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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I joined this cruise as part of a family reunion and had no hand in picking this particular voyage. I also didn't pay for it! Nice deal! As this is my first cruise, I don't have a point of comparison and so may be unfairly ... Read More
I joined this cruise as part of a family reunion and had no hand in picking this particular voyage. I also didn't pay for it! Nice deal! As this is my first cruise, I don't have a point of comparison and so may be unfairly critical. Ship: well-designed, relaxed but somewhat luxurious feel to it. They have a great sustainability effort throughout, giving you a NatGeo water bottle with refill areas to avoid plastic bottles, no straws, etc. Ship Crew & Naturalists: everyone was friendly enough but there was something amiss regarding the large staff of ship crew and NatGeo naturalists. Everyone seemed a little tired and weary. I get that it must be a grind to welcome, host, and then bid farewell to 100 strangers week after week but they need to figure out some way to inject some energy into it or to keep their speeches to a minimum. Naturalists: there were many aboard the ship--how expensive was that? A few were terrific: Justin led fabulous nature walks; Michelle was an exception to the low-energy vibe, exuding a warm spirit and energy in addition to her great photography guidance; Jared wrangled the kids and kept things light and fun. The others fit into a sort of "I'm tired and bored with you" theme. The cruise itinerary and activities (walks, kayaking, paddle boarding) are great, though there's not as much opportunity for longer hikes on shore as I would have liked. They get you in and out of the zodiacs quickly and safely. In the evening they had presentations by naturalists and these were a little weak. Either the topic (birds of Alaska, say) wasn't of interest to me or the presentation didn't have much of a message, e.g. "I live in Alaska and how cool is that? By the way, I live in Alaska. Oh yeah, I'm from Alaska...etc." Dining was a huge fail. I love that they focus on sustainability and so offer only sustainable fish and seafood (no shrimp!). However, the experience was so bad that I wondered if the chef quit early in the journey because our first meal was by far the best one. Here's the rundown: Breakfast is a buffet with the usual eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, potatoes, etc. It's fine though I would have liked to see some smoked fish on occasion (particularly on the day we had brunch instead of breakfast and lunch). Lunch is also a buffet with a good selection of salads and entrees. I really enjoyed the vegetable options which were unusual and plentiful, e.g. a nice rice salad studded with dried cherries, herb-coated cauliflower, etc. Often there was a starch on hand such as polenta or couscous which was incredibly, amazingly bland. Dinners were, overall, meager and bland--think spa food. Every soup tasted as if someone took a wonderful soup and then added gallons of water to it. The last night we had a lentil soup that was pretty good, but this was the exception. The main courses were generally very small portions. The first night I had a crispy tofu with vegetables that was great and set a high bar that every other dinner failed to meet. There was one night where I was the only diner at our table of 10 who ordered a ribeye and everyone else got the fish option. I was served a nice-sized steak (maybe 6 oz?) while everyone else got a tiny bit of fish plated with a few vegetables. We were awestruck by the audacity to serve someone 2 oz of fish and a half-cup of vegs and pretend like this was a meal. I cut my steak in half and three people dived into that half of a steak to augment their meal. I suppose we could have asked for more but it didn't occur to any of us at the time. I admire their goal to reduce food waste but they should have said at the outset that portion sizes are small and encouraged people to ask for second helpings. Because the dinners were meager, people were often hungry after the meal, which meant if there was a dessert buffet, early birds would scarf up multiple servings, leaving none for the later diners. If there wasn't a dessert buffet, then people would request the servers to bring them several desserts to fill up after the main dish. If I were doing this cruise again, then I would skip the soup at dinner and ask for one of the entrees to be served as my appetizer and then have another entree as a main course. This would result in a more filling and enjoyable meal. On hand at all times was a good espresso/cappuccino machine, good brewed coffee, and a variety of other beverages and snacks. Cocktail hour was fun with a nice spread of cheese, crackers, salami, dips, and vegetables. The bartender is superlative and makes a huge variety of cocktails with generous pours and ease. Overall, this cruise seemed a little pricey for the experience (keep in mind that it was free for me!). If I were to sail with Lindblad/NatGeo again, I would assert myself a little more in the food realm to ensure enough food and would stock up on evening activities I could enjoy in my cabin (movies on my laptop?). Because of the ship's size, there's no communal space other than the lounge in the evening, which is where the presentations happen. There is a sun deck with lounge chairs but the Alaskan weather wasn't conducive to relaxing outside. Cruise highlights included seeing whales bubble-netting to catch fish, spotting many seal lions and a few bears, sea otters, and mountain goats, and getting close to some beautiful tidal glaciers. Gorgeous scenery! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Lindblad and National Geographic do an amazing job! We had a family of 17 with several young children. Everyone on the ship went out of their way to make sure we were all having an amazing time. The hotel manager was constantly asking what ... Read More
