1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Lindblad Expeditions
  4. National Geographic Quest Review
  5. National Geographic Quest Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: January 2019
We were referred to Lindblad Expeditions by friends who have taken many cruise vacations. We had no interest in floating towns...giant ships with formal dinners, conga lines, wine-tastings, and jewelry parades. We wanted a relaxed but ... Read More
We were referred to Lindblad Expeditions by friends who have taken many cruise vacations. We had no interest in floating towns...giant ships with formal dinners, conga lines, wine-tastings, and jewelry parades. We wanted a relaxed but structured interpretive experience blending both the natural and social character of Central America with the intimate experience of one of the world's greatest engineering marvels. When our friends said that's exactly what we'd get, we were aboard! The Costa Rica / Canal cruise was everything we hoped for. We could never do justice to the Lindblad/National Geographic staff...from the ship crew to the hotel staff, the kitchen talent and the dining servers...and the gracious friendly excursion guides who were so masterful in their knowledge and charming in their ways of explanations and painstaking thoughtfulness. Every crew and staff member was exquisitely trained and enhanced the guest experience. The food!!! Every meal a delight. We sacrificed some cabin space for a small balcony with no regrets. After all, the last place you want to be during any of this trip is in your cabin... The choices of field excursions offers something for everyone. Don't miss the coffee plantation, the chocolate co-op, the heart-of-palm farm. Meeting the locals and learning of their lives enlightened us as much as the climax....the fabulous transit through the canal by both night and day, for which we were beautifully prepared with a documentary recapping its history. We were so glad we opted for the East-to-West trip with the canal as the finale...perfect! Then, going by coach from Colon to Panama City, a stop at the Miraflores visitor center locks to look out over the canal and see the fabulous museum was a fabulous final curtain. Kudos to all of the Lindblad/NGeo people who constructed and conducted this adventure! We will see you again.... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We went on the Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise in January, 2019. We love watching wildlife and thought this cruise would be a good way to do it. We have been to Costa Rica before - on a small bus tour on the Caribbean side so this was ... Read More
We went on the Panama Canal/Costa Rica cruise in January, 2019. We love watching wildlife and thought this cruise would be a good way to do it. We have been to Costa Rica before - on a small bus tour on the Caribbean side so this was different. We like being with like-minded people and under 100 passengers seemed manageable. We had 87 people on our cruise. The captain, officers and all of the crew made sure that we were enjoying ourselves and did not need anything. I would have given the dining rating an excellent but some of the Panamanian cuisine seemed too bland for us. That said, we always found something we liked. They always had other standard options for dinner if you didn't like what was being offered. They had an omelet station every morning, always had fresh fruit and wonderfully fresh salad greens. If my husband and myself were 'birders,' we would have enjoyed the rainforest hikes more. It seemed like there were definitely more birders than non-birders. But, mammals inhabit the same types of places so again, you never knew when something would appear. Animals are not on a schedule and many times they just don't make themselves visible. It would have been nice to see more but it just didn't happen. Obviously, rainforests are by nature humid and hot. I wish I brought more clothes with me because each excursion left you dripping. There was really no entertainment on the ship other than the presentations in the lounge. The ones we saw were very good. Unfortunately, we didn't attend most of them just because we were too tired and needed to be up early the next morning. The workout room had nice, clean equipment to use. Due to the size of the ship, the space was small. They also had yoga every morning that I did not take advantage of. All of the public areas were always spotless. They asked that we conserve water which is a very legitimate request and I think everyone was in the same conservation mindset. I told the captain that it would have been nice had we known about the wringer machines that were under the bridge where you could wash your clothes in the sink and wring them out in these machines. It was basically a 'spin cycle' like you have on your washing machine at home. Our clothes would have dried days quicker. We also didn't realize that there were hooks over the bathroom door until the last night of the cruise. Going through the locks of the canal was amazing. We have done it before on a larger cruise ship but this was much better and more intimate. The tour of old Panama City was great - The Biodiversity Museum was also great, especially their video presentation. That was not to be missed - with eight separate and angled screens, including the ceiling and floor. We had originally signed up for a rainforest tour until Cristian, the expedition leader, told us how important we would be to the local economy and how much the locals loved talking about their crafts and explaining their livelihoods - like the Hearts of Palm tour and then the Chocolate tour. We are glad we switched. We saw a lot and learned even more. The snorkeling in Panama was unbelievable. I wished we had seen the turtles and the reef-tipped shark that other people saw but just seeing all the colorful fish made it more than worthwhile for us. The excursions on the private islands were amazing. The picnic that the crew laid out for us on one of the private properties (on a beach) was beautifully done. It had to be so much work for them but they truly did a fantastic job. Don't forget to bring some cash because some of the local people bring their crafts to sell. I will suggest to others to bring enough T-shirts to change to; bring GOOD water shoes. Mine broke (and my husband's broke on the last Zodiac tour). I wore long pants in the dining room because I thought the ship was cold. Also, bring a sweater or sweatshirt. Take binoculars everywhere because you never know what or when