Lindblad Expeditions — long time expedition partner of National Geographic — after signing a non-binding letter of intent back in spring, has signed definitive agreements with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders for the build of two new 100 guest coastal vessels.
The experienced Washington-based shipyard had already built two US flagged ships for Lindblad, the National Geographic Sea Lion and the National Geographic Sea Bird.
A $4 million non-refundable slot fee was paid earlier in 2015 to reserve the shipyard’s capacity, which will be charged against the second vessel’s cost.
Partners and schedule of the project
Naval architecture on the project is being conducted by Jensen Maritime, with interior design carried on by Tillberg Design International. The new US flagged ship will then be constructed at the Nichols Brothers shipyard on Whidbey Island, WA: the first one is scheduled to be completed and delivered in the first half of 2017, while the second is expected by the second quarter of 2018.
Accomodation and public spaces
The two new vessels will feature 50 cabins, 22 of which with balconies, and eight that can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families. Public spaces are designed to maximise views with easy access to decks for announcements from the bridge. Outdoor walkway around the sun deck will feature an al fresco bar and grill, a restaurant and a lounge with bar and facilities for presentations. A fitness room and a wellness spa can also be found onboard.
A fleet of sea kayaks, paddle boards, and specially designed landing craft are geared to get guests out and into the wild places to be explored.
The vessels will be equipped with state-of-the-art expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, and a hydrophone and bow-cam for immediate bow deployment to record, for instance, humpback whale vocalizations and bow-riding dolphins. Diving gear and underwater cameras will be available for the Undersea Specialists to bring back undersea imagery.
“These new ships mark an exciting step in the long-term growth of the company, and enables us to capitalize on the substantial demand for our expeditions. With our significant resources we can continue to deliver on our promise of expedition travel at its best, and can now expand our unique offerings in the Americas where we have very strong demand,” said President and CEO of Lindblad Sven Lindblad. “This is an important milestone in the company’s history as we enter the 50th Anniversary of the birth of expedition travel begun by my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, with the first laymen expedition to Antarctica in 1966.”