Crystal Cruises has announced plans to become the first luxury cruise line to transport passengers across the Arctic Ocean via the famous Northwest Passage, 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Only as Arctic sea ice has retracted in recent years has navigating the passage without icebreakers become possible. During the voyage, guests will be informed about the affect of climate change upon the local landscape.

Beginning in August 2016, the 32-day expedition-style cruise will navigate through a 900-mile route of glaciers and fjords north of mainland Canada, and could include surprise excursions to encounter polar bears and whales.

Crystal Cruises’s Executive Vice President Thomas Mazloum spearheaded the strategic planning of the itinerary, with the help of Expedition Voyage Consulting by EYOS Expeditions.