Anchorage, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Nome
The 253-metre-long cruise ship Crystal Serenity cruise ship will begin a sold out, inaugural 32-day cruise through the Canadian Northwest Passage on August 16, 2016, with about 1,000 cruise ship passengers and more than 600 crew aboard.
Crystal Cruises has chartered its own icebreaker for the Northwest Passage cruise, which will follow the ship the entire time. On board, the company says there will be polar navigation specialists and ice-spotting radar and lights.
The Itinerary begins in Anchorage, Alaska and includes the Alaskan ports of Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Nome.
Dutch Harbor Alaska
Dutch Harbor was made famous by the popular reality television show Deadliest Catch. The 12 season television show aired on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005, ultimately featured 30 crab fishing vessels home ported in Dutch Harbor, which earn their living on the Bering Sea. The pilot airing of the television show got the public's attention with the sinking of the fishing ship Rosie G.
Audiences were gripped by the arctic weather elements the ships endured as a ship sinking drama unfolded again In Season 2 when the fishing ship Big Valley sunk and yet again in Season 5 when the fishing ship Katmai sunk after deploying life rafts amidst battering waves.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) was featured prominently during the sinking of fishing ship Big Valley in January 2005, the sinking of fishing ship Ocean Challenger in October 2006, and the sinking of fishing ship Katmai in October 2008. The producers kept a camera crew embedded with the USCG during the filming of the show.
Northwest Passage Canada Cruise Ports
The next three cruise ship ports are in the Canadian Northwest Passage beginning with Ulukhaktok in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories (NWT). Ulukhaktok is a small hamlet on the west coast of Victoria Island with a population of 402 (2011). Ulukhaktok is home to the Holman Eskimo Co-op which is involved in arts and crafts, retailing, the hotel business, cable television, operates a Canada Post outlet, operates the fuel delivery contract, and is the local Aklak Air agent.
We reported back in August 2010, when the region had their first cruise ship incident on August 27, 2010. The MV Clipper Adventurer with 129 passengers and 69 crew members aboard grounded on Coronation Rock, 55 nautical miles east of Kugluktuk in Nunavut, Canada.
Kugluktuk, a fishing village with a population of 1,400, more than triple that of Ulukhaktok, struggled to assist 198 cruise ship passengers and crew braving the elements. The first victims arrived around 0130 hours in the morning. The community was nearly empty as everyone had gone to sea to begin their day of fishing.
The Coppermine Inn which is located near the harbor, had the village's only restaurant. It was located near where many fishing boats dock and answered the Canadian Coast Guard's call for assistance to the Clipper Adventurer's passengers and crew. The Coppermine Inn also managed the evacuation reception.
The distance from Ulukhaktok to Kugluktuk is 340 kilometers (211 miles) sharing similar weather conditions year around.
The next cruise port is Cambridge Bay, population 1,477, a hamlet located on Victoria Island in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. Cambridge Bay is the largest stop for passenger and research vessels traversing the Arctic Ocean's Northwest Passage. The population is mostly Aboriginal with 85.0% being Nunavut.
Cambridge Bay is home to the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, which is to be completed in 2017. In 2012 it was announced the Government of Canada would spend $142.4 million over a six-year period to build, equip and provision the station. The Station was to provide 35 to 50 jobs to run the Science and Technology Program.
The community has two hotels, a Northern Store, a Quick Stop, the Ikaluktutiak Co-operative, Kitikmeot Supplies, a hardware store, a service garage, three taxi companies, a modern health center and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment.
There are also three churches in Cambridge Bay, an Anglican Church, a Roman Catholic Church and a Pentecostal Church.
Passenger services are found at Cambridge Bay Airport with daily air service to Yellowknife, and to the other Kitikmeot Region communities with Canadian North or First Air.
The final Canadian cruise ship port is Pond Inlet, one of Canada's "jewels of the North", a small, predominantly Inuit community in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada, located in northern Baffin Island.
The population of Pond Inlet is 1,549 (2011), where the ocean is free of ice for three and a half months, the time period when cruise ships typically visit.
Pond Inlet icebergs are accessible from the community, as are several dozen glaciers and explorable ice caves. The community has caribou, ringed seal, narwhals and polar bears. One of Canada's newest national parks is located there, Sirmilik National Park.
Fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk are flown from Montreal, Quebec making the cost of food and other materials very expensive. Milk is $3.75 a liter, the equivalent of $14 a gallon, and soft drinks can be purchased for around $4.50 a can.
Greenland Cruise Ports
Crystal Serenity then leaves the Northwest Passage and calls at three established cruise ports in Greenland. The first port of call is at Ilulissat, Greenland located approximately 350 km north of the Arctic Circle and the third-largest city in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut. Ilulissat is the Kalaallisut word for "Icebergs".
The population of Ilulissat, Greenland is 4,541 (2013) with almost as many sled-dogs.
The cruise ship then continues onto Sisimiut, located on the coast of Davis Strait, approximately 200 miles north of Nuuk. Sisimiut is the second-largest town in Greenland, with a population of 5,598 (2013) consisting mostly of Inuit and Danish people. Fishing is the principal industry in Sisimiut.
The final port in Greenland before heading back to the United States is Nuuk, Greenland which is the capital and largest city of Greenland. Nuuk is located on the eastern shore of the Labrador Sea. The population is 16,992 (2015).
Crystal Serenity then cruises onto popular northeast American cruise ship ports Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island before disembarking cruise ship passengers at New York City.
The Canadian Coast Guard says they will use the drills, as well as the actual voyage, as a test run to help plan for future Northwest Passage cruises.
"We're going to use this event to evaluate the risks, the challenges and be sure with Transport Canada if the regulations are appropriate." , superintendent Peter Garapick told Canadian Broadcast Company News (CBC).
In May 2016, Crystal Serenity was in dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia
, undergoing pre-cruise maintenance.
You can track Crystal Serenity through most of the itinerary using our Live Cruise Ship Tracker
Supporting Information & Resources: MV Clipper Adventurer Grounding August 27, 2010
Wikipedia Ulukhaktok, Inuvik Region, Northwest Territories, Canada
Widipedia - Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut, Canada
Widipedia - Pond Inlet, Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada,
Featured or New Cruise Ship Incidents