PortandTerminal.com, December 13, 2019
NEW YORK, NY – The new National Geographic Endurance was floated out on December 7th from a shipbuilding yard in Norway and does it ever look impressive.
The new cruise ship is the first of two X-Bow polar vessels ordered by the US-based cruise company Lindblad Expeditions. X-Bow, in case you were wondering, is short for “Ulstein X-Bow” and is a type of ship bow designed to improve handling in rough seas and to lower fuel consumption by causing less hydrodynamic drag. The design also reduces spray on deck, which when travelling in Arctic conditions, makes a huge difference to passenger comfort.
Once the ship is ready to take on passengers in 2020 it will be offering bucket-list cruises targetting the well-heeled, explorer who’s looking for a luxurious experience along the way. One of the most expensive ones on the list costs $34,750 a ticket. Here’s what you get for your money.
The Northeast Passage Cruise
If you are interested in the ultimate in maritime exploration and Arctic discovery then this is the trip for you. The cruise is a 25-day trip transitting the Northeast Passage, starting from Tromso, Norway and sailing through the Barents Sea and across various archipelagos north of Siberia.
The first few days of the trip are spent sailing along the steep vertical rock faces of northern fjords of Norway which already sounds spectacular. From there though is when things get really exciting.
After transitting the Barent’s Sea the bulk of the cruise is spent exploring the high Russian Arctic and Siberian coastline with stops at various points along the way. One such stop is at Franz Josef Land, the world’s northernmost archipelago.
The cruise promises side trips using zodiacs, and kayaks to view rarely seen coastlines, viewing polar bears (from the ship deck), naturalist-led walks along shorelines to search for walruses, arctic seabird colonies.
After about three weeks of exploring the high Arctic, the trip wraps up in Nome, Alaska where you catch a flight to Anchorage and make your home.
For $34,750 a ticket you would expect the cabins aboard the Endurance to be more than comfortable. They are. The ship accommodates just 126 guests which gave the ship’s designers the room to make each of the 69 spacious cabins, 53 of what have balconies, look like a suite at a top-end boutique hotel. Except these suites have much better views.
All of the cabins face outside and have large windows or balconies, private bathrooms, individual climate control, Wi-Fi, and an expedition command center with tablets and USB/mobile device docking.
For our money, this is where the Endurance really shines. The ship has a total of six guest decks and boasts “over 10,000 square feet of glass keeping guests constantly connected to the view,” the company says. And to be sure, its the views that people are paying for. The amenities though don’t disappoint either.
The ship carries a fleet of Zodiac motorized landing craft, kayaks, snowshoes, and cross-country skis; as well as sophisticated equipment that allows the ship’s undersea specialist unique access and ability to “share the underwater world”.
Public areas include a lounge with bar; a gym, a yoga studio; infinity-style outdoor hot tubs; saunas with ocean views; a library; a spa; state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; a photo workshop area; and two restaurants featuring local, sustainable cuisine, plus a Chef’s table for intimate, small group dining.
Services include a full-time doctor, a National Geographic photographer, a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and video chronicler, a wellness specialist, laundry service, and an internet café.
Finally, accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of National Geographic experts – from naturalists to regional specialists – who are there to share their knowledge and insights the wildlife, landscape and local culture.
The first Northeast Passage Cruise on the Endurace is being offered between July 16-August 9, 2020. Click here to find out more.
Be warned though that the $34,750 price per ticket is based upon double occupancy, so if you are interested in going you’re looking at almost $70,000 per couple.
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