We were anticipating the expedition cruise ship Roald Amundsen’s arrival at the Breakwater today after it had circled Alaska, crossed the Arctic Ocean, and visited Greenland and Baffin Bay on an intrepid voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia, across the Northwest Passage – albeit from the west. But when that itinerary was halved, and the second leg shortened, we were crossed off the ports of call. At least we were then added to a shorter round of New England stopovers that followed.
So now the Amundsen is expected to show up today and you can bet that the locals will be lined up for a personal look. This is not any floating resort.
With global warming, Northwest Passage trips are being offered each year for bold, well-healed, bucket-list travelers desiring to go where few have ventured before. This opportunity requires ice-breakers, not just any cruise ship. The Norwegian-flagged Amundsen is one with style and luxury.
The visit should heighten our anticipation of its return next September as part of a remarkable 94-day Pole-to-Pole adventure that will continue to Antarctica.
Sounds like a historic journey to me.
Here are ten more facts.
- In 2019, the new, 530-passenger, 459-foot, stylish state-of-the-art vessel joined Hurtigruten Expeditions’ fleet.
- It is propelled by environmentally sustainable, innovative hybrid technology that reduces fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20 percent.
- The ship is specially constructed for voyages in polar waters, where it serves as a comfortable base camp at sea.
- Unlike a typical vacation cruise, an expedition is for curious minds and explorers, focusing on the geography, biology, cultures, and histories along the way. To serve that aim, the Roald Amundsen has a science center packed with banks of stereoscope microscopes and related laboratory gear, as well as touch screens, lecture spaces, a small library, and areas for workshops in photography, biology, and similar interests as guests, staff, and crew mingle and generate a heightened understanding of the landscapes being explored.
- It’s not your utilitarian research vessel but posh, with all cabins having outside views. Half even have private balconies. Aft suites include private outdoor hot tubs for enjoying spectacular views.
- Its three restaurants are inspired by Nordic and Norwegian heritage.
- The ship is named after the first explorer to reach both the North and South Poles.
- Passage through the Panama Canal takes roughly 12 hours.
- Arrival in Antarctica will be late spring there, when the Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins will be at the start of their courting season, while the Adélie penguins may have already laid their eggs and be nesting.
- Fares for this expedition started at $57,000 – or $600 a day. I doubt that any of those are left.
If you had the money, is this something you’d love to do?