Lindblad Expeditions has officially launched the newest addition to their fleet, the National Geographic Endurance, at a dockside christening ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland today, the first christening of an international vessel in Reykjavík Harbor.
According to a press release, the occasion was a closed ceremony exclusively for Lindblad Expeditions guests and marked a major milestone for the line as the first polar newbuild in the company’s history.
Named to honor legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton, the National Geographic Endurance embodies “every innovation and concept Lindblad Expeditions has developed in more than 50 years of pioneering expedition travel,” the cruise line said.
Founder and Co-Chair of the board of Lindblad Expeditions Sven Lindblad and CEO Dolf Berle presided over the christening, joined by the ship’s Captain Aaron Wood.
According to the press release, the ceremony kicked off with a special video highlighting the making of the 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 into 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,” said Lindblad.
“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,” he added.
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,” he said.
“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 and expedition development, and Ana Esteves, director of 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 a 19-day inaugural itinerary exploring Iceland and Greenland.
Lindblad said that 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 PC5 Category A class, she will enable adventurous guests to go where few have or can. Lindblad said that the National Geographic Endurance’s most striking exterior feature is her distinctive profile – the patented X-Bow design that “guarantees the smoothest, most comfortable ride in all kinds of conditions; and since it eliminates bow impact, a quieter ride, as well.”
The ship can carry 126 guests only, which Lindblad views as “a commitment to expedition excellence over scale.”