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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We have traveled with NatGeo/Lindblad on several occasions, Galapagos, Iceland, Africa (NatGeo solely), Alaska and now Wrangel Island. I had looked forward to this trip for almost 2 years. My expeditions were not met however. Food: ... Read More
We have traveled with NatGeo/Lindblad on several occasions, Galapagos, Iceland, Africa (NatGeo solely), Alaska and now Wrangel Island. I had looked forward to this trip for almost 2 years. My expeditions were not met however. Food: Plentiful and good as always. Alcohol: Free flowing (I'm not a drinker, but it appeared it was free flowing). Excursions: Not so great. Our first stop was Provideniya. This town is ominous. There is nothing to see (building that have been deteriorating since WWII perhaps) and nothing to do. There are no shops or souvenirs to be had. We had some local townspeople put on a dance show, but that was it. The streets are dirty and it is depressing place to be. Uelen: Ditto. VERY ominous and dirty. The ivory museum was interesting. However, despite promoting the ivory on their website and in their handouts as well as the pre-trip briefing for this town visit, you cannot LEGALLY purchase these wares because the individuals who carve these brilliant pieces do not abide by the parameters set by CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species C.I.T.E.S.) which regulates same. Walrus, Mammoth and other ivory wares are BANNED. Basically, you are perusing carvings that are illegal in their derivation. Villagers put on another dance for us. Lorino: Ditto. Ominous, poverty stricken town. Under Russian law, they are allowed to hunt whales and fox. Thankfully, while we were there. . . . all of the 1500 fox cages were empty. And the only remainders of a whale were there blood/blubber covered bones that their dozens of dogs were eating (yes . . . gross). Nothing to see. Nothing to buy, except for one villager had ivory and pelts for sale, which again . . . are illegal to purchase. We did have a tug of war with the local villagers, which was interesting. Several men from our cruise volunteered and went against several men from the village who haul whales from the ocean for a living. When our guys won . . . the villagers were angry and stormed off. Wrangel island: Saw 80+ polar bears at about 3/4 mile to a mile away from the ship. We only did 4 zodiac runs the entire trip. Once to Wrangel Island to walk the tundra for 2 hours (looking at plants). No wildlife. Some geese. Old broken down buildings. LOTS of mud. Saw 1 polar bear from a zodiac run, but with 10 other people in the boat, the waves and the driver instructing us to sit down, don't move, don't get up and don't switch places . . . was nearly impossible to get a picture. When I came home from my Africa trip . . . I had over 8,000 pictures. Iceland and Galapagos over 5,000 pictures each. I have 7 pictures of "wildlife" from this trip. Geese flying overhead. 1 of a polar bear from 1/4 mile away. 1 of 2 polar bears 3/4 mile away and some other birds. That's the extent of my photos. I got tired of taking photo of ominous places. And plants just aren't my thing. NatGeo's photogs (as usual) were allowed to head out in zodiacs on their own to hunt down subjects for their photos, while passengers were boarded into a single zodiac 10-12 at a time. They do whatever it takes to get their shot. Sometimes I feel like I am paying for them to get their shots . . . shouldn't the passenger be the one able to take advantage of getting great photography and not the NatGeo photog who is there because you are paying for him to be there? The age demographic for our particular trip was much older than most NatGeo trips. We are 60 and 61 years of age . . . and we were the youngest by several years. It appears that NatGeo is moving towards Viking type trips . . . where there are less adventurers and more travelers who are completely satisfied with eating, drinking, napping and being entertained by a singing / dancing crew than head out in search of wildlife. A good portion of the passengers could not even get into a zodiac without the help of 4 people. At one point it became dangerous because passengers were either not listening, unable to listen or didn't care to listen to zodiac disembarking instructions . . . and 2 people in the back got hammered by the sea. And . . . many of them slowed us down during the 2 (yes . . only 2) outings that took place. So . . . is NatGeo becoming an extensive, expensive, dinner cruise? Is money the bottom line for them and the adventuring spirit has taken a back seat to wining and dining the older demographic? So . . . Waitstaff go out of their way to please you; ditto for housekeeping. Despite the brochure indicating that tips are NOT necessary or expected . . . a huge tip box is visible in the reception area on the last day. Photographers - you are paying for their adventure . . . so they get their shots . . . and as such try to be as personable as possible during the trips. What continues to happen though on these trips is that the photographers have their "help" session the very last day . . . so basically they are saying "if you photographed landscape in the dim light we had last Tuesday, then your settings should have been 'x'". What they don't do is help you PRIOR to encountering such conditions. So - basically, they are helping you after the fact, but they still get THEIR shots. Landry service - we used them 3 times and clothes came back in great order. Mud room - on our cruise the mud room was turned into a staff lounge and thus unusable by passengers. After excursions to the disgustingly and questionably dirty villages and the like, your boots go back into your rooms with you. There is a brief opportunity to wash them off after disembarking the zodiac, but there is usually a line to do so. When we arrived back home . . . I hot water soaked and disinfected all of our shoes. Wellness - I had a massage every other day with Allison. I love deep tissue massage . . . and she was very well trained and wonderful. Note: the small exercise room is just outside of the massage room door . . . so if someone is working out . . . you will hear them. A few sites claim that there is room service 24/7 on this cruise . . . that is absolutely not the case. The cruise never used the: ROV kayaks underwater camera video microscope crow's next camera hydrophone The staff divers were not allowed to diver purportedly due to military restrictions set by the Russians, but we heard that it was because