Cruise Ship to Dare the North West Passage

Crystal Serenity, By bert76 07:28, 29 August 2006 (UTC) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Crystal Serenity, By bert76 07:28, 29 August 2006 (UTC) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The North West passage is an infamous graveyard of ships, where the weather can turn deadly without warning, and floating ice is an ever-present peril. But this arctic track record of disaster is not deterring the owners of the Crystal Serenity, and passengers reportedly paying a staggering $22,000 + per berth, from attempting a daring journey from Alaska to New York starting on August 16th this year.

A new Titanic? US and Canada prepare for worst as luxury Arctic cruise sets sail

The loss of Arctic sea ice cover, due to climate change, has spurred a sharp rise in shipping traffic – as well as coast guard rescue missions – and increased the risks of oil spills, shipping accidents, and pollution, much to the apprehension of native communities who make their living on the ice.

It’s into these turbulent waters that the luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity will set sail next August, departing from Seward, Alaska, and transiting the Bering Strait and Northwest Passage, before docking in New York City 32 days later.

The scale of the Crystal – 1,700 passengers and crew – and the potential for higher-volume traffic in the Arctic has commanded the attention of the coast guard, government officials and local communities, all trying to navigate an Arctic without year-round ice.

“If something were to go wrong it would be very, very bad,” said Richard Beneville, the mayor of the coastal town of Nome, which the Crystal is due to visit. “Most cruise ships that get here have passenger manifests of 100, maybe 150. This is a very different ship.”

Prices for the journey aboard the 14-deck luxury liner start at nearly $22,000 rising to $120,000 for a deluxe stateroom – and this year’s cruise is sold out, according to the company.

Read more:

You know what? I wish I had a berth. I can completely understand why the ship is fully booked, despite the risk. The Arctic is beautiful, and utterly alien, compared to more temperate regions. I only visited the Arctic once in my life, a week in Bodø in April. The snow covered mountains, the familiar seaside sights, mixed with the utterly unfamiliar, the sun which hangs just above the horizon for 18 hours, before dipping into a brief twilight, the people, the strange landscape. I would love to see places like Nome, one of the stops on the planned route.

If it all ends badly, as seems a real possibility, at least everyone is embarking on this adventure with their eyes open – unlike the ridiculous ship of fools, the Crystal Serenity owners appear to be taking the safety of the passengers seriously.

159 thoughts on “Cruise Ship to Dare the North West Passage

    • What does this prove anyway? They have an ice breaker to clear the way, and with that load of rich people on board any trouble will come with scores of helicopters to the rescue.
      Are they trying to prove that in this “Warmest time Ever” that we can do what was done in the past?

      • “What does this prove anyway? They have an ice breaker to clear the way”
        Luckily those ice breakers never get stuck in heavy ice. Oh, wait….

      • With 1700 passenger and crew: how many “scores of helicopters” and where will they magically come from.? We’re not talking about Manhattan Island here.

        …at least everyone is embarking on this adventure with their eyes open

        everyone, that is, except for the hundreds of responders who will be required to put their own lives at risk to bail out yet another ship of fools.
        This whole venture is grossly irresponsible, though with something like 1400 paying passengers and AT LEAST $22k per head, + berths + meals + bar takings + saunas + casino takings, etc. etc. they probably are talking about 100 MILLION dollar revenue if they pull it off.
        And if it goes aground the boat will be well insured and the Canadian tax payer will pick up the bill for the rescue mission, and possible loss of life.
        At least I hope that they do not have an italian captain who will run away at the first sign of trouble, and watch his ship roll over from the safety of the shore.

      • Definitely not Manhattan but perhaps they could plan and staff a temporary Heliport in Tuk. I would certainly sue if they didn’t deliver and seek some of my investment back

      • “…They have an ice breaker…”

        They have ‘two’ ice breakers with them Marstoval.
        One does wonder just what cruise ships do with their wastes.

      • ATheoK March 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm
        “…They have an ice breaker…”
        My error markstoval, I misread Goldenberg’s sentence about the icebreaker and two helicopters. You are correct that there will be only one icebreaker in attendance.

      • Well, they really shouldn’t need an ice breaker if they think there’s no ice. What a joke!

