Marine Link
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ulstein Bags Polar Expedition Vessel Order

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 7, 2017

  • (Image: Ulstein)
  • (Image: Ulstein) (Image: Ulstein)

First polar newbuild ordered for the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet.

Expedition cruising and adventure travel company Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein to build a new polar expedition ship for delivery in the first quarter of 2020, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years. 
The state-of-the-art vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway and has been designed with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating solutions to reduce its environmental impact, Ulstein said. According to the designer, a core feature is its signature X-BOW, a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency and improved onboard comfort; as well as a 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 underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation or embarking/disembarking the ship.
“[The new ship] 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 Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad. “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.” 
Aiming to inspire people to explore and care about the planet, Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. works in partnership with National Geographic to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering natural environments, above and below the sea. 
In keeping with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ethos, the new ship will offer access the outside environment from anywhere on the ship, with 75 percent of the cabins featuring balconies for private viewing, multiple observation decks inside and outside and new “observation wings”. For off-ship exploring, a Zodiac loading system will allow passengers to get ashore quickly and safely. The vessel’s complement of expedition tools will include kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras, a helicopter landing platform and more. 
Ulstein said the ship will afford high levels of comfort and service. The 69 spacious guest cabins and suites will include 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 to the surroundings, and an outdoor barbeque and bistro area.
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