the administrative staff forgot to file the necessary paperwork. Panoramic views from the lounge. Dining room is oddly situated on only the port side of the ship . . . almost like an afterthought. If you want a trip where you can eat as much as you like and socialize - this is the trip for you. If you want to drink as much as alcohol as you like and socialize - this is the trip for you. If you enjoy viewing plants - this is the trip for you. If you are in search of wildlife - do not take this trip. If I had known what this trip would be like . . . I would not have taken it . . . because the cost vs the experience was absolutely not worth it. What NatGeo and Lindblad are advertising is not what you get. We did not see hundreds of polar bears (at least within viewing range - maybe with a binoculars - 3/4 mile to a mile away), we did not visit the whale bone alley and despite Wrangel Island being touted as the most bio diverse island full of a plethora of wildlife (their words not mine), we saw nothing but birds. . . . and very few of them at that. For the cost . . . absolutely not worth it . . . and we could have gone to Africa 3 times for what it cost to go to Wrangel Island. Such a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
National Geographic/Lindblad put together an amazing cruise of the Inside Passage of Alaska from Sitka to Juneau. The logistics were well done, and the pre-cruise tour of Sitka was very good, especially the Raptor center and the Totem ... Read More
National Geographic/Lindblad put together an amazing cruise of the Inside Passage of Alaska from Sitka to Juneau. The logistics were well done, and the pre-cruise tour of Sitka was very good, especially the Raptor center and the Totem Trail. By far the best thing about a Nat Geo/Lindblad cruise is the outstanding staff. The naturalists are very knowledgeable and easy to talk to, it is amazing to have National Geographic professional photographers going out with you to explore and give tips on taking photos, and the dining room staff are very friendly and give excellent service. There are excellent lectures on the wildlife and region by the staff and guest lecturers in the evening, though they tend to be too long after big days. The rooms are small but sufficient. The zodiak trips, hikes and kayaking opportunities seeing whales breach, Orcas swimming right near the ship, and the cute sea otters make it a trip of a lifetime. Being a small group, there is a good opportunity to meet interesting people from around the world. Simply outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might ... Read More
We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might have been claustrophobic, but we spent little time there and the porthole made it easy to darken the cabin when it was still light at midnight. The cabin is also located near the anchor, so we knew when the ship was docking but it was never disturbing. The cabin was generously sized, especially the bathroom and shower - more so than other larger ships we have sailed. The exploration programs were accompanied with a naturalist, whether a hike on land, a ride in a zodiac right up to cliffs of nesting puffins or into a pod of whales or a bike ride on an abandoned road. There were always choices from strenuous to relaxed that allowed you to really see the geology and wildlife. The ship stopped at a different location every day. If we were traveling to a location over a morning or afternoon there were special presentations on Iceland and its politics and facets of the nature we would see. This voyage also included a National Geographic photographer who spoke several times - they even did a session on iPhone photography that appealed to me!! The trip was heavy on people with big cameras and big lenses but friendly and welcoming to all. It is a tradition on Lindblad cruises to meet every evening before dinner to recap the days adventures with a cocktail, photos, videos and short presentations from the naturalists and other experts on board. On this voyage, there were also music programs introducing traditional and current Icelandic music on board and on shore, including an on-board 'festival' one evening that offered the chance to listen to 3 different local performers. The presentations by the botanist on board were a big hit - who knew tiny plants could be so amusing. With the exception of an optional day trip to horseback ride, every excursion was included in the price. The hotel staff was friendly and efficient. The dining was excellent - lots of local dishes but a spectrum of choices for everyone. It was a buffet for breakfast and lunch and open seating for dinner. Smoked and pickled fish caught off the ship that morning, local lamb from the ubiquitous Iceland sheep; one day was Thai and Vietnamese, another day mostly Italian. My husband raved about the beef. I tried several of the vegetarian entrees offered each evening because they were so interesting. I know that Iceland struggles with vegetables but on this ship we had a bounty. A big plus was having the bar tab included - this is not a crowd that cruises to drink heavily, but how nice to have a pre-dinner cocktail, wine with dinner and sometimes an after dinner drink without fussing with invoices and deciding who was going to pay that evening. This voyage marked my first brush with sea-sickness - I can have trouble with cars and buses but usually not ships. Several days, the ship encountered rough water due to a storm system. The ship is proportionally smaller than the big ships (156 passengers) and it makes a difference. One afternoon it felt like being at the top of a roller coaster over and over - (that’s when I suffered:) I ended up taking Dramamine for several days. That managed the situation but for the future on a ship of this size I will be more pro-active. The ship’s captain did his best to steer the ship to avoid the worst of the weather and I know one day our location was chosen to get us into a fjord and out of the rougher seas. On the other hand, the weather on land was great and made many things much more enjoyable - very little rain, clouds and sun and moderately cool temps (45-62 degrees, but often windy). We didn't use our warmest clothes, but we were happy we had windproof/waterproof layers. If you are interested in really seeing and learning the culture, music, geography and nature and avoiding crowds at the most popular spots, this is a great choice. We went tiny places and privately owned places that are difficult to reach along with small cities that could not handle crowds. Getting to the ship was easy - we were met by Lindblad at the airport and transferred to a local hotel where a day room and lunch were available after our overnight flight. There was a city tour, museum visit and then we were transferred to board the ship late afternoon ( a very smooth process). We met a number of passengers who had arrived a day or two early and joined up with the group for lunch. Disembarkation was also easy - if you didn't have an early flight departure, there were final excursions that morning and lunch included. We stayed an extra night in Reykjavik and wish we had asked and known earlier which hotel was Lindblad's drop-off for those staying over (the info showed up in final documents we got a couple weeks before departure) - we would have stayed at that hotel rather than having to manage luggage transfer to a taxi and a trip to another hotel. Next time, we will know to ask about the departure hotel early. Read Less
