Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, and Ulstein Group, Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer, celebrated the keel laying of Lindblad’s first polar new build at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. The major milestone also served as the official naming ceremony of the line’s latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet, National Geographic Endurance.
“We are thrilled to announce the name of our new polar ship: National Geographic Endurance, due for delivery in the first quarter of 2020,” announced Sven Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “She is named in honor of Ernest Shackleton, Lindblad Expeditions’ most revered explorer, and will incorporate technical advances and create opportunities for guests beyond the reach of any contemporary ship.”
“A Polar Class 5 rating gives us the ability to operate the ship freely at any time of year in polar environments vastly expanding our polar range,“ Lindblad continued. “This means we can explore deeper into the pack ice, or further north to the unexplored reaches of the arctic. For instance, northern Ellesmere Island, where only a relative handful of people have ever been. Or some of the completely off-the-beaten-path arctic islands that are remote, pristine, and teeming with wildlife.”
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 126-guest state-of-the-art 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.
Immediately following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad; Trey Byus, Chief Expedition Officer; and Captain Leif Skog, VP, Nautical and Ice Captain departed to Longyearbyen, Norway, to embark on a reconnaissance expedition that will yield discoveries for more exhilarating 2020 early season Arctic adventures for National Geographic Endurance.
Photos: National Geographic Expeditions