Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has named its newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Venture, which is currently being built in Seattle and will make its inaugural voyage in June 2018. Sibling ship to the National Geographic Quest, which is launching in June 2017, they are the first new builds in Lindblad’s history and the only purpose-built expedition ships designed and built from scratch in the United States, Lindblad said.
The 100-guest National Geographic Venture will launch in June 2018 and will have 50 cabins, 22 with step-out balconies, and six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups; all category 5 cabins can accommodate a third guest. The ship will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment, and Zodiacs, as well as expedition technology including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, a hydrophone and underwater cameras.
The ship’s inaugural voyage will be on the June 24, 2018, departure of “Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia.” This 14-day expedition will give the ship a day in the San Juan Islands and a day in the Gulf Islands before heading north through British Columbia and Alaska. The ship will then sail the eight-day “Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness” for eight departures; another “Treasures of the Inside Passage” in September, followed by six eight-day “San Juan Islands & British Columbia” departures.
The design of the two new builds incorporates larger cabins, many with balconies or the ability to connect, and new public spaces. Other enhancements include:
A Better View – A common constraint with wildlife viewing on a ship’s bow is that the anchoring gear takes up space and a single level allows only one row of guests to enjoy clean sightlines. To provide a superior viewing experience, the bow on the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture have been designed with the anchoring gear separated from guest space by a tiered viewing system. This enables multiple rows of guests to line the bow with an unobstructed view. Also, two stairways on either side of the bow lead to an expansive observation deck one level up, for a unique perspective. All of these exterior viewing levels are accessible from the lounge.
Mark V Zodiacs – Inflatable expedition landing craft enable naturalists to take guests to places otherwise inaccessible. To outfit the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture, Lindblad worked with the team at Zodiac Milpro to deliver the first and only Mark V Zodiacs built entirely in the U.S. These boats are superior, military grade construction, but customized with features like extra holds for passenger stability and topside treads to improve footing for stepping on and off. Both ships will be outfitted with eight Mark V Zodiacs and guests will embark and disembark via custom-designed ladders to improve safety and ease of movement.
A Clearer View – Both ships have a dining room with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows and a lounge with wraparound windows as well, plus many cabins with portholes, large view windows or sliding glass doors. Lindblad researched and tested many types of glass, ultimately selecting a premium glass with a straight tint to offer a clear, natural view.
A Better Bridge –The bridges on these vessels have been designed with the guest in mind, and feature designated forward standing areas with clear views and settees set around the room’s equipment to ensure comfort for longer stays. All Lindblad Expeditions’ vessels have an open invitation to the bridge, so that guests can learn about navigation and enjoy the vantage point that a ship’s bridge provides.
Environmentally Friendlier – The National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture use advanced waste management and treatment systems that exceed international standards. To lessen the need for fuel, both ships have a streamlined hull design, a bulbous bow and new propulsion systems available.
The Mudroom Keeps Cabins Cleaner – Taking their cue from the National Geographic Explorer and Orion, the new builds will be the only ships in their regions of exploration to have a mudroom for the storage of guest expedition gear, Lindblad said. The room and rows of lockers will enable guests to store boots, snorkeling equipment and other gear, making excursion preparation more efficient and leaving cabins cleaner and more comfortable.