Today, Crystal announced a new partnership with ORCA, a leading conservation organization dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans). ORCA is placing wildlife experts on board Crystal Symphony to train Crystal’s bridge crew in the protocol for collecting scientific data about the animals’ behavior as well as best conservation practices. While onboard for the training, ORCA’s Cruise Conservationists will also lead Crystal guests through Q&A sessions, wildlife “deck watches,” interactive data collection and guided excursions ashore.
Following the training, Crystal will continue to support ORCA’s research and preservation efforts, passing along data collected on its global itineraries to the organization’s expert team as part of the ORCA OceanWatch program.
“We are honored to join ORCA in its admirable work to monitor and protect the animals and the oceans we sail. The passion of the expert Cruise Conservationists on their team is truly contagious and will certainly enlighten and inspire our guests,” said John Stoll, Crystal’s vice president of land programs and the “You Care, We Care” Crystal Voluntourism Adventures program. “Crystal guests are inquisitive travelers who want to experience the world, rather than just see it, and understanding the wildlife and environments of destinations is key to that purpose.”
ORCA’s experts are set to sail aboard two 2019 Crystal Symphony sailings through Alaska between Anchorage and Vancouver, training the bridge crews and leading guest activities and lectures. During the voyages – sailing August 20 and August 27 – the ship will visit Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway (as well as Sitka on the August 20 voyage), and will cruise through the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier – areas known to be rich in remarkable sea life. On board will be Lucy Babey, ORCA’s Head of Science and Conservation and John Young, an expert in birding and natural history and award-winning wildlife photographer.
According to Sally Hamilton, Director of ORCA, “People who live and work at sea are the most passionate about protecting it, and having Crystal take part in ORCA OceanWatch this year is a fantastic opportunity to get their crew directly involved in protecting whales and dolphins. Having the chance to showcase these incredible animals to guests aboard Crystal Symphony is an added bonus that will allow us to spread our marine conservation program to a whole new audience.”
Crystal will look to further expand the ORCA OceanWatch program to the rest of its ocean-going fleet. Crystal’s own onboard “Crystal Clean” program has long encompassed a bevy of environmentally friendly initiatives that meet, and often exceed, protocol set forth by the International Convention for the Safety and Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Marine Pollution Convention (MARPOL) and the International Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The line invites guests and crew to participate in complimentary excursions ashore that assist in the communities its voyages call through its “You Care, We Care” Crystal Voluntourism Adventures.
The Crystal Symphony voyages featuring ORCA wildlife experts are open for booking, with fares starting at $2,055 per person.