Lindblad Prepares for New Quest, Larger but still 'Intimate'
Rendering courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions, the operator of ship-based expeditions to exotic destinations, has named its new ship, The National Geographic Quest, which will be going into action a year from now. The ship is currently in construction.
Lindblad currently offers expeditions on 11 ships, seven of which are owned and four that are chartered. The Quest is the first ship it has built from the keel up.
The Quest will take over some programs that are currently offered by Lindblad’s Sea Bird and Sea Lion. But the Quest differs from the other two in size.
The Quest is 238 feet long and 46 feet wide and accommodates 100 passengers in contrast to the twin ships Sea Lion and Sea Bird, which are 151 feet long, 31 feet wide and carry 62 passengers each.
With its larger size, the Quest is able to offer larger cabins than its sisters. Its cabins range from 136 to 187 square feet in size.
Though the Quest is much larger and has a greater capacity, Lindblad’s engineers designed the ship with a shallow draft so that it could still travel to the same places the smaller ships have been traveling to.
“Engineering worked hard to design this ship so it can go where we already go,” said Marc Cappelletti, Lindblad’s director of expedition development. “It also has a dual zodiac launch platform so we can get people onto the land twice as fast.”
The Quest is designed to appeal to Lindblad customers who want larger cabins and newer amenities, but it can still travel to the intimate areas that the smaller ships visit, which are out of reach of the standard large cruise ships.
Lindblad considers itself an expedition operator and not a cruise line and the model of cruising it offers is distinctly different from the standard mass-market cruise lines. The company offers what it calls “nimble, intimately scaled expedition ships, able to safely venture where larger cruise ships cannot, allowing us to offer authentic, up-close experiences in the planet’s wild, remote places and capitals of culture.”
Like other Lindblad ships, the Quest will be outfitted with kayaks, inflatable landing craft, snorkels and wetsuits as well as the latest developments in the suite of tools and technology that the company has gathered over the years to provide special glimpses into the environment of the ship.
These technologies include the hydrophone, an underwater microphone that makes it possible to listen to whale songs; an underwater camera that Lindblad divers take as far as 80 feet below the surface to provide undersea glimpses; and a bow cam that shows what passes under the front of the ship.
The Quest will join its sisters in a circuit that includes Alaska, the Columbia and Snake rivers, Baja California, the Pacific Northwest and Costa Rica.
The Quest’s first voyage will be the 13-day Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia.
The Quest will operate on the Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness voyage beginning in July 2017 and will switch to Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia in September.
At the end of the Alaska season the ship will sail a series of new itineraries between Seattle and Vancouver, with stops in the San Juan Islands, Victoria and Alert Bay and will begin trips in Costa Rica and Panama in December. The following February it will begin a new series of trips in Belize and Guatemala.
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