you are going to see something. We used a GoPro in underwater housing for the snorkeling. I'm still very green with it, but I got a lot of fish. You can also get underwater pouches for phones if you want to take pictures. Have something that is waterproof for your good camera because it may very well get wet in the Zodiac from splashing. People on the ship seemed to range in age from maybe 40s (just a few) to probably late 80s. We met many people with all kinds of backgrounds and very interesting experiences. We have taken several cruises on large ships, one river cruise and this is our first Linblad/Nat Geo cruise. If you like walking through rainforests, snorkeling, beaches, want to see the canal and be with a great group of people, I recommend this trip. All of the staff, especially the naturalist guides, are very passionate about their profession, as they should be. Their passion was contagious. Our shipboard doctor was trained in emergency medicine and had many years of experience. He accompanied us on several tours and went on others that we did not. He was very outgoing, friendly and easy to talk to. He is a great conversationalist and dinner companion. His wife accompanied him as well and she, too, was very friendly and outgoing. A very big thank you to everyone associated in making this trip what it was. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I’m interested in nature and this trip completely fulfilled my expectations. The Lindblad- National Geographic guides are very knowledgeable of the region and the history all the species very impressive. The Quest is very comfortable ... Read More
I’m interested in nature and this trip completely fulfilled my expectations. The Lindblad- National Geographic guides are very knowledgeable of the region and the history all the species very impressive. The Quest is very comfortable the staff very friendly and helpful, breakfast lunch and dinner unbelievably well prepared and presented everything perfect. The excursions very well organized and very interesting and informative safety first very well done. The room is very comfortable clean and very nice furniture all the amenities and areas of the boat are very comfortable and clean. The programs the excursions very well organized and prepared everything well done. I really recommend this trip for people interested in nature and historical places like the Panamá Canal and the areas of Panamá. Costa Rica is a very reach region with a very reach history and the best ecosystem very well protected and manage for years to come for everybody to enjoy it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our ... Read More
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our cabin was small with a balcony; not much open floor space but you don't spend much time in the room. The general outline of the day is: a buffet breakfast, morning zodiac trip for nature event, buffet lunch, another zodiac trip for nature event, time for a shower, cocktail hour with naturalists' presentations, dinner (usually 3+ options), and another naturalist or photography discussion after dinner. This is an expedition cruise with the emphasis on nature, photography, country culture and history. Pretty much everything is included in the cost except for alcoholic drinks and the final tip to the staff. The ship holds 100 passengers but we had about 83. Passengers range from 20's to 90 although average in the 50-60's; they tend to be well-traveled, pretty active, and interesting. There is no set dinner seating so grouping change throughout the cruise. The food was good but not outstanding. Usually buffets had several options with salads, fresh fruits and a few mains. Dinner is served by staff with usually 3 options available. Preparation was okay but as the first cruise this season, they had a few bugs to work out with new staff and the kitchen not at the top of their game. A real strength is the depth of knowledge of the naturalists and the happy staff. The lounge (inside & air conditioned) was outfitted with books related to the area and was used throughout the day by passengers. We also sat out on the Sun Deck, on the front prow and could sit in the bridge at times. The cruise went through the Panama Canal and even had morning Zodiac options to see more of the lake in the middle of the canal. There is a one-day extension available in Panama City that includes a visit to the expansion canal and a close up of the original canal. Recommended for the real Panama Canal buff. Overall, a fun and interesting trip! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. It was interesting on paper, in actuality, if you like riding on buses (I'm pretty sure Lewis & Clark didn't!) then this trip ... Read More
This was a cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. It was interesting on paper, in actuality, if you like riding on buses (I'm pretty sure Lewis & Clark didn't!) then this trip is for you. We went on this cruise because of our past experience on the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos, which was great! I found this cruise no better than any other "regular" cruise. Sure, we had a few interesting stops, but I don't think the wineries and breweries were there in the early 1800s. I don't know, I guess I expected more excitement, to learn more, like it was in the Galapagos - an adventure. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before and figured this would be a great introduction. But alas! Most of the crew were knowledgeable, passionate about their subjects of focus and personable, there were some exceptions. I can't see shelling out that kind of money for an average cruise like that again. My rating is based on that - big price, average quality. Food was good, not exceptional. Bar prices were average. And as one reviewer noted, there was no place to lounge that was somewhat quiet (The Endeavour had a library that was separate from the lounge). 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
8 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The actual cruise information preloaded above is WRONG! The dates were 18-26 Feb and the cruise was their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary. this is a duplicate post from what I put in the National Geographic/Lindblad forum under Quest. ... Read More