    • I imagine that the Canadians and their insurance companies told them that they HAVE to have an icebreaker along. Think about the problems with potentially having to rescue many hundreds of people in a remote area with basically no infrastructure and the potential for nasty weather even in August.
      If you ask me (and no one will) this is a likely truly stupid idea. Running a SMALL cruise vessel through the region every year for a decade or so to get some experience might make sense. … maybe … But 1700 people?
      From the wikipedia article on the trans-Alaska pipeline
      “In 1969, Humble Oil and Refining Company sent a specially fitted oil tanker, the SS Manhattan, to test the feasibility of transporting oil via ice-breaking tankers to market.[16] The Manhattan was fitted with an ice-breaking bow, powerful engines, and hardened propellers before successfully traveling the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Beaufort Sea. During the voyage, the ship suffered damage to several of its cargo holds, which flooded with seawater. Wind-blown ice forced the Manhattan to change its intended route from the M’Clure Strait to the smaller Prince of Wales Strait. It was escorted back through the Northwest Passage by a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the CCGS John A. Macdonald. Although the Manhattan successfully transited the Northwest Passage again in the summer of 1970, the concept was considered too risky.”

      • Don,
        Sorry but 1700 is a modest-sized cruise vessel, these days.
        And that includes the crew, concessionaires, etc [who will likely number 250-350].
        The last time I did a Polar Conference, we were assured that the Canadian Coastguard only ever operated helicopters in pairs.
        You a r e your own support up in those latitudes.
        Hence, the ice breaker
        I’ve sailed round the Nordkapp in Norway, bathed by the Gulf Stream – but never into ice.
        That c a n be done – with circumspection.
        I trust their bathymetric data is good. Cruise ships have [comparatively] shallow drafts [probably 25 to 28 feet, I guess for a ship that size], so perhaps this is not a great problem – but everywhere they go they may be stretching the envelope, as much depth information may have been derived from lead-line surveys.
        If the accompanying ice breaker is good, and the Crystal Serenity has a master [or senior officer] with extensive ice experience, this may pass off well.
        And then the casino profits will repay the company handsomely.
        I’m sure they have done their risk assessment – they are risking the capital cost of the ship, future revenues – and, crucially, reputation.
        Given the possibilities for the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns, this is risky – but perhaps not fool-hardy.

    • I don’t agree with the author – these people are no better prepared than the “ship of fools” and they are booking with their eyes wide shut. They truly have no more idea of what the real danger is than did the Australian jackasses. I would expect the cruise ship to be wider than the icebreaker, certainly has far thinner skin, and if it has to follow through a path cut by the icebreaker in a storm, there won’t be many survivors unless God intervenes and they have a miraculous rescue effort costing many, many more millions of dollars than the ship, crew, and passengers are worth. If that last sentence sounds harsh, too bad. Idiocy doesn’t need to considered as anything but.

      • Not many jackasses in Oz.
        We do have a few drongos, some with roos in the top paddock or a tinny short of a six-pack.
        Please use the correct cultural references.

      • “…there won’t be many survivors unless God intervenes and they have a miraculous rescue effort…”
        I would point out that God is notoriously unreliable in this respect.

    • They should all be charged with environmental vandalism.
      If the Arctic is such pristine unique habitat, and the polar bear survival depends on a continuous around the year Arctic Ice cover; why should anybody be allowed to deliberately break up that ice so it can blow away in the wind, and uncover the arctic ocean leading to catastrophic man made global warming climate change.
      This is utter madness to even contemplate such environmental destruction.

      • “polar bear survival depends on a continuous around the year Arctic Ice cover”
        Nonsense. Almost all polar bears actually live in areas with seasonal ice cover. Polar bears do need ice cover in winter and spring, not the rest of the year.

    • Note well that “all sizes” caveat. Most are boats crewed by two to four. A couple good size yachts and one polar ice capable bulk cargo freighter carrying a year’s worth of nickel ore concentrate.

    • Philip,
      All noted.
      An apparent peak in 2012, with an apparent declining trend after that date.

  1. “If something were to go wrong it would be very, very bad,” said Richard Beneville, the mayor of the coastal town of Nome.
    I do sound morbid but I will be utterly fascinated, watching to see if this voyage ends in tears.

