Recommended by friends and duration suited our plans.
The crew was exceptional , the Naturalists very informed and interesting and the Resident National Geographic Photographer was very patient and a good educator who was very generous ... Read More
Recommended by friends and duration suited our plans.
The crew was exceptional , the Naturalists very informed and interesting and the Resident National Geographic Photographer was very patient and a good educator who was very generous with her time and thoughtful presentations.Sir Tim Jarvis was a consummate presenter and very approachable throughout the expedition.
The daily zodiac trips were carefully planned and mindful of guest safety and experience.
The "Open Bridge" policy was a highlight with a very informed and passionate Skipper and crew. Their efforts to locate wildlife and enhance the guests experience was exceptional.
The cuisine was first class where the Chef Sara, catered for everyone with innovative menus every day. The variety was exceptional and the quality of the ingredients could not be faulted. There were several options for dining and this was a bonus.
The shore excursions were extremely well organised by the expedition leaders and every day was a different experience
Highly recommend. Read Less
We wanted to make our 7th continent and this worked well. The 1 star is off for the excursions in Bueno Aires and Ushuaia could have been improved with voice boxes (a la Viking) and more information so we could hear the guide instead of ... Read More
We wanted to make our 7th continent and this worked well. The 1 star is off for the excursions in Bueno Aires and Ushuaia could have been improved with voice boxes (a la Viking) and more information so we could hear the guide instead of her having to shout. The food on the boat was nothing to write home about, but it was adequate. The food is not why you take this cruise.
The catamaran cruise on the lake in Ushuaia would have been improved with commentary about the Tierra del Fuego National park. There was a flash strike by LAN on our day of departure and everyone going home missed their international flight, since we didn't get to EZE until 1 am. Lindblad and the cruise director did an excellent job getting us back in the Sofitel for a night and getting our replacement flights home, plus covering expenses quickly. They must have a rapid response team or something because their response to a crisis was excellent.
The parkas that come with the cruise are really very nice. It also comes with an inner lining that is outstanding. On many of the Antarctica excursions on the ice several people would wear just the inner lining. Depending on the weather, the same was true for when the ship was cruising the ice watching for whales, seals, and penguins.
I would suggest at the very least, renting their boots, so you dont have to pack your own. They were quite good. We brought our own ski pants, but many others rented. There are hiking sticks available for free (beat up sticks) if you want them, so we didnt need to rent those.
This is a very casual cruise so no need to dress up. Some crew were in the lounge during the day in shorts and a T shirt and this did not offend us. Plan on a poor internet experience. Read Less
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
For persons seeking adventures and wishing to learn more about the planet we share, this expedition experience was beyond expectations. The scientists and naturalists traveling with us expanded my worldview through sharing their knowledge ... Read More
For persons seeking adventures and wishing to learn more about the planet we share, this expedition experience was beyond expectations. The scientists and naturalists traveling with us expanded my worldview through sharing their knowledge not only during scheduled presentations, but when hanging out with us on the bridge and on the deck and eating with us in the dining room. How special it was to observe and hear from the whale team!
And the ice!! So many colors and shapes. And who could not be awed by the adventures in the iceberg graveyard with those killer whales attacking and killing the seal right within yards of us!!
Yes the food was good and I was so overfed everyday, and my cabin was cozy, clean, and comfortable.
I was fortunate not to have problems with the Drake Passage, but rather enjoyed the adventure of it. Antarctica is a magical place and we other inhabitants of Planet Earth need to advocate for pristine places like this.
I love my pictures, but I am glad to have a good memory so far, because the pictures cannot do it justice. Read Less
While Lindblad/National Geographic may be a little more expensive than competitors, you really do get what you pay for - excellent ship and crew, expedition leader and staff, food, services, and above all naturalists and researchers who ... Read More
While Lindblad/National Geographic may be a little more expensive than competitors, you really do get what you pay for - excellent ship and crew, expedition leader and staff, food, services, and above all naturalists and researchers who are at the top of their own professions and more than willing to share their knowledge and excitement. Through no fault of L/NG, we lost our half day cruise on the Beagle Channel because of an airline short strike; that also meant missing time in Ushuaia before boarding. But once we pulled away, the magic began - starting with some rocking and rolling on the Drake Passage. Going ashore each day, sea kayaking and catching a glacier calving, zodiac rides through icebergs with seals, penguins and whales nearby, and polar plunges by many brave souls provided memories not to be forgotten. Hiking among busy penguin highways, experiencing the birds' curiosity, inhaling the fragrance of their rookeries, being a kid again and sliding down nice hills on our butts, breathing fresh air, watching waves crashing over the bow, and best of all being 'off the grid' in another beautiful world did wonders for the mind and for the soul. A visit to an abandoned research station starkly illustrated the challenges of early temporary inhabitants of this remote continent (and our 7th!) and the privations they confronted.
