Adventure travellers take note, there's a new all-suite luxury explorer ship ready to start sailing around the Galapagos Islands at the end of summer.
Making her maiden voyage in August, the National Geographic Islander II will ferry explorers around one of the most biodiverse landscapes on the planet.
The 280-foot sustainable vessel is the latest offering from Lindblad Expeditions, a US adventure cruising company known for its luxury expeditions. Its new ship comes with action-packed itineraries that give travellers the chance to see some of the world's most unique wildlife.
Colourful artwork and decor on the new vessel — created by local artists and artisans — pays tribute to the Pacific region.
A fleet of kayaks, 26 suites and an onboard science hub
There are 26 suites, with the Islander suites being the largest. Huge windows mean you’ll not miss any of the pristine landscapes during your cruise and each room comes with a double-sink bathroom, plenty of storage space, a flat-screen television and a well-stocked mini bar.
The ship features indoor and outdoor dining options, as well as a culinary programme that includes Ecuador's four regions, using locally sourced ingredients. Cove lounge is the pre-dinner gathering spot, while dining takes place in the Patio cafe or the Yacht Club restaurant.
Designed for active exploration, the ship has its own fleet of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and a custom-built glass-bottom boat, plus several versatile dinghies for getting up close to the Galapagos Islands' intriguing wildlife.
An observation deck and a science hub, with an interactive video display, lab benches and seating, will let travellers connect with Lindblad Expeditions' conservation and research programmes. Here, passengers will get the chance to learn from Galapagos community members, local and international researchers, educators, storytellers and other marine experts.
Sustainable adventures on the Pacific Ocean
The ship will replace the much-loved but ageing National Geographic Islander, and is the former Crystal Esprit cruise liner. The vessel has been entirely refitted to make it more sustainable.
A smooth sail is guaranteed thanks to stabilisers fitted to the vessel – which has a 46-foot beam — and environmental upgrades include fuel-efficient engines, minimised outdoor lighting and recycled water systems.
Sailings start in August with seven and 10-day itineraries. The Wild Galapagos Escape is the shorter of the two, and debuts on August 18.
On a week-long exploration of the islands, travellers can spot sea lions, snorkel with turtles, bird watch and hike black sandy beaches.
Rates starts from $6,020 per person, and to celebrate the launch of the new ship, Lindblad is offering complimentary return airfare from Miami for bookings received before the end of May.