Lindblad Expeditions Celebrates The Blessing Of National Geographic Islander Ll In Salinas, Ecuador Before Sailing To Galápagos For Her Inaugural Voyage
Lindblad Expeditions celebrated the official blessing of the newest addition to their award-winning fleet, National Geographic Islander II in Salinas, Ecuador this past weekend.
Attendees included Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, and Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, industry colleagues, local partners, and members of Lindblad’s beloved crew.
The 26-suite best-in-class expedition vessel will make her inaugural Galápagos voyage on August 19, 2022, for year-round expeditions in the islands.
The traditional blessing was administered by a local priest, followed by short speeches from the Ministries and a toast offered by Ana Esteves, Lindblad’s Vice President of Hotel Operations, and ship Captain Gonzalo Cifuentes. Both Ministers’ speeches highlighted Lindblad’s commitment to Galápagos and conservation.
“Lindblad Expeditions is a great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development — how they are buying supplies from the local communities, employing people from Ecuador to connect with the local cultures, and introducing their guests to our amazing cuisine,” stated Minister Olsen.
Minister Manrique applauded “this kind of investment in Ecuador that is something between tourism, investigation, science, and education” and thanked Lindblad for “trusting in Ecuador.”
Guests enjoyed Ecuadorian cuisine, and tours of the 48-guest vessel that showcased her elegantly appointed suites, bridge, the Science Hub, the Global Gallery, new Marina, impressive Observation Deck, and ship wide enhancements that will elevate the Lindblad guest experience to an entirely new level.
The event was followed the next day by a special reception for members of the ship’s crew and officers, capped off by an exuberant welcome by dozens of small fishing boats in the area for the local Santa Rosa festivities.
“We pioneered expedition travel in Galápagos, and National Geographic Islander ll is truly the best of both worlds,” stated Ana Esteves, Vice President of Hotel Operations. “She’s gracious like a private yacht, offers space and comfort, a culinary program that highlights the regions of Ecuador with locally sourced ingredients, a spa and a 1-1 guest-to-crew ratio. But she is also a world class expedition vessel designed for active exploration, with a fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, a glass-bottom Zodiac, snorkel gear for all guests, and a flotilla of Zodiacs. We are so ready to head to the Galápagos Islands and could not be more excited,”