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Lindblad Expeditions celebrates keel laying of first polar new build Geographic Endurance

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, and Ulstein Group, Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer, on March 17 celebrated the keel laying of Lindblad’s first polar new build at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. "The occasion marked a major milestone in the construction of the world’s most sophisticated expedition ship, and served as the official naming ceremony of the line’s latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet," the company said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to announce the name of our new polar ship: National Geographic Endurance, due for delivery in the first quarter of 2020,” announced Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “She is named in honor of Ernest Shackleton, Lindblad Expeditions’ most revered explorer and will incorporate technical advances and create opportunities for guests beyond the reach of any contemporary ship.”

“A Polar Class 5 rating gives us the ability to operate the ship freely at any time of year in polar environments vastly expanding our polar range,“ Lindblad continued. “This means we can explore deeper into the pack ice, or further north to the unexplored reaches of the arctic. For instance, northern Ellesmere Island, where only a relative handful of people have ever been. Or some of the completely off-the-beaten-path arctic islands that are remote, pristine and teeming with wildlife.”

The ceremony continued with the traditional laying of the coins. First welded was a newly minted commemorative silver coin etched with the name of the ship, flanked by a polar bear and penguin signifying the two poles she will be exploring, and etched with To Explore and Understand the World. And to signify Lindblad’s commitment to their expedition team and crew, Sven laid the lucky coin of iconic Lindblad naturalist, Tom Ritchie, a 1780 Austro-Hungarian thaler [silver dollar] with Marie Theresa on one side and a double-headed eagle on the other.

Joining the Lindblad team in Poland for the occasion was Trey Byus, Chief Expedition Officer; Tyler Skarda, Senior VP, Marine Operations; Captain Leif Skog, VP, Nautical and Ice Captain, and Nikolaos Doulis, Senior VP, New Buildings. Present for Ulstein was Gunvor Ulstein CEO Ulstein Group and Managing Director Ulstein Shipping; Tore Ulstein , Chair of the Board and Deputy CEO Ulstein Group; Kristian Sætre, Managing Director, Ulstein Verft; and Per Svein Brekke, Project Responsible. Among the CRIST representatives were Ireneusz Ćwirko, Chair of the Managing Board and Krzysztof Kulczycki, Chair of the Supervising Board.

“We are excited to be witnessing this important milestone for the new exploration cruise vessel for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. We look forward to the arrival of the hull to our shipyard, Ulstein Verft, for the completion of this innovative vessel,” stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO, Ulstein Group.

The state-of-the-art 126-guest polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is Ulstein’s signature X-BOW, a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship’s expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability, whether at zero speed or full steam ahead.

Immediately following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad, Trey Byus, and Captain Leif Skog departed to Longyearbyen to embark on a reconnaissance expedition that will yield discoveries for more exhilarating 2020 early season Arctic adventures for National Geographic Endurance.

MSC Armonia adds Miami as base port to Cuba itinerary

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises has announced that, as of December 10, 2018, MSC Armonia will add Miami to its 7-night Cuba and Caribbean itinerary and will homeport there alongside MSC Divina and MSC Seaside. "With the addition of Miami, guests will be able to enjoy an even richer itinerary across the Caribbean, as well as benefit from more in- and outbound traveling options for their cruise vacation. Moreover, MSC Cruises will be the only cruise line offering a 7-night program regularly including two days in Havana, featuring the largest and most modern cruise ships calling Cuba," MSC Cruises said in a statement.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, commented: “Miami is known internationally as the "Cruise Capital of the World" and it is often referred to as the world’s leading cruise port as it continues to excel in its principal homeport status with modern passenger terminal facilities, great accommodation options and outstanding end-to-end logistics and supply chain infrastructure. It is a truly exciting destination in itself and guests who visit Miami will enjoy a destination unlike any other, with a dramatic skyline, bustling cultural life, arts, great food, entertainment and so much more, as well as all that the state of Florida and beyond has to offer.”

“This new MSC Cruises product out of Miami allows to us to further enrich our offer to North American guests. MSC Armonia will in fact feature Havana and its culture together with the best of Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Mexico.”

