Capable of carrying 132 guests, Silver Explorer left Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on August 9 and arrived in Nome, Alaska on September 1. During that time, she covered nearly 3,500 nautical miles on a route once imagined to be the Holy Grail of trade between Europe and Asia, then an un-navigable passage. After numerous failed expeditions to find a route through the Passage – including Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845 expedition – Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to sail the passage, traversing it over three years between 1903 and 1906. Amundsen would, interestingly enough, also go on to beat Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole in the winter of 1911.
“Sailing the Northwest Passage is an experience reserved for true adventurers and dedicated explorers,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s director of expedition planning and strategic development. “We are honored to know that what was once an unfulfilled dream for such renowned explorers as Captain James Cook, Henry Hudson, and many others, is now a successful chapter in the history of Silversea Expeditions.”
If you don’t know much about the Northwest Passage, here’s why this is so cool: the passage isn’t really a passage at all, but a constantly-shifting sea of ice intermingled with small islands, archipelagos, and uncharted rock formations that make up much of Arctic Canada. The first cruise ship didn’t transit the passage until 1984, and only a handful of specialized, ice-strengthened ships typically do so each year.
For many travelers, transiting the Northwest Passage is the ultimate bucket list destination, beating even Antarctica and Fa
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