In Crystal Cruises®, Gallivanting the Globe

How to kayak through floating ice

and other life lessons you’ll learn on the Northwest Passage cruise

With just over 100 years of history and exploration in the region, the Northwest Passage still holds many secrets yet to be uncovered. When Crystal Serenity sets sail on this momentous journey August 16, our guests will be accompanied by dozens of experts who have made it their lives’ work to study the Arctic and other remote areas. Of course, one of the main draws of embarking on a voyage like this is the adventure that lies ahead, from wet zodiac landings on uninhabited tundra, to navigating floating ice in the playgrounds of rare wildlife. But, in addition to all there is to do and see, there is even more to know and learn about the spectacular environment that will surround travelers this summer.

We’ve compiled some of the basics about the itinerary and the region for those sailing this year or planning to join the 2017 voyage. But the roster of authorities on the distinctive cultural and environmental characteristics along the historic route will truly bring the experience to life.

Whales are among the many impressive wild residents of the Arctic waters
Whales are among the many impressive wild residents of the Arctic waters

To include the immense selection of enrichment to be shared by the world renowned experts on this cruise would spoil the surprise (and would constitute more of a text book than a blog), so we’re sharing a glimpse of the enlightening knowledge that is certain to expand your understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary area of the world. On this journey of a lifetime, you can expect to learn:

What the whales are up to 90 feet below sea level. Famed National Geographic, Flip Nicklin, photographer has honed his talent for free diving and unique ability to approach underwater wildlife closely enough to record their habits without disrupting them. Nicklin will share with you what he has seen and photographed in these uncharted waters, as well as entertaining stories of dives and shoots over his lifelong career.

Polar bears in the Arctic
Polar bears in the Arctic

What it’s like to hold two sleeping polar bear cubs – and what you can learn from doing it. NOTE: this is NOT a “hands-on” lesson! Rather, polar bear specialist (yes, that’s as amazing a job as it sounds) Tom Smith will share his many experiences studying the habits of and environmental effects on polar bears, as well as arctic seals and other marine mammals.

How he got that shot! We’ve all seen the epic footage of the world’s most stunning locales on television and wondered this. Aboard the Northwest Passage voyage, expedition videographer Kevin Freeny will share his experiences (and maybe some tips and tricks) filming in the Galapagos, Antarctica, the High Arctic, Greenland, Rwanda and beyond.

How to maneuver your kayak through floating ice. There is perhaps no one more qualified to teach such an obscure skill than Sigrid Henjun, the polar explorer who, in 2010, was part of the first Norwegian team to circumnavigate South Georgia by kayak. While this knowledge might not be an everyday need for most of us, it has served Henjun well, as she continues to lead expeditions as a ski, mountaineering and kayaking guide.

Arctic kayaking excursion
Arctic kayaking excursion

What life is like in the Canadian northern Territories – now and thousands of years ago. Archaeologist Margaret Bertulli knows this firsthand, as she has spent three decades living in the Canadian North and studying the historic resources there. From her recovery of skeletal remains from the lost Franklin expedition (1845) to using 3D laser scanning to record an endangered polar research base on northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, she’s a treasure trove of scientific backstories.

It’s virtually impossible to convey the magnitude of possibility for travelers eager to soak in the new terrain available with our first Northwest Passage sailing. Just like, we’re guessing, it will be virtually impossible for you to convey to your friends and loved ones the extraordinary experiences you had once you return. The best we can all do is try, and keep our eyes and ears open!

Crystal Serenity’s 2017 Northwest Passage cruise will sail from Seward, Alaska to New York on August 15, 2017.

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Posted on August 10, 2016

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