Lindblad Expeditions has officially launched the newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Endurance, at a dockside christening ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland recently, the first christening of an international vessel in Reykjavík Harbor.
The occasion, a closed ceremony exclusively for Lindblad Expeditions guests, marked a major milestone for the line as the first polar new build in the company’s history.
Named to honor legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton, National Geographic Endurance embodies every innovation and concept Lindblad Expeditions has developed in 50+ years of pioneering expedition travel.
Sven Lindblad, Founder and Co-Chair of the board of Lindblad Expeditions, and Dolf Berle, CEO, presided over the christening, joined by the ship’s Captain, Aaron Wood. The ceremony kicked off with a special video highlighting the making of National Geographic Endurance, her construction to her completion in the top shipbuilding capitals of the world, and the extraordinary polar environments she will explore.
“The energy, the enthusiasm, the dedication that has been put in to the making of this ship was for one purpose only –to make it possible for you folks to go out and explore the world, and to appreciate the world and all its wonders and then to face together some of the challenges that we inevitably must as it relates to the natural world.” Lindblad, showing genuine emotion, concluded his remarks with, “I have not seen the ship since January of 2020, and arriving today and walking through, it just took my breath away. I really hope you like this ship.”
Dolf Berle focused on his gratitude to all of the guests and the Lindblad Expeditions team. “What was wonderful for me to witness was a number of you meeting staff from our ships that you knew, sometimes more than ten years ago, and so there is a family feeling already, and that is a big part of who we are. The environmental aspect of what we are doing, and the importance of this ship to promote research, raise funds for Pristine Seas, and for the people in the communities we explore, carries on the great Lindblad tradition.”
“It’s an absolute honor to stand here as captain of this wonderful ship, on this special day. All of us as crew members aboard the ship and the wider Lindblad family, we have waited for so long for this moment,” noted Captain Wood. “The ideas that we have inside the ship, they have been coming, not just for years, they have been coming for decades, for whole careers. And this vessel is the pinnacle of all of that.”
Following remarks, Jen Martin, Director of Field Staff & Expedition Development, and Ana Esteves, Director, Hotel Operations, proceeded to the bow for the traditional toast and breaking of the champagne bottle.
Guests enjoyed champagne and canapes dockside while listening to Icelandic musicians before embarking on an special 19-day inaugural itinerary exploring Iceland and Greenland.
The inaugural voyage also marks the opening of CHANGE, the world’s first permanent ship-based installation of drawings, paintings, video, photography, and sculpture, curated by artist Zaria Forman. The exhibit features a wide range of artists dedicated to examining and expressing responses to vulnerable polar geographies—to give guests the richest polar experience possible.
A fully stabilized vessel of the highest ice class (PC5 Category A), she will enable adventurous guests to go where few have or can. National Geographic Endurance’s most striking exterior feature is her distinctive profile, the patented X-Bow®, a game-changing design that guarantees the smoothest, most comfortable ride in all kinds of conditions; and since it eliminates bow impact, a quieter ride, as well. An equally impressive feature may well be her capacity: she carries just 126 guests, a commitment to expedition excellence over scale. Scandinavian-inflected, luxuriously appointed, her inviting interiors would be a destination in themselves. Because she is a Lindblad Expeditions ship, however, her attention is focused on the world outside—with acres of window glass to keep you connected to the stunning views beyond the pane, and a fleet of expedition tools to get you out exploring.