Lindblad Expeditions’ CEO & President, Sven Lindblad, revealed details of the company’s first polar-build vessel last week, the 126-passenger National Geographic Endurance.
The ship was unveiled during a live video conference alongside members of the line’s ship-building and expedition team including Trey Byus, Chief Expedition Officer (CXO); Nikolaos Doulis, Senior VP of Marine Builds; and Captain Leif Skog, VP of Nautical. The panel of experts discussed the ship’s innovative design and development, previewed interior renderings and revealed the inaugural Arctic itineraries following her early 2020 delivery.
Fully stabilised with the highest ice class (PC5 Category A) of any purpose-built passenger vessel, National Geographic Endurance will provide unprecedented access to polar environments, opening up previously unexplored areas as well as allowing Lindblad to explore familiar geographies for longer in polar environments.
The most striking feature of National Geographic Endurance is her distinctive profile, resulting from the patented X-Bow, introduced by Lindblad’s Norwegian shipbuilder, Ulstein.
The X-Bow significantly increases the joy of observing wildlife, enabling optimal forward and straight-down-the-sides viewing; no leaning out over the deck rail is required. The unobstructed downward sight lines, plus multiple walk-out areas from the Bridge and Observation Lounge and glass rails on the top deck, create superb conditions for viewing and photography.
Sleek and powerful on the outside, National Geographic Endurance is luxe, in the best Scandinavian design tradition, on the inside. Conceived by Partnership Design in Hamburg, the streamlined modernism of her welcoming reception, distinctive style of her elevators and staircase and comfort of her public and private spaces have been designed for guest ease. With a total of six guest decks, the ship has over 930 square metres of glass, keeping guests constantly connected to the view.
National Geographic Endurance’s luxuriously appointed interiors are superlative from a design and hospitality perspective and uphold Lindblad traditions: making community (the Lounge) and insight (the ‘Circle of Truth’ podium) the centre of expedition life.
Fire and ice are twin themes throughout the ship, in the colour schemes and the feelings engendered by her spaces: from the ‘chill’ cool of the Ice Lounge, the expedition community hub for recap, talks, presentations and sociability, with a B&H Photo Gear Locker for trying new tech, to the conversation-kindling warmth around the fireplace of The Den on the Observation Deck. Travellers can discover spa treatments and therapies at The Sanctuary, and enjoy twin infinity Jacuzzis as well as saunas with million-dollar views. A glass-walled yoga studio will transform the polar experience.
Elegantly imagined, with a sense of limitless space effortlessly incorporated into the design, the 13 extra-large balcony suites – each named for a famous polar explorer – impart a feeling of serenity. Palettes of warm creams, oatmeal and coral are complemented by soft textures, round corners, art that invites the eye to linger and Lindblad’s signature feather duvets; a walk-in wardrobe and roomy, stone-clad bath make each suite a haven.
Full-height windows and furnished balconies bring the scenery in, and in the 56 standard cabins, azure accents meet polar vistas at the windows for a feeling of expansive yet cosy space. Of the 56 standard cabins, 40 feature a balcony (including the 12 solo cabins). All 69 cabins in total feature a sofa or reading chair, as well as the new “Command Centre” with a National Geographic Atlas, barometer, analogue clock, digital tablet with daily programming and a generous array of USB and universal electrical ports for cameras and devices, plus a retractable lighted vanity mirror.
Dining options include Two Seven Zeroº, which surrounds superb dining with stellar views. C. Green’s, named for Shackelton’s cook, offers an early-riser breakfast, fresh salads and lighter fare, plus custom-grilled selections at lunch and dinner. The Chef’s Table is an innovative approach to private dining. Over the course of each voyage, all guests will be hosted by the chef. Intimate and interactive, each dinner features ‘polar theatre’ in the form of regionally inspired, sustainable and inventive food. In addition, daily high tea, hors d’œuvres at Recap and barbecues in the heated outdoor Winter Garden round out the new level of dining.
The ship will feature a suite of Lindblad’s signature tools for exploration: a fleet of Zodiacs, kayaks, snowshoes, cross-country skis, an ROV, hydrophones, video microscope, underwater video technology and a hyper-efficient Zodiac loading area for ‘getting out there’ more swiftly and safely, with more expedition enhancements to be announced soon.
In 2020, National Geographic Endurance embarks on a series of eight inaugural Arctic itineraries to explore areas both familiar and brand-new, presenting unprecedented opportunities to explore further. She will travel where few have gone, see what few have seen and experience what few can, venturing earlier and penetrating farther into the most adventurous regions. That’s what National Geographic Endurance is designed to do. A few highlights:
- Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light and Epic Ice Voyage deep into Svalbard, the way few have. A true Arctic refuge, covered in snow, surrounded by sea ice, where polar bears freed from their winter sleep stalk seals on the ice. Be stunned by the astonishing lights as the spring sun mounts higher in the Arctic sky each day.
- Northeast Passage: An Unforgettable Voyage from Norway to Alaska National Geographic Endurance roams free at the top of the world on this pioneering expedition on one of the most un-travelled, adventurous routes in the High Arctic, including Franz Josef Land, Severnaya Zemlya, the barely explored Siberian coast and Wrangel Island.
- East Greenland: Wild Shores of the High Arctic As fiercely guarded as any kingdom, Greenland’s eastern coast is flanked by thousands of bergs calved from the massive ice sheet. It’s where the ship will enter the largest national park in the world – Northeast Greenland National Park – to find polar bears, seals and walrus; crevasse-laced glaciers; mountains made from some of the world’s oldest rock art; and coastal villages, where descendants of the greatest hunters and survivors our species has ever known to dwell.
All renderings supplied by Lindblad Expeditions.