Prop and rudder damage have forced Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. to cancel two more sailings of its new National Geographic Quest being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Wash.
The 238’6″×48’×9’6″, 100-passenger vessel originally was expected to debut on June 26, but two weeks ago the line scrubbed that cruise citing problems with an earlier launch attempt. “During our launch, the shipyard team encountered circumstances in which the vessel began moving out of alignment, forcing the operation to halt,” the company said.
Then on June 14, “as she began to float, she slid from the launch ramp and one propeller and rudder were grounded and damaged,” Lindblad’s most recent statement said. “Divers and surveyors were engaged and it has become clear that full repair requires dry-docking the ship to fully evaluate the extent of damage.”
The July 8 and July 15 sailings were canceled.
In a letter to passengers, CEO Sven Lindblad said the damage initially seemed fixable “within the time frame required to repair but we have now learned that the damage is more severe. We still do not know exactly how long it will take to fully repair but certainly not in time for your voyage.”
Lindblad said it would provide more details from the shipyard “once we have a more specific assessment.”
“We are beyond sorry that we must affect your holiday in this way,” he told passengers, who have been offered a variety of options including switching to another cruise for a 50% discount or cancelling and getting a full refund and a $2,000-per-person credit for another cruise.
The Quest is one of two U.S.-flagged coastal cruise vessels Nichols is building for Lindblad in a $95 million deal. Sistership National Geographic Venture is expected to enter service the second quarter of 2018. Nichols built Lindblad’s U.S.-flagged National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird.