Expedition cruise company Lindblad Expeditions (NASDAQ: LIND) announced the signing of an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and designer Ulstein to build a second new polar vessel, expanding the line’s National Geographic polar fleet to four ships.
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition cruise tourism company that operates cruises in partnership with National Geographic.
Linblad says the state-of-the-art vessel will be the next phase of its fleet expansion following the launches of newbuilds National Geographic Quest in July 2017, National Geographic Venture in December 2018, and the scheduled delivery of National Geographic Endurance in Q1 2020.
National Geographic Endurance was ordered from Ulstein in 2017 and included options for two additional vessels. Linblad’s Board of Directors in July 2018 authorized a plan for the second newbuild as part of the company’s long-term growth strategy within the expedition cruise market.
The new ship is scheduled for delivery in late Q3 2021.
Like its sister ship, the second newbuild will feature the highest ice class (PC5 Category A) of any purpose-built passenger vessel. It will also feature Ulstein’s signature X-BOW®. Both vessels will accommodate 126 passengers in 69 guest cabins and suites, 75% of which will have private balconies.
“We are extremely excited to announce this next phase in our growth strategy. National Geographic Endurance, and the unique itineraries that it is able to facilitate given its superlative capabilities, has been met with considerable excitement from both our existing guest community and those new to Lindblad-National Geographic, and we are confident that its sister ship will garner the same level of enthusiasm in the market,” said Sven Lindblad, president and chief executive officer of Lindblad. “These two ships will represent a whole new level of capability in expedition cruising, in terms of the level of comfort they provide guests, the regions and itineraries they are able to travel to and their ability to act as platforms for science in some of the most remote and pristine parts of the world.”
“We are very pleased that Lindblad, a global leader within expedition cruises, again has chosen Ulstein as designer and builder of their new expedition cruise vessel. We see this as a sign of confidence in all our employees,” stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO at Ulstein Group. “We have learned to know Lindblad as a highly competent and experienced customer and we look forward to continuing our good and constructive cooperation.”