Two expedition cruise lines have scrapped plans to cruise
across Arctic Canada through the famed Northwest Passage because ice has clogged
Ponant has changed the itineraries for Le Boreal and Le Soleal,
ships that were scheduled to make the trips from Greenland to Nome, Alaska,
And Hurtigruten said the Fram will not make its
Northwest Passage trip this year from Cambridge Bay, Canada, to Greenland due
to ice blockage.
Navin Sawhney, Americas CEO for Ponant, said Le Soleal left
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, on Aug. 25 but was informed mid-voyage by Canadian
authorities that it would not be safe to proceed through the Northwest Passage.
Instead, the itinerary was altered to visit various destinations
in the eastern part of Arctic Canada. The ship will return to Greenland on
Sept. 18. Guests will be flown to Seattle, where they were scheduled to connect
with flights after arrival in Nome.
The scheduled cruises of Le Soleal from Nome to Vancouver
and Vancouver to San Diego have been canceled and guests have been offered "other
programs," Sawheny said. The ship will sail without passengers from
Greenland to San Diego through the Panama Canal and pick up its schedule on
Sawheny said it was much the same for Le Boreal, which was
on a similar 21-day itinerary departing Aug. 18.
Ponant had completed an annual Northwest Passage cruise for the
previous six years and still plans to offer the cruise in 2019, 2020 and
beyond, Sawheny said.
"For reasons people can understand, nature does do
things that sometimes require re-routing," Sawheny said. "Ice
conditions continuously change, and at some point if it becomes unsafe to go
through that ice, we have to make that decision."