The actual cruise information preloaded above is WRONG! The dates were 18-26 Feb and the cruise was their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary. this is a duplicate post from what I put in the National Geographic/Lindblad forum under Quest. The trip was 18-26 Feb 2018 on their new Belize/Guatemala Itinerary Back from the Quest for a couple of weeks and have let things sort themselves out in my mind. I think this particular trip type of expedition finds travelers who either LOVE the experience or are saying "why did I spend all my money for this?" I fall into the second category. The staff was fine, good, competent and friendly. The food was a severe disappointment. Breakfast was fine, lunch usually was ok and dinner whenever served was frankly inedible. Fish overcooked to the point where it was rubber, limp vegetables and complete lack of any reasonable amount of protein for vegetarians. (Yes, I expect coconut veg curry to have more veg than onion and mushroom and have a flavor other than brown). Ship - It is new, comfortable. But there is only one lounge which is used for everything which means that there is no place quiet on the ship indoors to sit, read or quietly talk with others. The outdoor areas are only usable if the weather is good (not raining, no wind). The Cruise Director equivalent didn't know when to stop talking which meant that we were always late into dinner (may well have contributed to the poor food - beautifully plated mind you but overcooked and tasteless). I expected adult - what I got was a "Good Morning campers" approach. Greetings and shouted responses are for religious services and kindergarten. My fellow passengers were perhaps the most educated group I have ever had the pleasure to travel with; we did't need programs that catered to the three families traveling and featuring their offspring in presentations. The Naturalists were good as was the photographer. I enjoyed the snorkeling and the supporting dive teams. Mind you, I understand where the expensive of the trip goes - transportation and staff salaries. Not a problem, But as someone who normally arranges her own tours and expeditions I found buses with 30-40 people at times irritating. Lastly, and most importantly for me, as is apparently the custom with many of the small ships - you can't lock your cabin except from the inside. I travel with expensive camera equipment. My insurance company, when asked said that if anything happened they would not cover it as they would feel that neither the ship nor I had taken proper precautions to secure it. The Celebrity Xpedition is the same size and has cabin keys.... The food was outstanding, the naturalists extremely good and all beverages were included when we were on her in the Galapagos. Lindblad was interesting. But not worth the money from my point of view. There were several couples who had been on 20+ Lindblad cruises and would never put a foot on a larger ship. I guess I prefer a bit more space, good food and personal flexibility. -Holly pictures on www.hollydoyne.net with dates 18-25 Feb 2018. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It sounded close enough to the US, but varied, with 5 days aboard and 5 days ashore. What no one at National Geographic or Lindblad told me was that this was the inaugural trip; worse yet was that the trip had not been tested on anyone. I ... Read More
It sounded close enough to the US, but varied, with 5 days aboard and 5 days ashore. What no one at National Geographic or Lindblad told me was that this was the inaugural trip; worse yet was that the trip had not been tested on anyone. I paid an inordinate amount, retail, no discount, to be someone's guinea pig. So, I still, after three months, have a really bad taste in my mouth because I've been had. This is not what I expect for two well-regarded tour companies. On board, we experience long delays as the staff tried to find anchorage leaving travelers twiddling their thumbs, waiting, for hours aboard. One group was stranded in a Zodiac during a vicious rain squall. Outside tour companies were hired, on the fly, to take us snorkeling, on bus tours, and to coordinate flights. Equipment and transportation failed as did staff. Again, we were left for most of a day in the airport without information. When we finally arrived at our next destination, 30% of the luggage was missing. The land group leader was dismissive, condescending, and glossed over procedural errors and missteps that were so obvious to many. I used to how these companies up as the gold standard of eco-tourism. This trip will be my last. Their offerings are spreading the company thin. Quality has been sacrificed for quantity across the board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We did not find the itinerary very interesting. There was little effort to explore any activity in the ocean - no whales, dolphins, etc. We saw birds and land animals mostly. The captain was only 6 weeks with the line - so it seemed his ... Read More
We did not find the itinerary very interesting. There was little effort to explore any activity in the ocean - no whales, dolphins, etc. We saw birds and land animals mostly. The captain was only 6 weeks with the line - so it seemed his job was only to get us from point A to point B. No one was ever in the bridge - so unlike the Explorer. We missed having a second lounge. The seating in general was not comfortable - missed the library on the Explorer. The weather was warm, but the back deck with tables and chairs was never used. We took our lunch and breakfast up there so we could be outside. Food was great - healthy and interesting. 2 female chefs made sure of that!! Bed was comfortable.No laundry services on board. We were in 216 with a balcony - but it's too small to do anything but stand.Exiting to the zodiacs usually involved a long line down the hall. This was annoying and could have been avoided by calling for people by floor or stateroom. The gym is very nice - we did not use any spa services. The naturalists were interesting, but not as good as we experienced in Patagonia. There is no diving expert to show us what was in the water. We enjoyed kayaking and the paddle boards, but in some way this contributed to feeling like we were on a very austere cruise instead of a being on an expedition. Oh, and the espresso machine was not working during the entire cruise. Thought maybe they should have a spare or a couple Nespresso machines. Almost all the crew are American - college aged kids are your servers and your room attendants. This is because the ship is flagged in the US. Read Less
National Geographic Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 0.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

Find a National Geographic Quest Cruise

Email me when prices drop