  2. Air New Zealand used to run tourist flights to Antarctica. No landings, just fly over it. Ended with the Mt Erebus disaster. Terry Pratchett coined the phrase “réja vu”: I am going to have seen this again. Me, I’m a *real* Eco-tourist: I don’t go.

  3. I would guess that the ticket prices are that high to cover costs of insurance for the vessel. Crew and passengers would have to sign a disclaimer stating that they were aware of any risks. I have never seen personal travel insurance that has Arctic or Antarctic cover, but I bet it would be expensive.

  4. In 2015 on the Northern Sea Route, the Russian shipping lane, there were only 18 crossings, of which 7 did the whole trip from Bering to N Atlantic. This is down from 53 in 2014 and 71 in 2013.

  5. “here is a wonderful painting in the art collection of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia which depicts the historic meeting of the HBC schooner Aklavik with the RMS Nascopie at Fort Ross, Northwest Territories. In 1937 the Nascopie sailed from the Eastern Arctic to Prince Regent Inlet and into the Bellot Strait to allow the Hudson’s Bay Company to establish Fort Ross. While there she was met by the HBC schooner Aklavik which had sailed into Bellot Strait from the Western Arctic”

  6. Well now, iffen Prudhoe Bay “oil” is a source of your wealth, …… why not spend a wee bit of it on a cruise ship tour just to see what the place looks like?

  7. its not as if the pasage has never been ice free.
    I admit I hope they get well n truly stuck
    of course an escorting icebreaker..wont be mentioned if they DO get through

    • Actually the northern, deeper, route that they will probably be following hasn’t ever been ice-free. The very crooked, narrow and shallow southern route has been, a few times.

  8. ‘The Arctic is beautiful, and utterly alien, compared to more temperate regions.’
    I think the tourists will find much of the coasts low and utterly uninteresting.

    • Yeah, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I much prefer turquoise waters, white sandy beaches with swaying palm trees, blue skies with scattered puffy clouds and very warm temperatures.
      Tell me again why warmer is bad?

      • Tom: In your lovely sun-soaked vision, is there, down by the shore, an orchestra playing, “Begin the Beguine”? If so, make room for me!

    • In August of 1964 I was north of the Artic circle in the Chukchi Sea for several days aboard a U.S. Navy ship. We were in fog the whole time, with visibility about a half mile. Even if there had been anything interesting to see, we wouldn’t have seen it. I was led to understand that this was not uncommon.

      • And it was significantly damaged by ice in one of its transits through the Canadian Archipelago — enough so that the oil companies elected to spend a billion dollars (which turned out to be 8 billion dollars) on the Trans-Alaska pipeline rather than use hardened tankers to get the oil out of Northern Alaska..

      • did the Manhatten have this-
        “​MacGarva also says the cruise ship will be outfitted with ice searchlights and a forward-looking sonar that will help spot underwater obstacles that may not be charted”

  9. They better keep moving. Thar be poley bears about, aye.
    On the bright side, the odds of being hijacked and held hostage by Somalian pirates is slim to none.

  10. If the thing gets stuck in ice they’ll blame “global warming”. If the thing manages to get through they’ll blame “global warming”.
    I wonder if they have contracted Reggie and his blowtorch to clear the way for them?

  11. The MS Bremen has been making the passage (both ways with icebreakers) for several years.
    One of the reasons I question the accuracy of ice measurements is all the maps showed the Belot Straight ice free, but Bremen’s bowcam showed an icebreaker pushing through solid ice.

  12. Sure, there is less ice now than in the 70s and 80s. But rising demand for visiting exotic places, as well as eco-tourism are propelling this. A lot could go wrong. What if there’s an outbreak of norovirus, for example?

  13. I would suggest running at full bore to set a speed record and tie up the radio with personnel messages and useless climate travelogue info. Then if something happens blame others. But don’t let the climate change trip leaders get into the life boats ahead of you.

