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It's official: Lindblad orders newbuilds from Nichols Brothers

Each ship will carry a fleet of sea kayaks, paddle boards and specially designed landing craft
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings inked contracts for a pair of 100-passenger US-flag ships at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. The order had been expected for some time.

The ships will be built at Nichols' Whidbey Island facility in Washington state for delivery in the second quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018.

They are priced at $48m and $46.8m, on top of a $4m slot fee Lindblad paid during the third quarter to reserve space at the yard. The company will be paying monthly installments, based on the value of the work performed.

Lindblad Expeditions president and ceo Sven-Olof Lindblad called the newbuilds 'an exciting step in the long-term growth of the company,' adding that the company could now expand in the Americas 'where we have very strong demand.'

Each ship will have 50 cabins, 22 with balconies and eight that can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families.

An outdoor walkway will ring the sun deck, which will feature an alfresco bar and grill. These are in addition to the restaurant and a lounge with bar and facilities for presentations.

Each ship will carry a fleet of sea kayaks, paddle boards and specially designed landing craft. Expedition technology will include a remotely operated vehicle, video microscope and a hydrophone and bow-cam designed for immediate bow deployment to hear and film. For example, these could capture humpback whale vocalizations and film bow-riding dolphins.

An audiovisual system will enable high-quality presentations including National Geographic photography instruction.

Jensen Maritime is serving as the naval architect with interior design work provided by Tillberg Design International.

Earlier, Nichols built Lindblad's National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird.