Citing problems with the launch, Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. Monday cancelled the June 26 inaugural cruise of its National Geographic Quest being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Wash.
The line said it expects the Quest to sail the July 8 Alaska wilderness cruise as planned “based on all indications from the shipyard.”
Everything was going fine “until the process of moving her from land to sea started — an intricate and complex process with one simple aim,” CEO Sven Lindblad said in a letter to passengers. “During our launch, the shipyard team encountered circumstances in which the vessel began moving out of alignment, forcing the operation to halt.
“The ship remains poised to launch, but the nature of tide cycles, and the need to realign her entry in the water caused delays that will affect the yard's ability to deliver the vessel to us in a timely manner. We are beyond sorry.”
No further details of the issues were provided.
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 alerted passengers on June 1 about a possible delay. They have been offered a variety of options including switching to another cruise for a 50% discount or canceling and getting a full refund and a $2,000-per-person credit for another cruise.