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Melting Arctic to pave the way for luxury cruises



The dramatic melting of the Arctic will open possibilities for travel organisations to promote journeys on luxury ships, with some trips already scheduled for 2016 through the Northwest passage.

Company Crystal Cruises has set its ship Crystal Serenity to be the first luxury ship to pass through the Northwest Passage in August-September2016, in a journey lasting 32 days and costing $20,000 (£12,000).

The company promises an “extreme wilderness adventure with unsurpassed luxury cruising”, where travellers could enjoy “breathtaking landscapes that few have ever seen, from spectacular glaciers to towering fjords, and experience nature that is truly wild”, as well as wildlife watching, for instance polar bears – which unfortunately will probably see even more of their habitat being lost by then.

Crystal’s executive vice president Thomas Mazloum said, “From reviewing operations with Canadian officials to meeting with Inuit elders of the Arctic who have provided their backing, our team has spent almost two years diligently gathering the field experts, information, resources, and support to ensure an epic experience that is exceptionally rewarding and safe for guests and crew, and respectful of local lands and cultures.

“During this voyage, speakers will enlighten guests on information regarding climate change, and how it has impacted this passage. With the recent retreat of polar ice, the time is right for us to lead the way within the travel industry, as Crystal has done throughout our 25-year history”.

Despite the company pledging to educate passengers on climate change during the trip, there is much controversy surrounding economic activities that will arise from an increasingly ice-free Arctic.

It is feared that not only this could lead to more shipping routes and fossil fuels extraction – which will worsen the effects of climate change and impact on wildlife – but it is also suggested that this will pose threats to states’ security and would require new military strategy.

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight via flickr

Further reading:

Arctic could be ‘ice-free’ by 2054, say scientists

Shrinking Arctic will create shipping bonanza in region

US Navy: melting Arctic requires new military strategy

Plans for development of Northern Sea Route on ice

New book explores economic risks of melting Arctic