bay, Crystal Serenity’s next Arctic call.
In addition to the residents, guests were also greeted by locals of a wilder variety. A polar bear on floating ice was a true highlight for guests navigating the chilly waters by zodiac led by expert expedition guides. The encounter was part of Crystal’s “Unexpected Adventures,” which afford guests, safe and impromptu opportunities to see wildlife and other natural wonders along the journey.
Beyond the itinerary’s historic implications, the visit to the region is also the culmination of more than three years of planning and careful collaboration with the local communities of the Arctic. Following the ship’s first two stop in the Northwest Territories, she continued on through the Victoria Strait headed towards the Bellot Strait.
Due to the tremendous response from travelers regarding the 2016 Northwest Passage sailing, Crystal has announced it will sail the route again in 2017, available for booking now.
Photo credit: Katie Jackson-Crystal Cruises