It is a sign of rapidly changing times that Silversea Cruises now offers voyages through both the Northwest and Northeast passages. In August, the retreat of the Arctic ice allowed the Silver Explorer, a 144-passenger expedition ship, to travel along the Northeast Passage, between Nome, Alaska, and Tromsø, Norway (over the top of Russia). In 2020, from August 22 through September 17, this 25-day cruise will be repeated. Concurrently, the 254-passenger Silver Cloud will sail through the Northwest Passage from Kangerlussuaq in western Greenland to Nome (over the top of Canada).
These journeys, through some of the world’s most remote regions, will offer stupendous scenery, encounters with indigenous peoples and spectacular wildlife, including polar bears (notably on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wrangel Island Reserve), walrus, various species of whales and prolific birdlife. Though it is hard not to feel envious of those able to enjoy these extraordinary experiences, it is a sobering thought that only an exponential increase in the rate of climate change has made them possible.