While environmental scientists are raising increasing concerns about the adverse effects of climate change, the same warming temperatures are also heating up tourism in surprising ways.
Case in point: the fabled Northwest Passage, where retreating ice cover is turning a route that's traditionally been a dream of expedition-style adventurers into a 21st-century luxury-cruise destination. On Aug. 16, 2016, the 1,070-passenger Crystal Serenity will embark on a 32-day cruise from Anchorage to New York, making it the largest and most luxurious ship to ever make the trip.
"As we all know, typically expedition-style ships do this," said Edie Rodriguez, president of Crystal Cruises. "We're in a position to give people a different way to experience such a unique itinerary."
That experience will combine enrichment seminars, guided shore excursions and visits to three communities in the Canadian Arctic with fine dining, spa services and slot machines, not to mention a putting green and driving range. All-inclusive fares start at $19,775 per person. (The cruise is currently fully booked but Rodriguez expects space to open up as previously booked passengers' plans change.)