Lindblad lays keel for Polar expedition cruise ship

Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions (in orange) was on hand as Crist Shipyard, which is building the hull, lowered the first section of the ship into place Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions (in orange) was on hand as Crist Shipyard, which is building the hull, lowered the first section of the ship into place

MARCH 19, 2018 — Poland's Crist Shipyard in Gdynia was the scene for a ceremony held March 17 to mark the keel laying of the polar expedition cruise ship ordered by Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. from Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein Group.

The keel laying was coupled with the official naming ceremony of the latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet.

"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."

High polar class

"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."

Joining the Lindblad team in Poland for the occasion was Trey Byus, Chief Expedition Officer; Tyler Skarda, Senior VP, Marine Operations; Captain Leif Skog, VP, Nautical and Ice Captain, and Nikolaos Doulis, Senior VP, New Buildings. Among the representatives for Ulstein were Gunvor Ulstein CEO Ulstein Group and Managing Director Ulstein Shipping; Tore Ulstein , Chair of the Board and Deputy CEO Ulstein Group; Kristian Sætre, Managing Director, Ulstein Verft; and Per Svein Brekke, Project Responsible. Among the Crist representatives were Ireneusz Ćwirko, Chair of the Managing Board and Krzysztof Kulczycki, Chair of the Supervising Board.

"We are excited to be witnessing this important milestone for the new exploration cruise vessel for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. We look forward to the arrival of the hull to our shipyard, Ulstein Verft, for the completion of this innovative vessel,"said Gunvor Ulstein, CEO, Ulstein Group.

Set for delivery from Ulstein's Ulsteinvik, Norway, shipyard in 2020, 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. 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.

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