Lindblad and National Geographic do an amazing job! We had a family of 17 with several young children. Everyone on the ship went out of their way to make sure we were all having an amazing time. The hotel manager was constantly asking what food he could make for the kids. The pastry chef is truly gifted and an anniversary cake he made was one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. The naturalist on board taught us all so much and I am amazed at how much my kids learned. I am in awe at the knowledge and passion of all crew on board. They made you want to learn more and see more. The accommodations were wonderful as well. The cabins are well thought out. Plenty of storage, comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. We don’t have a single negative thing to say. We hope to take more Lindblad vacations in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Our fiftieth wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. My husband and I visited Alaska (on a BIG ship) almost 20 years ago. We wanted to take a small ship cruise to a less traveled “path”. The NatGeo quest was perfect! We invited our ... Read More
Our fiftieth wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. My husband and I visited Alaska (on a BIG ship) almost 20 years ago. We wanted to take a small ship cruise to a less traveled “path”. The NatGeo quest was perfect! We invited our son and his family, including two young children, (ages 7 and 9) to join us. It was a great family time and the childrens activities helped us all make lifelong memories. We are still young enough to participate in many of the memory-making activities such as kayaking, long hikes in the woods, float plane trips over the glaciers, shore excursions and coastal walks to find sea, bears, eagles, sea lions and otters, and watching whales dazzle us with their antics, and the humpbacks were bubble-feeding.. What a treat. We are members of the Nature Conservancy, which of course, is tirelessly working to protect the land, air, water, and endangered and threatened wildlife. This trip emphasized the need for all of us to become stewards of the planet and to be more involved to keep it clean. Many of the things we saw on this trip are no longer on the on the endangered species lists. I think our grandchildren will remember this vacation for a very long time, maybe their entire lifetime. I know my husband and i will certainly never forget it. The dining staff was extremely attentive to the children. They prepared special “kid meals” like grilled cheese, pizza, pasta and they even had a ‘Movie night” . Parents And kids loved that. The dinner service was a bit less attentive- not to say the food was not good. For the most part, it was delicious. The one problem we had was that the food was often not hot when it was brought to the table. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We all have heard wonderful stories about travelling in Alaska and seen many stunning pictures of glaciers and breaching whales. But until you experience Alaska up close and in person, you cannot sense the extreme wilderness and serenity ... Read More
We all have heard wonderful stories about travelling in Alaska and seen many stunning pictures of glaciers and breaching whales. But until you experience Alaska up close and in person, you cannot sense the extreme wilderness and serenity of Alaska. And the only way to experience it is on a small craft. That is why sailing on the 100-person Lindblad/Nat Geo Quest was perfect. Big, daunting cruise lines passed us by as the Quest dipped into bays and channels those big ships could not get close to. Every day held a new surprise – whales upon whales, brown bears walking the beach, sea otters snacking among the seaweed, sea lions barking on the rocks, and seals floating on bits of icebergs. Quest was equipped with kayaks and zodiacs that provided an even more intimate experience of closeness with nature. Magical. My husband and I are independent travelers. Sailing on the 100-person Quest was perfect. We had about 5 naturalists on board, including 2 underwater divers who filmed underwater sea-life. And if you are interested in photography, there were professionals to provide guidance and top-end equipment to test out. The voyage was smooth, and the ship extremely quiet, even under sail. I don’t recall the last time I slept so well. For 7 days, we travelled with like-minded people interested in nature and our ecosystem. I would definitely go on another Lindblad/Nat Geo cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Great week on the Quest. The expedition specialists were phenomenal and very knowledgeable. Cabins were well appointed. Bar staff very friendly. Crew interactive and helpful. Would definitely recommend this cruise. Will never ... Read More
Great week on the Quest. The expedition specialists were phenomenal and very knowledgeable. Cabins were well appointed. Bar staff very friendly. Crew interactive and helpful. Would definitely recommend this cruise. Will never travel on a big boat again Lindblad provides all the information you need prior to departure. Bring binoculars and a camera with a long lens to capture the wildlife. All the evenings recaps were outstanding. Having the National Geographic divers, photographer and videographer was a plus. You will never be bored. Trips in zodiacs were once in a lifetime and take advantage of all the hiking and kayaking excursions. They cater to all levels of activities and skill levels. Fitness center a plus. The naturalist are always on the lookout for wildlife. Brown bears, eagles, sea lions, sea otters, whales and seals. The captain makes every effort to allow the guests to see them all. Staff well organized Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I have had a long term desire to see and experience Alaska. When we made the decision to actually do it, the Lindblad/National Geographic Quest was the obvious choice. The size of the ship (100 passengers), the presence of seasoned ... Read More
I have had a long term desire to see and experience Alaska. When we made the decision to actually do it, the Lindblad/National Geographic Quest was the obvious choice. The size of the ship (100 passengers), the presence of seasoned naturalists with remarkable expertise and passion for their respective fields of interest, and the numerous opportunities to get off of the boat and enjoy Southeast Alaska made for an incomparable experience! I had extremely high expectations prior to the trip. In almost every aspect, my expectations were exceeded. The way this journey is structured allows one to enjoy the scale and majesty of the Inside Passage and the Alaskan landscape, while simultaneously allowing intimate viewing of wildlife, the temperate rain forest, glaciers and icebergs! I would recommend this experience with my greatest enthusiasm. If you want to have a remarkable opportunity to enjoy nature in one of its most vibrant locales on the globe, and you are willing and ready to be awed by what you see, hear, feel and learn multiple times a day, then this expedition is for you! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Continuing our excellent experience with Lindblad, we went to South East Alaska/ Inside Passage this time. As is usual, all aspects of the expedition were impeccable. The ship, NG Quest was just the right size - 100 passengers. The cabin ... Read More
Continuing our excellent experience with Lindblad, we went to South East Alaska/ Inside Passage this time. As is usual, all aspects of the expedition were impeccable. The ship, NG Quest was just the right size - 100 passengers. The cabin was comfortable and had a small balcony for standing and watching nature go by. The dining experience was quite good though it could take some improvement in the quality of ingredients as well as cooking. The naturalists and the outdoor activities were outstanding. It was a special treat to have Tom Ritchie, Lindblad naturalist on-board. Besides him, there was an impressive set of naturalists on-board, including Melanie Healy. The range of wildlife seen and the settings in which we saw them were exceptional. The explanations of the naturalists and the evening recaps were great. The expedition staff were outstanding in managing the logistics of getting us on and off the ship superbly. Most days, they had to do it twice a day and it was all done without a hitch. The highlight of these expeditions is that they managed to keep us off the ship for most daylight hours engaged in activities like hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, wildlife and nature viewing in zodiacs. And, come back to the ship, just as you would to a hotel while on a road trip except that this was a trip on water. The captain and the officers as is usual on Lindblad ships were always accessible and helpful. If I have a suggestion for improvement, it would be in the area of dining - the fare and the quality weren't as inspiring as our previous experiences with Lindblad ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We were referred to Lindblad Expeditions by friends who have taken many cruise vacations. We had no interest in floating towns...giant ships with formal dinners, conga lines, wine-tastings, and jewelry parades. We wanted a relaxed but ... Read More
We were referred to Lindblad Expeditions by friends who have taken many cruise vacations. We had no interest in floating towns...giant ships with formal dinners, conga lines, wine-tastings, and jewelry parades. We wanted a relaxed but structured interpretive experience blending both the natural and social character of Central America with the intimate experience of one of the world's greatest engineering marvels. When our friends said that's exactly what we'd get, we were aboard! The Costa Rica / Canal cruise was everything we hoped for. We could never do justice to the Lindblad/National Geographic staff...from the ship crew to the hotel staff, the kitchen talent and the dining servers...and the gracious friendly excursion guides who were so masterful in their knowledge and charming in their ways of explanations and painstaking thoughtfulness. Every crew and staff member was exquisitely trained and enhanced the guest experience. The food!!! Every meal a delight. We sacrificed some cabin space for a small balcony with no regrets. After all, the last place you want to be during any of this trip is in your cabin... The choices of field excursions offers something for everyone. Don't miss the coffee plantation, the chocolate co-op, the heart-of-palm farm. Meeting the locals and learning of their lives enlightened us as much as the climax....the fabulous transit through the canal by both night and day, for which we were beautifully prepared with a documentary recapping its history. We were so glad we opted for the East-to-West trip with the canal as the finale...perfect! Then, going by coach from Colon to Panama City, a stop at the Miraflores visitor center locks to look out over the canal and see the fabulous museum was a fabulous final curtain. Kudos to all of the Lindblad/NGeo people who constructed and conducted this adventure! We will see you again.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We went on the Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise in January, 2019. We love watching wildlife and thought this cruise would be a good way to do it. We have been to Costa Rica before - on a small bus tour on the Caribbean side so this was ... Read More
