National Geographic Quest Review and Specifications
Specifications of National Geographic Quest
|Year built||2017 / Age : 2|
|Builder||Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (Freeland, Whidbey Island WA)|
|Class||ice-strengthened expedition ship|
|Building cost||USD 55 million|
|Operator||Lindblad National Geographic Cruises|
|Speed||12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph|
|Length (LOA)||73 m / 240 ft|
|Beam (width)||14 m / 46 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||2906 gt|
|Passengers||50 - 100|
|Decks with cabins||3|
|Sister-ships||National Geographic Venture|
Review of National Geographic Quest
History - construction & ownership
The 1,800-ton, 100-passenger National Geographic Quest is a polar expedition vessel with an ice-strengthened hull, fully-stabilized and with relatively shallow draft (9 ft / 2,7 m) which allows safe navigation regardless the itinerary region. This is also the first expedition cruise ship built entirely in the USA.
Constructed at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Lindblad Quest is the company's 3rd larger expedition ship. This new fleet of 3 same-design vessels is by the same shipbuilder as Lindblad's long-serving 62-passenger ships Sea Lion and Sea Bird. In comparison, the newbuilds have an extra deck, modern design, new stateroom categories, new facilities and expanded amenities (including mudroom with rows of lockers, snorkeling equipment and other gear). The ship's ROV (remote operated vehicle) can dive up to 1000 ft / 305 m depths.
The National Geographic Quest ship is owned and operated by Lindblad Expeditions in cooperation with the National Geographic Society (aka NatGeo - an US non-profit institution for science and education). The partnership that Nat Geo has with the Lindblad Expeditions line enables passengers to enjoy an expedition style small ship cruise vacation as active explorers. Lindblad cruise ships sail unique destinations to explore out-of-the-way inlets, making Zodiac landings and looking for wildlife.
Cruise itinerary program
MS Quest itinerary program is based on Alaskan cruises and coastal Pacific Northwest voyages to ports in USA and Canada (British Columbia) during summer. During winter, the ship operates on cruises to Baja California, Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala.
In the Pacific North America, the ship cruises to Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia, also visiting San Juan Islands (USA) and Gulf Islands (Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada). The Alaskan cruise program includes itineraries with departures from Seattle WA and Vancouver BC.
National Geographic Quest has 4 passenger decks with all 50 staterooms. Of all cabins, 22 are with small private balconies (with floor-ceiling sliding doors) and 12 cabins (6 pairs) are connecting (via internal doorway access) allowing families to combine 2 adjacent rooms. All category 5 suites accommodate a 3rd person on convertible sofabed.
Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks
Nat Geo Quest has one Main Dining Room which offers single seating with unassigned tables. Food served aboard is local, fresh and sustainably sourced when possible. When weather conditions allow, light fare is served outside on ship's observation deck. The captain and officers welcome passengers to the bridge in accordance with line's “Open Bridge” policy.
Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport
Ideally suited for sea expeditions, the Lindblad Quest ship carries wet suits, snorkeling gear, underwater cameras, hydrophone, a glass-bottom boat, 24 seakayaks, paddle boards, a fleet of Mark V Zodiacs and even a video microscope. The ship is also equipped with a bow-cam for bow deployment to listen and record marine animals, for example, humpback whale vocalizations and dolphins. Every voyage is accompanied by a full-time doctor, photo instructor, video chronicler, wellness and undersea specialists. Internet access is available shipwide.
Nat Geo Quest public areas include an intimate covered deck with chairs, tables and hammocks; a fitness center; spa; global gallery; library; doctor’s office; lounge with bar and facilities for slide shows, presentations and films.
National Geographic Quest wiki
Ship's Inaugural Alaskan season 2017 included several 7-day "Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness" themed cruises (departures on Saturdays) between July 8 and August 26. After Alaska, the ship operated in the Pacific Northwest on itineraries between Seattle WA and Vancouver BC.
