Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein Group has commenced the construction of the first Lindblad Expeditions Holdings polar ship at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland.
Ulstein Verft will build the National Geographic Endurance expedition cruise ship, which will join the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet after its expected delivery in the first quarter of 2020.
The ship will be equipped with Ulstein’s X-BOWs solution, a bow that provides fuel efficiency while improving guest comfort in rough seas. It will also have a high ice class for deep access in polar regions.
The 126-guest vessel will also feature sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact.
Its expanded fuel and water tanks will provide extended operations in remote areas and the ship’s zero-speed stabilisers will ensure stability at all cruising speeds.
Lindblad Expeditions president and CEO Sven Lindblad said: “A Polar Class Five rating gives us the ability to operate the ship freely at any time of year in polar environments vastly expanding our polar range.
“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.”
In a separate development, Ulstein announced that it has provided the design and equipment package for an expedition cruise ship operated by SunStone Ship.
Construction of the vessel has already been started at China Merchants Heavy Industry’s site in Haimen.