A Canadian contractor ensures the best chance of success during the Crystal Serenity Northwest Passage cruise from Anchorage Alaska to New York City on August 16, 2016. The 10-day overhaul by Seaspan-owned Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in now underway.
The ship yard is highly knowledgeable about the arctic conditions cruise ships encounter during northern Canadian sailings. The 250-meter Crystal Serenity is in dry dock at federally owned Esquimalt Graving Dock "getting a bit of sandblasting and paint, checks of its propulsion system and maintenance on dozens of electric motors.", general manager Joe O’Rourke says.
The Seaspan Victoria Shipyard is strategically located at the entry point for American based cruise ships sailing into Alaskan waters. An Alaskan cruise favorite, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium just finished an $8-million refit at Victoria Shipyards, which included the addition of a rooftop terrace around its pool deck complete with cabanas and a huge 30-foot outdoor video screen to host movie viewing.
Crystal Serenity is 14-years-old, built in 2002 at STX Europe Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France, She took her maiden voyage on July 7, 2003.
The Seaspan Victoria Shipyard has a strong interest in the Crystal Serenity pre-Northwest Passage cruise work as the ship sails through dangerous waters guided by an ice-breaking ship. If anything goes wrong in Canadian waters during the voyage, a Canadian company will be the perfect, reliable, trusted source of information as to how fit the hull and engines on the cruise ship were before she sailed.
It was a wise choice to have the work done at a Canadian dry dock firm. The money was spent by Crystal Cruises in the primary country that is going to be hosting the cruise ship during the most critical and dangerous part of the cruise. Victoria Shipyards is highly qualified and experienced for cruise ship retrofits. “Seaspan (Victoria) shipyards has done in excess of 30 cruise ship dockings,” O’Rourke said, averaging two per year but wants to increase those dockings to three or four per year.
Other ship yards such as Grand Bahama Shipyard, Vigor Industrial in Portland, Oregon shipyard and BAE Systems in San Francisco, California would be considered "outsiders" during any post-incident inquiry by the Canadian government.
The Canadian ship dock contractor understands all too well the dangers the route through the Canadian Northwest Passage poses to cruise ships and the impact any incident will have on Canadian Government resources and the communities along the route. Seaspan Victoria Shipyard is publicly putting their reputation on the line during this retrofit, as they do with all projects, but this historic voyage is far more important than most to the Canadian public, especially the three, tiny Canadian communities on the route.
The three Canadian port calls are Ulukhaktok in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories (NWT) a population of 402, Cambridge Bay, population 1,477, a hamlet located on Victoria Island in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut and Pond Inlet, located in northern Baffin Island with a population of 1,549.
Our initial article on the Crystal Serenity Northwest Passage cruise
has more specific information about the cruise, ports and communities for this historic Arctic cruise.
You can track Crystal Serenity through most of the itinerary using our Live Cruise Ship Tracker.