(CAMAS, Wash.) — Lindblad and National Geographic have welcomed two new cruise ships to their fleet. Built entirely in the United States and with complete Furuno integrated bridge systems, National Geographic Quest, delivered in 2017, and Venture, whose inaugural voyage came in December 2018, promise their guests the expedition of a lifetime.
Built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island, Wash., a complete Furuno navigation solution was selected and installed by Mackay Marine's Project Management Group. The suite of electronics aboard each vessel includes FAR3210 and FAR3220 radars, as well as two FMD3200 ECDIS consoles, GPS, AIS, GMDSS, VDR, and Doppler speed log systems. The electronic charts used in navigation are nearly always on display in the passenger's lounge, allowing travelers to view the ship's location, speed and course in real time.
Quest and Venture feature purpose-built open bows and observation decks to provide near-unobstructed views of wildlife and geography. Their shallow draft allows access to inner reaches and passages where larger ships could not possibly navigate. Each vessel is equipped with two 19-foot expedition landing craft to swiftly shuttle guests to otherwise inaccessible locations. Numerous kayaks are also available. Each ship is equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of recording high-definition video at depths of up to 1,000 feet, as well as having an undersea specialist aboard making frequent dives throughout the voyage. Video from the ROV and from each dive can be displayed on the onboard screens. In warmer climates, snorkeling gear and wetsuits are made available to each guest. The ships even feature a hydrophone, allowing for real-time transmission of the vocalizations of nearby marine mammals through the ship's public address system.
Unlike most cruise ships, Quest and Venture offer an open bridge, meaning guests are free to visit with the captain during the voyage (when safe navigation permits), to view the Furuno navigation suite in action, or to engage with officers during operations. Extra binoculars and ample seating are on hand, and the ship's officers are not only professional mariners, but also engaging and entertaining hosts who are equally happy chatting about local geography and wildlife as they are discussing the routes and navigation protocols used in the Furuno bridge package.
For more information about National Geographic's expedition cruise ships, visit them on the web at www.expeditions.com. For more information on Furuno, visit www.furuno.com.