Lindblad Expeditions officially launched the newest addition to its fleet, National Geographic Endurance, at a dockside christening ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland, the first christening of an international vessel in Reykjavík Harbor.

The occasion, a closed ceremony exclusively for Lindblad Expeditions guests, marked a major milestone for the line as the first polar new build in the company’s history.    

Named to honor legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton, National Geographic Endurance embodies every innovation and concept Lindblad Expeditions has developed in 50+ years of pioneering expedition travel.

Sven Lindblad, Founder and Co-Chair of the board of Lindblad Expeditions, and Dolf Berle, CEO, presided over the christening, joined by the ship’s Captain, Aaron Wood. The ceremony kicked off with a special video highlighting the making of National Geographic Endurance, her construction to her completion in the top shipbuilding capitals of the world, and the extraordinary polar environments she will explore.  

“The energy, the enthusiasm, the dedication that has been put in to the making of this ship was for one purpose only –to make it possible for you folks to go out and explore the world, and to appreciate the world and all its wonders and then to face together some of the challenges that we inevitably must as it relates to the natural world.” Lindblad, showing genuine emotion, concluded his remarks with, “I have not seen the ship since January of 2020, and arriving today and walking through, it just took my breath away. I really hope you like this ship.”

Sven Lindblad, Founder and Co-Chair of the board of Lindblad Expeditions. Photo credit: Julie Rowland

“It’s an absolute honor to stand here as captain of this wonderful ship, on this special day. All of us as crew members aboard the ship and the wider Lindblad family, we have waited for so long for this moment,” noted Captain Wood. “The ideas that we have inside the ship, they have been coming, not just for years, they have been coming for decades, for whole careers. And this vessel is the pinnacle of all of that.”Following remarks, Jen Martin, Director of Field Staff & Expedition Development, and Ana Esteves, Director, Hotel Operations, proceeded to the bow for the traditional toast and breaking of the champagne bottle.

The inaugural voyage also marks the opening of CHANGE, the world’s first permanent ship-based installation of drawings, paintings, video, photography, and sculpture, curated by artist Zaria Forman.   The exhibit features a wide range of artists dedicated to examining and expressing responses to vulnerable polar geographies—to give guests the richest polar experience possible.

A fully stabilized 126-passenger vessel of the highest ice class (PC5 Category A), she will enable adventurous guests to go where few have or can. National Geographic Endurance’s most striking exterior feature is her distinctive profile, the patented X-Bow, a design aiming to provide a smooth and quiet ride in most conditions.

Photo credit: Julie Rowland

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