Unbelievably, it’s been an entire year since Crystal Serenity embarked on her first transit of the Northwest Passage, following in the footsteps of great explorers nearly 100 years past. As the first-ever luxury passenger vessel to make the journey, Crystal Serenity left an impression on the remote communities of the far north, where visits provided the rare opportunity for guests from all over the world and the residents of these towns and villages to share once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
As she sets sail today on her second Northwest Passage voyage, those priceless shared experiences are among the most anticipated moments of the voyage for our guests. On a 32-day quest packed with chance encounters with polar bears, whales and other wildlife; ice camping and trekking; helicopter flight-seeing; Zodiac and kayak excursions through ice floes; and more awe-striking vistas than one can possibly imagine, it is so often the people and cultures encountered along the way that create the warmest memories – even in the coldest regions of the world.
We are humbled and honored to have been invited to return to these communities once again – places like the Inuit town of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada (population 400); Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada (population 1,600); and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada (population 1,700); and others, where the local people welcomed guests into their communities and shared traditions, specialty cuisine, and even handmade goods as a show of their glowing hospitality.
Likewise, it is our extreme pleasure to reciprocate their hospitality with gestures of thanks that make the most difference to these remote destinations – places that often wait for months between shipments of basic necessities due to their remote locations and dynamic weather conditions. During Crystal’s 2016 voyage, Crystal Serenity delivered paper goods and supplies to the schools of Ulukhaktok, Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet to help ensure students were equipped at the start of the school year. Additionally, we were delighted to present special gifts of thanks to several destinations, including a symbolic directional sign, perched atop “Contemplation Hill” in Pond Inlet, along with two benches perfectly situated for gazing into the endless landscapes.
This year, we’re thrilled to again have the opportunity to bring needed supplies to these communities, along with some new special gifts of appreciation. We’re especially pleased to be of service to the people of Pond Inlet, who purchased much needed solar panels months ago, but, due to the massive shipping costs, had planned to wait for delivery until funds could be raised. Crystal will be transporting the panels to Pond Inlet at no charge.
Indeed, guests aboard the 2017 “Northwest Passage Explorer” will experience adventures and witness ethereal scenes that most in the world never have or will. Our destination experts have designed exclusive quests into rugged terrain, helicopter discoveries over icy peaks, and countless enriching experiences and expert presentations aboard our luxury ship. And we’re certain that the intangible connections made with new people and far-off cultures will sit at the top of each guest’s “best of” list for years to come.
Guests can follow along on the Northwest Passage voyage from anywhere in the world by subscribing to the Crystal Insider for periodic updates and tales of the journey. To contribute to the communities of the Arctic, please visit the Exclusively Crystal online boutique to purchase a copy of the artistic Northwest Passage Commemorative Book – a coffee table book filled with stunning photography and insights from the first epic journey. 100 percent of all proceeds from book sales benefit the Arctic communities visited.