Lindblad Expeditions to acquire Via Australis to enhance Galapagos Islands expeditions

Australis reveals plans for a second new ship; Lindblad scoops up M/V Via Australis

NEW YORK — Expedition cruise and adventure travel company Lindblad Expeditions has signed an agreement for the purchase of the Via Australis, replacing the National Geographic Endeavour in its operations in the Galapagos Islands.

The company expects to take possession of the ship in the second quarter of 2016 and following a significant renovation will deploy the ship during the third quarter of 2016.

The purchase price for the ship is US$18 million and Lindblad plans to spend up to $10 million to refurbish and outfit the ship immediately after closing.

“The Via Australis will be the ideal platform for our Galapagos expeditions far into the future.  Opportunities to acquire high quality expedition ships on attractive terms are infrequent so we seized this one,” said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad.  “The Via Australis will provide us with increased profitability on the same route through more operating days, revenue enhancement opportunities, operating efficiencies and cost savings compared to the National Geographic Endeavour.  Additionally, it will require significantly lower capital expenditures for the foreseeable future.”

The Via Australis will be rechristened bearing the National Geographic name.  After refurbishment, key features of the Via Australis will include:

  • 50 cabins: 46 double cabins and four single cabins.  Maximum capacity of 96 guests.
  • All public spaces will be designed for maximum viewing with quick, easy access to decks to respond to bridge announcements of wildlife sightings.
  • An open top deck will provide “an unparalleled location” for gathering, dining, relaxing and stargazing.
  • A spacious main lounge and a forward-viewing additional lounge with large windows and immediate access to the outer decks will provide guests many comfortable options to relax, read or view the wildlife and scenery.
  • A fleet of Zodiacs and sea kayaks outfitted to transport guests easily into the wild, remote places being explored. The efficient Zodiac loading platform can deploy two landing crafts at the same time in order to safely and swiftly put guests ashore, in the water, or on a cruise through the surrounding landscapes
  • A fully equipped fitness room and a wellness spa.
  • A/V system for the highest quality presentations, including National Geographic photography instruction.
  • Well-appointed and improved crew quarters.

Meanwhile Australis’ second ship, the Stella Australis, will continue its normal scheduled operations, said Australis.

Australis plans to build a new expedition ship comparable to the Stella Australis, said the company. The new ship is expected to be ready by the end of 2017.

Both ships will ply the Magellan Strait, the Beagle Channel and the national parks and fjords of Tierra del Fuego. The route for the Australis ships is between Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina.

Jorge Rodiguez, Market Manager North America, says, “this represents a great opportunity for Australis to increase our offerings, with a faster, leaner and more modern ship, which will be similar to the Stella Australis.”

Agents with existing reservations on the Via in late 2016 who have questions are asked to contact 1-877-678-3772 or sales@australis.com.