After arriving in Ecuador earlier this month, the National Geographic Islander II is departing on its inaugural cruise today.
Acquired by Lindblad Expeditions in 2021, the vessel is now set to offer year-round expeditions in the Galápagos Archipelago.
Replacing the 1995-built National Geographic Islander, the ship will offer two different itineraries, the seven-day Wild Galápagos Escape and the ten-day Wild Galápagos & Peru Escape – which also includes a land-based tour to Cusco, Machu Pichu, Lima and the Sacred Valley.
In the Galápagos, both itineraries sail to several islands, including Santa Cruz, Darwin’s, Española and more.
Formerly known as the Crystal Esprit, the 32-guest cruise ship was transformed into Lindblad Expeditions’ new National Geographic Islander II during a major refurbishment in Europe.
The 22-day drydock included a top-to-bottom refit of all public areas and cabins aiming, according to the company, to elevate the guest experience to an entirely new level.
Among the highlights are the 26 suites, all equipped with large windows, convertible king/twin beds, sofas, marble double-sink bathrooms, stocked mini-bars, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and ample closets.
The vessel also received the new Science Hub, a laboratory outfitted with an interactive video display, lab benches and seating.
Designed to connect guests to the Lindblad-National Geographic legacy of supporting conservation and research, the area is complemented with Cabins for Conservation Suites.
To be used exclusively by Galápagos community members, local and international researchers, educators, storytellers, and other experts, the accommodations provide guests a deeper connection to people and place.
In addition to the hotel improvements, the 1989-built yacht saw work on its technical features as well, with the introduction of key environmental and fuel-efficient upgrades. Among them are reduced outdoor lighting, special hull paint, and recycled water from new air conditioning systems.
In addition to the Islander II, Lindblad also operates the National Geographic Endeavour II in the Galápagos.
The 96-guest expedition ship offers year-round sailings around the Ecuadorian archipelago since being acquired by the company in 2016.