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Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this trip because we always wanted to see the Channel Islands as they are a National Park. This cruise was a great way to see several of the islands. ( Just to let you know, you need to add Channel Islands to your list of choices ... Read More
We chose this trip because we always wanted to see the Channel Islands as they are a National Park. This cruise was a great way to see several of the islands. ( Just to let you know, you need to add Channel Islands to your list of choices for where did I go). I like the way they are several choices for your daily excursions, hard, moderate, and easy. I did think the fall was a barren time of year to visit, spring may have more flowers, making the hiking more interesting . Staff was excellent which is why we enjoy traveling with National Geographic! Everyone was very helpful, we made some wonderful friends. The entertainment was informative talks from the staff which we enjoyed. Loved the cocktail parties to relax and chat, and especially to get out of our small, and unfortunately sad room. I would go with National Geographic again, they are a great team! Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because we had heard about it from many previous guests on this trip and because we really wanted to see whales in Baja. After taking this trip, we now understand why people love it and why they return year after year. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had heard about it from many previous guests on this trip and because we really wanted to see whales in Baja. After taking this trip, we now understand why people love it and why they return year after year. We have traveled with National Geographic/Lindblad several times in the past, so we knew that this would be a good trip. As is our experience, the captain was terrific and led a trip that was safe and interesting and enjoyable. He invited guests to join him on the bridge to see the journey from his perspective and to have a chance, that is a hallmark of the Lindblad experience, to watch the captain and the crew as they maneuvered the ship to each interesting destination - or simply stopped to allow us all to be quietly and respectfully up close to the wildlife we came to see. The naturalists, who must be among the best in the industry, gave lectures on the history and the culture of the destinations we visited and helped us learn about the flora and fauna we were so lucky to see. They were with us on our outings or on the bow of the ship to answer any and all questions that arose. National Geographic/Lindblad does a great job of bringing the most knowledgeable people on board who are familiar with the areas they visit - to help those of us who want to learn all that we can while we are traveling to these special destinations. The ship is relatively small, but small seems perfect for this destination. The rooms are small, but most people don't spend much time in their room, so it doesn't matter very much. Air conditioning seems to be an issue for many people. The A/C seems to be either on or off - no temperature control. The rooms on the 100 and on the 200 deck have windows that open, which is very helpful. There are three exercise machines on the open deck that get well-used. There is also an excellent wellness specialist on board who offers stretching classes each morning on the open deck. The food is good. The dining room is big enough to seat everyone in one seating. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming and helpful and enthusiastic. There are many activities to participate in. There is hiking, cruising in the DIB boats, kayaking, paddle-boarding. There are many lectures and slide shows given by the naturalists to educate those who are interested in what is seen. There are always photography professionals on board to help guests learn about their cameras or to learn how to take even better pictures. In summary, this is a wonderful trip to take. What you might see is not guaranteed, but it is certain (in my opinion) that you will have an adventure you will not soon forget. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We've been on 3 Nat Geo/Lindblad (NGL) trips and this was by far the most disappointing. This was recommended to us from many who were on the Epic Galapagos trip as a "must". So we were looking forward to this. ... Read More
We've been on 3 Nat Geo/Lindblad (NGL) trips and this was by far the most disappointing. This was recommended to us from many who were on the Epic Galapagos trip as a "must". So we were looking forward to this. Disappointment starts with the title of the trip. Among the Great Whales really should have been "Among the Gray Whales. The title implied that we would see many types of whales when in fact we saw two. No complaints about the ship and the food was okay. Entertainment/Activities were ok but nothing special. Service by the cleaning staff was horrible. Our room was cleaned only twice - at the beginning at the last date and only partially. Also, the evening/morning of the rough seas and some of us couldn't get out of our cabins for breakfast, when the seas calmed there was no food made available without many customers asking. You would've thought that this would've been planned for. The itinerary seemed pretty weak and overall satisfaction by NGL travelers who have done other trips thought similarly. Those travelers that were new to NGL cruises thought it was great. Which works in favor for NGL as they may try other trips. We would not do this trip again nor would we recommend it to anyone. I guess when you've been on some of the other NGL expeditions this just can't even come close!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Chosen for great opportunities to see and interact with whales, Lindblad / National Geographic Naturalists to explain what we saw and National Geographic Photographic consultants to learn more about my hobby. The whale watching was ... Read More