  14. If the cruise ship is not fortified for any ice it still may encounter, even with the help of an ice breaker, they still can have severe damage.
    Some long time ago I was sailor (engine room) on a tanker, which delivered heating oil to Stockholm a few days before the harbor was closed (February 1966) because of too much ice in the Baltic Sea. When we returned we had to stop for three days in the channel from Stockholm to the sea, because of lots of pack ice at sea was driven Southwards by wind. Even with “only” 20 cm of ice thickness, the bow and propeller were damaged and after being freed by a huge ice breaker, the ship needed urgent repairs…
    After the ships stopped, the pilots just stepped down on the ice and were picked up by the pilot vessel in the still open held (by ice breakers) channel in the middle. The next day we had a football game with the other crew on the ice…
    But I agree with Eric, Norway is a fantastic country, as well for the fjords in the South, the glaciers, the mountains, the “vidda’s” (plateau’s) as for the Lofoten and Lapland in the North… Still looking for a trip to Antarctica, but prices are too high for my budget, even not as high as the trip through the NW passage mentioned here… Used as alternative Greenland in 2000, which also has lots of ice…

  15. I hope the Cdn govt has the good sense to say no to this voyage, although with the current govt, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear the Prime Adolescent has a bunkie on board for the trip. Irrespective of the risk to human life (which frankly, given the opportunists who will waste 22K for the “experience”, there, I could care less), there may be a very real risk of a ship like that foundering mid voyage, ice breaker or not. Then there would be the problem of getting it’s massive hulk out of there. Canada does not need a massive American steel inukshuk” rotting on a reef in the Arctic.

    • “I hope the Cdn govt has the good sense to…”
      That’s hard to know since the last election!

    • Why would they have any say at all? It starts and ends in the USA, and will likely stay in international waters for reasons of gambling and other regs. Canada could only deny help, and places to dock for land visits. I assure you, the arrival of a cruise ship of this size would be a financial boon to any town visited.

      • According to Canada the NW Passage is not international waters therefore a cruiseship entering the Passage would have to check in with Canadian authorities, I’m pretty sure that happens when anyone sails through there

    • I’ll modify my traditional comment: People who climb mountains aren’t heroes. People who rescue people who try to climb mountains are heroes…
      Oh, and we call it the Canadian Coast Guard. At least they’ll get some experience, but see my line above. If someone gets hurt (not a lot, just enough to learn a lesson), I hope its a celebrity or a gazzillionaire, and not someone who actually works for a living.

  16. I will have to modify a saying I’ve been using for a few years:
    “People who climb mountains aren’t heroes.
    People who rescue people who try to climb mountains are heroes.”
    Well, at least Canada’s S+R folks will get some experience.
    BTW, this is one of those “re-announcements” that the MSM picks up on a yearly basis:

  17. Under investment, by the Canadian and US governments, in ice breakers over recent decades, has left the area with a shortage of resources to cope with an emergency of the scale that this cruise could result in. The nearest suitable vessels, able to provide assistance, are probably those belonging to the oil industry.

    • Bloke,
      Even the oil industry has few (if any) vessels there, as the waters in Prudhoe bay are not very deep and half a year frozen. Most work from shore to production units is done by helicopters, but these can’t fly more that a few hundred km before refueling. That means that large parts of the trip can’t be reached by helicopter. Additionally, in summer most roads – as far as there are – are not passable…
      Seems to me that they are taking too much risk with this trip…

  18. When I was a pup and spent time in the arctic, we spent a lot of time listening to the short wave pleadings of arctic adventurers who got into all kinds of trouble. They, and their friends, may have thought they were heros; we had another opinion.
    The Canadian Government doesn’t have many heavy icebreakers. None of them are remotely capable of handling 1700 souls for more than a few hours. They have heads (washrooms) and food handling for a crew of about 50. That means the survivors might be better off in their lifeboats. I’m guessing that there might be about 20 helicopters scattered around the Canadian arctic. It would take them hours to get to the scene. A landing strip could be built if the ice were thick enough. Fuel for the helicopters could be tankered in by DC-3 or Twin Otter. If the survivors were ferried to somewhere like Resolute the facilities there would be strained. The available aircraft are mostly used for freight, they don’t have many seats. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took a hundred trips. It wouldn’t take much to turn the situation into a logistical nightmare.

      • I can imagine their delight, though, when they discover that seal blubber is still gluten-free.
        Although they might want to ration the seal meat though, as I don’t know if human tissue has been tested for it.

