Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Islander II received its official blessing in Salinas, Ecuador this past weekend and is set to make her first sailing to the Galapagos on August 19, 2022, according to a press release.
Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen and Minister of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique, as well as sector colleagues, regional partners, and Lindblad crew members attended the ceremony, according to the company.
The customary blessing was followed by short speeches from the two ministers and a toast from Lindblad’s vice president of hotel operations, Ana Esteves and ship captain Gonzalo Cifuentes.
“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 with the local cultures, and introducing their guests to our amazing cuisine,” said Olsen.
During the event, guests enjoyed Ecuadorian cuisine and tours of the vessel, while the celebration was preceded the following day with a reception for the ship’s crew and officers, topped off with a welcome by dozens of tiny fishing boats in the region for the local Santa Rosa festivities.
“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. We are so ready to head to the Galápagos Islands and could not be more excited,” commented Esteves.