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Nome Greets Massive “Serenity” with Drums, Dance, Festivity

By Davis Hovey KNOM

The Crystal Serenity, off the coast of Nome. Photo: Lauren Frost/KNOM

The Crystal Serenity, off the coast of Nome. Photo: Lauren Frost/KNOM

Despite rainy weather, the luxury cruise liner Crystal Serenity arrived in Nome on schedule, Sunday morning. About a thousand people poured out of the floating hotel and emptied into the town of Nome for a full day of scheduled activities and events, including the formal commemoration held at the Nome Mini Convention Center.

Mayor Richard Beneville was the commemoration speaker. He says it’s days like these that make him feel excited to be mayor of Nome.

“And I got to be honest with you, as mayor of this town, I am so proud. I am so proud of our city employees that have come out to help this happen; I’m so proud of our volunteers that have worked on it; I’m so proud of Kawerak, who brought people in from the villages to sell goods. So it’s such a win-win-win, and it’s beautiful, and there’s a buzz in the air, and it’s energy, and it feels great,” Mayor Beneville said with a gleam in his eyes.

As Mayor Beneville learned from people onboard, many of the passengers getting off the boat were stepping onto Alaskan soil for the first time. Passenger Marc Sola described the activities he was able to participate in as he ventured into Nome.

Sola said, “we went to the church, we went to the visitors’ center, and then, there’s a little gift gallery we went to, and now we’re over here at the blueberry festival. We just came out of that, all kinds of things going on in there, singing, gifts, all that kind of stuff.”

Inside the Mini Convention Center, some of those singers and dancers were people like Carl Topkok and Linda Kimoktoak, a drummer and dancer for the King Island Dance Group. They were thrilled to share some of their culture with these newcomers.

“It really means a lot to us, it has to come from the heart, and you have to want to love it to do these songs,” commented Topkok. Kimoktoak added, “oh, it’s amazing to pass down our culture to people who haven’t experienced it before. You kind of get goosebumps, and you get a really good, tingly feeling.”

In order to successfully land in New York City within 30 days, Captain Birger Vorland of the Crystal Serenity will have to traverse the icy Arctic waterway, which is why an icebreaker vessel is accompanying the cruise liner throughout the journey.

The Norwegian ship captain was presented with a key to the City of Nome yesterday in the Mini Convention Center, and he took the opportunity to sink all rumors of his cruise liner being the next Titanic.

Sunday, the Crystal Serenity docked in Nome, and a special commemoration speech was given for this historic event. Photo Credit: Lauren Frost, KNOM (2016)

Sunday, the Crystal Serenity docked in Nome, and a special commemoration speech was given for this historic event. Photo Credit: Lauren Frost, KNOM (2016)


“We are the largest ship ever to attempt to go through the Northwest Passage, and when I say ‘attempt,’ that’s just for show, you know. We are going to make it, guaranteed,” stated Vorland.

Captain Vorland and the Crystal Serenity’s next stop will be Ulukhaktok in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Looking ahead to next year, Crystal Cruises is already booking passengers for another trip through the Northwest Passage.

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