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife and I in our 70s, moderately fit, had a terrific time on this new ship. This adventure expedition fully met my expectations from advertising and reviews. Venture was nearly brand new and well designed for conveniently and safely ... Read More
My wife and I in our 70s, moderately fit, had a terrific time on this new ship. This adventure expedition fully met my expectations from advertising and reviews. Venture was nearly brand new and well designed for conveniently and safely getting us off the ship in zodiacs and small groups nearly every day. The food was tasty and plentiful, always with healthy options. Hotel service was excellent. The other 93 guests were all agreeable fellow adventurers. They included some grandparents, parents, and grandkids. The staff devoted lots of thought and attention to keeping-safe, educating, and amusing the kids, who bonded with new friends and eventually ate meals together. Expedition leader Sheri Bluestein and Captain Johnson did a great job. She announced her "Plan A" for the next day every evening, making the point that they would adapt plans as nature required and opportunities presented themselves. This happened several times and I had no complaints. We got to hike in near-wilderness conditions, to observe wildlife fairly closely. They turned the ship around and followed humpbacks backwards for an hour one evening to give us another look. Each excursion offered activities ranging from mild to strenuous. A team of some 10 Lindblad naturalists was always on deck spotting for wildlife, they led each zodiac cruise and hike, and were friendly and full of interesting information. I learned so much, they were easily available to me individually many times, and I miss Celso, Linda, and the others now. The emphasis on photography was a main draw for me. Five or so naturalists were certified by NatGeo. David Spiegel gave two briefings on board, one aimed more at DSLR users and one aimed at smartphone users. I learned useful stuff from both. On two photo hikes he gave us photographers an assignment to concentrate on. He loaned me an expensive zoom lens and set of binoculars, which I used the rest of the voyage. At the end of the cruise he showed a slide show of photos captured by guests, some of them stunning. Carlos Navarro is also a diver and one evening showed video he had shot underwater to show us what we were missing. James Biscardi produced a professional customized video chronicle of us on this particular voyage and we are glad I bought a copy. We saw humpback whales breaching, blowing, and even bubble-net feeding. A talk by the engaging Dr. Chris Szabo, who lives in the wilderness to study humpbacks and joined the ship for a day, was a fascinating major highlight for me. I also enjoyed author, storyteller, and folksinger Kim Heacox and Kari Ames, Tlingit cultural interpreter. She told me all the others are mispronouncing the tribal name as CLINK-IT. They say TH-LING-GIT. We got close to Stellar sea lions and sea otters by zodiac. They found brown bears feeding on a distant shore but I did not get a good look at any bears this time. Seabirds but not many land birds besides eagles. My top objective was to see tidewater Alaskan glaciers in person before they all melt. I'm glad we didn't wait another year. We saw several from a quarter-mile away. In Glacier Bay the National Park ranger pointed out that Margerie Glacier now ends on land on its right side, and that in a couple of years it might not be a tidewater glacier any more. The ranger and the entire team managed subtly to remind us what our carbon pollution is destroying without stirring up any arguments from climate change skeptics (if there were any). We were told that Lindblad is buying offsets to compensate for the ship's own emissions. On our last day, South Sawyer Glacier produced a dramatic large calving event for us, which was both exciting and a bit sad. Two guests with disabilities paid to come along with friends knowing they would not be able to board the zodiacs and participate in the most engaging parts of the voyage. Yet to their great credit, on the last day Sheri and her team noticed, reserved a zodiac just for these two, and went to extra trouble to help them get off the ship to visit South Sawyer Glacier from the water like everyone else. This year Alaska has been extremely dry and warm. We got drizzle on only one day in Petersburg. We did not need all the duplicate garments we brought in case of soaking, but we had followed their packing advice and would do so in the future. We used insect repellant and were never bothered by mosquitos. This expedition was expensive but fully worth the cost to me. I also admire Lindblad and NatGeo for respecting nature as they go. I'd love to go again with this warm, expert team. 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
Could not have asked for a better experience. From the moment we were in the hands of Lindblad everything was handled flawlessly. Pre travel questions were handled in a professional timely fashion. All land accommodations were ... Read More
