National Geographic Islander 2

Former names: Crystal Esprit, MegaStar Taurus, Aurora I, Lady Diana

National Geographic Islander 2 last position

National Geographic Islander 2 last location was at South America West Coast (coordinates -2.19412 S / -80.92500 W) cruising en route to EC LLD. The AIS position was reported 1 day ago.

Current Position

Specifications of National Geographic Islander 2

Year built1991  /  Age: 31
Flag state Panama
BuilderFlender-Werft AG (Lubeck, Germany)
ClassMega Yacht
Engines (power)MWM (3.3 MW / 4425 hp)
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)85 m / 279 ft
Beam (width)17 m / 56 ft
Gross Tonnage3370 gt
Passengers48
Crew91
Passengers-to-space ratio47
Decks5
Cabins26
Decks with cabins2
Last Refurbishment2022
Former namesCrystal Esprit, MegaStar Taurus, Aurora I, Lady Diana
Christened byLady Gaenor Anne Meakes (for Crystal Cruises)
OwnerLindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc (via Lindblad Expeditions Holdings LLC)
OperatorLindblad National Geographic Cruises (via LEX Esprit Ltd)

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The 1991-built National Geographic Islander 2 cruise ship (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 wit the Maiden Voyage on August 18th (2022).

History - construction and ownership

The 75-passenger Crystal Esprit was launched by "Crystal Yacht Cruises" (a division of Crystal Cruises) in Seychelles in December 2015. Its inauguration marked a milestone for the brand, expanding from its longtime fleet of two ocean ships (Symphony and Serenity) into the premium yachting (2015) and river cruising (2016) markets. Prior to the brand's acquisition, the superyacht was often chartered by GHK for its subsidiary Star Cruises. The vessel is Germany-built (by Flender-Werft AG, in Lubeck).

The 1988-founded Crystal Cruises was a subsidiary of the Japanese NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) - one of the world's largest container shipping companies. In 2015, NYK Line sold Crystal Cruises to Genting Hong Kong (GHK). Following the acquisition, the company was renamed to "Crystal Ltd" and currently includes the brands Crystal Cruises (ocean-going ships), Crystal River Cruises (European riverboats), Crystal Yacht Cruises (superyachts), Crystal Luxury Air (aircraft) and Crystal AirCruises (fly-cruise deals).

National Geographic Islander 2 cruise ship (Crystal Esprit yacht)

The superyacht's christening ceremony (December 20, 2015) took place at Eden Island Marina in Victoria (Mahe Island). It was attended by travel partners, local dignitaries, GHK executives.

On September 7, 2021, the shipowner announced that Crystal Esprit has been sold to Lindblad Expeditions and leaves the fleet. The 30-years-old Esprit served Crystal for 5 years (2015 through 2020). The decision for selling the vessel was based on Coronavirus-related travel market changes. Crystal's official statement said that the small-yacht concept doesn't fit into the brand's future plans.

  • A total of 50x Crystal Esprit cruises (scheduled for the period September 5, 2021, through March 24, 2024) were canceled.
  • All affected fully-paid bookings received either 100% monetary refund or 115% in FCC (future cruise credit) of the fares paid.

The cruise ship features one 2-person submarine, four 10-passenger zodiacs, and a 32-passenger yacht tender. Esprit has 3 dining venues, 3 bars and lounges, 1 swimming pool and 2 jacuzzies. The aft marina platform is used for various water sports with complimentary equipment - water and jet skis, wakeboards, sea kayaks, snorkeling, and scuba gear. Complimentary bicycles are also provided on all shore excursions.

Mini-submarine's 30-min ride costs USD 600 per person. Crystal Esprit cruise prices start from around USD 900 per person per day.

Crystal Esprit yacht cruise ship submarine

The 85-m / 279-ft long yacht features a shallow draft (just 3,8 m / 13 ft) which allows it to visit even the smallest ports, harbors, bays, islands, cays and rivers that are inaccessible for larger-sized boats.

Decks and Cabins

Nat Geo Islander II staterooms (26 total) are all outside/oceanview and categorized as Suites, The yacht doesn't have any balconied cabins. Even the biggest accommodation (Santa Cruz Islander Suite), lacks a step-out veranda. There are 6 connecting cabins and no wheelchair-accessible cabins, making the vessel not suitable/recommendable for travelers with physical disabilities.

The boat has 5 decks, of which 4 are passenger-accessible and 2 with cabins.

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

Crystal Esprit offers multiple dining venues: main dining room restaurant (multicourse dinners), outdoor cafe (casual al fresco lunches), self-serve snack spot (for midnight snacks), grill, 24-hour room service.

Follows the complete list of Crystal Esprit restaurants and food bars.