We went on the Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise in January, 2019. We love watching wildlife and thought this cruise would be a good way to do it. We have been to Costa Rica before - on a small bus tour on the Caribbean side so this was different. We like being with like-minded people and under 100 passengers seemed manageable. We had 87 people on our cruise. The captain, officers and all of the crew made sure that we were enjoying ourselves and did not need anything. I would have given the dining rating an excellent but some of the Panamanian cuisine seemed too bland for us. That said, we always found something we liked. They always had other standard options for dinner if you didn't like what was being offered. They had an omelet station every morning, always had fresh fruit and wonderfully fresh salad greens. If my husband and myself were 'birders,' we would have enjoyed the rainforest hikes more. It seemed like there were definitely more birders than non-birders. But, mammals inhabit the same types of places so again, you never knew when something would appear. Animals are not on a schedule and many times they just don't make themselves visible. It would have been nice to see more but it just didn't happen. Obviously, rainforests are by nature humid and hot. I wish I brought more clothes with me because each excursion left you dripping. There was really no entertainment on the ship other than the presentations in the lounge. The ones we saw were very good. Unfortunately, we didn't attend most of them just because we were too tired and needed to be up early the next morning. The workout room had nice, clean equipment to use. Due to the size of the ship, the space was small. They also had yoga every morning that I did not take advantage of. All of the public areas were always spotless. They asked that we conserve water which is a very legitimate request and I think everyone was in the same conservation mindset. I told the captain that it would have been nice had we known about the wringer machines that were under the bridge where you could wash your clothes in the sink and wring them out in these machines. It was basically a 'spin cycle' like you have on your washing machine at home. Our clothes would have dried days quicker. We also didn't realize that there were hooks over the bathroom door until the last night of the cruise. Going through the locks of the canal was amazing. We have done it before on a larger cruise ship but this was much better and more intimate. The tour of old Panama City was great - The Biodiversity Museum was also great, especially their video presentation. That was not to be missed - with eight separate and angled screens, including the ceiling and floor. We had originally signed up for a rainforest tour until Cristian, the expedition leader, told us how important we would be to the local economy and how much the locals loved talking about their crafts and explaining their livelihoods - like the Hearts of Palm tour and then the Chocolate tour. We are glad we switched. We saw a lot and learned even more. The snorkeling in Panama was unbelievable. I wished we had seen the turtles and the reef-tipped shark that other people saw but just seeing all the colorful fish made it more than worthwhile for us. The excursions on the private islands were amazing. The picnic that the crew laid out for us on one of the private properties (on a beach) was beautifully done. It had to be so much work for them but they truly did a fantastic job. Don't forget to bring some cash because some of the local people bring their crafts to sell. I will suggest to others to bring enough T-shirts to change to; bring GOOD water shoes. Mine broke (and my husband's broke on the last Zodiac tour). I wore long pants in the dining room because I thought the ship was cold. Also, bring a sweater or sweatshirt. Take binoculars everywhere because you never know what or when you are going to see something. We used a GoPro in underwater housing for the snorkeling. I'm still very green with it, but I got a lot of fish. You can also get underwater pouches for phones if you want to take pictures. Have something that is waterproof for your good camera because it may very well get wet in the Zodiac from splashing. People on the ship seemed to range in age from maybe 40s (just a few) to probably late 80s. We met many people with all kinds of backgrounds and very interesting experiences. We have taken several cruises on large ships, one river cruise and this is our first Linblad/Nat Geo cruise. If you like walking through rainforests, snorkeling, beaches, want to see the canal and be with a great group of people, I recommend this trip. All of the staff, especially the naturalist guides, are very passionate about their profession, as they should be. Their passion was contagious. Our shipboard doctor was trained in emergency medicine and had many years of experience. He accompanied us on several tours and went on others that we did not. He was very outgoing, friendly and easy to talk to. He is a great conversationalist and dinner companion. His wife accompanied him as well and she, too, was very friendly and outgoing. A very big thank you to everyone associated in making this trip what it was. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I’m interested in nature and this trip completely fulfilled my expectations. The Lindblad- National Geographic guides are very knowledgeable of the region and the history all the species very impressive. The Quest is very comfortable ... Read More