Could not have asked for a better experience. From the moment we were in the hands of Lindblad everything was handled flawlessly. Pre travel questions were handled in a professional timely fashion. All land accommodations were excellent. Embarkation and debarkation were well coordinated and executed. Ship board accommodations were comfortable, roomy and clean. Housekeeping visited the cabin on a frequent basis to insure cleanliness throughout the day. The dining room and staff were excellent. Special appreciations to the wait staff and cooks. My son has dietary restrictions and they were very attentive to his needs and provided alternatives when necessary. Food was very good and a good variety of options. All of the days activities were well planned and explained as to the degree of difficulty or other particulars.While the day was full we never felt rushed or "we have a schedule to keep". The naturalists were knowledgeable and eager to provede information and respond to questions. I have already recommended this trip to friends and will certainly consider Lindblad for future trips. 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
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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise and first Lindblad expedition. Our Alaska Inside Passage trip was from Sitka to Juno and was overall an amazing experience. The staff are very accommodating and extremely well-trained. I can't imagine getting ... Read More
This was our first cruise and first Lindblad expedition. Our Alaska Inside Passage trip was from Sitka to Juno and was overall an amazing experience. The staff are very accommodating and extremely well-trained. I can't imagine getting better service. They make you feel like you are at home on the Venture. The naturalists are all amazing people, extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. You will leave the cruise missing their company. The incredible Lindblad customer service literally starts a your booking and continues on throughout the trip. We were met at the Seattle Airport by a very personable Lindblad representative who let us know what would be happening. It was fairly easy to spot our fellow passengers - nearly all of whom were wearing Columbia or Patagonia outdoor clothing. Yes, this is the sort of trip you will be taking - comfortable, relaxing and adventurous. The Venture itself is a wonderful ship. I totally fell in love with her. She and her sister ship, The Quest, are brand new (maiden voyages in November 2018), purpose-built just for National Geographic Linblad Expeditions.The public areas are extremely comfortable and the bow was specially built for wildlife viewing. The dinning room features wrap around windows for breathtaking views during meals. The food is excellent on the Venture. There were a couple of misses, i.e. pancakes that were cooked on too hot a griddle, but it's a new ship and I am sure the staff are just getting used to the equipment. Breakfast and lunch are buffets with plenty of choices. Dinners are plated, you choose from a set menu before the meal, but there is no problem if you change your mind at the last minute. Diet restrictions are accommodated beautifully, so be sure to let Lindblad know if you have any when you book. Each afternoon snacks are available and appetizers are offered during the happy hour. Drink prices are not extraordinarily high and the mixologists on our trip were delightful. Nearly every day of the trip featured some off boat activity, Zodiac tours, kayaking, hiking, or biking. Nothing too strenuous, though. If you want to see birds, I recommend the Zodiac rides over hiking. The guides make far too much noise because of bears for a good birding experience. Hikes are offered as aerobic, moderate and slow. Only the aerobic hikes seemed to go anywhere, so take that if you don't want to stay in one place. Off boat activities were generally 90 minutes to 2 hours. A printed daily program was placed outside our cabin each night which described the following day in detail. Our expedition leader, Annie Fiske, would let us know after each meal what to expect and what to wear to ensure an enjoyable experience. Each evening we had a recap of the days experience and some kind of educational entertainment. One of the highlights of a National Geographic Lindblad expedition are the trained naturalists and photographers who are on board. Our National Geographic certified photographer, Michael Nolan, gave an excellent class on iPhone photography, or as he described it, your camera that also makes phone calls. There was really never a dull moment - always something exciting to experience. During the times when we were cruising, if wildlife were spotted, the captain would turn the ship so that we could get a better look, even if it was in the opposite direction of our travel. It was truly one of the most extraordinary trips we have ever taken. The only downside of our trip was completely missing out on the Day 1 activities because we took the recommended flight into Sitka. That flight got us in too late to participate in anything that was scheduled. It was the only time that Lindblad completely fell down for us. Had we understood that would happen, we would have made other arrangements. As for Value for the Money - Lindblad trips are very expensive. It is a very intimate, first class experience and very worthwhile. I wish they were not quite so expensive as I would like to be able to travel with them more often. TRIP TIPS: Clothing - bring comfortable clothes and shoes. The temperature on the ship is comfortable, but it can get cold outside. A comfortable pair of slip on shoes is great for on board the ship. Tennis shoes and knee high rubber boots are all you need for off ship. Rubber boots (Alaskan Tennis Shoes) are actually very comfortable and a must as most landings are wet. Temperatures for us were highs were in the 50's to 40's. Outdoor clothing made of synthetic fibers that dries quickly and wicks away sweat are ideal. A polar fleece vest over a base layer shirt is perfect for inside the ship. You will probably wear it every day. A lightweight nano-type puff jacket is plenty warm with a layer or two underneath. Bring silk or synthetic long underwear/base layers 3 - 4 pairs. Wool or synthetic ski socks 4 - 5 pairs. Regular winter gloves are plenty warm, along with a knit cap and a neck gaiter. Rain pants and a rain coat are another must. Wear the pants with a comfortable warm layer underneath for hiking, kayaking and Zodiac trips. Avoid cotton clothing because when it gets wet, it stays that way for a long time. WHAT YOU DON'T NEED Though these items were recommended by Lindblad, we found they were not necessary: glove liners, trekking poles, kayak gloves and ski gloves. We did not need any special covers or protection for our camera or iPhones. If you need a hiking stick for balance they have wooden ones on board, but for the most part no hike is long enough to need them. RECOMMENDED FLIGHTS As mentioned above, Lindblad really let us down by scheduling us on a flight that arrived too late to experience the Day 1 activities. Before getting on the flight they recommend, consider whether or not it seems to YOU to arrive in time to do what is scheduled. We trusted that them there and they let us down, so we recommend that you don't. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a little last-minute signing up for this trip but our expedition specialist facilitated everything so smoothly, we just packed and took off. So many passengers opted to take an earlier flight than the recommended flight to ... Read More
