Lindblad Expeditions looking to expand its fleet: Travel Weekly

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Lindblad Expeditions’ CEO said it plans to expand further in 2022, across new and acquired vessels, during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

“As it relates to new devices in the future, we intend to be a growing company, and we are very optimistic about what we see as an opportunity not only in the polar regions but also in a number of other destinations that our guests are really showing a lot of excitement about,” he said.

Berle also said that Lindblad is “so opportunistic as it relates to looking at ships around the world that we feel we can buy them at a good price that are good replacements for older hardware.” He noted the September acquisition of the Crystal Esprit, a yacht that Lindblad plans to operate in the Galapagos Islands as an alternative to National Geographic Islanders.

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Lindblad now has eight of its 10 ships in service in Alaska, the Galapagos, Iceland and the Pacific Northwest. The company will have three ships in Antarctica this winter, including the new polar ships National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution.

The company reported weak demand in the near term, but said there are significant new bookings across the fleet and big bookings for future travel.

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“We really hiked in early summer, and that was before the delta variant,” Pearl said. “There was some slowdown and then a number of guests started in 2022 and in some cases 2023. But we’re seeing a comeback on the bookings side.”

Bookings for all of 2022 are 27% ahead of 2020 bookings for the same date in 2019. For sailings that were canceled or rescheduled, the majority of guests opted for future travel credits, Lindblad said.
Pearl said momentum is clear for both cruises and overland vacations, which “returned positively, as they were able to capitalize on the increased demand for domestic travel.”

Earlier this year Lindblad acquired adventure tour operators Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. Last month, it bought 80% of Classic Journeys shares.

The company said the performance of Off the Beaten Path, which does most of its trips in the US, showed “that the demand for US travel has been stronger than it has been for a really long time”.

Lindblad reported a $25.7 million loss for the quarter. The company said it received a $21 million grant under the Coronavirus Economic Relief Services Act (CERTS), which provided grants to eligible car companies, school buses, passenger ships and pilot companies.

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