“Additionally,” added Onorato, “by having Miami as homeport this will give European and international guests an opportunity to add a pre- or post- cruise portion to their land vacation from New York, Orlando or other U.S. cities. Miami also offers a greater array of inbound and outbound options when traveling from within the U.S. or internationally.”

MSC Armonia was the first ship in MSC Cruises’ $250 million Renaissance Program and has been recently and extensively overhauled, in late 2014. The ship has been tailored with a wide range of amenities and services for families; exquisite, varied dining offerings; outstanding, all-hours entertainment; a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options, and more, all provided with a touch of Mediterranean flair and flavor.

With her new 7-night itinerary, MSC Armonia’s guests will embark in Miami on Mondays, with the ship then calling Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands), and Cozumel (Mexico) before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, on Saturday and staying through to Sunday. Upon departing Havana, the ship will return to Miami.

While in Cuba, guests will be able to choose from a broad range of shore experiences rich in cultural and historical discovery. The Caribbean island is a unique cultural hub, offering a distinct combination of traditions thanks to its rich heritage which is unique in the region.

The visits to Cuba comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved U.S. citizens to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. As such, all sailings to Cuba from the U.S. offer shore excursions that comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement as set forth in the U.S. regulations.

Mein Schiff 1 to feature new cooperation partners 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

TUI Cruises, the German premium market cruise brand, will introduce a number of venues set up in cooperation with new partners onboard Mein Schiff 1, the next ship of the Hamburg based line, the company said in a statement.

Bar Saftwerft is a juice and coffee bar set up in cooperation with Rauch Juice Bar, a chain of detox and cold pressed drink bars.

Ebbe & Flut will be the name of a bar that serves craft beers in cooperation with Bauerei Ratsherrn, the Hamburg based brewers. Food will also be available here.

DEDON, the German outdoor and garden furniture company, will supply the furniture to the Hohenluft Bar and Schau Bar plus balconies of suites on board.

First steel cut for Seven Seas Splendor at Ancona

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The steel cutting ceremony of Seven Seas Splendor, the second cruise ship which Fincantieri will build for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a brand of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has taken place at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona. The delivery is scheduled for early 2020, the shipbuilder said in a statement.

The ceremony was attended, among others, for the ship owner by Jason Montague, President and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and, for Fincantieri, Giovanni Stecconi, Director of the Ancona shipyard.

With its 55,500 gross tons, Seven Seas Splendor will be 224 meters long and accommodate 754 passengers on board in 375 suites. The new ship, which will follow Seven Seas Explorer delivered by the shipyard in Sestri Ponente (Genoa) last year in June, will be built using the very latest in environmental protection technologies.



Fred. Olsen’s Boudicca to receive Tea Room, Indian Ocean Restaurant in 12 day refit

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 880-guest Boudicca is due to undergo a 12 day refit from 17t March 2018, at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany that comprises engineering works, general refurbishments and painting of the interiors and exterior, the company said in a statement.

In addition, one of the main focusses will be the stripping out and rejuvenation of the 462 rooms across the ship. All rooms will have new carpets installed, along with new soft furnishings and lamps. As with the rest of the fleet, brand new balcony furniture will be installed, and all rooms will be equipped with mini-fridges, safes and interactive smart TVs.

There will be extensive upgrading and remodelling of Boudicca’s public rooms and dining facilities. The ship’s Morning Light Pub – a feature across the whole of the Fred. Olsen fleet – will be moved from to the portside of the Secret Garden Café. The Heligan Room will be converted into the ‘Indian Ocean Restaurant’, with an Indian Ocean theme, offering the same style of imitate dining space as sister ship Black Watch’s ‘Orchid Room’.

The space vacated by the Morning Light Pub on Lounge Deck 6 will be converted into the ‘Oriental Tea Room’, serving exotic teas and other Oriental specialities, with a Far Eastern influence and exotic décor. The Guest Services area, the focal point and ‘hub’ of the ship – on Main Deck 5 – will also be renewed, making it more inviting and user-friendly for guests.