With travelers' increasing appetites for adventure voyages, cruise lines are targeting ways to make these experiences even better. From refurbishing existing expedition vessels to constructing ships from the keel up, companies are connecting passengers with the world's most incredible natural surroundings.
Just look at what Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is working on for you adventure cruisers.
Lindblad's newest addition to the fleet, National Geographic Venture, is being built in Seattle and will make its inaugural voyage in June 2018. Venture and sister ship National Geographic Quest -- which is launching in June 2017 -- are the first newbuilds in Lindblad's history and the only purpose-built expedition ships designed and built from scratch in the U.S.
âThe 100-passenger National Geographic Venture is due to launch in June 2018 and will feature 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 person. The ship will be outfitted with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment and Zodiacs boats. State-of-the-art expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, a hydrophone and underwater cameras, give additional hi-tech ways to explore destinations.
Venture's inaugural voyage is a June 24, 2018 departure called "Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia." This 14-day expedition spends a day in the San Juan Islands and a day in the Gulf Islands before heading north through British Columbia and Alaska. After that, passengers will take on eight-day "Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness" for eight sailings; another "Treasures of the Inside Passage" in September, followed by six eight-day "San Juan Islands and British Columbia" departures.
Lindblad has been operating between Alaska and Central America for more than 30 years and is using that experience and expertise to guide how it is building these new vessels. The design includes larger cabins, many with balconies or the ability to connect, and more spacious public areas.
Lindblad new ships offer these enhanced features designed to improve your expedition experience:
A Better View: A common constraint with wildlife viewing on a ship's bow is that equipment and housing for the anchor system takes up space and a single level allows only one row of people to enjoy clean sightlines. To provide a superior viewing experience, the bow on National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture are designed with the anchoring gear separated from public space by a tiered viewing system. This enables multiple rows to line the bow with an unobstructed view. Also, two stairways on either side of the bow lead to an expansive observation deck one level up, for a unique perspective. All of the exterior viewing levels are accessible from the lounge, making for a seamless viewing experience.
Mark V Zodiacs: Expert naturalists lead tours on these inflatable expedition landing craft, allowing you to explore places that would ordinarily be inaccessible. To outfit National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture, Lindblad worked with the team at Zodiac Milpro to deliver the first Mark V Zodiacs built entirely in the United States. These boats are customized with features like extra holds for passenger stability and topside treads to improve footing for stepping on and off. Both ships will be outfitted with eight Mark V Zodiacs, and passengers will embark and disembark using custom-designed ladders to improve safety and ease of movement.
Multiple Clear Vistas: Both ships feature a dining room with floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows and a lounge with wraparound windows. Many of the cabins have fine window views, too and Lindblad said it chose a premium glass with a straight tint to offer the clearest, most natural views possible.
A Better Bridge: The bridges (where the captains operate the vessels) on the ships feature designated forward standing areas with clear views and settees set around the navigational equipment to ensure a comfort for longer passenger visits. Passengers have open invites to the bridges on all Lindblad Expeditions vessels. This is where you can chat with the captain and learn about navigation while enjoying the best vantage point on the ship.
Tidy Touches: A mudroom keeps your cabin cleaner. These ships will be the only vessels in their regions of exploration to feature a mudroom to store your expedition gear. The room and rows of lockers will enable passengers to store boots, snorkeling equipment and other gear, making excursion preparation more efficient and leaving cabins cleaner and more comfortable.
The ships are being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island, Washington, the same company that built the vessels Lindblad has used for the past 36 years. Nichols Brothers Boat Builders completed the National Geographic Sea Bird in 1981 (then known as the Majestic Alaska Explorer) and the National Geographic Sea Lion in 1982 (then known as the Great Rivers Explorer).
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