Chosen for great opportunities to see and interact with whales, Lindblad / National Geographic Naturalists to explain what we saw and National Geographic Photographic consultants to learn more about my hobby. The whale watching was unmatched (even compared to two cruises in Alaska). We saw humpbacks, orcas and gray whales close up with new calves. The interactions between the mothers and calves was particularly interesting. Near Cabo San Lucas a humpback mother breached, then breached with the calf and the calf proceeded to breach 20 times.. Many of the gray whales (mothers and calves) came up to the DIBS (zodiac type boats) and obviously wanted contact with people. Those that did not want the contact stayed put or swam away. We were able to see the calves playing around the mother 5 or 10 feet from the boat. The ship was small (56 passengers) and well suited to the itinerary. We could get into small secluded beaches (Puerto Gato and Bahia Bonanza) that were secluded, beautiful and well suited to the activities. Whether whale watching (with the naturalists' help and explanations), having a nature presentation or lunch on the desk the ship was very comfortable and never felt crowded. The naturalists were the best I have come in contact with. They were very knowledgeable, communicated their information well, were genuinely enthusiastic about what we were seeing and anxious to share the experience. They were very concerned that we had a good experience while being very respectful of nature. There were many options for activities when we were in port, kayaking, paddle boarding, nature walks, snorkeling, photography sessions and beach combing. These were the "shore excursions" I enjoyed the most. The typical shore excursions were only in San Jose del Cabo. You could do a birdwalk in an estruary area, vistit the town and glass bloweres or do both. The food was excellent and the stewards were great about my wife's food allergies, There were no problems and the stewards seemed to enjoy helping. The cabins comfortable, clean and functional, but not luxurious. but the whales and nature in general were the things that made it an unmatched experience. This is one cruise I would consider doing again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
A lovely casual cruise for active adults. I did see some people who preferred the museums and other less active activities. Food was good but not French cuisine. You could ask for something not on the menu and they did their best to ... Read More
A lovely casual cruise for active adults. I did see some people who preferred the museums and other less active activities. Food was good but not French cuisine. You could ask for something not on the menu and they did their best to fill your request. The activities were plentiful, educational and all included in the price of the expedition. There was different levels of activities offered so one can choose what they wanted to do. We had naturalists,Historians and Natural Geographic photographers on board to-instruct help any of our needs. We traveled through 8 waterway locks as we descended from the high desert areas to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean. The only drawback for those with physical limitations seemed to be the lack of an elevator. The staff was always willing to help. This trip was unique in that it had unlimited wine, beer and even hard liquor with a bartender who knowledgeable of the craft beers and wines of the region. We visited a winery and a a local beer manufacturer. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our 4th trip on a Lindblad/National Geographic ship, and the 4th great experience we've had with them. Our journey started with a 3 day shore extension to the cloud forest in Costa Rica with a Lindblad Naturalist (Fico) ... Read More
This was our 4th trip on a Lindblad/National Geographic ship, and the 4th great experience we've had with them. Our journey started with a 3 day shore extension to the cloud forest in Costa Rica with a Lindblad Naturalist (Fico) and driver (German). Normally 10 to 20 guests participate in the extension but this time it was just the 4 people in our family. Not only did Fico and Herman take us to see everything on the itinerary but along the way we stopped to watch howler monkey in trees on the roadside, stopped at some road-side fruit stands to pick up some in-season treats, and others that made the drive to the Cloud Forest part of the adventure. At each destination Fico would talk about the animals or plants we were seeing or hearing which turned every stop from a sightseeing experience to a learning experience. Since there were only 4 of us, they allowed us to deviate from the planned destinations and activities because the smaller group size gave us more flexibility. For example guests normally had to pick between a zip-line through the forest canopy, and a walk through it on suspended bridges - but my daughter really wanted to do both so they made it happen. The accommodations were great (we saw an armadillo, parrots, and other wildlife on the grounds of the lodge we stayed without much effort). The restaurants for all good, and we generally at whatever German (the driver) suggested because he knew every restaurants specialties. After returning from the cloud forest we boarded ship in Costa Rica. We'd previously sailed on the Sea Lions sister ship, the Sea Bird, so we knew what to expect. The ship was in good shape. My wife, daughter, and I stayed in a triple and my brother had a single. The cabin was well maintained and clean with enough storage space for the 3 of us (largely because the bed was raised high enough we could stash our luggage under it easily). In our first trip on the Sea Bird we found the 'shoilet' (small toilet area that doubled as the shower) a bit disconcerting but time around it didn't seem as odd. With 3 of us cabin space was tight, but we spent so little time in the cabin it really didn't matter. Almost the entire day was spent on excursions, in the lounge debriefing with other guest or looking at the photos we got (or didn't) on the computers, or on the partially covered sun deck either enjoying sun, or shade, as we wanted. Food was served in the dining room. It's all 'open seating' and we tried to sit with different guests at each meal. Breakfast was a buffet and generally included fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, breads, bacon and/or sausage, some type of egg, sometimes crepes, waffles, or pancakes. Lunch was similarly buffet with salad, soup, and fruit always there with different choices each day like burgers and dogs, tacos, thai chicken, and veggie medleys, Dinner was served with soup and fresh bread, with a choice between a meat dish (flank steak, rack of lamb, prime rib, etc.), a seafood dish (sea bass, etc.), and a vegetarian option (portabella risotto, etc.). If none of those sounded good a full size salad or chicken breast was also always offered. Dinner was followed by a desert like flan, fruit crisps, and the like. My daughter had a bit of motion sickness and the hospitality manager (Anna Marie) noticed her not eating and each morning would inquire if she wanted one of the items on the days menu or if she'd prefer some more kid-friendly fare like chicken tenders, pasta, a