zoom Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein has held a keel laying ceremony for Lindblad Expeditions Holdings’ first polar newbuild.The keel laying took place at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland, on March 17, 2018, and served as the official naming ceremony of the line’s latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet. “We are thrilled to announce the name of our new polar ship: National Geographic Endurance, due for delivery in the first quarter of 2020,” Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions, announced at the ceremony.The order, placed in November 2017, includes an option for two additional vessels to be delivered after 2020.The 126-passenger polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact, according to Ulstein.A core feature is Ulstein’s X-BOW®, a bow that provides fuel efficiency and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship’s expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas, while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability, whether at zero speed or full steam ahead, as explained by the shipbuilder. “A Polar Class 5 rating gives us the ability to operate the ship freely at any time of year in polar environments vastly expanding our polar range. This means we can explore deeper into the pack ice, or further north to the unexplored reaches of the arctic,” Lindblad added.