Crystal Cruises engaged 21 guest experts specialized in polar history, geology, marine biology, culture and other appealing fields for its first ever Northwest Passage transit in August 2016. The 32-day journey of Crystal Serenity travels from Seward AK to New York City.
'The sheer number of experts set to enlighten travelers on the voyage speaks directly to how profoundly rich this itinerary is, and how much there is to discover about this part of the world,' said Crystal president and ceo Edie Rodriguez.
For shore-side support, Crystal is working with the experts from Expedition Voyage Consultants while Crystal Serenity’s escort vessel, RRS Ernest Shackleton, will carry additional guides and crew. Aboard Crystal Serenity, presentations are planned from guest scientists, adventurers and lecturers.
Among them is National Geographic photographer and marine biologist, Flip Nicklin, regarded as the world's premier whale photographer and a seasoned Arctic diver with decades of experience approaching whales to record their habits.
Arctic marine mammal ecologist Lois Harwood has more than 30 years of work on the behavior and distribution of marine mammals.
Dive master Justin Hofman is a marine biologist who will dive to capture images and video of the underwater world, using a remotely operated vehicle. He'll share his footage in presentations.
Polar bear specialist Tom Smith, who has a PhD from McGill University’s Marine Science Centre, has pioneered innovative research on polar bears and the ringed seal of the Canadian Arctic, with a focus on environmental impact in polar regions.
Naturalist Art Sowls, an expert in marine conservation, brings experiene working as a biologist for the National Park Service and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
Some of the many other guest experts are geologist and climatologist Henry Pollack, geologist Tom Sharpe, polar explorer Sigrid Henjun, historians Ken Burton and Hector Williams, archaeologist Margarit Bertulli and marine biologist and naturalist Linda Nicklin.
Crystal also engaged Inuit guides, a team of wildlife guides from Arctic communities who will accompany the voyage to provide local perspectives and expertise. The expedition leader is Tom Soper, who brings more than two decades of experience in polar regions. Kevin Freeny will serve as the expedition videographer.
In addition to the 'Crystal Adventures' listed on Crystal’s website, the ship’s captain will position the vessel to take advantage of impromptu 'Unexpected Adventures,' including Zodiac outings to view glaciers, kayaking in protected bays, trekking the tundra with an expert guide and helicopter flights, weather conditions permitting.
While the 2016 Northwest Passage voyage has long been sold out, Crystal plans a second journey in August 2017.