In December 2017, NatGeo Quest was repositioned for cruises in Costa Rica and Panama. Since February 2018, the ship started new set of itineraries visiting ports in Belize and Guatemala.
Inaugural itineraries 2017
The ship's Inaugural Cruise (maiden voyage) was scheduled for June 26, 2017 - a 13-day Alaskan itinerary (themed "Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia"). The ship was supposed to spend a day in San Juan Islands (located between mainland USA and Vancouver Island / BC Canada) and another day in Gulf Islands (located in Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada) before heading north to Alaska. Early booking cruise rates started from USD 9,390 per person (double-occupancy category 1 cabin rates).
However, due to a launch accident, the maiden voyage and the following 2 cruises were cancelled. The vessel was grounded during its launch at Nichols Brothers shipbuilding yard (Freeland, Whidbey Island, Washington). Lindblad's official statement was that the vessel slid off the launch ramp improperly, resulting in damaged propeller and rudder, and needing drydock for full repairs.
The cancelled departure dates were June 26 (inaugural), July 8 and July 15. Passengers booked on the maiden voyage were notified and offered an alternative switch to another date (with 50% reduction on the cost of the rescheduled cruise) or the option to cancel the booking (with full refund, plus USD 2,000 pp onboard credit towards future cruise). The following tables show the 3 cancelled itineraries.
12 nights / 13 days, one-way from Seattle to Sitka (prices from USD 10840 pp)
|27 Jun||Departing from Seattle, Washington|
|28 Jun||Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington|
|29 Jun||At Sea (Gulf Islands)|
|30 Jun||Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, BC Canada|
|01 Jul||Inside Passage, Alaska|
|02 Jul||Inside Passage, Alaska|
|03 Jul||Misty Fjords, Alaska|
|04 Jul||Petersburg, Mitkof Island, Alaska|
|05 Jul||Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska|
|06 Jul||Glacier Bay, Alaska|
|07 Jul||Icy Strait Point, Hoonah, Alaska|
|08 Jul||Chichagof Island, Alaska|
|09 Jul||Arriving in Sitka, Baranof Island, Alaska|
7 nights / 8 days, one-way from Sitka to Seattle (prices from USD 7600 pp)
|09 Jul||Departing from Sitka (flight)|
|09 Jul||Departing from Sitka, Baranof Island, Alaska|
|10 Jul||Admiralty Island, Alaska (Exploring)|
|11 Jul||Chichagof Island, Alaska|
|12 Jul||Glacier Bay, Alaska|
|13 Jul||Frederick Sound, Alaska|
|13 Jul||Chatham Strait, Alaska|
|14 Jul||Petersburg, Mitkof Island, Alaska|
|15 Jul||Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska|
|16 Jul||Juneau, Alaska|
|16 Jul||Arriving in Seattle (flight)|
7 nights / 8 days, one-way from Seattle to Sitka (prices from USD 7600 pp)
|16 Jul||Departing from Seattle (flight)|
|16 Jul||Departing from Juneau, Alaska|
|17 Jul||Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska|
|18 Jul||Petersburg, Mitkof Island, Alaska|
|19 Jul||Frederick Sound, Alaska|
|19 Jul||Chatham Strait, Alaska|
|20 Jul||Glacier Bay, Alaska|
|21 Jul||Chichagof Island, Alaska|
|22 Jul||Admiralty Island, Alaska (Exploring)|
|23 Jul||Sitka, Baranof Island, Alaska|
|23 Jul||Arriving in Sitka (flight)|
Nat Geo Quest officially started operations with the inaugural cruise on July 29, 2017 (Saturday departure from Juneau AK). The 8-day voyage (themed "Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness") was part of the ship's Southeast Alaska program (through August 26, 2017). Following the Alaskan season, the boat started Pacific Northwest itineraries between Seattle WA and Vancouver BC, visiting San Juan Islands (Washington. USA), Alert Bay (Cormorant Island, BC Canada), Victoria BC.