Lindblad Expeditions’ newest Galapagos-based ship, National Geographic Islander II, was blessed at a special ceremony in Salinas, Ecuador before setting sail to the archipelago for its inaugural sailing. Attendees included Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen and Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique. The 26-suite expedition vessel is scheduled to begin sailing on August 19.
“Lindblad Expeditions is a great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development – how they are buying supplies from the local communities, employing people from Ecuador to connect the local cultures, and introducing their guests to our amazing cuisine,” said Minister Olsen.
“We pioneered expedition travel in Galapagos and National Geographic Islander II is truly the best of both worlds,” said Ana Esteves, vice president of hotel operations for Lindblad. “She’s gracious like a private yacht, offers space and comfort, a culinary program that highlights the regions of Ecuador with locally sourced ingredients, a spa and a 1-1 guest-to-crew ratio. But she is also a world class expedition vessel designed for active exploration, with a fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, a glass-bottom Zodiac, snorkel gear for all guests, and a flotilla of Zodiacs.”
The former Crystal Esprit, National Geographic Islander II brings a touch of luxury to Galapagos for Lindblad Expeditions. It features 26 airy suites, a newly expanded al fresco Patio Café, a science hub for real-time studies, a marina and observation deck.
Travel Market Report will be onboard National Geographic Islander II in October. Stay tuned for a closer look at the ship.