Aboard ship on 'travel' days (and we got well below the Antarctic Circle on this expedition) we had the opportunity to hear illustrated talks by most of the 'experts' accompanying us, and a couple of special presentations by our Global Explorer, Jamling Tenzing Norgay. Each provided lots of information and often new insights into a variety of natural history subject matter, including stark and blunt assessments of what mankind is doing to planet earth.
Food and accommodations were excellent. Always too much tempting food to consume, a great variety of meals for all (international) tastes, and all well prepared; service was a mix of buffet and table service. The lounge was well stocked with a variety of beverages to suit all reasonable demands, all included. 'Entertainment' was minimal, but educational seminars were abundant.
Would I go again? In a heartbeat given the opportunity. But there are still many other parts of the world to be investigated while I still can do it. Some of the trips will definitely be with Lihndblad/National Geographic.
A caution: One must have infinite patience and not be prone to frustration as one works through airports in South America. Count on frustrating hours in each one! Read Less
I have wanted to go to the Antarctic for 20 years (stimulated by my leadership experience at NSF), a wish that became increasingly urgent as the ice has been disappearing. I thought my first priority was seeing the penguins but the ice was ... Read More
I have wanted to go to the Antarctic for 20 years (stimulated by my leadership experience at NSF), a wish that became increasingly urgent as the ice has been disappearing. I thought my first priority was seeing the penguins but the ice was breathtaking!
Activities. The quality of the naturalists was outstanding, a major asset of the expedition; I learned so much from each of them, even on topics I thought previously were less interesting. The trip was organized exquisitely -- both Jonathan and Alex were wonderful! I loved Jonathan's gentle wake up call and effective presentation of expedition options and Alex excelled at managing even difficult, complex arrangements with precision as well as joy and playfulness.
Dining. The chef was outstanding, producing delicious meals; I especially appreciated the care taken with my food allergies by Chef Sara and servers.
Ship. The Explorer is a ship with character! The captain and his crew were great, providing lots of information as well as fun on the bridge.
Cabin. My cabin was well-designed, comfortable, and well-kept by the cleaning staff.
Activities. The hikes and zodiac cruises were interesting and enjoyable. The naturalists provided useful information on these as well as in their separate talks. I found the special speaker -- Lee Hotz -- to be outstanding as a speaker. I also valued Lani's leadership with morning stretching and the massages -- which I really needed after popping a disc!
Shore excursions. The shore excursions were fine, not a highlight.
The major weakness of the expedition was reservations. I was on the wait list for the expedition and assumed that I lacked information for that reason but many others seemed to have similar concerns. This weakness was exacerbated with the pilot strike and disrupted travel on the way home. The ground staff were nice enough but provided little help except getting us on buses. Reservations needs someone with the logistical skill of an Alex.
I will probably not go on another trip to the Antarctic, unless one of our grandkids decide to take their "anywhere in the world trip" to this location. I've already traveled with Lindblad/NatGeo to Galapagos, and will likely sign up for an Arctic expedition. Read Less
I chose this cruise among other of alternatives based on NG's reputation, the length of the cruise and the timing.
I am an avid photographer and history buff, especially of the Antarctic heroic exploration period, and I've ... Read More
I chose this cruise among other of alternatives based on NG's reputation, the length of the cruise and the timing.
I am an avid photographer and history buff, especially of the Antarctic heroic exploration period, and I've been wanting to go to Antarctica for years, ever since watching a Masterpiece Theater mini-series in 1982 describing the race to the pole, based on Roland Huntford's book. This cruise went to the Antarctic peninsula and no where near the Ross Ice Shelf where the polar journeys started, but this is as close as a civilian can get!
Basically the adventure starts by flying to Buenos Aires. You get yourself there either by buying your own tickets or letting Lindlbad do it for you. They have recommended flights and an arrival/departure window of time. From the Buenos Aires Int airport they take you and everyone else by bus to a nice hotel where they feed you and take you on an optional city tour. We saw Evita's mausoleum and some folksy areas. The next morning you get up early and go to the local airport and take a charter flight on Latam (an Airbus A320) to Ushuaia. Next you take a bus tour through the park to a catamaran that takes you to the port where you board the NG Explorer. It's their largest ship and with room for 148 passengers and 100 crew. At this point I put on my anti-sea sickness patch and it worked well for me.