    • The Canadian Government shut down its mid Canada Search and Rescue Centres. Now there is just Victoria, BC on the west coast; Halifax, Nova Scotia on the east coast; and Trenton, Ontario which covers everything from Quebec to Alberta, and the US border to the Arctic. The last time we had a big crash in the North, it took the Hercules S&R crew a couple of days to get there due to weather. I spent a week in Inuvik waiting to fly out on one trip. Days in Yellowknife too. Getting weathered in is common.
      Imaging waiting in the North West Passage for assistance from S&R thousands of kilometres away, not knowing if they will even be able to assist you if they get there. That’s life in the Canadian Arctic.
      Good thing they have an icebreaker along as S&R up there is more likely to come from exploration companies and locals than from the Canadian government. ( “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” isn’t even a joke up there.)
      Nevertheless, I am sure the posts from the ship will be entertaining.

      • … S&R up there is more likely to come from exploration companies and locals than from the Canadian government.

        Absolutely. Mind you, a whole bunch of the ‘locals’ work for the Canadian government. Resolute is a logistics hub for various aviation companies plus the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP). Every year ‘stuff’ happens and we never hear about it because folks just deal with it. Calling in the SAR TECHs is relatively uncommon.

  19. The article simply says there will be “an icebreaking escort vessel carrying two helicopters” but gives no further details. If the Crystal Serenity gets into trouble, odds are she will require assistance from one of Russia’s fleet of nuclear icebreakers; the US is down to just a single heavy-duty ice breaker (the Polar Star).
    On the other hand, since our military transport helicopters are no longer needed for such things as quick reaction force delivery to besieged embassies, they have nothing better to do than rescue stranded eco-tourists (unless they’re busy taking the First Canine on another POTUS vacation).

  20. Rescue?
    Probably not gonna happen.
    Two years ago we lost Helicopter,pilot and Coastguard Captain of Icebreaker.
    Death by hypothermia, because there was no second helicopter to perform a rescue.
    Our icebreakers are old, depend on refuelling from auxiliary tankers (if attempting extended tours) as there are very few port facilities in the Arctic.
    For a nation claiming Arctic sovereignty we are very poorly prepared.

    • Russia makes the best icebreakers, including 10 that are nuke-powered. They have become excellent capitalists since the fall of the Soviet Union, and I’m sure they would love to contract with us for a few.

    • There are actually a few Swedish and Finnish icebreakers powerful enough to be useful. Particularly “Oden” which is the most powerful noin-nuclear icebreaker. That’s the one I would hired as an escort.

  21. I presume the Crystal Serenity will have an indoor sun-deck. The weather can be a little inclement in those places.

  22. I doubt anyone has properly assessed the risk to underwrite this voyage even with the high cost of passage. I also don’t believe there are any pilots with experience or skill for any of the channels and straights. With the variable ice conditions they are certainly going to make it up as they go. I believe the risk is unacceptable. Anyone who would take on this task has more bravado than common sense. This has remarkably high potential for tragedy.

    • My guess too. Based on my trips north of the Aleutians (False Pass/Dutch Harbor to Nome a few times), there is not much to see by ship. If the stop at Nome is a highlight then i’d pass. The ice flows out of the Yukon and minimizing the direct collisions with the big ice in late spring was one of the few entertaining aspects.
      (And even at the high latitudes you can get a very nasty sunburn if you fall asleep on top of the wheelhouse).

  23. The real danger of global warming is that the Arctic will be full of rich fools. And they will get indoctrinated about dangers of global warming.

  24. Thanks for the post, Eric. While this is interesting news, it is also that great oxymoron called “old news”, as it was covered here on WUWT back in 2014 …

    • Excellent ref and Article Willis. A good reminder and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. Looking at your post, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the passengers arriving in New York at JFK from Nome …

      • Eric Worrall March 30, 2016 at 6:11 pm

        I should have made the link to your post more prominent Willis, sorry about that.

        No worries, amigo, it’s good to see the work carried forward.

  25. “The loss of Arctic sea ice cover, due to climate change, has spurred a sharp rise in shipping traffic…” Perhaps it is the “sharp rise in shipping traffic” that is a major contributor to “The loss of sea ice”?

