Nunavik cruises to reach high water mark

Three companies boost marine tourism offerings


Nunavik will see more cruise ship traffic in 2009 than ever before.

Three different cruise ship companies, including the Makivik Corp.-owned Cruise North Expeditions, Adventure Canada and Polar Star Expeditions, be making an estimated 13 stops in Nunavik from July 14 to September 21.

Their ships, the M/V Lyubov Orlova for Cruise North, the M/V Clipper Adventurer and the M/V Polar Star, will stop in Kuujjuaq, Quaqtaq, Kangiqsujuaq and Kangirsuk.

To make sure communities are prepared for the visits, the Kativik Regional Government has been involved in offering training and support available.

The KRG, which developed customized culture and heritage modules, has given training sessions on interpretation and presentation skills.

“We have been working heavily with Kangiqsujuaq to develop support for the cruise stops, such as information brochures, development of town tours, guiding skills, and catering services,” said Salimah Gillani of the KRG’s employment and training department.

The KRG is also helping Cruise North staff on customer service, first aid, and boating certification, with all salaries subsidized by KRG and Nunavik’s Saputiit Youth Association.

The youth trainee and mentorship program at Cruise North, which is now in its fourth year, has resulted in a “significant increase and retention of local staffing,” Gillani said.

Trainee Mae Ningiuruvik from Kuujjuaq is taking marine navigation classes with the goal of becoming the first Inuk navigation officer.

Despite the economic downturn which made it harder to market cruises in 2009, Cruise North is set to start its season next month on a positive note, said marketing representative Jillian Dickens.

The company’s most recent promotional offer of 50 per cent off landed many additional bookings, she said.

“Our “Spirit Mountains,” “High Arctic,” north and southbound, and “Northwest Passage” is almost sold out completely.”

“Baffin Adventure” has been sold out since early in 2009.

The season’s first cruise, “Spirit Mountains,” leaves July 2 from St. John’s, Newfoundland and docks in Kuujjuaq July 13.

New this year for Cruise North is a pilot project in collaboration with the Torngat National Park where passengers on August’s High Arctic cruise can visit the Base Camp kANGIDLUASUk as a pre-cruise tour.

kANGIDLUASUK is near the Saglek Radar Base, about 100 kilometres from Kangiqsualujjuaq.
Also new for Cruise North in 2009 is the inclusion of a Northwest Passage cruise.

A Canadian Ranger from each of the communities visited on this cruise- Gjoa Haven, Resolute Bay and Cambridge Bay -will go along on this trip, which includes the unveiling in Resolute on Sept. 5 of a monument in memory of the Inuit relocated to the High Arctic.

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