The next two days you spend crossing the Drake Passage. We had a smooth trip going and coming back - lucky us. A lot of people were sea sick but none wearing patches so do your homework to avoid sea sickness. We arrived at the South Shetland Islands and spent the next 6 days exploring islands all the way down to Port Lockroy. We landed 9 times, once on just the ice and once on the continent. We had lots of opportunities to see seals, penguins (3 species), whales and other birds. On the way back we visited Deception Island (no landing) and saw Cape Horn.
The food was great, buffets for breakfast and lunch, sit-down for dinner with a number of selections, and a coffee/drink bistro open from about 6 AM to dinner. Also lots of interesting people to meet and speak with. They had a program for juniors and lectures each evening. Plenty to eat and drink, always.
Here are some suggestions for photographers:
The weight limit on the chartered flight is low, only 57 lbs checked and 17 pounds carry on. I didn't realize this until two days before so I had to rethink my packing. I usually carry a 35 lb camera bag and laptop. I wanted to take a back up body - I shoot Nikon, but the weight was too restrictive. So I took one body, and the 24-120mm F4, 70-200mm F2.8 and the 200-500mm F5.6 lenses. I also took a tripod. If I go again I would take my 28-300mm F4-F6 lens. You don't need fast lenses - there is lots of light, but you need depth of field and long length. Most of my pics where at 200 mm with the 70-200mm. The 200-500mm was too awkward most of the time. I didn't use the tripod but would have used a monopod. The animals move quickly so I was shooting continuous-high and taking 5 or more exposures at a time of the birds and whales. (Penguins are slow!). I was at ISO of 800 to 1000 or so and I was able to shoot F8 to F11 at 1/200 to 1/1000 speeds. I took a waterproof point and shoot and it was also useful.
I rented the boots and poles from Ship-to-Shore and they were excellent. I recommend them in large part so you don't have to transport the weight. They have a stock on the ship so if you don't order the correct size you have a chance to exchange. They give you an orange parka and vest. I took some ski pants and jacket but never needed them. I wore jeans with ordinary long under ware, thick socks, their parka and vest, and was never cold except on the bow when cruising in the wind, when my face was cold. Bring two pairs of gloves - you may need to let one pair dry out. I purchased those golve/mittens for photographers that have removable covers for your fingers and thumb and they worked very well. I had a thin balaclava which was helpful when the wind was up.
So I took more than a thousand pictures, edited them on the boat and had a great experience.
The downside - Internet was slow since it's satellite based. I knew it would be slow but I was surprised to see they wanted so much extra for connecting. I purchased 120 mins for $50 but it was gone almost immediately. I am not sure why. I then purchased unlimited time for $250 for the trip and used it several times a day. During peak hours it was really too slow to use for any thing other than brief emails.
You can see my pics on my face book page - Michael Stenstrom
So if I had it to do over again, I certainly would. I would try my best to talk my family into
going with me!
mks Read Less
There are not enough words to describe Lindblad's trip from Antartica. Arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Transiting to Ushuaia via charter. Four hour catamaran cruise through the Beagle Channel. Safety, logistics and timing were ... Read More
There are not enough words to describe Lindblad's trip from Antartica. Arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Transiting to Ushuaia via charter. Four hour catamaran cruise through the Beagle Channel. Safety, logistics and timing were impeccable in a very dynamic weather environment.
National Geographic Explorer is a class 1 A ice breaker. Peter Wilson is an experienced expedition leader. When you are at the end of the world, it was important to have confidence in the staff making daily decisions.
Everyday was an excursions into the land of penguins, seals, whales and immense glaciers, that dwarf anything you think you know. And learn we did. There were 2 passengers for every naturalist, who had diverse specialty interests which they shared with us.
I learned a lot from the National Geographic photographer, Todd Gipstein.
