Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein has signed an agreement to build a new polar vessel for Lindblad Expeditions Holdings.

The new vessel will increase Lindblad’s National Geographic polar fleet to four ships.

To be designed as the sister ship to the earlier National Geographic Endurance vessel, the vessel will be stabilised with the highest ice-class of any purpose-built passenger vessel.

It will feature Ulstein’s signature X-BOW design to ensure comfortable journeys under all forms of sea behaviour. The design will reduce fuel emissions and result in better fuel efficiency.

Lindblad president and CEO Sven Lindblad said: “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.

“We are confident that its sister ship will garner the same level of enthusiasm in the market.”

Scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021, the vessel will accommodate 126 passengers in 69 guest cabins and suites.

“The design will reduce fuel emissions and result in better fuel efficiency.”

Around 75% of the cabins will feature balconies for private viewing. It will also include multiple observation decks inside and outside.

The ship will be equipped with the Zodiac loading system to enable passengers to get ashore swiftly and safely.

The polar vessel will also be equipped with exploration tools such as kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle, hydrophones, a video microscope, and underwater video cameras.

Besides National Geographic Endurance, the other two vessels of the National Geographic polar fleet are National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture.

The National Geographic Endurance vessel is scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of next year.