Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has unveiled plans to replace its existing Galapagos Islands cruise vessel, National Geographic Islander, with the former Crystal Esprit it purchased in late 2021 from the now-defunct Crystal Cruises.
The 48-guest all-suite yacht is currently receiving a “top-to-bottom refit” and will make her inaugural voyage under the new name of National Geographic Islander II on 18 August 2022.
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“I had the pleasure of being in Galápagos for the first-time last week and you could feel the Lindblad-National Geographic legacy in these iconic islands – from the second-generation Galápagos crew aboard, to the locally grown food on the table to stories of the role we have played in supporting conservation in the archipelago,” said Dolf Berle, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “With the new National Geographic Islander II, we will be able to build on that legacy and offer an even greater connection to Galápagos and its people for just 48 guests.”
The revamp of the yacht will elevate the guest experience to an entirely new level. Travellers will find teak decks connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces, an observation deck, indoor-outdoor dining options, 26 suites, and new expedition amenities including a marina and Science Hub.
Each of the 26 suites feature large windows, convertible king/twin beds, sofa, marble double-sink bathrooms, stocked mini-bar, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV and ample closets. The four Islander Suites, three of them brand new, have four windows, separate living rooms and bathrooms outfitted with a tub and rain shower. Connecting suites are available, plus four dedicated solo suites and triple options. The Santa Cruz Islander Suite can be reserved as a family suite with a connecting double suite.
The reimagined Cove lounge will be the gathering spot for pre-dinner recaps, crafted cocktails and enriching presentations. Dining will be offered in the newly expanded al fresco Patio Café and sophisticated Yacht Club Restaurant.
The ship will celebrate Lindblad’s deep connection to the islands, Ecuador, and its people. From the carefully considered food and beverage program that highlights the four regions of Ecuador with locally sourced ingredients, to artwork and decor created by local artists and artisans, on National Geographic Islander II, guests will experience the beauty and wonder of Ecuador on and off the ship.
Guests can expect the same best-in-class expedition experiences and adventures that are at the heart of every Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyage. Designed for active exploration, National Geographic Islander II carries a fleet of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a custom-built glass-bottom Zodiac and a flotilla of Mark V Zodiacs.
The new Science Hub — outfitted with an interactive video display, lab benches and seating — will connect guests to the Lindblad-National Geographic legacy of supporting conservation and research. Two Cabins for Conservation Suites, designated exclusively for Galápagos community members, local and international researchers, educators, storytellers, and other experts, will provide guests a deeper connection to people and place.
Named to honour National Geographic Islander that she will replace, the expedition ship will offer a 1-1 guest-to-crew ratio, expanding on Lindblad’s renowned shipboard services. Her expedition team will include an expedition leader and four Naturalists, including an undersea specialist, certified photo instructor and trained field educators who run the acclaimed National Geographic Global Explorers family program.
The National Geographic Islander II is a true ocean-going vessel, 280 feet long, 46 feet wide, and is equipped with stabilizers for smooth sailing.