  • The Pantry (buffet restaurant/midnight snack bar) is open 24 hours and operates as a self-service bistro. It offers specialty teas and coffees, wine bar, light snacks, and pastries.
  • Compass Room (wine bar; specialty dining venue, reservation-only)
  • Yacht Club Restaurant (Main Dining Room) offers waiter-served Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with contemporary and traditional gourmet specialties. Food is prepared with locally sourced freshest ingredients.
  • Patio Cafe (Yacht Club's outdoor extension / alternative alfresco restaurant) features light food menu choices and offers waiter-served Breakfast and Lunch.
  • Both (Yacht Club Restaurant and Patio Cafe) offer made-to-order food (waffles, pancakes, omelets, sandwiches).
  • Health Bar offers fresh-made fruit and vegetable juices, healthy lunch options (pasta, risottos, seafood, meat, made-to-order antipasti, raw and salad bar, a la carte menu with local (cruise itinerary/destination) based dishes.
  • Sunset Bar & Grill (casual outdoor fast-food bar) offers wraps, burgers, and locally inspired street food.

National Geographic Islander 2 cruise ship (Crystal Esprit yacht)

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

The all-suite yacht offers a couple of bars, an aft marina with complimentary jet skis, kayaks, fishing, and snorkeling equipment. Bicycles are available for guest use in port. Crystal Esprit also carries a small submarine for 30-minute rides to 2 passengers at a time for USD 600 per person.

Follows the complete list of Crystal Esprit lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens, and adults.

  • Submersible marina platform (this one is used for water sports activities; the aquatic equipment/complimentary provided "water toys" include sea kayaks, water skis, jet skis, a wakeboard, scuba diving and snorkeling gear, fishing rods; two Zodiacs/inflatable boats/10-passenger capacity each, are used for ship-to-shore transportation and on adventure tours; a 3-seat submarine is available for underwater exploration; additionally, the Esprit has a 12-passenger 32-foot yacht tender for special boating expeditions and also provides complimentary bicycles to use ashore)
  • Crystal Spa & Salon (medispa services)
  • Doctor (all massage treatments/medical consultations are performed by licensed doctors; Crystal Cruises passengers can attend complimentary enrichment seminars)
  • Casino (with 3 gambling tables for blackjack)
  • yacht tender (12-passenger)
  • Cove (Main Lounge/entertainment venue, served by ship's Cove Bar)
  • Sunset Pool (swimming pool); two large-size jacuzzies; sundeck (sunbathing area)
  • Sunset Gym (Fitness Room; treadmill, exercise bike, Kinesis machines, elliptical machines, free weights, yoga mats)

Crystal Adventures shore program features a variety of cultural, sporting and exploration activities: themed photography, health, and meditation, beauty and wellness, drone flying).

National Geographic Islander 2 cruise ship (Crystal Esprit yacht)

Itineraries

Crystal Esprit's Maiden Voyage was a 7-night roundtrip from Mahe around the Seychelles Islands. It was followed by a 2-night land program in Dubai, just in time for New Year's Eve. The yacht's inaugural season featured itineraries visiting Holy Land and ports in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Adriatic Coast, Seychelles, the Indian Ocean. Complimentary adventure tours were available in all call ports, as well as more boutique/extra-fee excursions.

However, at the end of February 2016, due to "technical upgrades" Crystal Yacht Cruises canceled the following inaugural itineraries:

In November 2016 were announced the yacht's redeployment to Caribbean (November 2017) for roundtrips leaving every Sunday from homeport Marigot Bay (Saint Martin Island), on 2 alternating 7-day itineraries. The first itinerary visited St Barthelemy and four BVI ports. The second itinerary was to the islands Anguilla, Saba, Nevis, St Barthelemy, St Martin.

In October-December 2019, Crystal Esprit was deployed in the Red Sea to operate on 7-11-day itineraries (combinable into B2Bs/back-to-back cruises). The Red Sea cruise program featured overnights in UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and visits to Sir Bani Yas Island, Mina Salman (Bahrain), Doha (Qatar), Sokhna (Egypt / Giza pyramids tour), Eilat (Israel), Muscat (Oman).

For season 2021, Crystal Esprit's schedule listed the following itineraries:

  • "Turquoise Coast of Turkey" - three 10-day itineraries along Turkish Riviera
  • "Dalmatian Coast" - twenty-two 7-day itineraries visiting Croatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro
  • "Seychelles" - nine 7-day itineraries to Laraie Bay (Curieuse Island) and Mahe Island
  • "Greek Isles" - five 7-day voyages
  • "The United Arab Emirates" - four 6-7-9-12-day itineraries in the Arabian Gulf
  • "Holy Lands" - two 8- and 11-day itineraries visiting Cyprus (Larnaca), Israel (), Egypt, Jordan

Crystal Esprit's 2021 cruise bookings opened in December 2018, with fares starting from USD 4150 pp. Book Now Savings offered up to USD 2000 per cabin for bookings made through February 28, 2019.

In January-March 2023, the ship was scheduled for 35 itineraries in Seychelles and Europe (Mediterranean, Adriatic, Holy Land). In 2023 through 2024-Q1, the ship is planned for deployment in Southern Europe with 5x Mediterranean voyages (France and Italy), 13x Greek Isles (Greece and Turkey), 10x Adriatic (Croatia, Dalmatian Coast), 7x Holy Land and Middle East (including Jordan and Cyprus) and 12x Seychelles.

Crystal Esprit itineraries 2023-2024 were opened for booking on August 26, 2020. Nearly all were 6-7-8-night, while Holy Land and Holiday voyages were 11-12-night.

For the period January 2022 thru March 2024, Crystal Esprit's schedule had listed only the 7-night/8-day "Seychelles Yachting Serenade Cruise" itinerary. Leaving roundtrip from Victoria (Mahe Island), these identical voyages included visits to the islands Sainte Anne, Cousin, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse, Grande Soeur, Felicite, Marianne, Aride. However, the entire program (50x departures total) was canceled after the yacht was sold to Lindblad in September 2021.

Lindblad Nat Geo Islander II itinerary program (currently based on year-round deployment in the Galapagos Islands) started with the Maiden Voyage on August 18, 2022.

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Nat Geo Islander II has max draft 3,8 m (13 ft) and a powerplant based on MWM marine diesel engines (model TBD604BV16) with total power output 3340 kW. The vessel (yard/hull number 114470) was constructed by Flender-Werft AG in Lubeck Germany.

Crystal Yacht Cruises (GHK's new brand) debuted with the Esprit yacht on December 23, 2015. The exotic around the world cruise itineraries of this top-luxury ship included the Mediterranean (French and Italian Rivieras, Adriatic Sea, Greek Isles) and Asia (Seychelles, Arabian Gulf). Esprit's all-inclusive fares for a 4-day voyage started from ~USD 2700 per person (or ~USD 600 pp per day).

Crystal Esprit's Godmother was Lady Gaenor Anne Meakes - at the time fiancee of Mark Richards (8-time champion skipper of the Sydney-to-Hobart 628-mile yacht race). The christening ceremony was held on December 20, 2015, at Eden Island Marina in Victoria (Mahe Island, Seychelles). The boat was christened by breaking a 2004 Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut wine bottle into the hull. The special event also featured a fireworks show.

National Geographic Islander 2 cruise ship (Crystal Esprit yacht)

The superyacht's Maiden Voyage (Dec 23-30) was a 7-night Seychelles Islands cruise from Victoria (Mahe) ending in Dubai UAE. Promo prices started from USD 3240 per person (bookings made by October 31, 2015). During its inaugural season, the Esprit yacht sailed in Europe (Mediterranean), and Indian Ocean (Seychelles). Complimentary tours were available in all ports along the itineraries. At extra cost were offered more boutique excursions ashore.

Following the vessel's acquisition by Lindblad in September 2021, a total of 50x scheduled for Crystal Esprit voyages were canceled.

Next table shows Esprit's last voyage planned by Crystal. The 6-day "Seychelles Yachting Serenade Cruise" itinerary was in the ship's schedule for the period 2021 (December 16) through 2024 (March 24).

Date / TimePort
24 Mar 17:45Departing from Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles
24 Mar 18:45 - 25 Mar 12:30 (overnight)Sainte Anne Island, Seychelles
25 Mar 14:00 - 18:00Cousin Island, Seychelles
25 Mar 19:00 - 27 Mar 06:30 (overnight)Praslin Island, Seychelles
27 Mar 07:30 - 18:00La Digue Island, Seychelles
27 Mar 19:00 - 29 Mar 07:00 (overnight)Curieuse Island, Seychelles
29 MarGrande Soeur Island, Felicite Island, Marianne Island
29 Mar 08:00 - 13:00Aride Island, Seychelles
30 Mar 07:00Arriving in Victoria-Mahe

Prices varied between ~USD 5000-7600 (EUR 4230-6430) per person with double occupancy.

Crystal Esprit itineraries 2016 changes

Due to planned refurbishment that took longer than expected, the following Crystal Esprit itineraries in the Mediterranean were officially canceled:

  • (March 27 - April 2) 6-days Aqaba to Limassol, visiting Suez Canal, Ashdod, Haifa, Larnaca
  • (March 27 - April 10) 14-days Aqaba to Athens, visiting Suez Canal, Ashdod, Haifa, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Kas, Marmaris, Rhodes, Kos, Paros
  • (April 3 - April 10) 7-days Limassol to Athens, visiting Paphos, Kas, Marmaris, Rhodes, Kos, Paros
  • (April 3 - April 17) 14-days Limassol to Dubrovnik Croatia, visiting Paphos, Kas, Marmaris, Rhodes, Kos, Paros, Athens/Piraeus, Nafplion, Hydra, Itea, Parga, Corfu, Kotor
  • (April 10 - April 17) 7-days Athens to Dubrovnik Croatia, visiting Nafplion, Hydra, Itea, Parga, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Kotor
  • (April 10 - April 23) 13-days Athens to Venice, visiting Nafplion, Hydra, Itea, Parga, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Split, Zadar, Opatija, Piran
  • (April 17 - April 23) 6-days Dubrovnik to Venice, visiting Kotor, Split, Zadar, Opatija, Piran
  • (April 17 - May 1) 14-days roundtrip from Dubrovnik Croatia, visiting Kotor, Split, Zadar, Opatija, Piran, Venice, Rovinj, Sibenik, Trogir, Vis, Hvar, Korcula

The yacht's itinerary program continued as scheduled from April 24, 2016 (leaving from Venice Italy).

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