We were a little last-minute signing up for this trip but our expedition specialist facilitated everything so smoothly, we just packed and took off. So many passengers opted to take an earlier flight than the recommended flight to Sitka that Nat Geo scrambled and the expedition director met us at the airport with a special bus and tours - that was an impressive start! My husband and I had made plans to go to The Fortress of the Bear (GO!! A must see!) so we met up with them later for a private tour of the Raptor Center, another must-do in Sitka. That flexibility marked the rest of our trip, which you can only do with a small group like we had for this cruise. We loved the size of the ship - and what a beautiful ship it is. The lounge at the bow and the dining room at the stern were both surrounded by windows. The bow outside had a unique configuration allowing everyone a front row view of wildlife and scenery - a well thought-out design. And of course, breath taking photos by Nat Geo Photographers adorned the walls. Our room was lovely with plenty of storage space. With a ship this size we were able to go to areas that the big cruise ships could not. As a matter of fact the only time we even saw one of the bigger cruise ships was in the port at Juneau. The single most impactful aspect of the trip? The people - the naturalists, photographers and staff. They were such a pleasure to be around because they exuded enthusiasm about what they were doing and where they were, and they wanted to share it with you. I am an early riser and that was accommodated by coffee and light fare at around 6:30, and a yoga/stretch class at 7:00. I made one class but kept getting distracted by happenings on the bow - and no matter how early I was up, there was already a Naturalist out on the bow looking for wildlife! Our excursions were varied and always entertaining, active and educational. There were hikes geared to various levels from exploring tide pools at low tide to bushwhacking (well, we didn’t really whack any bush) through the rainforest, and climbing to a WW II military gun emplacement. Some people wanted a quicker pace, so they organized aerobic hikes as well. There were kayak opportunities and zodiac explorations to find wildlife and get up close to impressive icebergs and to the base of an immense glacier. The smaller ship size and the open seating at meals allowed us to meet and get to know a lot of our fellow passengers. They were all like minded travelers that included several individuals who traveled by themselves. Everyone took those singles under their wings and made sure they felt a part of everything. It was that kind of group. There were various sizes of tables and if you sat at one of the larger tables, you might have the pleasure of having one of the naturalists or photographers join you, and they always had great stories to tell. On two occasions, a Nat Geo photographer and a Naturalist donned scuba gear and dove the frigid waters with underwater camera equipment. Then that evening we would see their video production of what was going on underneath our boat. That was a real treat and quite a surprise to see all the marine life and beauty below. Cocktail hour in the lounge was at 6:00 and at 6:30 there would be a recap of the day and presentations by naturalists and photographers. These were often interrupted by the appearance of Humpback Whales breaching off the bow or an Orca mama bringing her calf to see the people. I always had my camera with me. And the food! I expected it to be good but was impressed with the gourmet fare and the presentation. There would always be an option for meat, fish or vegan fare. And no matter if it was a table for 4 or 10, they managed to have all courses delivered at the same time. I looked at the types of cruises listed below to check as applicable (Luxury, Gourmet, Entertainment, Family, Singles, etc.) but did not see one for “Adventure!” So this cruise was all those things plus the adventure!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We are not big cruise ship people.....put us on a boat with 1,000 other people and we recoil. In addition, we dont travel to go to fancy restaurants or visit theme park like amenities. We travel to experience and learn about unique places. ... Read More
We are not big cruise ship people.....put us on a boat with 1,000 other people and we recoil. In addition, we dont travel to go to fancy restaurants or visit theme park like amenities. We travel to experience and learn about unique places. The Sea Bird and this itinerary beautifully met our goals. The ship is intimate...we easily got to know our fellow travelers as well as the Nat Geo naturalists and photographers, as we stood together on the deck watching and photographing the wildlife, and then mingling at happy hour and during meals. The crew (stewards, deck hands, bar tender etc) were also a wonderful part of the trip....they were as excited as we were to see this part of Alaska....and I loved that they were given the opportunity to do so. Many of the crew and staff told us that they love working on the Sea Bird and its sister ship, the Sea Lion, because of this intimacy. We all enjoyed the trip together. Be aware there is no elevator here...and you will be going up and down to the lounge and dining room, or to board zodiacs, several times a day. Also, the smaller size of the ship may mean that you will feel the rock and roll of rough seas more than in a larger ship. The learning experiences from the naturalists and photograpers were exceptional. I think the ratio of staff to passengers was very high. There were wonderful presentations at the daily recap, or after dinner, as well as on hikes and while exploring on zodiacs. Many of the staff seemed to love this part of Alaska, and loved sharing their expertise. The photography focus was great. There was always someone to help, there were interesting photography talks, and the passenger slide show at the end was great fun. The food was spectacular. We are vegan/vegetarian, and I was worried our dietary needs would not be met. Too often, "vegetarian" just means