Leisure cruising and space travel don’t share many similarities, yet when the Crystal Serenity set sail from Anchorage, passengers were offered exclusive insight into the experiences of American astronauts, Captains Scott and Mark Kelly.
Following a year in space, the identical twins stepped up as guest lecturers on-board the vessel’s Alaskan voyage. Both were part of a ground-breaking NASA study exploring how life in space affects the human body, with Scott spending a year in space while his twin brother Mark remained on Earth as a constant.
From sea to space
So what did the pair have to offer for Crystal cruisers? As well as spending a record year in space, Scott boasts a 20-year career with NASA, as well as 25 years serving in the US Navy. Captain Mark Kelly also has a long history with the NASA space research department, commanding the final Space Shuttle Endeavour mission in 2011. He’s been to the International Space Station four times, and is also a former US military recruit.
Joining the brothers was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who also happens to be Mark’s wife. She kicked off her career in congress in 2007, and was thrust into the public spotlight following an assassination attempt in 2011. With 13 critically wounded and six people killed, Gabrielle’s story is chilling to say the least. But it didn’t deter her from politics. She went on to become one of Arizona’s most popular Democrats, and is a passionate advocate for bipartisan collaboration.
Enriching the on-board experience
Edie Rodriguez, Crystal CEO and president, maintained that inviting the trio on-board was all part of the line’s commitment to offering its passengers unique at-sea experiences.
“It is a special honour for us to welcome these esteemed guests aboard our ship, and we are equally thrilled to share the privilege with our guests,” he said. “Crystal has long enjoyed a reputation for offering enlightening and often cutting-edge enrichment on board that enhances travellers’ global explorations; this occasion is particularly exceptional.”
Over the course of the cruise the three guest speakers delivered a series of lectures and Q&A sessions. Of course, there was plenty of time for both passengers and speakers to soak up the Alaskan summer sunshine, as the ship called at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.
Book an inspirational cruise
While the company of NASA astronauts may have been a one-off opportunity, Crystal is continually on the search for inspiring guest speakers for its on-board enrichment programmes. Find out more by chatting to one of our expert Cruise 1st customer service agents today. Call 0808 301 7622 or take a closer look at all of our upcoming Crystal Cruise itineraries.