I’m interested in nature and this trip completely fulfilled my expectations. The Lindblad- National Geographic guides are very knowledgeable of the region and the history all the species very impressive. The Quest is very comfortable the staff very friendly and helpful, breakfast lunch and dinner unbelievably well prepared and presented everything perfect. The excursions very well organized and very interesting and informative safety first very well done. The room is very comfortable clean and very nice furniture all the amenities and areas of the boat are very comfortable and clean. The programs the excursions very well organized and prepared everything well done. I really recommend this trip for people interested in nature and historical places like the Panamá Canal and the areas of Panamá. Costa Rica is a very reach region with a very reach history and the best ecosystem very well protected and manage for years to come for everybody to enjoy it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our ... Read More
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our cabin was small with a balcony; not much open floor space but you don't spend much time in the room. The general outline of the day is: a buffet breakfast, morning zodiac trip for nature event, buffet lunch, another zodiac trip for nature event, time for a shower, cocktail hour with naturalists' presentations, dinner (usually 3+ options), and another naturalist or photography discussion after dinner. This is an expedition cruise with the emphasis on nature, photography, country culture and history. Pretty much everything is included in the cost except for alcoholic drinks and the final tip to the staff. The ship holds 100 passengers but we had about 83. Passengers range from 20's to 90 although average in the 50-60's; they tend to be well-traveled, pretty active, and interesting. There is no set dinner seating so grouping change throughout the cruise. The food was good but not outstanding. Usually buffets had several options with salads, fresh fruits and a few mains. Dinner is served by staff with usually 3 options available. Preparation was okay but as the first cruise this season, they had a few bugs to work out with new staff and the kitchen not at the top of their game. A real strength is the depth of knowledge of the naturalists and the happy staff. The lounge (inside & air conditioned) was outfitted with books related to the area and was used throughout the day by passengers. We also sat out on the Sun Deck, on the front prow and could sit in the bridge at times. The cruise went through the Panama Canal and even had morning Zodiac options to see more of the lake in the middle of the canal. There is a one-day extension available in Panama City that includes a visit to the expansion canal and a close up of the original canal. Recommended for the real Panama Canal buff. Overall, a fun and interesting trip! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. It was interesting on paper, in actuality, if you like riding on buses (I'm pretty sure Lewis & Clark didn't!) then this trip ... Read More
This was a cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. It was interesting on paper, in actuality, if you like riding on buses (I'm pretty sure Lewis & Clark didn't!) then this trip is for you. We went on this cruise because of our past experience on the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos, which was great! I found this cruise no better than any other "regular" cruise. Sure, we had a few interesting stops, but I don't think the wineries and breweries were there in the early 1800s. I don't know, I guess I expected more excitement, to learn more, like it was in the Galapagos - an adventure. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before and figured this would be a great introduction. But alas! Most of the crew were knowledgeable, passionate about their subjects of focus and personable, there were some exceptions. I can't see shelling out that kind of money for an average cruise like that again. My rating is based on that - big price, average quality. Food was good, not exceptional. Bar prices were average. And as one reviewer noted, there was no place to lounge that was somewhat quiet (The Endeavour had a library that was separate from the lounge). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my third expedition aboard a Linblad ship and I couldn’t of been more pleased. The new Quest ship suited my family perfectly. Our cabin was comfortable, loved the pillows and sheets. One of the highlights on the ship was eating ... Read More
This was my third expedition aboard a Linblad ship and I couldn’t of been more pleased. The new Quest ship suited my family perfectly. Our cabin was comfortable, loved the pillows and sheets. One of the highlights on the ship was eating in the beautiful dining room enjoying the scenery while we ate. Food was the best I’ve had on a Linblad ship, we even had a special Dungeness Crab night. Service in the dining room, cabin and in their activities was 5 star. Activities were well organized. My family participated in kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, zodiac rides. Naturalist were incredibly knowledgeable. Guest on ship tended to be older ( over 65) but a physically active group. Multigenerational family groups were also prevalent with a number of grandchildren on the ship. While not a cheap ship our family of 5 felt we got our money’s worth. Looking forward to our next Linblad expedition. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was the first trip away from our young kids and wanted to do Alaska on a small ship. I found out how new this ship was and chased it down. Here are my notes. Quest Sunday - long day to buy time to get on ship at 5:30pm, they ... Read More