The 3 National Geographic teachers also shared their views about educating children in todays world, which I found very interesting since my first grand baby was born while I was on this trip.This world will be hers. We must make a commitment to maintain Antartica's pristine ecology. This trip had spectacular, photographic scenery. It was much more than that. Lindblad's trip to to Antartica is a transformative experience.You will never be able to look at the world as you did, nor should you. Read Less
Cruising with Linblad/Nat Geo was as opportunity to observe wildlife on the 7th Continent while having naturalist readily available to answer questions. Captain Martin Graser and his bridge crew were readily available, friendly and ... Read More
Cruising with Linblad/Nat Geo was as opportunity to observe wildlife on the 7th Continent while having naturalist readily available to answer questions. Captain Martin Graser and his bridge crew were readily available, friendly and professional. They were also instrumental in spotting wildlife.
We enjoyed exploring the departure cities of Santiago and Ushuaia. The cities of Sewell and Valparaiso were educational experiences that we elected to visit by arriving to Chile a few days early.
The onboard WiFi did not work a couple days at sea and upon return to Ushuaia, the day before disembarking.
The land excursions were a blast. It was great to get some exercise, as well as observe wildlife up close. Being able to walk on fast ice while the ship was parked on it was a pleasant surprise.
Upon return to the ship after the land excursions we cleaned our boots in sheep dip. Please ensure any chemicals used are DO NOT organophosphates (OP). "The majority of former sheep dips investigated to date are contaminated with persistent dip chemicals at levels that are hazardous to humans, livestock and the environment. Arsenic and the organochlorine pesticide dieldrin are the two main contaminants found at sheep dips sites." Upon return to the ship, all passengers step in to the sheep dip and then walk through the ship to our cabins. This causes the sheep dip to be carried throughout the ship. Even more disconcerting, the ship's crew is exposed to the OP's for longer periods since they stay on the ship for multiple trips.
Please closely inspect the food during loading and preparation. A mosquito was found in a lunch dish and a green inch worm was found in a dinner soup. The dinner host was informed.
Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The waiting area at the Holiday Inn upon return to Santiago was greatly appreciated. Read Less
We are not "cruise" people. Lindblad/Nat Geo call this and expedition and we found out why. Expeditions will take you to the places they mention but where exactly is determined by the weather, the sea, and the animal life which ... Read More
We are not "cruise" people. Lindblad/Nat Geo call this and expedition and we found out why. Expeditions will take you to the places they mention but where exactly is determined by the weather, the sea, and the animal life which all can be tricky. What people don't tell you is how essential the expedition leader is. We had a seasoned leader by the name of Russ Evans. Russ was so good that we would try to find him on other cruises just to have him lead our travel. Russ made sure that each and everyday was special and working with the Captain Aaron and the Asst. Leader for launches and the extensive team of seasoned naturalists - our trip was a total WOW. While we were about 140 guests - we never missed our on any landing having both Zodiac and shore cruises going on at the same time. Oh and doing the three locations is the best - each location is so different - I know a lot of people can't give 24 days for a trip like this - but going just to the Antarctica penninsula - you miss a lot. We were very happy to the spring - very beautiful and less smelly I think than fall (e.g. Feb.). Yes - this one is a bit pricey - but absolutely worth it and the crew of the Explorer goes all out for lodging, meals, and the expedition. We would go with Lindblad/Nat Geo again. Read Less
Some people are called to Antarctica, and the Orion took us there in luxury for our adventures. The crew was outstanding in all ways as were the various expert naturalists and photographers. It was fun to hear the captain tell us about ... Read More
Some people are called to Antarctica, and the Orion took us there in luxury for our adventures. The crew was outstanding in all ways as were the various expert naturalists and photographers. It was fun to hear the captain tell us about how we were going to maneuver to avoid storms and the itinerary would change due to weather conditions -- but we always landed in great spots or explored with the zodiacs. We did the trip that included the Falklands and South Georgia Island as well as Antarctica. Lindblad had wonderful warm jackets ready for us and we rented boots to save packing space. It was a little warmer than we might have expected and we overpacked -- we were ready for the true South Pole. The atmosphere of the trip was very casual -- on board and at meals people were happy in jeans and sweatshirts or whatever was most comfortable. We were glad to bring home a nice video that was prepared by a specialist on the trip -- he had it all ready by the day we left and it nicely reflects all that we saw. Read Less
After much research and talking to people who have been on Antarctic expeditions, we chose to go with Lindblad on this epic southern journey and it was an eye opening experience. We loved nearly all aspects of the expedition fundamentals - ... Read More
