Cruise and adventure travel operator Lindblad Expeditions has announced the purchase of the Via Australis ship to be used on its tours of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
The company will take possession of the ship in the second quarter of 2016, and following a planned $10 million refurbishment, aims to deploy the vessel during the third quarter of the same year. The ship will replace the National Geographic Endeavour, and will be renamed with the National Geographic branding. It features 50 cabins (46 double and four single cabins) and has a maximum capacity of 96 guests.
“The most important elements of a Galapagos experience are the islands, the animals and the sea that surrounds them, so the ship that provides access to these things matters greatly,” said Sven Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions in a press release. “The Via Australis is ultra-efficient to operate and was built with the same sensibility that matters so much to us, with a focus on the world outside. To that end, she has great viewing from all public spaces. Her ability to launch and deploy landing craft is fast and seamless. She is exceptionally quiet and maneuverable, a great asset when approaching marine life. And I’m particularly pleased that this ship will be well received by our crew who work very hard and are critical to expedition success.”
Following the refurbishment, key features of the ship will include an open and ample top deck, offering an ideal location for dining, relaxing and stargazing; a spacious main lounge and additional forward-viewing lounge; a fully equipped fitness room and wellness spa; and state-of-the-art AV equipment for presentations. All public spaces will be optimized for maximum viewing capability, making it easy for guests to respond to bridge announcements of nature and wildlife sightings with immediate access to outer decks. A fleet of Zodiacs and sea kayaks will be outfitted to transport guests to the wild and remote places that the tours will explore among the islands.
For more information, visit expeditions.com.