Lindblad Expeditions’ newest vessel gets blessed ahead of Galapagos debut

NEW YORK — Lindblad Expeditions’ newest addition to its award-winning fleet, National Geographic Islander II, has been officially blessed.

The 26-suite, best-in-class expedition vessel had its official blessing in Salinas, Ecuador earlier this month, with Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Niels Olsen, and Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition Gustavo Manrique in attendance. A local priest administered the traditional blessing, after which a toast was offered by Ana Esteves, Lindblad’s Vice President of Hotel Operations, and Captain Gonzalo Cifuentes. The ceremony also included Ecuadorian cuisine, onboard tours and a special reception for the ship’s crew and officers the following day. The festivities ended with an exuberant welcome by dozens of small fishing boats as part of the local Santa Rosa celebrations.

“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 Minister Olsen.

Esteves added: “We pioneered expedition travel in Galapagos, and National Geographic Islander II is truly the best of both worlds. 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 standup paddleboards, a glass-bottom Zodiac, snorkel gear for all guests and a flotilla of Zodiacs. We are so ready to head to the Galapagos Islands and could not be more excited.”

Other onboard features of the 48-guest vessel include a bridge, the Science Hub, the Global Gallery, a new Marina, and an Observation Deck. The vessel’s inaugural Galapagos voyage is scheduled for Aug. 19, 2022 for year-round expeditions in the islands.

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