lots of cheese dishes. Not on the Sea Bird. There was always an alternative protein at dinner, and it was plated as beautifully and carefully as the meat or fish options. The lunch buffet carried an amazing array of fresh produce, as well as options like vegetarian chili, or a vegan soup. There was terrific fresh fruit everday at breakfast.. How they turned out this fresh, innovative fare in that crowded kitchen is beyond me. We chose this itinerary to travel with friends who were very interested in Haida Gwai.....this is one of the very few ways to visit the island. I loved it that the small size of the ship allowed us to go where the big ships cannot. We hope to travel on this ship, or its sister ship, again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We boarded the National Geographic Islander as the final part of our two week long trip to Lima, Machu Picchu and parts of Ecuador. This was not our first Lindblad expedition - we had previously done one in the Sea of Cortez to see the ... Read More
We boarded the National Geographic Islander as the final part of our two week long trip to Lima, Machu Picchu and parts of Ecuador. This was not our first Lindblad expedition - we had previously done one in the Sea of Cortez to see the great whale migration - so we knew what to expect. In summary: CABIN: We booked this expedition almost a year in advance and we picked the cheapest cabin. It was on the main deck. Yes, it was small but we had enough room for our clothes and toiletries. We had a window but since we spent very little daylight hours in our room, except to change shoes or clothes, we sometimes forgot it was there. The twin beds were pushed together to make one bed and the entire bed was pushed against the wall. The desk was on one side of the bed so only one person had a nightstand. Each side of the bed had a reading light and above the bed was a ledge that you could put your phone or glasses. There were enough outlets in the room to charge our devices. We didn’t need to bring adapters from the US. Closet was large and had shelves and hangers. This is also where the safe is located. We put our electronics there when we left the room, even if it was just to sit in the lounge. You cannot lock your room from the outside. We already knew this from past experience but it was a bone of contention with other tour members who had rather expensive and hefty cameras and lenses. Bathroom was a shower, sink and toilet in one room and that was rather tight so quick showers were the norm for us as we didn’t like being in there long. DINING: Large dining room with beautiful views. Breakfast and lunch were buffet, dinner was served except for the Ecuadorian buffet meal. A signup sheet was at the dining entrance every morning where we had to sign up for 1 of 3 choices - fish. beef/chicken, or pasta/vegetarian so the chef knew how much to cook. There was more than enough food and the vegetarians, vegans and anyone with food allergies never had a problem finding something good to eat. Most tables were 6-tops and 8-tops to encourage socializing. I saw only one 2-top that would be ideal for a couple except it was right by the door. The last night, we had a big cookout buffet meal on the sun deck that was lively and festive. Meals were always announced and around two hours were allotted for each meal. Otherwise the dining room was closed and many of us hung out around the lounge. LOUNGE: The lounge had a bar that Octavio presided over. There was a 24 hr coffee machine that made regular coffee as well as espresso, cappuccinos and lattes and other coffee mixes. Tea was always available as well. All of us learned how to use the coffee machine rather quickly which is mainly a matter of pushing buttons. At certain times of the day, fruit, crackers, cookies and small snacks are left out. Sodas and juice are also available all the time. The lounge was an all-purpose meeting space for emergency drills and when the guides wanted to make announcements about the next day’s events. It’s where most of use gathered for drinks and snacks before the 7pm dinner announcement. SERVICE: Service was absolutely first rate. Our room was cleaned when we were out hiking or snorkeling or swimming. Our carafe was always refilled with cold water. Little bars of Ecuadorian chocolate were left on our nightstand every night. Towels were replaced even tho we expected to use the same one everyday. We also had laundry done on the ship. There is no do-it-yourself laundry. Turn around was 24 hrs and it was like the laundry service you’d get at a 5-star resort. We spent about $40 on laundry. OTHER: The free WiFi on the ship was often slow and occasionally not available. You can buy faster internet. Details are in the cabin. I used the gym a couple times. There was a bike, treadmill and elliptical, as well as a few weights. The captain was sometimes in there on the elliptical, as well as some of the crew. The bridge was open and husband stopped by one night where the 2nd mate gave him a tour. The crew is Ecuadorian and the majority of them speak English quite well. This was a fantastic expedition and we plan to go on many more. The ship was first class, the crew was so professional and personable and we felt very well cared for. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Each day was an adventure to experience the culture, wildlife and nature of the area. The naturalists and expedition guides were extremely knowledgeable and gifted teachers. The day was packed with activities. The ship was comfortable, ... Read More
Each day was an adventure to experience the culture, wildlife and nature of the area. The naturalists and expedition guides were extremely knowledgeable and gifted teachers. The day was packed with activities. The ship was comfortable, staff could not have been better and the food was so tasty. The morning stretch yoga was the perfect way to start the day. Especially enjoyed our Yale professor's film discussion at night! The trip was the Inside Passage from Seattle to Sitka, Alaska. I always refer to trips with Lindblad and National Geographic as "expeditions" not cruises. We discover the area with our expeditions leaders and guides and based on conditions, the path can be altered. We experienced very close encountered with breaching humpback whales, breaching minke whales, sea otters, snow geese, tufted puffins, calving glaciers, and much more. The ship's captain was very approachable and addressed our group often. The crew truly operated as a team and we always felt safe and in excellent hands!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We took the 1 week Galapagos trip on the Islander (48 psgr capacity) as a family of 4. This is a relatively new tour for Nat Geo/Lindblad, 2 days shorter than their standard trip to accommodate people with limited vacation schedules, and ... Read More
