Both are under construction at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in the Seattle area and are the first newbuilds in Lindblad’s history.
The 100-passenger National Geographic Venture will have 50 cabins, 22 with step-out balconies, and six sets of connecting cabins for families and groups. All Category 5 cabins can accommodate a third guest.
Exploration tools will include 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs. In addition, the ship will be equipped with a remotely operated vehicle, video microscope, hydrophone and underwater cameras.
National Geographic Venture's inaugural voyage is set for June 24, 2018. This 14-day 'Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia' trip will give the ship a day in the San Juan Islands and a day in the Gulf Islands before heading north through BC and Alaska.
After that, the ship will sail an eight departures of the eight-day 'Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness' itinerary, followed by another 'Treasures of the Inside Passage' sailing in September, then six eight-day 'San Juan Islands & British Columbia' cruises.
Lindblad has incorporated more than 30 years of expedition experience into the pair of coastal ships' design.
A common constraint with wildlife-viewing from the bow is that the anchoring gear takes up space and a single level allows only one row of passengers clear sightlines. To provide a superior viewing experience, the bow on each new National Geographic ship has a tiered viewing area that separates the anchoring gear from the passenger space. This allows multiple rows of people to line the bow and have an unobstructed view.
Also, two stairways on either side of the bow lead to an expansive observation deck one level up. All these exterior viewing levels are accessible from the lounge.
To outfit the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture, Lindblad worked with the team at Zodiac Milpro to deliver the first and Mark V Zodiacs built entirely in the US. These boats offer superior, military-grade construction, customized with features like extra holds for passenger stability and topside treads to improve footing. Each ship will be outfitted with eight Mark V Zodiacs and passengers will embark and disembark via custom-designed ladders.
Both ships feature a dining room and lounge with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows, made from premium glass with a straight tint that Lindblad said offers the clearest, most natural view possible.
Since Lindblad has an open bridge policy, the bridges on its newbuilds feature designated forward standing areas with clear views, plus settees around bridge equipment to ensure comfort for longer stays.
The environmental systems include advanced waste management and treatment systems that exceed international standards. A streamlined hull design, bulbous bow and propulsion systems chosen to minimize vibration and improve fuel efficiency are other technical features.
Like National Geographic Explorer and Orion, the newbuilds will have mudrooms with lockers to store boots, snorkeling equipment and other expedition gear.