(12:35 p.m. EDT) -- Lindblad Expeditions has unveiled plans for its 48-passenger, all-suite National Geographic Islander II in the Galapagos. The superyacht, formerly operated by Crystal Cruises as the 62-passenger Crystal Esprit, was purchased by Lindblad in September 2021.
As the National Geographic Islander II, the yacht will cruise in the Galapagos year-round, beginning with an inaugural voyage on August 18, 2022. The yacht replaces its namesake, National Geographic Islander in the remote islands.
"With the new National Geographic Islander II, we will be able to build on that legacy and offer an even greater connection to Galapagos and its people for just 48 guests," said Dolf Berle, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.
The yacht is undergoing a top-to-bottom refit to elevate the guest experience onboard, the cruise line said. The result will include a well-fitted observation lounge, indoor and outdoor dining options and new expedition amenities such as a marina and Science Hub, outfitted with an interactive video display, lab benches and seating.
All 26 suites have large windows and will be elegantly appointed with convertible king/twin beds, sofas, marble double-sink bathrooms, stocked mini-bars, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
Four Island Suites, three of them brand new, feature four windows, separate living rooms and bathrooms outfitted with a tub and rain shower. The Santa Cruz Islander Suite, reserved as a family suite, connects to a double suite. Four suites will be dedicated to solo travelers.
Daily recaps and presentations by the expedition team will take place in a reimagined Cove Lounge. Dining will be in a newly-expanded al fresco Patio Cafe and sophisticated Yacht Club Restaurant. Local artists and artisans will be featured in the ship’s artwork, and cuisine will highlight the four regions of Ecuador, the cruise line said. During its refit, the ship will also undergo environmental and fuel-efficiency upgrades.
Lindblad says the new ship will have a 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, making it a best-in-class expedition ship.