Lindblad Expeditions is naming its new polar expedition cruise ship the National Geographic Endurance. The cruise line made the announcement at a keel-laying ceremony for the new vessel, which took place at the Ulstein Group’s CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. The occasion marked the official start of construction for the new ship.
The National Geographic Endurance is slated for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. In a written statement Lindblad Expeditions President and CEO Sven Lindblad said that the new ship was named in honor of famous explorer Ernest Shackleton.
Lindblad also said that the new ship will be Polar Class 5 ice-rated, which will allow it to explore deeper into the pack ice and further north, such as to northern Ellesmere Island and other off-the-beaten-path Arctic islands.
The ceremony continued with the traditional laying of the coins. First welded was a newly minted commemorative silver coin etched with the name of the ship, flanked by a polar bear and penguin signifying the two poles the ship will be exploring, and etched with To Explore and Understand the World. And to signify Lindblad’s commitment to their expedition team and crew, Sven laid the lucky coin of iconic Lindblad naturalist, Tom Ritchie, a 1780 Austro-Hungarian thaler [silver dollar] with Marie Theresa on one side and a double-headed eagle on the other.
Joining the Lindblad team in Poland for the occasion was Trey Byus, chief expedition officer; Tyler Skarda, senior VP, marine operations; Captain Leif Skog, VP, nautical and ice captain; and Nikolaos Doulis, senior VP, new buildings. Present for Ulstein was Gunvor Ulstein, CEO Ulstein Group and managing director Ulstein Shipping; Tore Ulstein , chair of the board and deputy CEO Ulstein Group; Kristian Sætre, managing director, Ulstein Verft; and Per Svein Brekke, project responsible. Among the CRIST representatives were Ireneusz Ćwirko, chair of the managing Board and Krzysztof Kulczycki, chair of the supervising board.
The 126-guest polar vessel incorporates a number of new sustainability features to reduce its environmental impact, such as Ulstein’s signature X-BOW, a distinctive bow that 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, whether at zero speed or full steam ahead.
Immediately following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad, Trey Byus, and Captain Leif Skog departed to Longyearbyen to embark on a reconnaissance expedition for the new ship’s early 2020 season.