Lindblad orders expedition ship with inverted bow

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings ordered an expedition ship from Norwegian shipyard Ulstein Group for delivery in 2020, with an option for two more vessels.

The ship will have 69 cabins, including 12 for solo travellers, giving it a capacity of 126 passengers. Of the cabins, 75% will have balconies.

A core feature is Ulstein’s signature X-BOW, a bow that increases fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas. The ship will have a very high ice class, allowing for access deep into polar regions, Lindblad said.

A rendering of the ship shows a more contemporary design than the two most recent ships Lindblad ordered from the Nichols Bros. shipyard in Washington.

“We are incredibly excited to be working with Ulstein and their brilliant team of engineers and designers on this state-of-the-art vessel as we continue the expansion of our fleet. It is the next step in the long-term growth of the company, and will be the most extraordinary global expedition ship in the world on a multitude of levels,” said Lindblad CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad.

Lindblad acquiring expedition ship for Galapagos cruises

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings has agreed to spend $18 million to acquire the Via Australis, an expedition ship that Lindblad will use for Galapagos Islands cruises, replacing the National Geographic Endeavour.

The company expects to take possession of the ship in the second quarter of 2016 and deploy the ship in the third quarter following a $10 million refurbishment. The ship will bear the National Geographic name.

“The Via Australis will be the ideal platform for our Galapagos expeditions far into the future. Opportunities to acquire high-quality expedition ships on attractive terms are infrequent so we seized this one,” said Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “The Via Australis will provide us with increased profitability on the same route through more operating days, revenue enhancement opportunities, operating efficiencies and cost savings compared to the National Geographic Endeavour. Additionally, it will require significantly lower capital expenditures for the foreseeable future.”

The Via Australis is one of two ships that currently sails for Australis, a Chile-based expedition line specializing in Patagonia cruises. According to Australis’ website, the ship was built in 2005 and can accommodate up to 136 passengers in 64 cabins.

After the refurbishment, the ship will have 50 cabins (46 doubles and four singles) for a maximum capacity of 96 guests, Lindblad Expeditions said.

Lindblad said the ship is a great fit for Galapagos cruising because it is “quiet and maneuverable, a great asset when approaching marine life.” Also, the ship offers “great viewing from all public spaces,” he said.

The ship will be equipped with Zodiacs and sea kayaks. The Zodiac platform can deploy two landing crafts at the same time, Lindblad Expeditions said.

The expedition ship will also have a fitness room and a wellness spa.