Arctic Port Welcomes First Cruise Ship in Over a Decade

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Churchill, a northern town in Manitoba, Canada, recently celebrated a unique event as it opened its port to a visiting cruise ship for the first time in over a decade, Silver Endeavour. The cruise ship, part of the Silversea fleet, is one of the world’s most luxurious polar cruise vessels.

According to Mayor Michael Spence, this visit was the first of its kind in over a decade, sparking excitement and anticipation throughout the community.

Silver Endeavour‘s Historic Visit

It’s not every day that the small town of Churchill can welcome a cruise ship to its shores. With Hudson Bay frozen most of the year, the window for visiting cruise ships is small.

However, for the first time in over a decade, the local community could welcome two hundred guests from Silver Endeavour, Silverseas’ newest expedition yacht, on Sunday, July 16. 

In a conversation with 680 CJOB’s The Start, the town’s mayor, Michael Spence expressed his excitement over the arrival of Silver Endeavour: “It’s a beautiful sight, seeing a cruise ship like that coming through the port. Naturally, the community was excited. It was great to wake up to, that’s for sure,” he shared.

Silver Endeavour
Silver Endeavour

With a crew of 209 and a capacity for 200 guests, the 10-deck, 20,449 gross tons Silver Endeavour is likely the largest cruise ship to have visited Churchill in the past 15 to 20 years. Spence also indicated enthusiasm for future visits, revealing that Silversea, the cruise line operating the vessel, has expressed interest in further visits in the coming years. 

“This is probably the biggest cruise ship we’ve ever seen. It’s a beautiful-looking vessel. We’re very excited about the cruise line’s indication that they want to come in next year.” Spence said.

Despite being frozen over for a good chunk of the year, Churchill, known internationally as the polar bear capital of the world, has a long history as a tourism hotspot and port community dating back to 1931.

The town’s location along the migratory route of polar bears from the Arctic tundra back to the freezing Hudson Bay makes it a unique and popular spot to observe these majestic animals, particularly in the fall months. 

A Warm Welcome for Guests of the Arctic

Due to the unpredictable weather and ice conditions, cruise ships do not visit the town on a regular basis. Silver Endeavour, with its PC6 ice class, is able to deal with any type of ice conditions. According to Major Spence, the residents are well-prepared to welcome the guests from one of the most luxurious ships in the world, Silver Endeavour.

Silver Endeavour
Silver Endeavour

Mayor Spence: “We’ve been a port community for many years, right from 1931 and on. We’re never challenged with opportunities like this.” 

Silver Endeavour, formerly Crystal Endeavor, was built by MV Werften in Stralsund, Germany. Completed in June 2021, she is the world’s largest ice-class expedition yacht with a Polar Class rating of PC6, and one of the most expensive cruise ships ever built per berth.

In July 2022, Royal Caribbean Group announced the purchase of the ultra-luxury megayacht for $275 million USD, significantly below construction cost, following the bankruptcy of Crystal Cruises’ former parent company, Genting Hong Kong. 

The guests and crew of Silver Endeavour spent a day exploring the town before continuing their Arctic cruise toward Greenland. 

Silver Endeavour will sail a series of 10 and 16-day cruises around Greenland and Canada this summer, culminating with a visit to New York City in October 2023. Following that call, the vessel will reposition south for a season of Antarctic sailings from Puerto Williams, Chile.

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