Lindblad Expeditons and Ulstein Verft have cut steel on the first polar new build in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet.
The steel cutting event took place on January 5 in Ulsteinvik, Norway. The ceremony marked the production start for the new expedition ship, which is scheduled for delivery in 2020. The steel cutting ceremony was supervised by Janusz Stechly at DNV-GL and yard representatives Ole Osnes Gjerde and Marek Lewczuk.
The new polar vessel is designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions and incorporates a number of new features, such as the patented X-BOW, which provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship’s expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship, Lindblad said.
In terms of accommodations, 75 percent of the ship’s cabins will incorporate balconies for private viewing. Multiple observation decks both inside and outside the ship, as well as new “observation wings,” will provide further opportunities for wildlife- and scenery-watching. A new Zodiac loading system will aim to speed embarkation and disembarkation for shore excursions, while other expedition tools, including kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras and a helicopter landing platform will provide further opportunities for exploration.