This was the first trip away from our young kids and wanted to do Alaska on a small ship. I found out how new this ship was and chased it down. Here are my notes. Quest Sunday - long day to buy time to get on ship at 5:30pm, they mean it and no-one got on before then. Juneau is boring and I wouldn't stay there. Tram was cool and worth it. When we did we got a person to take us to our cabin and desctibe all the features. There was more storage and room in our cabin than in hotel room. Don’t stay at recommended hotel - small rooms, noisy (loud) heaters (boilers) and it is just old. Our cabin on the ship was so much more spacious and has a crazy amount of storage, no way to use all of the drawers and other provided spaces. Pillows and blankets are amazing. Internet doesn’t work - too high latitudes for satellite to work.. I paid and got money back as we did get some cell service in small fishing villages but latency was so high that some applications wouldn’t work. Ship is a shield, so for any coverage you have to be on deck. Tracy Arm (Transit all night) Monday AM, I was pretty excited and woke up at 4am just to look around and saw icebergs out my window and I was on deck by 4:30am - and not only one. It was so crazy pretty that I stayed on deck pretty much to lunch. Food was very good all around. I’m not that picky and I give the food a B+ all around. Something for everyone and after meeting all the guests - no one had a bad thing to say. You get briefings before dinner and after breakfast every day. They over-communicate which seems annoying, but was rather useful. Staff is amazing all around. I can’t say enough good things and I look for those ‘cracks in the crew’ and found none. The respect for the naturalists was crazy high from fellow crew, not to speak of the guests. Monday was Tracy Arm and zodiac tours of the glacier. They take the entire guest list and chop into groups A, B, C and D. They use that to get rid of big lines for activities. We were in group C so they call on the PA to give us a 15 minute notice of when we should head to the mud room to put on Life jacket and board the zodiacs. Max wait was 10 minutes. They clearly have this figured out. Preso’s every day after lunch and dinner by very polished naturalists who know their stuff. I was crazy tired this night and crashed hard.. Speaking to other guests which I now had a chance to socialize with - was the same. Tuesday Morning - hit the zodiacs to go see icebergs that have calved off the glacier. Sounds boring? - look at the pictures and video. Amazing morning - water perfectly still and warm. We all got amazing photo’s - walk on fire trail, banana slugs and bear skat. Then kayaking that wasn’t so interesting but good exercise. Petersburg at lunch - great sleepy fishing village. Could arrange floatplane flights. Or walking (or van) into town or taking a free bicycle which we did. Very nice stay and we had dinner while the ship pulled out of port. This was a real treat. MIT alumni group on board and a professor gave a talk on climate. Very interesting and nice people. weather turned hawaii and we had upper 70’s, sun and heat. crazy. Wish I had more t-shirts. I wore shorts to dinner 4 nights in a row. Wednesday early morning hiking - no so interesting and then kayaking, was cool but not the best. Afternoon (Wednesday) was ok hiking morning, but ‘activity watching in afternoon cruise’ which started out pretty boring, everyone looking but some sea lions. Weather was hot in the sun. Then someone in bridge saw something on the port shore - ship turned too hard and some dishes went flying(turns out that was autopilot accident) - but we found a large group of humpbacks were bubble feeding on the shoreline. They split into 2 different groups and were amazing. We had that all day where I stopped counting at 25 ‘breaches’ of the bubble fishing. Most amazing day ever. Would check most folks bucket list to see 1 or 2, but 25+. You have never seen a more satisfied group of passengers and crew that dinner. Most of us knew that was a ‘1 in a lifetime’ afternoon. I hope I can post a few photo’s. Thursday (Icy Strait) - morning hiking in a great rainforest - like walking on sponges. lots of wild flowers and such. After that taken to ‘kayak beach’ where we kayaked ‘follow the leader’ around the Idaho inlet and it was awesome. Guest MIT lecture on Climate and then zodiac rides (A, B, C & D) with real alaskan weather and saw whales, sea lions, otters, eagles taking fish…. great lunch day (turkey) Afternoon zodiac tour of the Inian islands. Amazing - saw whales, sea lions, otters and a Bald Eagle took a 1/2 fish from a sea lion thirty feet in front of our zodiac. I have a picture of that that Tom caught - amazing. took it easy and let folks take naps and slow down a bit. Great dinner and lecture after about summer solstice, some video of diving around the kayak route and Chelsey talking about seals, sea lions and Otters - awesome. Got cold and folks went to sleep. Alaska part 2 Plan for the best - you have your cold weather gear, but you have crazy storage on the Quest - don’t forget t-shirts and shorts. On my trip I left our walk weather stuff in Florida and regretted it. We had 3 days in a row where it hit upper 70’s and I was hot in the sun. I had only 1 pair of shorts and wish I had more. We had *lots* of empty drawers we could have used. Suitcases fit under the bed (easily) Video and camera My wife brought her DSLR (Canon) and they have free lenses for you to use on the ship. She borrowed a few 600mm lens and got the best whale photo’s of the trip. There are at least 2 professional photographers on the trip who will spend as much 1:1 time as you want. Take advantage of it. Star of the show is my iPhone 10 using 4K 60fps video. You can zoom like crazy and will be able to post-process great video. My MacBook air wasn’t powerful enough to do that and iCloud is setup that I needed WiFi (that doesn’t work at those latitudes - so don’t pay for it) I would let the iPhone take video if the whales are around - if you get