After much research and talking to people who have been on Antarctic expeditions, we chose to go with Lindblad on this epic southern journey and it was an eye opening experience. We loved nearly all aspects of the expedition fundamentals - the shore experience, the ship, the cabin, other guests, the ship crew, the naturalists, the hotel management and staff who in particular were truly wonderful. The voyage and the way it was planned and conducted was outstanding. Lindblad made sure we saw and experienced everything of beauty and importance that was within our reach including making detours wherever necessary. We liked the sense of adventure and exploration that was inherent in the way they planned the trip - it felt as if we were experiencing something not meant for many people. Consider, only in Stanley the ship docked and we walked out on to the jetty. Every other landing in those 3 weeks was a beach landing on zodiac boats! When we came back to the ship or on the days when we were at sea, the hotel management and the staff were simply outstanding in their service. The cabin was comfortable and spacious and housekeeping was simply outstanding. They also ran a great dining room with food from many countries on offer. The lounge and the bar were great places to mix with others and also learn from the Naturalists and NatGeo photographers who were all very generous in sharing their knowledge in the "re-cap" sessions. We also liked the diversity of the naturalist group - ranging from the lichen guy to the penguin guy to the reptile expert! We really liked the amount of time we spent away from the ship and the sometimes physically challenging hikes. While at sea when nothing much was happening outside, there was the library where one could read; the chart room where we could trace our voyage on charts; or the gym where one could work out. The open bridge policy and the easy access to the ship's crew and the captain was amazing and very, very comforting to us. The shore expeditions were incredibly well organized. The beauty of these places - we were able to enjoy it only because of the meticulous and safe manner in which Lindblad organized these excursions and made sure everyone had a chance to enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the animals. Kayaking in the waters off of South Georgia was absolutely a beautiful experience. We really appreciated that they put the guest experience of those lands as the central focus of the trip - supported by great service from each person that we encountered on the ship. The pristine beauty and the vastness of the landscapes we visited and the abundance and diversity of animals and birds was an experience we will never forget. We also made so many great friends on this voyage who were in awe of what we were experiencing around us. It took us some time to go over our concerns and fears about travel in the Southern Ocean (or, for that matter ship travel on high-seas itself). Having decided, we are very happy that we went with Lindblad who made everything possible to make this not only adventurous and memorable but also safe and "comforting". We have been on day excursions on the sea earlier. But this was our very first high-seas expedition/ cruise experience ever and we are hooked! Read Less
This was our second journey to this part of the world with Lindblad/National Geographic on the Explorer. We obviously wouldn't have gone a second time if we hadn't loved the first time.
The destinations are ... Read More
This was our second journey to this part of the world with Lindblad/National Geographic on the Explorer. We obviously wouldn't have gone a second time if we hadn't loved the first time.
The destinations are other-worldly.There is something almost majestic about Antarctica (kind of like Alaska on steroids - without the tanzanite shops). The ice, the skies, the weather, the animals are all spectacular. South Georgia is of interest to anyone who knows the story of Ernest Shackleton, as well as to anyone interested in seeing the abundant wildlife - the penguins, the elephant seals, the fur seals, the sea lions, the whales, the birds. And going to the Falkland Islands is like visiting the UK - a small (and charming) part of it, anyway.
We love the Explorer ship. It is big enough, but not too big. Everyone gets to land on Antarctica (which isn't true of all ships). The captains are skilled and personable and welcome guests to spend time on the bridge. The naturalists must be among the best in the industry. The staff is terrific - skilled and helpful and welcoming. The food is very good. There are professional photographers on board to help novices figure out their cameras and help the more experienced enhance their skills.
There are plenty of activities, both on and off the ship. There can be hiking, taking cruises in the Zodiacs, kayaking, paddle-boarding, taking a polar plunge. There are many lectures to attend to learn more about the destinations or the flora or the fauna. There is always a videographer onboard making a video that is available for purchase at the end of the trip - a professionally-produced memory of a splendid experience.
Cabins 101 and 102 are big and very handy to the bridge, the chart room (where the coffee is always hot!), and the dining room. There are also a few large cabins at the stern of the ship on the 200 level. There is a fitness center, but it is quite small (a handful of aerobic excercise machines and a small area with weights).