  26. I wonder how serene it’s going to be on the Crystal Serenity when the ship’s manifest of modern day, seafaring, Donner party passengers run out of food (after the ship’s been trapped in ice for six months with no rescue) and begin to eat one another?
    Well sir, what red wine (which, unfortunately, cannot escape being chilled) do you believe would be a good pairing with that butt roast?

    • When the winds kicked up and ocean roared with freezing death, the Crystal Calamity was caught in a vise of skyscraper-sized icebergs. The only thing heard above the roar of wind and ocean was the unforgettable screeching straining of metal being torn and twisted in never imagined ways. The water so cold it takes your breath and drops you in its tracks; paralyzed and helpless. Days later the straggling few faced the final twist of fate in this ill-gotten voyage of the Crystal Calamity, the masters of the land, the giants of the Ursidae.

  27. That part of the Arctic may not ever be completely ice free this year. The good ice is all in that area, on either side of the date line. The MSM BS makes it sound like the ice is poor everywhere in the Arctic this year, but that is simply not the case. Only the area that straddles the Prime Meridian has poor ice.

  28. These people are flaming idiots, how in the heck did they make 22,000 $$ pp (and more). If the Canadian government had any sense they would stop this immediately, it is insanity.

    • I bet some fares are payed for them. You know, climate funding to go out there and prove there’s no ice. Something like that. It would not surprise me at all.

  29. Weeks at sea, stuck indoors looking at ice through a small window except for brief moments outside in the wind until your face freezes off, getting drunk with 1500 other bored passengers. With a meteorologist for entertainment, no less. Sounds like a lot fun to me. Hope the pool is heated.

  30. Wow. There is just enough time before departure to write a quick novel – the people who signed up, the auspicious beginning and then – OMG – Things start to go wrong!
    Imagine if eco-terrorists deliberately disabled the ship, holding the passengers hostage until we all abandoned fossil fuels. The possibilities are endless – the Russians refuse to send their nuke icebreakers until the US (fill in our favorite scenario) – how about gives up all claims to Arctic petroleum resources? Remember, Obama will still be in office.
    The fingers are itching. And if things DID go wrong, well, just call me Nostradamus.

  31. Here is my timeline for the cruise. Starting in June, we will begin to observe multiple op-eds and letters to the editor in major newspapers complaining about the amount of carbon pollution this trip will create. Towards the end of the month, the New York Times and the Washington Post will have lead stories condemning the trip. CNN and MSNBC will get on band wagon In July. By August, you will observe increasing number of people who have signed up for the trip, asking for their money back. Finally, the cruise organizers will issue a statement that they had decided to cancel the journey to avoid polluting the pristine arctic. You will have the usual anti-prosperity groups, such as Greenpeace and WWF, clapping in the background. No one will mention the ice was too thick to complete the cruise.

    • Not to worry!
      The cruise’s FAQs include this tidbit:

      “4. Do I need to purchase trip insurance?
      Due to the remote locations, emergency medical evacuation by plane from the Arctic regions can reach costs of $50,000 or more. Therefore, proof of a minimum of $50,000 per person in Emergency Evacuation Repatriation insurance is required to participate in this cruise.”

      Each passenger is required to provide their own ‘rescue’ costs and by simple analysis, their own rescue service.

  32. Paging our,canadian, pretty boy Prime Minister.
    Will this vessel be allowed to sail, before they have an environmental assessment of their downstream Carbon dioxide emissions?
    If imposing such a requirement on canadian pipelines after their approval is fine, surely a pleasure cruise will be held to the same standard?
    Does the cruise ship company have a calculation for how much their ship and passengers CO2 emissions will warm the Arctic?
    Sarc Off.
    And what about the obesity problem amongst polar bears?
    Offerring up such a buffet to starving bears, is cruelty to animals.
    Of course if the passengers are Sierra Club Lawyers,they are probably safe from bears.
    For at least one Eastern Arctic bear refused to eat the Sierra Club Lawyer he had caught, probably indigestible, even to polar bears.

    • Again, in the cruise’s FAQs:

      “5. Do we need to worry about polar bears when going ashore?
      Polar bears usually do not enter the towns and communities where guests will be going ashore, and there are ample houses, buildings and shelters in these communities. During Crystal Wilderness Adventures, the expedition team will accompany the guests ashore. The expedition team is well practiced in polar bear protection and will be carrying environmentally-safe non-lethal and lethal deterrents, and other equipment for additional protection. Recommended protocols on group size and behavior will be strictly followed.”

