National Geographic Endeavour will retire in the third quarter of 2016. // © 2016 Lindblad Expeditions
Feature image (above): Via Australis will receive a new name after it replaces National Geographic Endeavour. // © 2016 Australis Cruise Line
Lindblad Expeditions, which announced its acquisition intentions after it went public last year, has purchased Via Australis from Australis for $18 million. Currently sailing in Patagonia, the ship will replace National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos Islands and receive a new name linked to the company’s National Geographic partnership in the third quarter of 2016, when National Geographic Endeavour will be retired. Australis has a second ship and plans to build a new expedition vessel that will debut in 2017.
Lindblad plans to spend up to $10 million in upgrades to the vessel during the second quarter of this year and then put the ship into operation in the Galapagos.
The renovated Australis will accommodate 96 passengers in 46 double staterooms and four singles, with all public spaces designed for maximum viewing, including a large main lounge and a forward-viewing lounge area with big windows and easy access to the broad outer decks. The ship has an efficient Zodiac landing platform that can handle two craft at the same time, a fully equipped fitness room and spa and a cutting-edge AV system for presentations, along with well-appointed crew quarters.
"Via Australis will be the ideal platform for our Galapagos expeditions far into the future,” said Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad. "Opportunities to acquire high-quality expedition ships on attractive terms are infrequent, so we seized this one."
He says the ship, which he describes as “ultra-efficient to operate,” will give the company increased profitability on the same route through more operating days, revenue enhancement opportunities, operating efficiencies and cost savings compared to National Geographic Endeavour, and it will require significantly lower capital expenditures in the foreseeable future.