it, great. If not - delete and try again. Don’t wait till you see them - will be too late (for bubble fishing). Same for glacier calving - I would record for 3 minutes and delete if nothing happened, but if it does - you will get most or all of it in 4K video. Clothing 1st day was cold and clear. I had bought these wind pants with a thin layer of fleece on the inside and they were killer good. My go to pants when cruising or a colder zodiac ride. Too hot for hiking when in 60 or 70’s, so I used my hiking pants and was ok to be a little cold on zodiac ride (10 minutes) and very comfortable on the hike. Front or side pockets to keep iPhone kept if very handy when something unexpected happened, which seems to be all the time Saturday We signed up for the ‘strenuous hike’ and had a good workout though the rainforest to a lake where the guides were surprised had some salmon already. I used my polarized sunglasses to get some good video on my iPhone. After we hiked back down we put on the low profile life jackets and went kayaking in this amazingly clear water. Most of the folks all agreed this was the best of the Kayaking on the trip. Good workout - back to the ship and ate a good lunch. The rest of the afternoon was cruising and looking for wildlife - most folks were tired and slept or started packing. This part of the cruise there seemed to be otters everywhere and I got my otter photo’s here. Right before dinner I was on the bow with some other folks when we saw porpoises on the bow. They rode the bow for 25 minutes and I got my iPhone out there for 4 minutes until my fingers were too cold to hold the phone. Some amazing video I need to edit when I get home. That night after dinner we did the guest slideshow. Each guest could submit 10 of their best photo’s and it was amazing what people got. Anyone could download it from 2 iMacs they had in the lounge. Was very fun. Lots of folks exchanging email addresses and the like for the rest of the evening. Also having some drinks with the crew as you have gotten to know them pretty well at this point. Last day We anchored outside Sitka. Hit the dock at 6am. 6:30am wake-up call. 7am breakfast and they wanted all bags (tagged) and put outside cabin before 7am. Most of us were on same flight from Sitka to Seattle at 2pm. There were 97 passengers. 13 were under age 18. 3 groups of families Grandparents and kids. Bunch of retirees - good group of folks. I'm 53 with wife 46 and we had a great time. Never felt crowded, but we had insane weather. Ask for tour of engine room and kitchen - very cool. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The actual cruise information preloaded above is WRONG! The dates were 18-26 Feb and the cruise was their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary. this is a duplicate post from what I put in the National Geographic/Lindblad forum under Quest. ... Read More
The actual cruise information preloaded above is WRONG! The dates were 18-26 Feb and the cruise was their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary. this is a duplicate post from what I put in the National Geographic/Lindblad forum under Quest. The trip was 18-26 Feb 2018 on their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary Back from the Quest for a couple of weeks and have let things sort themselves out in my mind. I think this particular trip type of expedition finds travelers who either LOVE the experience or are saying "why did I spend all my money for this?" I fall into the second category. The staff was fine, good, competent and friendly. The food was a severe disappointment. Breakfast was fine, lunch usually was ok and dinner whenever served was frankly inedible. Fish overcooked to the point where it was rubber, limp vegetables and complete lack of any reasonable amount of protein for vegetarians. (Yes, I expect coconut veg curry to have more veg than onion and mushroom and have a flavor other than brown). Ship - It is new, comfortable. But there is only one lounge which is used for everything which means that there is no place quiet on the ship indoors to sit, read or quietly talk with others. The outdoor areas are only usable if the weather is good (not raining, no wind). The Cruise Director equivalent didn't know when to stop talking which meant that we were always late into dinner (may well have contributed to the poor food - beautifully plated mind you but overcooked and tasteless). I expected adult - what I got was a "Good Morning campers" approach. Greetings and shouted responses are for religious services and kindergarten. My fellow passengers were perhaps the most educated group I have ever had the pleasure to travel with; we did't need programs that catered to the three families traveling and featuring their offspring in presentations. The Naturalists were good as was the photographer. I enjoyed the snorkeling and the supporting dive teams. Mind you, I understand where the expensive of the trip goes - transportation and staff salaries. Not a problem, But as someone who normally arranges her own tours and expeditions I found buses with 30-40 people at times irritating. Lastly, and most importantly for me, as is apparently the custom with many of the small ships - you can't lock your cabin except from the inside. I travel with expensive camera equipment. My insurance company, when asked said that if anything happened they would not cover it as they would feel that neither the ship nor I had taken proper precautions to secure it. The Celebrity Xpedition is the same size and has cabin keys.... The food was outstanding, the naturalists extremely good and all beverages were included when we were on her in the Galapagos. Lindblad was interesting. But not worth the money from my point of view. There were several couples who had been on 20+ Lindblad cruises and would never put a foot on a larger ship. I guess I prefer a bit more space, good food and personal flexibility. -Holly pictures on www.hollydoyne.net with dates 18-25 Feb 2018. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It sounded close enough to the US, but varied, with 5 days aboard and 5 days ashore. What no one at National Geographic or Lindblad told me was that this was the inaugural trip; worse yet was that the trip had not been tested on anyone. I ... Read More
