John's World: A New Cruise

September 19, 2016 12:14 PM

As I mentioned earlier this summer, Jan and I celebrate our wedding anniversary every 5 years. Not only does this give me a pass 80 percent of the time when I forget, it allows us to save up for a special event. Over the years, we’ve often used that plan to take cruises. Many other farmers have done so as well. It turns out if you plan carefully, they are not as expensive as they might first appear.

This summer an entirely new cruise route has opened up: the legendary Northwest passage. For the first time a large cruise ship completed the voyage from Alaska to New York. It was a controversial undertaking, since a Titanic-like disaster would overwhelm the Canadian rescue system. Environmentalists were also critical of rubber-necking tourists despoiling yet another pristine ecosystem. But given the price of a ticket, from $20,000 up to $120,000 per passenger plus insurance and your bar tab, it probably won’t be competing with the Bahamas anytime soon.

Still, this was the route so many expeditions, including the unsuccessful John Cabot and James Cook and the successful Roald Amundsen, struggled mightily to discover. In that sense the historic nature of this cruise is notable for me. I have been under the Arctic ice in a submarine 40 years ago, and the idea of sailing through the Northwest Passage on top of the Arctic fascinates me.

So maybe the summer arctic ice cover will continue to decline, and more ships and infrastructure along the way will make this journey a whole lot cheaper. Our best chance, I think, is for them to wheel us aboard our diamond anniversary.

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