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Sail Date: September 2019
We had previously sailed with Lindblad in the Galapagos Islands with our granddaughters and had a wonderful experience. They wanted to go on another expedition, so we chose Lindblad again, this time to Alaska. The trip was great. Our ... Read More
We had previously sailed with Lindblad in the Galapagos Islands with our granddaughters and had a wonderful experience. They wanted to go on another expedition, so we chose Lindblad again, this time to Alaska. The trip was great. Our granddaughters particularly enjoyed the Explorers program and the naturalist, Jared, who ran the program. The staff and naturalists on board accommodated us beyond our expectations. Of particular interest were the sea mammals - bubble net feeding Humpback whales, sea lions, seals, sea otters and Orca whales. The American Bald Eagles were a pleasure to watch as well. The scenery was magnificent. Large glaciers caving and wonderful sunrises and sunsets, framed against soaring mountains. Truly an environment which is overpowering. The nature walks with the naturalists educated all of us with respect to the ecosystems of southeast Alaska. We learned about the forests and the muskeg. Now our granddaughters want to travel with Lindblad to the Antarctic. 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
2 Helpful Votes
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: 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
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: August 2018
The opportunity to see Alaska's natural beauty and wildlife up close is what distinguishes Lindblad/Nat Geo cruises from all others. The naturalists, with their extensive knowledge about Alaskan fauna, flora, and wildlife, as well as ... Read More
The opportunity to see Alaska's natural beauty and wildlife up close is what distinguishes Lindblad/Nat Geo cruises from all others. The naturalists, with their extensive knowledge about Alaskan fauna, flora, and wildlife, as well as the guest speakers that were invited to speak, made the cruise all the more meaningful in so many ways. Having a Nat Geo certified photographer on board was a bonus as he not only provided group instruction but was willing to work with guests one-on-one while on board or tramping through the beautiful Alaskan landscape. Lindblad/Nat Geo provided a delightful tour of Sitka prior to the time we boarded the Sea Lion. When we stepped aboard the ship we were welcomed by the ship's Captain, given a packet with our name tags. The cabin was small but both the quality and quantity of storage space made it very easy to move around the cabin. The ship, which accommodated 60 passengers, was compact and clean. The dining room and lounge, located on the first deck, were easy to access and very welcoming. The food was delicious - offering at least three options for every taste. This worked out extremely well for those following a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. The service was very good, cabins were made up daily. Staff members were very personable and willing to go the extra mile when it came to helping passengers. Safety first - so the Captain held a safety drill the first evening and passenger's life vests were inspected each time we left the ship in a DIB. Shore excursions in the DIB, with a naturalist, was what made this trip, above all others, so remarkable - you were experiencing nature as it unfolded. Disembarkation at Juneau went very smoothly. We had an opportunity to venture up the the mountain via tram to the vistas below as well as visit Alaska's museum. I was sad to leave the Sea Lion. I will definitely plan another Lindblad/NatGeo cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We heard nothing but great reviews from people we know who have cruised with Linblad National Geographic. Now we will add to them! We found the Sea Lion ship just the right size (60 guests) with plenty of space to watch for wildlife ... Read More
We heard nothing but great reviews from people we know who have cruised with Linblad National Geographic. Now we will add to them! We found the Sea Lion ship just the right size (60 guests) with plenty of space to watch for wildlife outside, relax in the lounge with a beverage, edit photos and dine among new friends. Our cabin was perfectly comfortable. The dining experience was surprisingly good with plenty of options. Snacks were available and hot drinks too. The naturalists are superb. They are the highlight of the trip. Absolutely wonderful in all regards. Extremely knowledgable, personable and great at answering questions. They did a good job assessing the physical abilities of guests and adjusted activities accordingly. We had 20 children on board and observed that staff tailored programs to their energy and interests. All of the staff members are pleasant and accommodation. Our Expedition Leader, Cindy, was outstanding! We would go anywhere with her! We enjoyed the guest speakers and educational talks by the staff. Excursions to the Raptor Center and museums were very nice. We would liked more time to absorb these special places. We look forward to our next adventure with Linblad Nat Geo. While it is tempting to return to Alaska, we have heard wonderful things about other trips. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was the first trip away from our young kids and wanted to do Alaska on a small ship. I found out how new this ship was and chased it down. Here are my notes. Quest Sunday - long day to buy time to get on ship at 5:30pm, they ... Read More
