Ice-defying expedition cruise ships charting new courses


A new generation of polar cruise ships now being readied will open fresh cruise territory, make it possible to go deeper and longer into arctic areas or to sail at times of the year never before attempted.

A prime example is the National Geographic Endurance, which was detailed recently for the first time in a video conference hosted by Lindblad Expeditions CEO Sven Lindblad and his senior executives.

Lindblad rhapsodized about going on a spring research trip to Svalbard, a polar call that is typically done in late summer.

“We went up to Svalbard to see it at its whitest, its iciest, its most pristine,” Lindblad recalled. “It’s a photographer’s paradise because there’s a golden hour for hours — sunrise, sunset, that soft lighting. The [polar bear] mothers and their cubs are actually coming out of their dens. It’s a really extraordinary time to be there, the month of April, in Svalbard.”

Making it feasible to cruise to Svalbard in spring are the construction specs for the 126-passenger Endurance, which will be built to Polar Code 5 strength, meaning it can sail year-round in any polar waters having ice no older than a year.

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