Designed to operate in polar regions, the newbuild's core feature is Ulstein's signature X-BOW that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving passenger comfort in rough seas. Another feature is a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions.
The expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas, while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship.
The vessel has 69 spacious guest cabins and suites, including 12 cabins for solo travelers. Seventy-five percent of the accommodations have balconies.
There are multiple observation decks inside and outside, and new 'observation wings.' Off-ship exploring will be greatly enhanced with an innovative Zodiac loading system to enable passengers to get ashore quickly and safely. Exploration tools include kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle, hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras and a helicopter landing platform. More tools will be announced in the coming months.
The spa and fitness area will include treatment rooms, saunas, a fitness room, a relaxation area and yoga room, and there will be two infinity Jacuzzis. Dining offerings include a main restaurant with outstanding views to the surroundings, and an outdoor barbecue and bistro area.
'We are incredibly excited to be working with Ulstein and their brilliant team of engineers and designers on this state-of-the-art vessel as we continue expansion of our fleet. It is the next step in the long-term growth of the company, and will be the most extraordinary global expedition ship in the world on a multitude of levels,' enthused Sven Lindblad, president and CEO, Lindblad Expeditions.
Nancy Schumacher, head of travel and tour operations for National Geographic, called the expansion of the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet 'terrific news, as it allows us to offer these unforgettable trips to even more travelers in the future.'
'Lindblad is an innovative company and a frontrunner in the exploration cruise industry,' added Gunvor Ulstein, CEO, Ulstein Group. 'We look forward to turning this project into reality together with Lindblad and their partners.'
The options are priced at 1.031bn kroner, exercisable within six months of the agreement, and 1.051bn, exercisable within six months of exercise of the first option, respectively.