Honoring his visionary work, Angela Flaim (the wife of Juan Flaim, late Lindblad leader and Galapagos conservation advocate) presided over the ceremony that reflected the spirit and soul of NatGeo Islander 2 as a ship designed for supreme comfort and deep discovery.
The christening ceremony took place in Black Turtle Cove, Santa Cruz Island, the center of the Galapagos archipelago, with the VIP guests of the ship, company leaders, local dignitaries, and media surrounding the bow in zodiacs. Lindblad Expeditions Founder, Sven-Olof Lindblad, and Angela Flaim symbolically smashed an environmentally friendly champagne bottle from the bow of the stylish 48-passenger NatGeo Islander 2, as guests raised a glass of champagne to toast to the special occasion.
The 1991-built National Geographic Islander 2 (fka "Crystal Esprit" and "MegaStar Taurus") was one of Crystal Yacht Cruises vessels, with fleetmate Crystal Endeavor. In 2021, the previous shipowner GHK (Genting Hong Kong) sold the boat to Lindblad. In 2022, the ship was renamed "Nat Geo Islander 2", replacing the old NatGeo Islander.
The vessel (IMO number 8705266) is currently Panama-flagged (MMSI 352001060) and registered in Colon. During the Coronavirus-related pause in commercial operations (2020-21), the boat remained docked at Port Kraljevica (to the southeast of Rijeka Croatia, just off Krk Island).
After joining the Lindblad's fleet, the yacht was reflagged from Bahamas (MMSI 311000506/registered in Nassau) to Panama/Colon. In March 2022, the boat underwent a 22-day extensive drydock refit and refurbishment, during which the cabins number was reduced (from 31 to 26/max passenger capacity from 71 to 48), outdoor decks were re-floored (with premium teak wood), and a Science Hub (research lounge) was added.
In April 2022, the new shipowner (Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc) announced that the renovated ship will be deployed in the Galapagos Islands, starting with the Maiden Voyage on August 19, 2022.