Lindblad Expeditions may delay first cruise for newest vessel

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. may delay the June 26 inaugural cruise of its National Geographic Quest being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Wash.

After CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad recently visited the yard, the line said that “based on some developments” the cruise to Alaska and British Columbia may be cancelled. It did not specify the issues.

A final decision on the sailing will be made by June 12, the company said.

The 238’6″×48’×9’6″, 100-passenger 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.

Lindblad earlier told analysts that the Quest was “virtually sold out for the summer of 2017.”

In a letter alerting passengers to the possible delay he said he was “extremely sorry, as are all of us, that this is even an issue. Our team in Whidbey — from welders to pipe fitters, to supervisors, to our crew — are doing everything they can to avoid disruption.”

Passengers were offered a variety of options including staying booked for June 26, switching to another date for a 50% discount, or cancelling and getting a full refund and a $2,000-per-person credit for another cruise.

Lindblad has been posting Quest updates and construction videos on its blog as part of a countdown to launch.

About the author

Dale K. DuPont

Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.

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