Lindblad Expeditions (LEX), the NY-based expedition travel pioneer, has announced the newest addition to its fleet, an ice-class polar expedition vessel that will hold approximately 150 guests and will set sail in the summer of 2008. The ship, the Lyngen, purchased from the Norwegian company Hurtigruten, will be renamed the National Geographic Explorer and will be redesigned to provide travelers with the most innovative tools for exploring the undersea, the polar regions and key destinations around the globe. The ship will be the seventh in the Lindblad fleet.
Built in 1982, Lindblad’s new ship will undergo extensive renovations to become a state-of-the-art vessel offering guests an intimate, educational environment. The new ship, like all Lindblad vessels, will carry the name of National Geographic, showcasing the deepening relationship between the two organizations. In addition, the ship’s new name reflects the National Geographic Society’s century of exploration and the name of Lindblad Travel’s first ship, the Lindblad Explorer, which was commissioned in 1969 by Lars-Eric Lindblad, known to many as the ‘father of eco-tourism,’ as the world’s first purpose-built expedition ship.
“Adding the National Geographic Explorer to our fleet of ships enables us to bring to life, in the fullest sense, the name of my father’s first ship, but with all of the best tools for exploring and the comfort of a 21st-century expedition ship,” said Sven Lindblad, founder and president of Lindblad Expeditions. “This vessel will not only explore the remote corners of the world, but with our partners at NGS, we hope to positively impact these regions through guest involvement in scientific research and conservation”.
Building upon Lindblad Expedition’s spirit of exploration and discovery, the National Geographic Explorer will house technology for sea exploration, such as zodiacs, kayaks, hydro-phones, underwater HD cameras and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV). Additional ship-enhancement plans include the development of multiple dining venues, a lounge area designed specifically for educational presentations and a luxury wellness spa.
The vessel, staffed with highly experienced LEX and National Geographic undersea experts, photographers, naturalists and expedition leaders will be deployed from the Arctic next summer and will sail to Greenland, Iceland, the Canadian Arctic and down the east coast of the U.S. before sailing to Antarctica via the west coast of South America.
Lindblad Expeditions will be highlighting, on its website ( www.expeditions.com ), the eight-month journey of the National Geographic Explorer as it is transformed into an ultra-modern expedition vessel. Weekly updates from the shipyard, including photos, will enable maritime buffs and travel enthusiasts a rare opportunity to observe this dramatic ship overhaul.