hot dog, or mac-and-cheese. Most of the time my daughter was good with the normal menu items but a few times she did take Anna Marie up on her offer and got a custom dish just for her. Most meals the natural history staff and some of the ships officers would join us at meals, and we'd learn about them and (since they were from the local area) we'd hear about the culture of the area and what it is like to live and have grown up there. As my review title says, the real high point of the trip was the activities - the shore excursions with the natural history staff. Every day had at least 1 multi-hour activity in the morning and a second in the afternoon. We'd generally take a zodiac from the ship to shore (most often making a wet landing, so shorts and shoes/footwear you are ok getting soaked is mandatory) followed by walk into the forest or along the coast with a naturalist and/or photo instructor. Those guys were amazing, With their naked eyes they spotted sloths in the trees (if you've never seen a sloth in a tree, from the ground it looks like a brown blob in the branches of a tree, and you don't have motion to draw attention to them), howler monkey, spider monkeys, white face monkeys, parrots, toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, alligators, tarantulas, bats, and mountains of other types of birds and animals. They pointed out plants and type of plants, talked about the life cycle of the forest and how gaps in the canopy result in pioneer plants which eventually end up with the forest terminal state foliage. They could identify birds by call alone, and in most cases then find the birds. The photo instructor (Jose) was great. In addition to being a naturalist and point out the animals and plants, walks with him always included hints and tips on how to photograph them more effectively, the right types of light, moving to better angles to capture the life better, camera settings so you could get the effect you wanted from stop-motion (real cool for birds in flight, or dolphins jumping from the bow or in the wake of the ship) to blurred (great for the some of the waterfalls we visited). A clear highlight was seeing a sloth in a tree on the start of a walk, and on the way back seeing that same sloth with it's new born baby. The videographer that accompanied us everywhere even got some real "National Geographic" quality video of the sloth eating the placenta after giving birth. A real 'once in a lifetime moment' even for our naturalists who spent decades in the rain forest! The last two days of the trip, when we traversed the Panama Canal, was a bit slower than the previous days but that was because we had to defer to the canal authority to decide when we could cross. We entered the canal in the evening (passenger ships as 2nd priority, the big cargo ships go first) which gave us a great chance to photograph the canal and operations at night. Jose, our trusty photo instructor, seemed to be everywhere helping guest capture the night canal night crossing in pictures the way they wanted. We spent the night in the canal itself (Lindblad is the only cruise that stops mid-way) and visited the Smithsonian Institutes tropical research center on Barro Colorado Island at first night, which included a talk from a long-time researcher from the island (I suppose spending 30 years as a researcher on that island counts as a long time). We were then lucky enough to traverse the 2nd set of locks in the day; so we could see lock operations both at night and in the say. As crazy as it sounds, another highlight for me was the last night which we spent in the container port on the Caribbean side of the canal. We were moored right along side some Panamax and post-Panamax contain ships and from the sun deck we could watch the loading and unloading of those ships up-close and personal. The Sea Lion seems like a little minnow tied-up along those mega-behemoths. The trip concluded with our Lindblad representatives taking us to the airport in Panama City for our flight how. Along the way we stopped at the Mira Flores Locks (the ones we traversed at night) so we could see them from the day from the visitors center; it really made us appreciate the experience of having crossed through the locks as well. We were sorry to see it end, and are already thinking about what Lindblad voyage to take next. If only I could wrangle a month off (and I could con Lindblad into giving me a break on the price!) it'd probably be Antarctic and South Georgia island. I'm not sure it could top the sloth giving birth but I'm willing to let them try! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We took the expedition entitled: Panama to Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano & Tortuguero including a cruise of 7 nights + a Land Excursion of 7 nights. The Sea Lion ship is nice and well equipped with very helpful and nice ... Read More
We took the expedition entitled: Panama to Costa Rica + Monteverde, Arenal Volcano & Tortuguero including a cruise of 7 nights + a Land Excursion of 7 nights. The Sea Lion ship is nice and well equipped with very helpful and nice staff and remarkable expedition team formed from many local experts. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and well organized. We must say the cabins were pretty cramped. The dinning including the service was good but the choose of dishes not very impressive. The shore excursions were always very well organized. The local guides that were part of the expedition team were exceptional and we enjoyed their presentations and guidance extremely. The presence of Kike Calvo was really inspiring !!! He forever changed the way we appreciate light, composition and the overall photography experience. We believe that the itinerary could be achieved in less time without missing all the visited points of interest. As we contracted from Lindblad the cruise with the land extension in Costa Rica we must say some words about this part also, that was amazing from all points of view!: The land adventure was truly exceptional: beautiful places, remarkable choice of visited points of interest along the route, very nice and well chosen local restaurants and exceptional Hotels. The guide, Maguil Cespedes, was exceptional in terms of knowledge and insight into all nature's details and in all aspects of Costa Rica's day-to-day life. He was a good-spirited companion organizer and teacher. Read Less
National Geographic Sea Lion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 3.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 2.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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