In summary, we love this ship, we love this destination, and we love the kind of adventures offered by Lindblad/National Geographic. Read Less
We did quite a bit of research on trips to the Antarctic and Lindblad/Nat.Geo. was always at the top of the list of preferred providers. We found them to be absolutely correct. The ship, the entire staff, the food, the itinerary, ... Read More
We did quite a bit of research on trips to the Antarctic and Lindblad/Nat.Geo. was always at the top of the list of preferred providers. We found them to be absolutely correct. The ship, the entire staff, the food, the itinerary, everything exceeded our expectations. The many very talented naturalists brought all the wonderful things we experienced to a new level of understanding and appreciation. The professional photographers were very helpful in the many different aspects of photography in the Antarctic and how we could improve our own skills in capturing memories of all the wildlife, terrain, icebergs, etc. We have spent the past 18 years traveling to many destinations around the world but this expedition has been among the very best. We particularly liked the way that the itinerary was adjusted regarding the weather and sea/ice conditions to allow us to make the very most of our time in the areas which we traveled Many thanks. Read Less
I have no suggestions to offer to make this trip any better. The coordination of all facets of this wonderful experience reminded me of well rowing negative effects of global warming. oiled gears that did not fail. The vessel, Explorer, ... Read More
I have no suggestions to offer to make this trip any better. The coordination of all facets of this wonderful experience reminded me of well rowing negative effects of global warming. oiled gears that did not fail. The vessel, Explorer, was immaculately clean and the crew was professional, courteous and skilled. Captain Oliver was a true ambassador for Lindblad and National Geographic. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and very relaxing. Our dining experience was superb with fine food, excellent service which was enjoyed in three different dining areas. The opportunities presented by the activities will never be forgotten. The zodiac rides, the sites, the on the spot lectures about the continent and the sea world were terrific. We gained a new appreciation of the global warming. This experience will never be forgotten.
Once again, we will be on another global adventure with your wonderful LINDBLAD NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO...... Read Less
This was our third Linblad cruise, second on Explorer. Arctic was amazing, this was better. If you go early in the season, you can park the ship in the ice and cross country ski or snow shoe on the ice. If you go late in the season, as ... Read More
This was our third Linblad cruise, second on Explorer. Arctic was amazing, this was better. If you go early in the season, you can park the ship in the ice and cross country ski or snow shoe on the ice. If you go late in the season, as we did, you have a much better chance of seeing more whales. The penguins make you laugh just looking at them. Saw three species of penguins. The whales were just incredible. Saw a pod of killer whales and several humpback whales, also fin whales and blue whales. The naturalists are all amazing. They all obviously love what they do and convey that love to you.
Everything Linblad does is first class. The only negative, which no one can control is weather. We had a very smooth Drake crossing southbound, but the return trip made up for it. 30 foot swells and wind. But you know that going in and cannot say it is unexpected. It actually adds to your trip memories. Fortunately, the weather in Antarctica was very favorable. We made two continental landings. Made it south of the Antarctic circle.
Temperatures in the 32-34 degree Fahrenheit range. One day wind chill down tro 17, but with their supplied parkas, I never heard anyone complain about being cold. There were several passengers on board that this was their 3rd or 4th trip to Antarctica.
Linblad is not inexpensive, but they do an excellent job. We booked our next trip to Baja while on this trip. Can't wait. Read Less
My wife and I prefer comfortable travel but with an adventurous edge. We had previously enjoyed an expedition-style cruise to the Galapagos Islands and were intrigued by the prospect of visiting another relatively untouched environment in ... Read More
My wife and I prefer comfortable travel but with an adventurous edge. We had previously enjoyed an expedition-style cruise to the Galapagos Islands and were intrigued by the prospect of visiting another relatively untouched environment in Antarctica. We hoped the trip would be strongly flavored with lectures and input from on-board specialists, and in this, it did not disappoint. The ship crew (dining, hotel, etc.) and expedition crew (naturalists, photographers, etc) were uniformly enthused, engaged and AVAILABLE! Any concerns, queries, even casual conversation, was routinely met with satisfying answers from apparently interested people. The expedition crew was encouraged to sit with guests at meals (tables were open and unassigned), and their stories greatly enhanced the lively exchanges at mealtimes.
A note on the Drake Passage: many (most?) of the passengers had apprehensions about becoming seasick on the passage from South America to Antarctica. To that end, most (including my wife and I) sported "the patch," a Scopolamine-laces bandaid that sticks behind one ear and lasts for three days or so. Passengers who took precautions (i.e. medications of one sort or another) seemed completely unphased by the significant swell (4+ meters) we experienced. Those who chose to go "unprotected," were "hit and miss." Additionally, ther midship and lower-deck location of our stateroom left us less vulnerable to the larger roller or pitching actions experienced on smaller ships such as ours. Seas were smooth on both sides of the passage, but I can't stress strongly enough the impact on your enjoyment by taking the necessary mediation precautions. (I experienced no drowsiness or other untoward reactions to mypatchs, just comfort.)
