National Geographic Sea Bird Cabins

Editor Rating
Erica Silverstein

Cabins on Sea Bird are designed for utility, not luxury, and while they're comfortable, they're quite Spartan by mega-ship standards. You'll probably be too busy to spend much time in them aside from sleeping and bathing.

Divided into three categories, all cabins include closets with hanging space and shelves, under-bed storage space (15-inch clearance), reading lights for each bed and one or two picture windows. Additional storage space can be found in either nightstands or sliding drawers under one or both beds and on the many hooks that line the walls. Cabins also come with individual controls for adjusting the temperature and volume of the public address system. Turn it down if you don't want the 7 a.m. wake-up call from the expedition leader each morning.

You might be dismayed when you first see your cabin's bathroom. All categories have small bathrooms that share immediate space with the shower. You can draw curtains across the door and in front of the toilet, so you can shower in some sort of privacy and not drench your towel or the toilet paper. In Category 1 cabins, the sink is also in the "head"; category 2 and 3 cabins have sinks/vanities with mirrors outside in the main cabin areas. While shower pressure isn't great, the water heats up quickly, and as long as you're not very tall or very wide, you'll be able to clean yourself without incident. Lather-brand bamboo lemongrass body wash and mint-thyme shampoo are available inside of the shower. Wall-mounted dispensers near the sink contain lavender-lime moisturizer and bamboo hand soap. "Expedition Essential Kits" are provided for each person and consist of SPF lip balm, a small bottle of conditioner, stain-removing wipes and a loofah sponge in a mesh bag.

While the cabins themselves are simple, the bedding is designed for comfort. Pillow top mattresses, 310-thread-count sheets and hypo-allergenic, microfiber fill pillows (down pillows might be available from the hotel manager) ensure a comfy rest -- that is, if the drone of your heating/air conditioning unit, late-night lock traverses, anchor pulls and occasional choppy waters don't keep you awake. Duvets and extra blankets will keep you warm on chilly nights.

Cabins are decorated with nature photography. (Ours had a picture of a seal on a beach and two monkeys at night.) National Geographic atlases and magazines are tucked into a wall rack for in-cabin perusal. If you forgot to bring your own reusable water bottle, steel water bottles are provided as well.

Be alert that cabin and bathroom doors have slight lips you need to step over -- they're definitely tripping hazards, especially in the middle of the night.

Cabins have quite a few 110V outlets; check by the bathroom sink and above the nightstands. Hair dryers are located in a cabinet by the sink.

Things you won't find in the cabins: TVs, phones, alarm clocks, safes, room service menus ... and keys. That's right; while cabins can be locked from the inside, passengers do not receive keys, and doors remain unlocked while passengers are not in them. Lindblad claims a keyless system creates a more relaxed atmosphere onboard and eliminates the hassle of dealing with keys on the beach or searching for keys lost ashore. If you're concerned about some especially valuable item you've brought onboard, the purser's office has a safe deposit box.

All rooms have outside views.

Category 1: Category 1 cabins measure 94 square feet, and each features two single beds with an expandable night table in between. Doors open onto the Main Deck's interior hallway.

Category 2: Category 2 cabins measure 90 square feet and have two single beds in an L configuration in each.

Solo occupancy cabins are available only in categories 1 and 2.

Category 3: Category 3 cabins measure 116 to 120 square feet, and each has a table and two single beds in an L configuration or two single beds that can convert to a double. The four Category 3 cabins on the Main Deck can accommodate third passengers in pulldown beds. Category 2 and 3 cabin doors open onto an exterior deck.

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