Crystal Esprit Reemerges as National Geographic Islander IIby Dori Saltzman /
Lindblad Expeditions has unveiled the newest addition to its fleet, National Geographic Islander II, formerly the Crystal Esprit. The 48-guest luxury yacht is being refit as an expedition ship and will launch in the Galapagos Islands later this year, giving Lindblad a ship that can compete with some of the newest and most upscale Galapagos-based ships from Celebrity Cruises and Silversea. The ship replaces National Geographic Islander.
“I had the pleasure of being in Galapagos for the first-time last week and you could feel the Lindblad-National Geographic legacy in these iconic islands – from the second-generation Galapagos crew aboard, to the locally grown food on the table to stories of the role we have played in supporting conservation in the archipelago,” said Dolf Berle, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “With the new National Geographic Islander II, we will be able to build on that legacy and offer an even greater connection to Galapagos and its people for just 48 guests.”
The luxury yacht’s features teak decks, a well-outfitted observation deck, indoor and outdoor dining options, and 26 suites. Each of the 26 suites features large windows, convertible king/twin beds, a sofa, marble double-sink bathrooms, a stocked min-bar, Wi-Fi, flat screen TV and ample closets.
The four Islander Suites, three of them brand new, have four windows, separate living rooms and bathrooms outfitted with a tub and rain shower.
Connecting suites are also available, as are four dedicated solo suites and triple options.
New expedition amenities to be added during the refit include a marina and Science Hub that will be outfitted with an interactive video display, lab benches and seating.
The reimagined Cove Lounge will be the gathering spot for pre-dinner recaps, crafted cocktails and educational presentations. Dining will be offered in the newly expanded al fresco Patio Café, as well as the Yacht Club Restaurant.
National Geographic Islander II will debut in the Galapagos on August 18 for year-round expeditions. It will carry a fleet of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a custom-built glass-bottom Zodiac and a fleet of Mark V Zodiacs. The expedition team will include an expedition leader and four naturalists, including an undersea specialist, a certified photo instructor and trained field educators.