(9:38 a.m. EST) - Expedition cruise line Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will add another cruise ship to its fleet in 2016 with the $18 million purchase of Via Australis. Currently sailing Patagonia under cruise line Australis, the ship will redeploy to the Galapagos once it undergoes a $10 million refurbishment in late 2016, replacing National Geographic Endeavour; it will be renamed with a National Geographic title.
"Opportunities to acquire high quality expedition ships on attractive terms are infrequent so we seized this one, " said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad in a press release. "The Via Australis will provide us with increased profitability on the same route through more operating days, revenue enhancement opportunities, operating efficiencies and cost savings compared to the National Geographic Endeavour. Additionally, it will require significantly lower capital expenditures for the foreseeable future."
The refurb of Via Australis will include 46 double-occupancy cabins as well as four single cabins; a redesign of all public spaces with improved views to the outdoors and quick access to decks in the event of wildlife or nature sightings; an improved main lounge with an additional forward lounge complete with large windows for viewing and access to outer decks; an open top deck for gathering, dining and stargazing; a fitness room and wellness spa; a state-of-the-art A/V system for presentations; a fleet of Zodiacs and sea kayaks; and improved crew quarters.
"The Via Australis will be the ideal platform for our Galapagos expeditions far into the future. The most important elements of a Galapagos experience are the islands, the animals and the sea that surrounds them, so the ship that provides access to these things matters greatly, " Lindblad said. "The Via Australis is ultra-efficient to operate and was built with the same sensibility that matters so much to us, with a focus on the world outside… I'm particularly pleased that this ship will be well received by our crew who work very hard and are critical to expedition success."