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1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a little last-minute signing up for this trip but our expedition specialist facilitated everything so smoothly, we just packed and took off. So many passengers opted to take an earlier flight than the recommended flight to ... Read More
We were a little last-minute signing up for this trip but our expedition specialist facilitated everything so smoothly, we just packed and took off. So many passengers opted to take an earlier flight than the recommended flight to Sitka that Nat Geo scrambled and the expedition director met us at the airport with a special bus and tours - that was an impressive start! My husband and I had made plans to go to The Fortress of the Bear (GO!! A must see!) so we met up with them later for a private tour of the Raptor Center, another must-do in Sitka. That flexibility marked the rest of our trip, which you can only do with a small group like we had for this cruise. We loved the size of the ship - and what a beautiful ship it is. The lounge at the bow and the dining room at the stern were both surrounded by windows. The bow outside had a unique configuration allowing everyone a front row view of wildlife and scenery - a well thought-out design. And of course, breath taking photos by Nat Geo Photographers adorned the walls. Our room was lovely with plenty of storage space. With a ship this size we were able to go to areas that the big cruise ships could not. As a matter of fact the only time we even saw one of the bigger cruise ships was in the port at Juneau. The single most impactful aspect of the trip? The people - the naturalists, photographers and staff. They were such a pleasure to be around because they exuded enthusiasm about what they were doing and where they were, and they wanted to share it with you. I am an early riser and that was accommodated by coffee and light fare at around 6:30, and a yoga/stretch class at 7:00. I made one class but kept getting distracted by happenings on the bow - and no matter how early I was up, there was already a Naturalist out on the bow looking for wildlife! Our excursions were varied and always entertaining, active and educational. There were hikes geared to various levels from exploring tide pools at low tide to bushwhacking (well, we didn’t really whack any bush) through the rainforest, and climbing to a WW II military gun emplacement. Some people wanted a quicker pace, so they organized aerobic hikes as well. There were kayak opportunities and zodiac explorations to find wildlife and get up close to impressive icebergs and to the base of an immense glacier. The smaller ship size and the open seating at meals allowed us to meet and get to know a lot of our fellow passengers. They were all like minded travelers that included several individuals who traveled by themselves. Everyone took those singles under their wings and made sure they felt a part of everything. It was that kind of group. There were various sizes of tables and if you sat at one of the larger tables, you might have the pleasure of having one of the naturalists or photographers join you, and they always had great stories to tell. On two occasions, a Nat Geo photographer and a Naturalist donned scuba gear and dove the frigid waters with underwater camera equipment. Then that evening we would see their video production of what was going on underneath our boat. That was a real treat and quite a surprise to see all the marine life and beauty below. Cocktail hour in the lounge was at 6:00 and at 6:30 there would be a recap of the day and presentations by naturalists and photographers. These were often interrupted by the appearance of Humpback Whales breaching off the bow or an Orca mama bringing her calf to see the people. I always had my camera with me. And the food! I expected it to be good but was impressed with the gourmet fare and the presentation. There would always be an option for meat, fish or vegan fare. And no matter if it was a table for 4 or 10, they managed to have all courses delivered at the same time. I looked at the types of cruises listed below to check as applicable (Luxury, Gourmet, Entertainment, Family, Singles, etc.) but did not see one for “Adventure!” So this cruise was all those things plus the adventure!! 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Each day was an adventure to experience the culture, wildlife and nature of the area. The naturalists and expedition guides were extremely knowledgeable and gifted teachers. The day was packed with activities. The ship was comfortable, ... Read More
Each day was an adventure to experience the culture, wildlife and nature of the area. The naturalists and expedition guides were extremely knowledgeable and gifted teachers. The day was packed with activities. The ship was comfortable, staff could not have been better and the food was so tasty. The morning stretch yoga was the perfect way to start the day. Especially enjoyed our Yale professor's film discussion at night! The trip was the Inside Passage from Seattle to Sitka, Alaska. I always refer to trips with Lindblad and National Geographic as "expeditions" not cruises. We discover the area with our expeditions leaders and guides and based on conditions, the path can be altered. We experienced very close encountered with breaching humpback whales, breaching minke whales, sea otters, snow geese, tufted puffins, calving glaciers, and much more. The ship's captain was very approachable and addressed our group often. The crew truly operated as a team and we always felt safe and in excellent hands!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Whale Watching!! Cruising through the incredibly beautiful and serene Sea of Cortes and then around Cabo San Lucas to the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We were able to see 5 different species of whales (up close and personal, ... Read More
Whale Watching!! Cruising through the incredibly beautiful and serene Sea of Cortes and then around Cabo San Lucas to the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. We were able to see 5 different species of whales (up close and personal, including petting a momma and baby grey). Porpoises and sea birds galore. The new Venture was magnificent and the crew including the naturalists, expedition leader and photographers were all incredibly accommodating and knowledgeable. We had a cabin with floor to ceiling windows that allowed us to view our surroundings during those few times that we were not in the zodiacs, viewing the wildlife or relaxing on the sundeck. Our shore excursions were well planned, interesting and fun. The shipboard food was plentiful and rated a five star review. This two week plus expedition was absolutely perfect in all ways. We would highly recommend this trip to nature lovers of all types. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Getting close to Grey Whales - touching them! Our main - primary - virtually only - objective was to get into the San Ignacio Lagoon (Unesco Site) to get up close and TOUCH the whales - as you advertise EVERYWHERE. It did NOT happen. ... Read More
Getting close to Grey Whales - touching them! Our main - primary - virtually only - objective was to get into the San Ignacio Lagoon (Unesco Site) to get up close and TOUCH the whales - as you advertise EVERYWHERE. It did NOT happen. Extremely disappointing. Supposedly the weather (wind) did not permit it. However, on land trip in La Paz a couple on the shuttle into town took a trip with a different company and were able to get into the Lagoon apparently the SAME day we were not able to get there. WHY? It appeared the Captain was either too cautious or wanted to move things along or (as apparently there were) problems with the ship (e.g. water pressure and a crew member had to be taken off the ship due to illness). Over $10,000 to sale around, visit towns (nothing exciting), and beaches (just ok) - but not do what we went to do. Somehow, based on the Itinerary, we missed an entire day - apparently just sailing around. I doubt seriously that we will take another Expedition with Lindblad. Four of us took the Galapagos trip with Lindblad (my husband and I were in Cabin 401) and it was great. We did everything and more on that trip. We should be refunded for this trip! BTW - The Extension was very good - they (not Lindblad) did a great job. Also, the Expedition Leader did not handle communicating logistics well - we learned things only because people asked questions, which wasted time when he could have given information to start with. REALLY REALLY DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Everything that was described to us as to what our activities would be on this trip never happened!! We were on the ship for 9 days and only left the ship for a total of about 9 hours and that was for a couple of hikes, one whale watching ... Read More
Everything that was described to us as to what our activities would be on this trip never happened!! We were on the ship for 9 days and only left the ship for a total of about 9 hours and that was for a couple of hikes, one whale watching and a barbecue on shore. The weather was not great so all of the off the ship activities which were snorkeling, more hiking, kayaking, swimming with sea lions and more whale watching were all canceled but unfortunately they had no back up plans. They finally felt so bad for us so they took us to a piece of land which was a dirt road with broken glass all over it so that we could stretch our legs! There was no on board entertainment or activities...so if you were not off the ship for an activity there was absolutely nothing to do. It also appeared that the crew except for a few were new at their job and did not engage with us even on our time off the ship. The few times we were off the ship there was no clear direction nor concern for the guests. There was also only one launch area working for the zodiacs which made it a long process to get on and off the ship. We were told that they were missing a part for the other launch area so it was unusable. This ship and crew were not ready for this expedition. The dining room service was very good and the food was above average. Unfortunately that’s all we did on this trip was wait for the next meal to be served. We were so disappointed on this trip after having such a wonderful experience going to Antarctica with the same company. It is understandable that you can not control the weather but there should have been some kind of alternate plan in place. Stay away from this trip...it is a waste of time and lots of money! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Baja cruise out of La Paz : The opportunity to do a variety of activities - hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, birdwatching, yoga and photography. We especially enjoyed the photography talks and walks - it was an unexpected bonus. Three ... Read More
Baja cruise out of La Paz : The opportunity to do a variety of activities - hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, birdwatching, yoga and photography. We especially enjoyed the photography talks and walks - it was an unexpected bonus. Three small criticisms: One involved a hike on day 3 that was not well - researched. The natural history guide dismissed our interest in birds. We were disappointed in not having a beach BBQ. This was highly touted in the brochure. This was planned for the final night - but was cancelled due to windy conditions. Instead, we had dinner on board - which sadly was similar fare as other nights. There was no BBQ! Finally, we were headed to bird rocks by zodiac and the guide decided to take a long (fruitless) detour to find some dolphins that were sited. It was a fast, wet, rough ride. The leader did this without consulting the traveller's on the boat. This limited our time remaining for birdwatching which was very disappointing. Read Less
National Geographic Venture Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 0.0 4.4
Dining 0.0 4.7
Entertainment 0.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 0.0 4.3
Family 0.0 4.3

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