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Mass Arctic tourist
International cruise operator Crystal Cruises has made the world's first cruise of a large vessel in the Arctic waters - along the route from Alaska to New York, on the so-called Northwest Passage. EastRussia studies the experience of neighbors
Photo: Crystal Cruises
1700 brave and tickets for $ 30000
The name of the largest liner to sail along the Northwest Passage is Crystal Serenity. It took the company 3 years to prepare the ambitious cruise. The cruise was made by the liner on the following route. Arriving in Alaska (port of Nome), the vessel circled Alaska, passed through the Bering Strait and then - along the North-West Passage, bypassing the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, entered the Atlantic. After a short stay off the coast of Greenland, the ship completed a cruise in New York. The journey lasted from August 21st to September 16th. The cruise was 1700 passengers.
During his voyage the liner regularly stopped in picturesque coastal towns and villages - and almost everywhere passengers were given the opportunity to land ashore. Although, as evidenced by numerous photographs, the landing was not the most comfortable: while the liner was on the roads, passengers were taken ashore in boats and rubber boats.
The program was extremely busy. It follows from the company's press release that all the unpleasant moments that took place during the cruise of the liner - dragging boats ashore, long crossings on the icy surface, the harsh and unfriendly climate of the Arctic Ocean - all this was brightened up by the most detailed stories of the liner guides, full of their vast knowledge. ... Moreover, among the guides of the liner were representatives of local indigenous peoples, in particular - Inuit. The passengers did not get bored during the voyage either - enjoying the views of wildlife and various special Arctic phenomena updated in real time. Convenience was in the work of high-power optics, which provided online broadcasting of everything that was happening around, on the media panels installed in the front of the twelfth deck.
There were also surprises. These are spontaneous contacts with wildlife, including very close ones - with polar bears and whales from a motor boat. And also a night trip of a group of passengers of the liner along the icy Greenland coast. They overcame deep crevasses in massive glaciers on foot and spent the night under the starry sky on the frozen ground.
If we talk about the financial side of the cruise, then a ticket on the Crystal Serenity liner cost passengers $ 30 - $ 000. Moreover, the cost of one day of travel on the liner was $ 120 - this, according to the analytical company Cruise Market Watch, is $ 000 higher than the average cost of one day of a sea cruise in the world. Moreover, in addition to the ticket, the passengers of the liner also had to pay for special insurance with coverage in the amount of $ 768 - in case of a forced evacuation.
Despite such a significant cost at the start, many of the passengers continued to spend money and along the route - for souvenirs, clothing and works of art of local production. So, only in one of the villages - Cambridge Bay - the passengers of the vessel purchased from the local population for about 110 000 dollars. This is despite the fact that the population of this village barely reaches 1500 people.
We protrored the track
According to Eddie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, the cruise is a grand journey. He notes that this trip was organized by the company in order, in principle, to reveal to the world the beauty of this part of the Arctic.
Recall that the Northwest Passage was discovered in 1903-1906 by the Norwegian traveler Raul Amundsen. The Norwegian passed here on a small wooden yacht. Moreover, this route (in fact - the North American analogue of the Russian Northern Sea Route) until recently was impassable for large ships. The ice situation in this part of the Arctic Ocean is traditionally worse than in the Russian part, and the route is incomparably more difficult, therefore, in fact, until 2007 this route was not used by either freight or passenger traffic. By the way, in the history of navigation through the North-West Passage, about 240 transits were made, most of them after 2007. However, today, thanks to global warming and the melting of the Arctic ice, this route is becoming more free of ice from year to year.
It is worth noting that during the trip, the main problem of the liner was its size - the sea route of the Northwest Passage was marked only by 10%, as a result of which rocks, currents, shoals and ice could become serious problems on the liner's route. This has happened before with other ships - for example, in 2010 the Clipper Adventurer liner ran aground due to such problems.
Environmentalists are sounding the alarm
Despite all its grandeur and interesting program, in addition to the furor produced in the world of cruise tourism fans, the Crystal Serenity flight also found its opponents. For example, in the largest Canadian territory - Nunavut. Its management was concerned about the possible negative impact of the liner on the environment.
