M/V Polar Star: Update January 4, 2014

Those of you who have followed this blog know that back in winter 2010, WC was a passenger on the M/V Polar Star on a three week trip to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as points between.

Chinstrap and the PolarStar

Chinstrap and the PolarStar at Deception Island

WC enjoyed the cruise a lot, and was sorry to see the ship fall on hard times. She seemed for some years to be destined for the scrap yard.

Here’s a table to the previous blog posts on the Polar Star for those who might want more background.

The Sad End of the Polar Star, 08 Nov 2011
A Depressing M/V Polar Star Update, 28 Nov 2011
Second Update: M/V Polar Star, 12 Jan 2012
A Brief Update on the M/V Polar Star, 21 Aug 2012
M/V Polar Star Update, 05 Dec 2012
M/V Polar Star Update, 26 Aug 2013

First, there is quite good evidence that the Polar Star has been completely refurbished. The charming, highly competent and entirely remarkable  Natasha Hanson, who was the hotel manager of the M/V Polar Star, reports (Linked In Access – paywalled) she has concluded a months-long contract to refurbish the hotel side of the ship, making her operational again. Natasha performed that work on behalf of InnerSea Discoveries and Oceanwide Expeditions.

Second, there are indications the Polar Star will be making polar trips in the Arctic summer of 2014. Hurtigruten may have chartered her. It’s hard to be certain; at this date the references are all indirect.

Now Alaskans have a slight connection to InnerSea Discoveries; it purchased the bones of CruiseWest, the late, lamented small ship cruise line pioneered by Chuck West, and run on the rocks – in all senses of the phrase – by his children. For that matter, Alaskans have a slight connection to Natasha Hanson; a few years ago, she managed Chena Hot Springs Resort, outside of Fairbanks.

It would be good to have the Polar Star back in service. WC is cautiously optimistic.

UPDATE 15 Jan 2014:

Sarah Scoltock, the Director of Communications for Un-Cruise Adventures, formerly InnerSea Discoveries, sent this email to WC:

I was just made aware of your blog post about the Polar Star. FYI that InnerSea Discoveries has no business with the Polar Star. We are not involved with that vessel in any way. Please update your blog post. Natasha worked for us at one point, but isn’t employed here any longer. I’m sure there is a misunderstanding here.

Thank you. I’m sure you want your blog posts to be as accurate as possible.

WC certainly hopes that clear to all readers, even if it is still slightly cloudy to him.


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