What's hailed by organisers as the first luxury cruise through Canada's Northwest Passage ends its ground-breaking voyage in New York. Paul Chapman reports.
The owners of Crystal Serenity say theirs is the first luxury cruise through the historic Northwest Passage. It's just docked in New York at the end of its 32-day voyage with more than 1, 000 passengers and 600 crew on board. The ground-breaking journey is part of a growing trend in Arctic tourism. Some of the passengers who've paid anything up from $21, 000 to $120, 000 a head for the privilege say they're shocked by how little ice they encountered. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN COSGROVE, PASSENGER FROM ONTARIO, CANADA, SAYING: "I know people who were deniers that were on this ship that are no longer deniers and we saw the effects of global warming." (SOUNDBITE) (English) NANCY COSGROVE, PASSENGER FROM ONTARIO, CANADA, SAYING: "We had to search high and low for ice and when we saw it everybody was so amazed there was very little left." The liner's captain admits such tourism is a result of rising temperatures and receding ice although a British icebreaker did accompany the ship as a precaution. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRYSTAL SERENITY CAPTAIN BIRGER J. VORLAND SAYING: "This year was a very good ice year for us because there was very little ice but that is also a sign of the climate change that makes this voyage possible." The World Wildlife Foundation says it recognises the operator, Crystal Cruises, has tried to keep the environmental impact to a minimum. Critics say the area lacks the infrastructure to handle a serious accident. The cruise firm says this first voyage was sold out and it's now planning another one next year.