This was a rare chance to visit the Arctic before it is drasticly changed by global warming. Signs of change are already visible, and it's unclear what lies ahead for the wildlife and Inuit communities who depend on it. I would have been happy to have gone had the experience been much more mundane. As it was, our first cruise on Crystal (out of 50+) jumped this line to a tie for second place in our personal ratings.
2 out of 5
Reasonably efficient, but without much consideration for guests with handicaps.
2 out of 5
Not the worst I've seen and heard at sea, but the on-board talent was unimpressive. They should have spent more on talent and less on costumes. Small groups and soloists were competent, but only rarely worth stopping for. Outside entertainers were quite good, especially the comics. This cruise brought on board a number of Inuit performances, which I grant may be an acquired taste.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Reasonably comfortable, with one pinch point where we both tripped over the trash basket. Duvet without a sheet isn't our preference, though there were several extra blankets. Massive amounts of storage in drawers and even the bath, we found the hanger space in the closet the limiting factor, but that was partly because of parkas and heavy coats for the Arctic. Cleanliness was excellent.
Explore early in the cruise. There are many nooks that are not well described in the literature provided.
Our excursion was to two tiny museums. Neither the museums nor ship staff regulated the occupancy, and both were so crowded as a result that we had to leave without being able to see even half the exhibits. A distinct opportunity for improvement.
Tendering by Zodiac to a "wet landing" was helped by the ship providing waterproof boots. It's a tiny community that doesn't see strangers often, so I think the locals were as curious about us as we were abotu them.
Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, Nunavut
Did not visit port
Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Did not visit port
5 out of 5
Our excursion took a small boat into a field of (grounded) icebergs of impressive size. Spotting a mother and calf humpback feeding from almost too close was a big plus.
Met friends and visited the JFK museum. An outstanding exhibit! Despite being old enough to remember his presidency, I learned a lot about the context of his time and details of events I thought I knew. Highly recommended.
Circle Line Harbor Tour; one must go, I suppose. Better than expected. The ship also organized a Broadwy play, with a visit with some of the cast afterwards. "The Play that Goes Wrong", very funny. However, NYC traffic being what it is, it took us an hour to get to the harbor tour and back, and one of the buses never made it to the theater after the show, and we all piled into the bus that did, leaving ship staff to find a cab back. Hard to love a town when such a high percentage of your time is spend just getting places.
1 out of 5
Two ships were at the same dock, and there were neither signs nor staff to direct us to the area where our ship's luggage was. Lost a good half hour looking for our bags in the wrong place. I strongly recommend you take advantage of a porter; they speed you through customs and make sure you get a cap directly. Next time I might just take the ship's shuttle to the airport instead.
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