It sounded close enough to the US, but varied, with 5 days aboard and 5 days ashore. What no one at National Geographic or Lindblad told me was that this was the inaugural trip; worse yet was that the trip had not been tested on anyone. I paid an inordinate amount, retail, no discount, to be someone's guinea pig. So, I still, after three months, have a really bad taste in my mouth because I've been had. This is not what I expect for two well-regarded tour companies. On board, we experience long delays as the staff tried to find anchorage leaving travelers twiddling their thumbs, waiting, for hours aboard. One group was stranded in a Zodiac during a vicious rain squall. Outside tour companies were hired, on the fly, to take us snorkeling, on bus tours, and to coordinate flights. Equipment and transportation failed as did staff. Again, we were left for most of a day in the airport without information. When we finally arrived at our next destination, 30% of the luggage was missing. The land group leader was dismissive, condescending, and glossed over procedural errors and missteps that were so obvious to many. I used to how these companies up as the gold standard of eco-tourism. This trip will be my last. Their offerings are spreading the company thin. Quality has been sacrificed for quantity across the board. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We did not find the itinerary very interesting. There was little effort to explore any activity in the ocean - no whales, dolphins, etc. We saw birds and land animals mostly. The captain was only 6 weeks with the line - so it seemed his ... Read More
We did not find the itinerary very interesting. There was little effort to explore any activity in the ocean - no whales, dolphins, etc. We saw birds and land animals mostly. The captain was only 6 weeks with the line - so it seemed his job was only to get us from point A to point B. No one was ever in the bridge - so unlike the Explorer. We missed having a second lounge. The seating in general was not comfortable - missed the library on the Explorer. The weather was warm, but the back deck with tables and chairs was never used. We took our lunch and breakfast up there so we could be outside. Food was great - healthy and interesting. 2 female chefs made sure of that!! Bed was comfortable.No laundry services on board. We were in 216 with a balcony - but it's too small to do anything but stand.Exiting to the zodiacs usually involved a long line down the hall. This was annoying and could have been avoided by calling for people by floor or stateroom. The gym is very nice - we did not use any spa services. The naturalists were interesting, but not as good as we experienced in Patagonia. There is no diving expert to show us what was in the water. We enjoyed kayaking and the paddle boards, but in some way this contributed to feeling like we were on a very austere cruise instead of a being on an expedition. Oh, and the espresso machine was not working during the entire cruise. Thought maybe they should have a spare or a couple Nespresso machines. Almost all the crew are American - college aged kids are your servers and your room attendants. This is because the ship is flagged in the US. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first Lindblad/National Geographic cruise, and it fully delivered on all counts. The focus is on seeing the environment, birds, and animals of the area, with a Panama Canal transit as a bonus. The ship was modern, in perfect ... Read More
This was our first Lindblad/National Geographic cruise, and it fully delivered on all counts. The focus is on seeing the environment, birds, and animals of the area, with a Panama Canal transit as a bonus. The ship was modern, in perfect condition, beautiful, and a real ship (not a mall.) I had some of the best meals ever on board - the rack of lamb comes to mind as a real winner. The ship’s crew plus the naturalists on board were excellent, and really added to the overall experience. I would like to compliment the naturalists in particular. They were true professionals - friendly and knowledgeable, and with decades of experience. There was a lot of discussion of photography, and several of the naturalists were excellent photographers. Going through the Panama Canal was surprisingly thrilling. You really got a sense of the historical magnitude of the canal as an achievement. The small scale of the Quest (240 feet long, 12 foot draft, less than 100 guests) meant that we visited small, intimate destinations and did not overwhelm them. Looking at seabirds such as frigates and the famous blue-footed booby from a zodiac was super fun. I got to try paddle boarding for the first time in a perfect setting - it was total enjoyment. Days are full, starting with a 7:30 breakfast and an 8:30 excursion, normally with another excursion in the afternoon and lecture or presentation at night. A great job all around by Lindblad/Nat Geo. No weaknesses. Expensive but worth it. Read Less
National Geographic Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.6
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 0.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.5 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.5
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.0

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