We took the 1 week Galapagos trip on the Islander (48 psgr capacity) as a family of 4. This is a relatively new tour for Nat Geo/Lindblad, 2 days shorter than their standard trip to accommodate people with limited vacation schedules, and we chose it primarily because it worked for the younger generation in our group (Millennials with limited vacation time). We came in with high expectations, due to the Nat Geo name, but had only mixed results. The itinerary included San Cristobal, Espanola, and Floreana, the Eastern portion of the archipelago. We were in a Main level cabin, which seemed to get much less movement than those two floors up. Loved being able to go straight from panga to room hot shower after snorkeling. The Galapagos are indeed amazing, and our overall memories of the experience are fond. Our single biggest complaint? With only 4 full days on the water, every day counts. Nat Geo is famous for not publishing their itineraries in advance, so imagine our surprise to only be visiting 3 islands in that 4 days. Two days were dedicated to San Cristobal - with the second day being a total bust (a 45 minute walk in an interpretive center, a 3 hour round trip to see 30 small turtles at a breeding center, and a high school student presentation). Ridiculous, and a rip-off. The 4 days you will get are totally the luck of the draw, and the shorter format increases the risk that you will get a crummy hand. We had other concerns (lack of quality onboard programming, food was average), but could have powered through those. It would be remiss of me to not recognize some of the extraordinary highs we also had on this trip - amazing snorkeling and kayaking on the last two days (with great visits to Espanola and Floreana), stargazing one night from the bow of the ship, and outstanding opportunities to view all kinds of birdlife. Loved the open bridge policy, and the Ecuadorian staff exuded pride and commitment to protection of the Galapagos. The ground staff was exemplary. This shorter trip has a lot of potential - it attracts a younger population and, from our perspective, is a very efficient use of time - but NG can not approach the itinerary in such a sloppy way if it expects it to be successful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
It was always a dream of mine to see both Galapagos and Machu Picchu, ever since I started receiving catalogs from Lindblad and NatGeo. If I was going to see these historic places, I wanted National Geographic to be a part of it so that I ... Read More
It was always a dream of mine to see both Galapagos and Machu Picchu, ever since I started receiving catalogs from Lindblad and NatGeo. If I was going to see these historic places, I wanted National Geographic to be a part of it so that I could maximize my experience and my learning. I wanted the see more and do more, in a safe and secure environment. But I also wanted a small group experience. I didn't want to be overwhelmed or stymied by a large cruise ship. I wanted to get closer to the islands of the Galapagos, get to know the naturalists and tour guides personally, and I wanted to meet fellow travelers who shared my enthusiasm and quest for knowledge. Lindblad/NatGeo delivered on all of those things with a luxury cruise experience for 90+ passengers. The food was local, sustainable and delicious every single day. My husband and I had the base-level cabin, but it was roomy and efficiently designed. It was so smartly laid out that we had enough room for everything we brought with us, and that was plenty. My husband is 6'4" and the shower was tall and big enough for him. The activities were varied and accommodated different interests and activity levels. We wished there were longer hikes, as an option. We'd never snorkeled before but both enjoyed deep-water snorkeling on this trip. The efficiency of the program meant the staff was always on time and ready for us, whether it was handing out wet suits, fins and masks or jumping on the zodiacs to begin the next activity. We were never bored, and we always had a clear picture of the day's activities so we could make decisions about what we wanted to do. This was our first cruise ever. It set the bar really high! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Whale Watching!! Cruising through the incredibly beautiful and serene Sea of Cortes and then around Cabo San Lucas to the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We were able to see 5 different species of whales (up close and personal, ... Read More
Whale Watching!! Cruising through the incredibly beautiful and serene Sea of Cortes and then around Cabo San Lucas to the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We were able to see 5 different species of whales (up close and personal, including petting a momma and baby grey). Porpoises and sea birds galore. The new Venture was magnificent and the crew including the naturalists, expedition leader and photographers were all incredibly accommodating and knowledgeable. We had a cabin with floor to ceiling windows that allowed us to view our surroundings during those few times that we were not in the zodiacs, viewing the wildlife or relaxing on the sundeck. Our shore excursions were well planned, interesting and fun. The shipboard food was plentiful and rated a five star review. This two week plus expedition was absolutely perfect in all ways. We would highly recommend this trip to nature lovers of all types. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a family cruise with 6 of us going. Very interested in seeing the ecology of the Islands. Lindblad/National Geographic did not disappoint. In fact, it was so incredible we will never forget! We saw so much and learned so much. ... Read More
This was a family cruise with 6 of us going. Very interested in seeing the ecology of the Islands. Lindblad/National Geographic did not disappoint. In fact, it was so incredible we will never forget! We saw so much and learned so much. A wonderful immersive experience. Thanks to the best crew EVER! They were so caring and informative. The small ship meant everyone received the same amazing treatment and experience. We saw almost ever Animal we hoped and not from a mile away, but right there. We swam, snorkeled, hiked our way around 6 do the Islands and each one was an experience. Each one was absolutely stunning inits landscape and animal life. On board, the ship was beautiful and the food incredible. Locally sourced and delicious. The information talks were great. Keep in mind our expedition leader has been doing this for 40 years. You can understand how good they are! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise due to the nature & places the cruise went. We knew there would be things we'd never see again. The ports were fabulous. There were so many things to see. The service was great & staff very friendly. ... Read More