The organizer also got it from the World Wildlife Fund - again, for the environmental risks that come with both the flight itself and the landing of a large number of tourists on the unprepared coast. Smaller environmental organizations also spoke out - they criticized for emissions of fuel waste, for noise impact, for disturbing animals living here, impact on the traditional way of life of settlements. It should be noted that the matter was not limited to criticism alone - in Nunavut they began to develop special rules for sea cruise liners, the purpose of which is to minimize the impact of such ships on the territory.
Experts interviewed by EastRussia saw this as a desire to propiate themselves in this behavior of the ecologists rather than real threats, because everything indicates that the Crystal Serenity flight was worked out and prepared in the most thorough way.
"If we talk about, for example, the environmental impact of the Crystal Serenity liner on the Arctic Ocean ecosystem, which is likely to be reduced mainly by the rules developed in Canada, the same military submarines have no less environmental impact on it, - the general director of the International Tourism Association argues in conversation with EastRussia Pavel Khabarov. - But for them the same rules are not developed! In any case, we can only talk about the minimal impact of the liner on the ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean - for the simple reason that in the huge water junctions that cross the liner, everything that gets into them is very quickly dispersed and assimilated. But, however, if there really is something to worry about, and the owner of the ship will have to go to reduce its environmental impact on the ocean ecosystem, then it will cope with it without problems. Because the costs, which in one way or another mean "greening" the cruise liner, it will automatically put in its price for customers, who, as is known, they have people more than secured. "
"The ecosystem of the Far North's territories is extremely vulnerable," Professor of the Department of Economic and Social Geography of Russia, Geographic Faculty of Moscow State University, commented to EastRussia correspondent. M.V. Lomonosov Victoria Biryukova. However, the negative impact of the tourist liner is limited to wastewater and exhaust gases. And if you compare all the economic benefits that the liner brings, with its environmental impact on the ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean, they are simply not comparable, - said Victoria Biryukova. Plus, they also add social effects, also created by the liner. This is the development of coastal areas, and propaganda of a lean attitude towards nature.
In the opinion of the Deputy Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in Canada Valeriya Maksimova, the experience of Crystal Serenity should be thoroughly studied in Russia. "From the point of view of tourism, the North of the Russian Far East is of no less interest. Demand for such a tourist product is evident - it means, it is necessary to cooperate, to jointly create interesting routes. In our waters, swimming is safer - we need to invite companies to make calls to the Russian Far North. "
Next flight - 2017 year
Crystal Cruises considers the first flight successful - and is already preparing a new cruise for 2017 year. Tickets are already on sale, today they can be booked at a price of 21 885 US dollars. The departure will take place 15 August 2017 year from Anchorage, arrival in New York - 16 September. On Online The company presents a detailed schedule, information on excursions, as well as a list of necessary equipment.
In addition to Crystal Cruises, there are plans to launch liners on the Arctic Ocean today at other large shipping companies - they plan to direct their vessels along other cruise routes on its coast. Retreating ice of the Arctic allows this.
Cruise liner Crystal Serenity, 2003-th year of production, reconstructed in 2008-th year and updated in 2011-th year, has the category of 6 stars. It is a vessel with a displacement of 68 000 tons and capacity of 1700 passengers. Inside it is located 550 cabins. At the same time, the length of the liner is 250 meters, the width is more than 32 meters, the speed it develops for the most comfortable promotion is 22 node. In each cabin of the liner there is a bedroom and a bathroom, also they have a TV and DVD-player, a minibar, a refrigerator, a safe. In the liner at the same time there are also "special" cabins - with large open verandas or balconies, as well as with special equipment for people with disabilities. At the same time the cabins of the liner are from 20 to 120 sq.m. In turn, the 13 liner decks and a number of entertainment facilities - a casino, a nightclub, a cinema, a library, a shopping center.
As for the owner of the liner, the cruise company Crystal Cruises was founded in 1988, the world's largest shipping company and carrier Nippon Yusen Kaisha (better known as “NYK-Line”). This company, in turn, is one of the largest shipping companies in the world and has its main office in Tokyo - managing more than 800 vessels and having offices throughout the world. In addition to the Crystal Serenity liner, Crustal Cruises owns two more liners - Crystal Symphony and Crystal Esprit. It is noteworthy that this company is considered the most elite and best cruise company among those who own large vessels of the highest class.