Lindblad Expeditions has signed an agreement for its second new polar vessel, a move that will bring the company’s National Geographic fleet of polar cruise ships to four vessels. The Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein will develop the new ship.
Scheduled for delivery late in the third quarter of 2021, the new ship will be the next phase in the company’s fleet expansion, following the launch of the newbuild National Geographic Quest in July 2017; National Geographic Venture in December 2018; and the scheduled delivery of National Geographic Endurance in the first quarter of 2020.
A sibling ship to the National Geographic Endurance, the new ship will be fully stabilized and built to the highest ice class of any purpose-built passenger vessel, PC5 Category A, the cruise line said. It will also have Ulstein’s signature X-BOW design, which allows for greater fuel efficiency and fewer emissions for reduced environmental impact, as well as a smoother ride.
Like the Endurance, the new vessel will have a capacity of 126 passengers in 69 cabins and suites, with an overall design that aims to connect guests with the surrounding environment. Seventy-five percent of the cabins will have balconies, and the ship will also sport multiple indoor and outdoor observation decks, as well as “observation wings.” Other exploration amenities will include a new Zodiac loading system designed to improve loading times, as well as kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle, hydrophones, a video microscope and underwater video cameras.
Further design details will be announced in the coming months, Lindblad said.