Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc., a global leader of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, announced the shipbuilding agreement today, expanding the line's National Geographic polar fleet to four ships.
This state-of-the-art vessel will be the next phase of Lindblad's fleet expansion following the launches of new builds National Geographic Quest in July 2017, National Geographic Venture in December 2018 and the scheduled delivery of National Geographic Endurance in 2020.
Sister ship to National Geographic Endurance, the polar vessel will be fully stabilized with the highest ice class (PC5 Category A) of any purpose-built passenger vessel, and will feature Ulstein's signature X-BOW®, a unique design that affords the smoothest, most comfortable ride imaginable, in all sea behavior, which results in greater fuel efficiency and fewer emissions, for reduced environmental impact.
"We are extremely excited to announce this next phase in our growth strategy. National Geographic Endurance, and the unique itineraries that it is able to facilitate given its superlative capabilities, has been met with considerable excitement from both our existing guest community and those new to Lindblad-National Geographic, and we are confident that its sister ship will garner the same level of enthusiasm in the market," said Sven Lindblad, president and chief executive officer of Lindblad. "These two ships will represent a whole new level of capability in expedition cruising, in terms of the level of comfort they provide guests, the regions and itineraries they are able to travel to and their ability to act as platforms for science in some of the most remote and pristine parts of the world."
Like its sister ship, the new vessel will accommodate 126 passengers in 69 spacious guest cabins and suites and is being designed to connect guests to their environment and be the ultimate platform for exploration. With 77 percent of the cabins featuring balconies for private viewing, multiple observation decks inside and outside, and "observation wings," the surrounding environs will always be accessible. Off-ship exploring will be greatly enhanced with an innovative expedition boat loading system that will allow everyone to get ashore quickly and safely, ensuring quick access to every destination. The ship's complement of expedition tools for exploration will include kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle, hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras and more to be announced in the coming months.
"We are thrilled to announce the build of this exciting new ship," said Nancy Schumacher, executive vice president, travel & tour operations, National Geographic Partners. "This is yet another example of our ongoing success and continued expansion of the National Geographic-Lindblad partnership. "
"We are very pleased that Lindblad, a global leader within expedition cruises, again has chosen Ulstein as designer and builder of their new expedition cruise vessel. We see this as a sign of confidence in all our employees", stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO at Ulstein Group. "We have learned to know Lindblad as a highly competent and experienced customer and we look forward to continuing our good and constructive cooperation".