Lindbladt/National Geographic provided a strong value-added component to this trip. I was able to sign out (at no charge) long length zoom lenses for my camera, a chance to play with new equipment and at the same time enhance my photography. The Zodiac rides were smooth and safe. Close up access to seals, penguins and even whales left us all saying "It just doesn't get any better!"
Going into this trip, I was apprehensive, even doubtful, that the experience could possibly justify the very significant costs incurred. It turned out to be an education and a thrill. I was very happy with our trip and it was worth every penny. Read Less
We chose Linblad/National Geographic (Nov. 29th-Dec. 19th, 2017) because of the reputation of National Geographic. Touring Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island (the Serengeti of the Antarctic), South Shetland Islands, South Orkney ... Read More
We chose Linblad/National Geographic (Nov. 29th-Dec. 19th, 2017) because of the reputation of National Geographic. Touring Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island (the Serengeti of the Antarctic), South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands, and ultimately Antarctica was truly a trip of a lifetime. Bit of a cliche perhaps but it truly was awe-inspiring and life changing to walk amongst hundreds of thousands of penguins, seals, and sea birds. The crew on the National Geographic Orion, at every level, were friendly, helpful, anticipatory, informative, and a lot of fun! This was a very active cruise on a smaller ship (about 100 passengers) that offered different levels of hikes plus zodiac tours all with a specialist, most of whom had PhDs in their respective fields. Who knew that a lecture on the cryosphere (all things ice) could be so interesting? We learned so much about the flora and fauna of the Antarctic zone and saw so many marine animals, birds, and interesting plants. The food on board was always fresh (how do they do it when at sea for 3 weeks?), every meal different, and the bar a lively spot after a day of hiking and photographing these wonderful Antarctic creatures. We saw both fin whales and humpbacks feeding so close to the ship and even on a zodiac tour! The captain and expedition leader both get a shout-out as they endeavored to find areas of discovery teaming with wildlife while taking advantage of excellent weather conditions. Those few days we transited at sea between the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica passengers availed themselves of yoga/stretch classes, stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines, and 40 laps on the 6th deck=2 miles! Additional lectures added, during transit days, to our growing knowledge of this unique part of the world. Ultimately seeing these creatures in the wild led us, personally, to a decision to be more proactive in our support both financially and in sending emails to our elected representatives about the importance of this fragile area of our planet. Read Less
We were originally booked on the Orion which we chose because it was the smaller ship carrying almost 30% fewer passengers than the Explorer. We transferred to the Explorer when the Orion sailings were cancelled. The Explorer was excellent ... Read More
We were originally booked on the Orion which we chose because it was the smaller ship carrying almost 30% fewer passengers than the Explorer. We transferred to the Explorer when the Orion sailings were cancelled. The Explorer was excellent and we never regretted not being able to sail on the Orion.
We spent 6 days exploring Buenos Aires before joining our group flight to Ushuaia. We loved every minute of it. We recommend tango lessons for dancers and non dancers! We had 3.
Our expedition was fantastic. Antarctica was breathtaking. In fact we were really disappointed when the ship set sail for South Georgia. We would have loved to stay longer. Our disappointment was soon forgotten once we arrived at South Georgia and started to enjoy the hikes, the scenery, wildlife and history.
Our trip was made all the more enjoyable by the people we met on board and the fantastic crew and staff. Our expedition leader and the team of naturalists and photographers went out of their way to make sure our experience was enriched to the fullest.
We have been home 3 days and our thoughts we keep returning to the wonderful experience we've just had. We feel very privileged to have had this opportunity. Read Less
Traveling on the National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, South Georgia, and The Falkland Islands was a "trip of a lifetime"! Our Expedition leader, Russ Evans, a Falklands Islands native, and NG Explorer Captain Oliver took ... Read More
Traveling on the National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, South Georgia, and The Falkland Islands was a "trip of a lifetime"! Our Expedition leader, Russ Evans, a Falklands Islands native, and NG Explorer Captain Oliver took us to places that the Explorer had never been before. The Naturalists aboard were tops in their fields and were accessible to the passengers throughout the trip, albeit through their talks, traveling alongside us in zodiacs, on the landings, and sharing meals in the dining room. We especially enjoyed the Shackleton connections aboard and off the ship, including seeing Elephant Island, the hike into Stromness, the movie ENDURANCE available for viewing, the talks by the Naturalists, and toasting "The Boss" at his grave when we were in South Georgia, It was a life changing experience to be in such a pure and untouched part of our world, seeing the ever changing landscapes and being with animals in their natural turf and on their terms. Experiencing it was a privilege! Read Less
How can you beat National Geographic? I had the best whale watching ever! A baby humpback headed towards our Zodiac and didn't dive under it until it was 20 feet away. I watched a leopard seal chase a penguin and both leaped out of ... Read More
How can you beat National Geographic? I had the best whale watching ever! A baby humpback headed towards our Zodiac and didn't dive under it until it was 20 feet away. I watched a leopard seal chase a penguin and both leaped out of the water onto a growler. Who has ever seen a leopard seal make it in one leap. Best of all, the penguin got away.