This was the first trip away from our young kids and wanted to do Alaska on a small ship. I found out how new this ship was and chased it down. Here are my notes. Quest Sunday - long day to buy time to get on ship at 5:30pm, they mean it and no-one got on before then. Juneau is boring and I wouldn't stay there. Tram was cool and worth it. When we did we got a person to take us to our cabin and desctibe all the features. There was more storage and room in our cabin than in hotel room. Don’t stay at recommended hotel - small rooms, noisy (loud) heaters (boilers) and it is just old. Our cabin on the ship was so much more spacious and has a crazy amount of storage, no way to use all of the drawers and other provided spaces. Pillows and blankets are amazing. Internet doesn’t work - too high latitudes for satellite to work.. I paid and got money back as we did get some cell service in small fishing villages but latency was so high that some applications wouldn’t work. Ship is a shield, so for any coverage you have to be on deck. Tracy Arm (Transit all night) Monday AM, I was pretty excited and woke up at 4am just to look around and saw icebergs out my window and I was on deck by 4:30am - and not only one. It was so crazy pretty that I stayed on deck pretty much to lunch. Food was very good all around. I’m not that picky and I give the food a B+ all around. Something for everyone and after meeting all the guests - no one had a bad thing to say. You get briefings before dinner and after breakfast every day. They over-communicate which seems annoying, but was rather useful. Staff is amazing all around. I can’t say enough good things and I look for those ‘cracks in the crew’ and found none. The respect for the naturalists was crazy high from fellow crew, not to speak of the guests. Monday was Tracy Arm and zodiac tours of the glacier. They take the entire guest list and chop into groups A, B, C and D. They use that to get rid of big lines for activities. We were in group C so they call on the PA to give us a 15 minute notice of when we should head to the mud room to put on Life jacket and board the zodiacs. Max wait was 10 minutes. They clearly have this figured out. Preso’s every day after lunch and dinner by very polished naturalists who know their stuff. I was crazy tired this night and crashed hard.. Speaking to other guests which I now had a chance to socialize with - was the same. Tuesday Morning - hit the zodiacs to go see icebergs that have calved off the glacier. Sounds boring? - look at the pictures and video. Amazing morning - water perfectly still and warm. We all got amazing photo’s - walk on fire trail, banana slugs and bear skat. Then kayaking that wasn’t so interesting but good exercise. Petersburg at lunch - great sleepy fishing village. Could arrange floatplane flights. Or walking (or van) into town or taking a free bicycle which we did. Very nice stay and we had dinner while the ship pulled out of port. This was a real treat. MIT alumni group on board and a professor gave a talk on climate. Very interesting and nice people. weather turned hawaii and we had upper 70’s, sun and heat. crazy. Wish I had more t-shirts. I wore shorts to dinner 4 nights in a row. Wednesday early morning hiking - no so interesting and then kayaking, was cool but not the best. Afternoon (Wednesday) was ok hiking morning, but ‘activity watching in afternoon cruise’ which started out pretty boring, everyone looking but some sea lions. Weather was hot in the sun. Then someone in bridge saw something on the port shore - ship turned too hard and some dishes went flying(turns out that was autopilot accident) - but we found a large group of humpbacks were bubble feeding on the shoreline. They split into 2 different groups and were amazing. We had that all day where I stopped counting at 25 ‘breaches’ of the bubble fishing. Most amazing day ever. Would check most folks bucket list to see 1 or 2, but 25+. You have never seen a more satisfied group of passengers and crew that dinner. Most of us knew that was a ‘1 in a lifetime’ afternoon. I hope I can post a few photo’s. Thursday (Icy Strait) - morning hiking in a great rainforest - like walking on sponges. lots of wild flowers and such. After that taken to ‘kayak beach’ where we kayaked ‘follow the leader’ around the Idaho inlet and it was awesome. Guest MIT lecture on Climate and then zodiac rides (A, B, C & D) with real alaskan weather and saw whales, sea lions, otters, eagles taking fish…. great lunch day (turkey) Afternoon zodiac tour of the Inian islands. Amazing - saw whales, sea lions, otters and a Bald Eagle took a 1/2 fish from a sea lion thirty feet in front of our zodiac. I have a picture of that that Tom caught - amazing. took it easy and let folks take naps and slow down a bit. Great dinner and lecture after about summer solstice, some video of diving around the kayak route and Chelsey talking about seals, sea lions and Otters - awesome. Got cold and folks went to sleep. Alaska part 2 Plan for the best - you have your cold weather gear, but you have crazy storage on the Quest - don’t forget t-shirts and shorts. On my trip I left our walk