Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein to build a new expedition ship.
The new vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway, and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years.
The new polar vessel has been designed with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is 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, Lindblad said. 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.
“The launch of this ship will mark the 50th anniversary year of the first-ever purpose-built expedition ship, Lindblad Explorer, which was built by my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, and will set another important milestone in the company’s commitment to deliver expedition travel at its best,” said Sven Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad, in a written release.
In keeping with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ethos to connect guests with the environment being explored, the ship will be designed to access the outside environment from anywhere on the ship. With 75 percent of the cabins incorporating balconies for private viewing; multiple observation decks inside and outside; and new “observation wings,” the surrounding environs will always be accessible, the cruise line said. Off-ship exploring will be enhanced with a new Zodiac loading system which 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 (ROV), hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras, a helicopter landing platform, and more to be announced in the coming months.
The ship will have 69 guest cabins and suites, including 12 cabins for solo travelers. The spa and fitness area will include treatment rooms, saunas, a fitness room, a relaxation area and yoga room; and there will be two infinity Jacuzzis. Dining offerings include a main restaurant with views of the surroundings, and an outdoor barbeque and bistro area.