Lindblad Expeditions Holdings has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein Verft to build an expedition cruise ship.
The new vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway and is scheduled for delivery in Q1 2020, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years.
A statement explained that the ship design would incorporate “innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact”. This will include Ulstein’s X-bow, a 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 will provide for extended operations in remote areas while the zero-speed stabilisers will ensure stability.
“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 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 president and chief executive of Lindblad, Sven Lindblad.
The ship will be the first polar newbuild in the Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic fleet. “Our expedition cruises, operated through our alliance with Lindblad Expeditions, have delivered remarkable experiences to our guests for the past 13 years," said National Geographic head of travel and tour operations Nancy Schumacher. “The expansion of the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet is truly terrific news, as it allows us to offer these unforgettable trips to even more travellers in the future.”
The ship will be designed to access the outside environment from anywhere on the ship. With 75% of the cabins featuring balconies for private viewing, observation decks inside and outside, and new “observation wings,” the surrounding environs will “always be accessible”.
The statement added “Off-ship exploring will be greatly enhanced with an innovative 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, hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras and a helicopter landing platform.
“We are pleased to have been chosen as a partner for this exciting project. Lindblad is an innovative company and a frontrunner in the exploration cruise industry. We look forward to turning this project into reality together with Lindblad and their partners,” said Ulstein Group chief executive Gunvor Ulstein.