We choose this cruise due to the nature & places the cruise went. We knew there would be things we'd never see again. The ports were fabulous. There were so many things to see. The service was great & staff very friendly. There were many excursions daily. The only thing we feel would be better is if prior to the trip an itinerary of the each days activities had been sent. We were told casual clothing which I thought was for dinner so I didn't pack correctly. I thought we'd be in bathing suits most of the time so for myself I didn't pack tee shirts or shorts. As far as the food there was plenty of choices but all fancy. We would have preferred just plain simple food(meatloaf, hamburgs, etc). The food we ate was good but we didn't eat much. Lunch salads needed to have a lot more items to put in the salad. Usually there was only 2 items other than the lettuce. The ship & cabin was great. Due to the price I don't think we'd go again but you never know. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National ... Read More
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National Geographic team aboard the Endeavor II gave us an exceptionally motivating expedition of the most unique location on our planet. The experience was enhanced by the warm, friendly, motivated and well-informed staff, especially the expedition leader, Carlos, who was also a comedian. There was no shortage of excellent Ecuadorian food and snacks and drinks. There was even time for early morning stretching on the observation deck and a work out in the gym. One of the most exciting experiences on board was meeting so many new people for the first time. The Lounge and Dining Room were large and cozy enough to make this possible. The frequent visits by zodiacs to the different islands highlighting the unique species was breathtaking to say the least. I've never seen so many beautiful creatures in my life. There's no doubt that I will do this expedition again, soon. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Visiting the Galapagos Islands has been on our travel list. When we were offered an opportunity to do it with friends we immediately agreed. This cruise was hosted by Lindblad / National Geographic. The cruise was great, there was no ... Read More
Visiting the Galapagos Islands has been on our travel list. When we were offered an opportunity to do it with friends we immediately agreed. This cruise was hosted by Lindblad / National Geographic. The cruise was great, there was no part of the cruise which I found lacking or poorly done. L/NG provided the smoothest transition from the airport to the hotel on the day of arrival and then the same service the next day as we flew out to the GI and boarded the Endeavor II. The handling of the people and our luggage was smooth, and quick. They transferred the people and luggage from shore to the ship in Endeavor II zodiacs. By the time we completed the buffer lunch our luggage was in our room. We traveled to and visit 6 islands, with hiking, snorkeling or kayaking available to see this natural wonder up close. Each days events were briefed in detail the night before, during an open bar happy hour, and then again in the morning. Carlos the Expedition Leader kept track of what was going an insured that the schedule was kept in order to accomplish the myriad of events which occurred through out the day. Ecuador does not allow individuals onto the islands with an Ecuador licensed Naturalist. There were seven Naturalists on board the E II. The lead all the small group tours, hikes and snorkeling. They were very knowledgeable and all were native to Ecuador. The promised sightings of the varieties of wildlife and birds always happened. Breakfast was always a buffet. Lunch was also a buffet. Dinner was a menu selection of local seafood and other meats. There were always at least three choices. One of which was Vegan/Vegetarian. The food was awesome. The ship crew was friendly and always helpful. If they had trouble with English they would find someone to help them and then help you. All the Dining and housekeeping staff spoke English fluently. The Deck Crew and Engine Crew understood English, but did not necessarily speak it well. However, they never ran away if you asked a question. They always got answer. The crew was very proud of its ship. It was clean, and in very good repair. I highly recommend this cruise, Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I thought this expedition was fantastic in every respect. It was very educational with the lecturers by the naturalists and photographers. The Orion hotel staff and cruise were helpful and friendly at all times as were the naturalists and ... Read More
I thought this expedition was fantastic in every respect. It was very educational with the lecturers by the naturalists and photographers. The Orion hotel staff and cruise were helpful and friendly at all times as were the naturalists and photographers. I met a fantastic group of people from many parts of the world. Antarctica was nothing short of spectacular particularly the colour of the ice against the various aspects of the sun and the wildlife. The wildlife and the story of Shackleton on South Georgia was incredible as was the history of the Falkland Islands. I am vision impaired and I had a huge challenge to convince those in charge of this expedition that I am capable of doing this expedition on my own. I am proud that I have been able to do this on my own and want to encourage Lindblad and National Geographic to see how they can make their expeditions more accessible for people with a disability and to ensure that if a person with a disability applied for one of their expeditions that they are not pre judged on whether they are able to do the expedition or not but look at how this can be done and providing the traveller with vital facts so that an informed decision on travel can be made in the first place. In most instances minor adjustments are all that are required. Well done to all. Read Less
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