      So the passenger group sizes will be limited to ensure proper Polar Bear diet control? And non-lethal deterrents first, e.g. pepper spray, air horns?
      Is our dear Susan Crockford getting to go on this cruise?
      Perhaps we should take up a collection to send her to the Bahamas studying migratory fisheries and whatnot during next August?

  33. Win-win for caGWers. If it makes it, it’s because of “Global Warming”. If it doesn’t make it, it’s because “Global Warming” has caused more “Climate Change” than the models predicted.
    PS Sounds like it might be a fun cruise but I doubt I’d spend much time on the deck in the Arctic. 😎

  34. The Captain of the Grey Goose and keeper of the NorthwestPassage201x BlogSpot unloads….
    News from 2014:
    “What many did not appreciate so far is that the Crystal Serenity, although built in France, was actually completed to Ice Class 1C.
    Wikipedia on Finnish-Swedish ice classes:
    In addition, the ice strengthening of the ship’s hull must be adequate to allow safe operation in the presence of ice with a thickness of 1.0 m (3.3 ft) for ice class 1A Super,
    0.8 m (2.6 ft) for 1A,
    0.6 m (2.0 ft) for 1B and
    0.4 m (1.3 ft) for 1C.

    • Ice Class IC isn’t very impressive. As of this date (March 31) only ships of Ice Class IA are cleared for northern Swedish and Finnish ports. With icebreaker assistance of course. And this was a quite mild winter.

      • So by that standard, the ship would barely be fit to sail in the waters of Ontario’s cottage country in the winter, if some open water could be found…

  35. If ice gets them, life boats are pointless. Walking off the ship would work better.
    Surviving arctic weather and bears without even a tent would be, er, unlikely, though…
    IMHO, they have near zero odds of rescue in less than weeks, and near zero odds of lasting that long… they are 100% dependent on hull integrity, without the hull for it…
    Images of 1000+ passengers standing like penguins in blowing snow, those on the edge angling for a spot in the middle, come to mind… voyage of the Penguin People…

  36. They may succeed, or go to their doom, or be rescued by heroes. I just want to see the video clip of the Bearing Straight transit from the perspective of Little Diomede. It would be one of those great contradictions that come along only every so often.

  37. These cruise ships look top-heavy, but apparently they aren’t because all the heavy stuff is below the water line. But the very large area above the water line must act as a bloody great “sail”. I have the impression that on the typical cruises in warm waters, they manage to avoid storms by having good weather information (well everyone does these days) and running for a port if there’s a storm coming up.
    If a serious storm arrives when they’re in the middle of the NWP, though, it could get nasty. Even turning into the wind could be somewhere between difficult and impossible once the ice starts jamming up. I wonder if a high wind on the beam could overturn a cruise ship?
    I hope they have good weather forecasts. Rather them than me.

  38. Bet dollars to doughnuts that when that cruise ship finally makes the passage, the media (much of it under the Rockefeller and Ford funded International Press Institute) will be all over it as another harbinger sign of global warming.

  39. Last I checked, modern cruise ships don’t carry dogsleds, seal-hunting gear, ice tents, packed preserved food, or any of the other survival amenities that allowed 19th century polar explorers to live for a year or more on the ice when their ships became stranded, until the following summer loosened the pack and they could proceed. Good luck to them, I guess.
    If any eco-yuppies on board ask their Apple tablets about Arctic survival, I hope Siri replies “Why the f*** are you in the Arctic?”

  40. The cruise could succeed or end badly. Either way, the company and its passengers figure they’ll end up in the history books. If a winter cold front comes early and traps them in the ice, they could come to know what the ship’s name, “Crystal Serenity,” really means.

  41. I sailed on the Crystal Serenity a few years ago from Montreal to NYC the last trip of that year in November. The ship is the epitomy of luxury. It is not fitted for hardship. Even that trip became uncomfortable from the weather. This is not a good idea. I wonder if they still require male passengers to bring a tux? Perhaps a required parka and dried food will replace that requirement.

  42. It’s good news for the Polar Bears. Lunch being provided now that they can’t find their nosh on the melted ice.

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