weather stuff in Florida and regretted it. We had 3 days in a row where it hit upper 70’s and I was hot in the sun. I had only 1 pair of shorts and wish I had more. We had *lots* of empty drawers we could have used. Suitcases fit under the bed (easily) Video and camera My wife brought her DSLR (Canon) and they have free lenses for you to use on the ship. She borrowed a few 600mm lens and got the best whale photo’s of the trip. There are at least 2 professional photographers on the trip who will spend as much 1:1 time as you want. Take advantage of it. Star of the show is my iPhone 10 using 4K 60fps video. You can zoom like crazy and will be able to post-process great video. My MacBook air wasn’t powerful enough to do that and iCloud is setup that I needed WiFi (that doesn’t work at those latitudes - so don’t pay for it) I would let the iPhone take video if the whales are around - if you get it, great. If not - delete and try again. Don’t wait till you see them - will be too late (for bubble fishing). Same for glacier calving - I would record for 3 minutes and delete if nothing happened, but if it does - you will get most or all of it in 4K video. Clothing 1st day was cold and clear. I had bought these wind pants with a thin layer of fleece on the inside and they were killer good. My go to pants when cruising or a colder zodiac ride. Too hot for hiking when in 60 or 70’s, so I used my hiking pants and was ok to be a little cold on zodiac ride (10 minutes) and very comfortable on the hike. Front or side pockets to keep iPhone kept if very handy when something unexpected happened, which seems to be all the time Saturday We signed up for the ‘strenuous hike’ and had a good workout though the rainforest to a lake where the guides were surprised had some salmon already. I used my polarized sunglasses to get some good video on my iPhone. After we hiked back down we put on the low profile life jackets and went kayaking in this amazingly clear water. Most of the folks all agreed this was the best of the Kayaking on the trip. Good workout - back to the ship and ate a good lunch. The rest of the afternoon was cruising and looking for wildlife - most folks were tired and slept or started packing. This part of the cruise there seemed to be otters everywhere and I got my otter photo’s here. Right before dinner I was on the bow with some other folks when we saw porpoises on the bow. They rode the bow for 25 minutes and I got my iPhone out there for 4 minutes until my fingers were too cold to hold the phone. Some amazing video I need to edit when I get home. That night after dinner we did the guest slideshow. Each guest could submit 10 of their best photo’s and it was amazing what people got. Anyone could download it from 2 iMacs they had in the lounge. Was very fun. Lots of folks exchanging email addresses and the like for the rest of the evening. Also having some drinks with the crew as you have gotten to know them pretty well at this point. Last day We anchored outside Sitka. Hit the dock at 6am. 6:30am wake-up call. 7am breakfast and they wanted all bags (tagged) and put outside cabin before 7am. Most of us were on same flight from Sitka to Seattle at 2pm. There were 97 passengers. 13 were under age 18. 3 groups of families Grandparents and kids. Bunch of retirees - good group of folks. I'm 53 with wife 46 and we had a great time. Never felt crowded, but we had insane weather. Ask for tour of engine room and kitchen - very cool. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was my third expedition aboard a Linblad ship and I couldn’t of been more pleased. The new Quest ship suited my family perfectly. Our cabin was comfortable, loved the pillows and sheets. One of the highlights on the ship was eating ... Read More
This was my third expedition aboard a Linblad ship and I couldn’t of been more pleased. The new Quest ship suited my family perfectly. Our cabin was comfortable, loved the pillows and sheets. One of the highlights on the ship was eating in the beautiful dining room enjoying the scenery while we ate. Food was the best I’ve had on a Linblad ship, we even had a special Dungeness Crab night. Service in the dining room, cabin and in their activities was 5 star. Activities were well organized. My family participated in kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, zodiac rides. Naturalist were incredibly knowledgeable. Guest on ship tended to be older ( over 65) but a physically active group. Multigenerational family groups were also prevalent with a number of grandchildren on the ship. While not a cheap ship our family of 5 felt we got our money’s worth. Looking forward to our next Linblad expedition. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
After investigating many options, this cruise fitted our needs and expectations. The telephone conversations with agents verified that we would be physically able to participate with the varied activities. Their enthusiasm and willingness ... Read More
After investigating many options, this cruise fitted our needs and expectations. The telephone conversations with agents verified that we would be physically able to participate with the varied activities. Their enthusiasm and willingness to help made the decision easy. I also had help from a friend in Alaska who recommended Lindblad Expeditions. Our trip was all I expected and more. There was not a day that was not eventful. Watching the whales and seeing the bubble netting was beyond words. Our upclose viewing of the glaciers and ice floe was also a highlight. The 'cocoa boat' was very appreciated. The guides were so knowledgable but also fun. For the most part, they knew when to allow time to appreciate the quiet and allow for appreciation of the environment. Evening lectures were an added bonus. The staff was always cordial and there to help when needed. Food was well prepared and choices given. Dining with fellow travelers and sharing day's experiences was fun and educational. Good food, good wine and good conversation abounded. I will highly recommend this trip to everyone and would hope to go again. Thank you for giving me all and more than I expected. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This is not your big boat cruise. I've been on those and the whole reason for the choice of this ship rather than the 2800 passenger ship that was also in those waters with us is to become intimate with the flora and fauna, make ... Read More
This is not your big boat cruise. I've been on those and the whole reason for the choice of this ship rather than the 2800 passenger ship that was also in those waters with us is to become intimate with the flora and fauna, make photographs. We sailed into all the nooks and crannies along the route, stopping for zodiac trips to shore with NatGeo photographers who were also naturalists, so we learned not only how to make great photographs, but also details about what we were photographing. Many times, one would hear the engine die followed by an announcement that wildlife had been spotted on shore and the captain would nose the boat very close to shore so everyone could get a good look and great pix. Don't know about other cabins, but no problems with smells in my cabin and the overall appearance of the ship was clean and tidy. The cabins are small - a place to crash after a busy day experiencing all there was. The shower/head was really tiny - to take a shower, throw some liquid soap against the walls, step in and turn around a few times. Don't forget to draw the curtain between the shower and the head or you will be trying to dry off with wet towels. But then again, I had one of the small cabins. There are a few larger ones. If you want a luxurious stateroom, take the 2800 passenger ship. You'll sort of get the experience. But if you want to get the pix of the black bear whom you could see had recently been in a fight, you are looking for something like this. PIX at http://flikr.com/photos/clind/albums. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This is a Small Ship 62 People. When National Geographic and Linblad team up is is superb. The ship is outfitted very well and the entire team, the naturalists, photographers, sea life divers were informative, fun and cared about how you ... Read More
This is a Small Ship 62 People. When National Geographic and Linblad team up is is superb. The ship is outfitted very well and the entire team, the naturalists, photographers, sea life divers were informative, fun and cared about how you enjoyed your experience. This was a fun expedition in Southeast Alaska. The Captain, Crew and Chef were first Class, the food was extraordinary. If Sherry B is a tour guide she is the best. Well worth the extra $ to see and experience what we did. We saw it all Glaciers, 50 or so Orcas, up close. Humpbacks, Eagles Grizzly bears and cubs. Sea Otters all kinds of Birds including ruffled Puffin. Icebergs a plenty! Just special. Undersea life. We hiked, Sea KAYAKED and learned about the Flora and Fauna. Glacier National Park was spectacular. Getting in the expedition zodiac boats and see Glaciers up close and personal and icebergs you could touch was special. Spectacular waterfalls that seemed to come to the boat. We met a native american Interpreter that was outstanding Mr George. Yes and I did a polar plunge! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We did the seven night cruise on the National Geographic Sea Bird Explorer. This cruise goes from Juneau through to Sitka and in between visiting out of the way locations in SE Alaska. In my mind this is far better than the big boat ... Read More
We did the seven night cruise on the National Geographic Sea Bird Explorer. This cruise goes from Juneau through to Sitka and in between visiting out of the way locations in SE Alaska. In my mind this is far better than the big boat cruises with the opportunity to see Alaska in comfort and also get off on land for hikes as well as see the animals. SE Alaska scenery is fantastic and this cruise spends 24 hours in Glacier Bay taking it's passengers as close to the glaciers as one is allowed to go at this time of year. The cruise takes Zodiak rubber rafts with outboard motors for visiting the islands and kayaks to allow paddling the shoreline. The naturalists were knowledgeable and the food awesome. If I have one criticism it is that this is an older boat so the lounge or viewing area is not optimally sited to see the landscape passing when the weather is inclement as it often is during and Alaska summer. It would be better if it was higher with better windows for viewing. I understand Lindblad has new ships under construction which may rectify this. Read Less
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