Last updated: 12:23 PM ET, Wed August 17 2016

Crystal Cruises Makes And Explores History

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Crystal Cruises | Jason Leppert | August 17, 2016

Crystal Cruises Makes And Explores History

 Photo by Jason Leppert 

Crystal Cruises has been rather nostalgic for history recently to the point of even considering relaunching the domestic SS United States ocean liner into service. Now, the line has made its first foray into the Northwest Passage and will next prepare for a special East Coast itinerary visiting iconic sites and welcoming a retired U.S. Marine Corps General aboard its Crystal Esprit luxury yacht.

Unfortunately, dreams of turning the SS United States into a modern luxury ocean liner were recently thwarted when it was determined that there were just too many technical and commercial challenges to overcome to make it happen. It’s sad really because I personally was excited about the prospect of not only seeing the ship restored but also sailing on her as I’m sure many others felt as well. Nonetheless, the ship might still potentially see new life as a floating development in New York one day. Fingers crossed.

 READ MORE: Crystal Ends Plans for SS United States 

Still, Crystal Cruises remains committed to historic opportunities on its Crystal Esprit and Crystal Serenity. The Serenity yesterday left on its inaugural 32-day sailing from Seward, Alaska all the way across to New York City through the famed Northwest Passage. In preparation, the cruise ship was joined by two Canadian Ice Pilots and mounted with two ice searchlights, forward-looking sonar, a thermal imaging camera and special ice-locating software. The Serenity will also be accompanied by the RRS Ernest Shackleton ice class vessel.

All the hard work to get to this point will allow intrepid guests to experience unique polar bear and other wildlife, remote communities, expert onboard enrichment and intimate shoreside as well as zodiac and kayak explorations. Crystal’s new Unexpected Adventures will focus on “impromptu opportunities to explore ashore and in the surrounding areas.”

The route, which will be repeated in 2017, includes Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Nome, Alaska; Ulukhaktok, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island, and New York, New York. The ship will transit waterways including the North Pacific Ocean; Bering Sea & Bering Strait; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas; Amundsen Gulf; Dolphin & Union Strait; Coronation Gulf; Dease Strait; Queen Maud Gulf; Victoria Strait; Larsen Sound; Franklin & Bellot Straits; Peel Sound; Parry Channel; Barrow Strait; Prince Regent Inlet; Lancaster Sound; Croker Bay; Navy Board Inlet; Eclipse Sound; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; North Atlantic Ocean.

 READ MORE: Themed Cruises on American Queen Bring History to Life 

Also, onboard Crystal Yacht Cruises’ Esprit vessel on Dec. 23, 2016, the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program will welcome U.S. Marine Corps General (Ret.) Anthony Zinni as a returning speaker to the line after popular engagements in the past. He will share his international experience abroad roundtrip from Dubai.

Of course, closer to home, the Crystal Serenity will embark on a 14-day New York City to Ft. Lauderdale voyage on Oct. 25, 2016 not unlike one I had the great chance to take on the luxury line in 2014 (Lincoln Memorial pictured above). At a time when politics seem to elicit more heartburn than positive warm feelings, a cruise focusing on our proud American past just might be the ticket to reinvigorating modern patriotic emotions.

Stops along the way include Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia; as well as the U.S. Capitol and White House. Other historic points of interest showcased will be Fort McHenry, the Gettysburg battlefield, the H.L. Hunley Confederate submarine, Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall.

Onboard speaking will be “USA Today” editor Owen Ullman discussing White House correspondence, foreign affairs, economics, political campaigns and interviews with five U.S. presidents.

Since travel can often be equal parts world discovery and escapism, the final week of the cruise will journey off to the Caribbean to Aruba, Willemstad, Dominican Republic and Grand Turk. And the sailing will return on Nov. 8 appropriately in time for Election Day following a unique voyage of reflection and relaxation.


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