National Geographic Endeavour Cabins
Like most expedition ships, the N.G. Endeavor has fairly small cabins that would fall well short of the modern cruise industry standard. Even the highest priced cabins lack big ship-style extras like balconies, bathtubs and walk-in closets.
Standard cabins are attractively decorated with smart looking wood trim, and all have outside views. Each has individual climate control. Unlike modern ships, the narrow, single beds can only be converted into a queen in six cabins, so book early if you want one. There's a small writing desk.
Storage space is ample; beyond a nice array of drawers and closets with a good amount of space, there are numerous hooks (most helpful for hanging up your wet parka and waterproof pants). As is the case with all Lindblad Expedition owned ships, there are no keys to the cabins, and you can only lock them from the inside.
Category 1, 2 and 4 cabins vary slightly in their square footage (due to the shape of the hull) and range from around 120 square ft. to up around 160 square ft. The main difference is their deck number and whether there are windows or portholes. The lowest priced Category 1 cabins may feel a bit forgotten at the bottom of the ship, but the furnishings and size are of the same standard as you'll find elsewhere. (Note that Category 2 cabins 122 and 125 have a window as opposed to the portholes in other Category 2 cabins, although they have a slightly irregular layout.)
Though sacrificing windows for portholes, Category 3 cabins offer the best value per square foot and feature a separate sitting room like the most expensive Category 5 cabins. The Category 5 staterooms, which range from between 180 to 230 square ft., are the most expensive onboard and feature the aforementioned separate sitting area. Other than more space (and a lot more light from larger windows), these cabins have the same amenities as the rest.
The shower-only bathrooms are also small. Water pressure was excellent, although there are curtains rather than glass doors around the showers. While lacking a medicine cabinet behind the mirror, there is ample, but not excessive, storage from two small shelves and a few shelves in the built-in unit below the sink. While the toilet doesn't form part of the shower stall like some basic expedition ships we've seen, there isn't any chance you'll be getting two people in the bathroom at the same time. You also won't find little packages of soap in the bathroom -- instead, expect a liquid dispenser for shampoo, shower gel and lotion that helps cut out environmentally wasteful packaging.
No cabins have TV's, which helps to preserve the communal atmosphere in the lounge during presentations and cocktail parties by not giving people the option to hole up in their cabins watching a movie though you can listen to lectures through the two-channel radio in your cabin. There are no safes in the cabins, either. Internet access is available in every cabin if you bring your own laptop.
In a nice gesture to passengers traveling on their own, several staterooms are designated single cabins, with corresponding fares only around 25 percent higher than normal double occupancy rates. This is a substantial savings from the usual 50 to 100 percent surcharge many other cruise lines charge. Additionally, Lindblad can arrange cabin shares in the two lowest cabin categories, and several cabins can accommodate a third person at a 50 percent discount.
Vibration from the propellers and noise from the engine is noticeable unless you are in a cabin all the way forward. There isn't anything that can be done about it, and it isn't worth complaining about. Bring earplugs if you are particularly sensitive to noise. (The sound of ice going down the side of the hull also makes for some jarring nighttime moments.) Insulation between cabins was very good; I didn't hear either of my neighbors once during my expedition.
Next: National Geographic Endeavour Dining
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