Crystal Cruises has announced that the RRS Ernest Shackleton will escort Crystal Serenity on its 32-day expedition voyage through the Northwest Passage this August.
The company said it reached the historic charter party agreement with Tactical Marine Solutions of Victoria, Canada and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) headquartered in Cambridge.
The RRS Ernest Shackleton, operated by BAS, is an ICE 05 classed icebreaker (exceeding the more common 1A Super class) that will provide operational support to Crystal Serenity, including ice breaking assistance should the need arise.
Crystal president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez said: “We have been planning this historic sailing for more than two years, working closely with expedition experts from EYOS-Expeditions, as well as Transport Canada, the US and Canadian Coast Guards and local agencies along the route to ensure the ultimate safety and a most memorable experience for our guests.”
“The RRS Ernest Shackleton’s assistance in navigating this region will only enhance the safety of our voyage.”
The RRS Ernest Shackleton will carry two helicopters for real-time ice reconnaissance, emergency support and flightseeing activities.
Crystal Cruises said that the expedition crew comprises expert guides with many years’ experience transiting the Northwest Passage and also a diver and support team trained in the use of the emergency equipment carried on board.
The RRS Ernest Shackleton will support Crystal’s adventures ashore, carrying newly acquired zodiacs for “wet landings”, while the vessel’s crew will provide expert assistance during flightseeing adventures.
Crystal’s 2016 Northwest Passage voyage sails August 16, 2016 from Anchorage to New York.