Lindblad Expeditions, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, and Ulstein Group, Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer, celebrate the keel laying of Lindblad’s first polar new build at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. The occasion marks a major milestone in the construction of the world’s most sophisticated expedition ship, and served as the official naming ceremony of the line’s latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet.
The ceremony continued with the traditional laying of the coins. First welded was a newly minted commemorative silver coin etched with the name of the ship, flanked by a polar bear and penguin signifying the two poles she will be exploring, and etched with To Explore and Understand the World. And to signify Lindblad’s commitment to their expedition team and crew, Sven laid the lucky coin of iconic Lindblad naturalist, Tom Ritchie, a 1780 Austro-Hungarian thaler [silver dollar] with Marie Theresa on one side and a double-headed eagle on the other.
The state-of-the-art 126-guest polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is Ulstein’s signature X-BOW®, a distinctive 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 provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability, whether at zero speed or full steam ahead.
Immediately following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad, Trey Byus, and Captain Leif Skog departed to Longyearbyen to embark on a reconnaissance expedition that will yield discoveries for more exhilarating 2020 early season Arctic adventures for National Geographic Endurance.