The landing staff made sure we were in safe zones. Safety was a priority. I walked among the penguins, and they walked among us. The fledglings came right up to us, hoping to be fed. It was hard not to reach down and pick one up to take home.
The land is starkly beautiful, as in an Ansel Adams photograph. Shear black mountains rose out of the sea. They were covered in ice caps, valley glaciers, and the ice flowed all around them and into the sea. It is a black and white continent, even the wild life. There is a loneliness to the land, a don't-leave-me-behind kind of loneliness. Above all, there is the ice; sea ice, land ice, glaciers, and icebergs - blue, white, and cold. Read Less
National Geographic “Explorer” to Antarctica…… we will never be able to top this spectacular vacation. The ship is an example of impeccable attention to detail. Everything about this ship is designed to make this a perfect trip for ... Read More
National Geographic “Explorer” to Antarctica…… we will never be able to top this spectacular vacation. The ship is an example of impeccable attention to detail. Everything about this ship is designed to make this a perfect trip for the guests on board. The crew is exceptional. Every single member of the team on board this ship was friendly, knowledgeable, attentive to our needs, and always put our safety first.
Our cabin was perfect. Plenty of room for two people, spotless, all the amenities we could possibly need.
The food on board was as good as any restaurant we go to in our hometown of Chicago.
There is a library on board and a small dining area for afternoon tea, plus a huge lounge that was used for cocktails and lectures by the scientists on board.
The scenery is nothing short of spectacular, and the wildlife is amazing. My husband and I travel for work and travel for pleasure and nothing has ever compared to this trip. Read Less
This is truly an adventure and not a cruise. We were able to explore, enjoy and learn about Antarctica in a most pleasurable and comfortable environment. We experienced the habitat while also observing ongoing research and participating ... Read More
This is truly an adventure and not a cruise. We were able to explore, enjoy and learn about Antarctica in a most pleasurable and comfortable environment. We experienced the habitat while also observing ongoing research and participating in lectures on the history of the continent. This was a unique trip and an experience that we will share with our children and grandchildren. The naturalists gave us background on the areas we would explore the next day. The local inhabitants did not fail to give us a display every day, including Humpbacks bubble-net feeding off of the bow of the ship. The Captain daily maneuvered the ship into positions where we had the best chance to feel the full experience of Antarctica. Many evenings he followed wildlife of interest to help us observe while also helping the research staff complete their missions. The onboard staff could not be more accommodating. Chris made sure our table was available each meal and learned our wine selections quickly. Read Less
Chose this cruise because we did the same cruise 10 years earlier and were anxious to return to Antarctica. The Explorer carries 148 passengers; our earlier trip was on Endeavor, which carried 105. Chose Lindblad Expeditions because we ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we did the same cruise 10 years earlier and were anxious to return to Antarctica. The Explorer carries 148 passengers; our earlier trip was on Endeavor, which carried 105. Chose Lindblad Expeditions because we were so pleased with the earlier cruise and we were not disappointed with this one. We liked the informality; no dressing up or coats and ties required. Breakfast and lunch is buffet but guests are invited to order something specially prepared if they prefer. Dinners are served and seating is open, which gives passengers the opportunity to meet each other. Meat, fish, and vegetarian entrees available every day. Alcoholic beverages are not included except at Captain's cocktail reception, farewell cocktail party, and special dinners in a private dining room with ship's naturalists, historians, or photographer. The fitness center is well equipped and there's nothing like walking the treadmill while the ship navigates sea ice! Kayaking, cruising in the Zodiacs, and walks among the penguin colonies are handled efficiently, with emphasis on safety. Educational talks by scientists, naturalists, and historians on board bring meaning to the experience. Very good trip! Read Less