(9:25 a.m. EDT) -- Further delays are in store for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic's first-ever new-build, National Geographic Quest, after the vessel sustained damage during a June 14 launching procedure.
Due to the new damages, the July 8 and July 15 sailings of National Geographic Quest have been canceled. The new expedition cruise ship was originally expected to launch today, June 26.
The initial delay on debuting Quest was anticipated weeks ago, when in a letter to passengers, president and CEO Sven Lindblad explained that due to complications during an earlier launch attempt, it was possible that the first sailing would be canceled. That sailing was officially canceled on June 13.
In a new statement from Lindblad Expeditions, the damage to Quest is outlined: "In the process of launching from the shipyard to the sea, stern first...she slid from the launch ramp and one propeller and rudder were grounded and damaged."
In the most recent letter to passengers, Lindblad said, "This has been a devastating blow to the team on Whidbey Island who have worked for over a year to launch this beautiful new ship. I've talked to many of them in the past few days and each one immediately focused their concern on you, our guests, and the disappointment this would cause. We are beyond sorry that we must affect your holiday in this way."
Rebooking and cancellation options remain the same: book a new Lindblad cruise at a 50 percent reduced price, or cancel and receive a full refund and a $2,000 future cruise certificate per person.
Lindblad is expected to release a new statement from the shipyard with more details on Quest's progress tomorrow, June 27.
--By Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor