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38 Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer Cruise Reviews

We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might ... Read More
We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might have been claustrophobic, but we spent little time there and the porthole made it easy to darken the cabin when it was still light at midnight. The cabin is also located near the anchor, so we knew when the ship was docking but it was never disturbing. The cabin was generously sized, especially the bathroom and shower - more so than other larger ships we have sailed. The exploration programs were accompanied with a naturalist, whether a hike on land, a ride in a zodiac right up to cliffs of nesting puffins or into a pod of whales or a bike ride on an abandoned road. There were always choices from strenuous to relaxed that allowed you to really see the geology and wildlife. The ship stopped at a different location every day. If we were traveling to a location over a morning or afternoon there were special presentations on Iceland and its politics and facets of the nature we would see. This voyage also included a National Geographic photographer who spoke several times - they even did a session on iPhone photography that appealed to me!! The trip was heavy on people with big cameras and big lenses but friendly and welcoming to all. It is a tradition on Lindblad cruises to meet every evening before dinner to recap the days adventures with a cocktail, photos, videos and short presentations from the naturalists and other experts on board. On this voyage, there were also music programs introducing traditional and current Icelandic music on board and on shore, including an on-board 'festival' one evening that offered the chance to listen to 3 different local performers. The presentations by the botanist on board were a big hit - who knew tiny plants could be so amusing. With the exception of an optional day trip to horseback ride, every excursion was included in the price. The hotel staff was friendly and efficient. The dining was excellent - lots of local dishes but a spectrum of choices for everyone. It was a buffet for breakfast and lunch and open seating for dinner. Smoked and pickled fish caught off the ship that morning, local lamb from the ubiquitous Iceland sheep; one day was Thai and Vietnamese, another day mostly Italian. My husband raved about the beef. I tried several of the vegetarian entrees offered each evening because they were so interesting. I know that Iceland struggles with vegetables but on this ship we had a bounty. A big plus was having the bar tab included - this is not a crowd that cruises to drink heavily, but how nice to have a pre-dinner cocktail, wine with dinner and sometimes an after dinner drink without fussing with invoices and deciding who was going to pay that evening. This voyage marked my first brush with sea-sickness - I can have trouble with cars and buses but usually not ships. Several days, the ship encountered rough water due to a storm system. The ship is proportionally smaller than the big ships (156 passengers) and it makes a difference. One afternoon it felt like being at the top of a roller coaster over and over - (that’s when I suffered:) I ended up taking Dramamine for several days. That managed the situation but for the future on a ship of this size I will be more pro-active. The ship’s captain did his best to steer the ship to avoid the worst of the weather and I know one day our location was chosen to get us into a fjord and out of the rougher seas. On the other hand, the weather on land was great and made many things much more enjoyable - very little rain, clouds and sun and moderately cool temps (45-62 degrees, but often windy). We didn't use our warmest clothes, but we were happy we had windproof/waterproof layers. If you are interested in really seeing and learning the culture, music, geography and nature and avoiding crowds at the most popular spots, this is a great choice. We went tiny places and privately owned places that are difficult to reach along with small cities that could not handle crowds. Getting to the ship was easy - we were met by Lindblad at the airport and transferred to a local hotel where a day room and lunch were available after our overnight flight. There was a city tour, museum visit and then we were transferred to board the ship late afternoon ( a very smooth process). We met a number of passengers who had arrived a day or two early and joined up with the group for lunch. Disembarkation was also easy - if you didn't have an early flight departure, there were final excursions that morning and lunch included. We stayed an extra night in Reykjavik and wish we had asked and known earlier which hotel was Lindblad's drop-off for those staying over (the info showed up in final documents we got a couple weeks before departure) - we would have stayed at that hotel rather than having to manage luggage transfer to a taxi and a trip to another hotel. Next time, we will know to ask about the departure hotel early. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
For persons seeking adventures and wishing to learn more about the planet we share, this expedition experience was beyond expectations. The scientists and naturalists traveling with us expanded my worldview through sharing their knowledge ... Read More
For persons seeking adventures and wishing to learn more about the planet we share, this expedition experience was beyond expectations. The scientists and naturalists traveling with us expanded my worldview through sharing their knowledge not only during scheduled presentations, but when hanging out with us on the bridge and on the deck and eating with us in the dining room. How special it was to observe and hear from the whale team! And the ice!! So many colors and shapes. And who could not be awed by the adventures in the iceberg graveyard with those killer whales attacking and killing the seal right within yards of us!! Yes the food was good and I was so overfed everyday, and my cabin was cozy, clean, and comfortable. I was fortunate not to have problems with the Drake Passage, but rather enjoyed the adventure of it. Antarctica is a magical place and we other inhabitants of Planet Earth need to advocate for pristine places like this. I love my pictures, but I am glad to have a good memory so far, because the pictures cannot do it justice. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
While Lindblad/National Geographic may be a little more expensive than competitors, you really do get what you pay for - excellent ship and crew, expedition leader and staff, food, services, and above all naturalists and researchers who ... Read More
While Lindblad/National Geographic may be a little more expensive than competitors, you really do get what you pay for - excellent ship and crew, expedition leader and staff, food, services, and above all naturalists and researchers who are at the top of their own professions and more than willing to share their knowledge and excitement. Through no fault of L/NG, we lost our half day cruise on the Beagle Channel because of an airline short strike; that also meant missing time in Ushuaia before boarding. But once we pulled away, the magic began - starting with some rocking and rolling on the Drake Passage. Going ashore each day, sea kayaking and catching a glacier calving, zodiac rides through icebergs with seals, penguins and whales nearby, and polar plunges by many brave souls provided memories not to be forgotten. Hiking among busy penguin highways, experiencing the birds' curiosity, inhaling the fragrance of their rookeries, being a kid again and sliding down nice hills on our butts, breathing fresh air, watching waves crashing over the bow, and best of all being 'off the grid' in another beautiful world did wonders for the mind and for the soul. A visit to an abandoned research station starkly illustrated the challenges of early temporary inhabitants of this remote continent (and our 7th!) and the privations they confronted. Aboard ship on 'travel' days (and we got well below the Antarctic Circle on this expedition) we had the opportunity to hear illustrated talks by most of the 'experts' accompanying us, and a couple of special presentations by our Global Explorer, Jamling Tenzing Norgay. Each provided lots of information and often new insights into a variety of natural history subject matter, including stark and blunt assessments of what mankind is doing to planet earth. Food and accommodations were excellent. Always too much tempting food to consume, a great variety of meals for all (international) tastes, and all well prepared; service was a mix of buffet and table service. The lounge was well stocked with a variety of beverages to suit all reasonable demands, all included. 'Entertainment' was minimal, but educational seminars were abundant. Would I go again? In a heartbeat given the opportunity. But there are still many other parts of the world to be investigated while I still can do it. Some of the trips will definitely be with Lihndblad/National Geographic. A caution: One must have infinite patience and not be prone to frustration as one works through airports in South America. Count on frustrating hours in each one! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I have wanted to go to the Antarctic for 20 years (stimulated by my leadership experience at NSF), a wish that became increasingly urgent as the ice has been disappearing. I thought my first priority was seeing the penguins but the ice was ... Read More
I have wanted to go to the Antarctic for 20 years (stimulated by my leadership experience at NSF), a wish that became increasingly urgent as the ice has been disappearing. I thought my first priority was seeing the penguins but the ice was breathtaking! Activities. The quality of the naturalists was outstanding, a major asset of the expedition; I learned so much from each of them, even on topics I thought previously were less interesting. The trip was organized exquisitely -- both Jonathan and Alex were wonderful! I loved Jonathan's gentle wake up call and effective presentation of expedition options and Alex excelled at managing even difficult, complex arrangements with precision as well as joy and playfulness. Dining. The chef was outstanding, producing delicious meals; I especially appreciated the care taken with my food allergies by Chef Sara and servers. Ship. The Explorer is a ship with character! The captain and his crew were great, providing lots of information as well as fun on the bridge. Cabin. My cabin was well-designed, comfortable, and well-kept by the cleaning staff. Activities. The hikes and zodiac cruises were interesting and enjoyable. The naturalists provided useful information on these as well as in their separate talks. I found the special speaker -- Lee Hotz -- to be outstanding as a speaker. I also valued Lani's leadership with morning stretching and the massages -- which I really needed after popping a disc! Shore excursions. The shore excursions were fine, not a highlight. The major weakness of the expedition was reservations. I was on the wait list for the expedition and assumed that I lacked information for that reason but many others seemed to have similar concerns. This weakness was exacerbated with the pilot strike and disrupted travel on the way home. The ground staff were nice enough but provided little help except getting us on buses. Reservations needs someone with the logistical skill of an Alex. I will probably not go on another trip to the Antarctic, unless one of our grandkids decide to take their "anywhere in the world trip" to this location. I've already traveled with Lindblad/NatGeo to Galapagos, and will likely sign up for an Arctic expedition. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose this cruise among other of alternatives based on NG's reputation, the length of the cruise and the timing. I am an avid photographer and history buff, especially of the Antarctic heroic exploration period, and I've ... Read More
I chose this cruise among other of alternatives based on NG's reputation, the length of the cruise and the timing. I am an avid photographer and history buff, especially of the Antarctic heroic exploration period, and I've been wanting to go to Antarctica for years, ever since watching a Masterpiece Theater mini-series in 1982 describing the race to the pole, based on Roland Huntford's book. This cruise went to the Antarctic peninsula and no where near the Ross Ice Shelf where the polar journeys started, but this is as close as a civilian can get! Basically the adventure starts by flying to Buenos Aires. You get yourself there either by buying your own tickets or letting Lindlbad do it for you. They have recommended flights and an arrival/departure window of time. From the Buenos Aires Int airport they take you and everyone else by bus to a nice hotel where they feed you and take you on an optional city tour. We saw Evita's mausoleum and some folksy areas. The next morning you get up early and go to the local airport and take a charter flight on Latam (an Airbus A320) to Ushuaia. Next you take a bus tour through the park to a catamaran that takes you to the port where you board the NG Explorer. It's their largest ship and with room for 148 passengers and 100 crew. At this point I put on my anti-sea sickness patch and it worked well for me. The next two days you spend crossing the Drake Passage. We had a smooth trip going and coming back - lucky us. A lot of people were sea sick but none wearing patches so do your homework to avoid sea sickness. We arrived at the South Shetland Islands and spent the next 6 days exploring islands all the way down to Port Lockroy. We landed 9 times, once on just the ice and once on the continent. We had lots of opportunities to see seals, penguins (3 species), whales and other birds. On the way back we visited Deception Island (no landing) and saw Cape Horn. The food was great, buffets for breakfast and lunch, sit-down for dinner with a number of selections, and a coffee/drink bistro open from about 6 AM to dinner. Also lots of interesting people to meet and speak with. They had a program for juniors and lectures each evening. Plenty to eat and drink, always. Here are some suggestions for photographers: The weight limit on the chartered flight is low, only 57 lbs checked and 17 pounds carry on. I didn't realize this until two days before so I had to rethink my packing. I usually carry a 35 lb camera bag and laptop. I wanted to take a back up body - I shoot Nikon, but the weight was too restrictive. So I took one body, and the 24-120mm F4, 70-200mm F2.8 and the 200-500mm F5.6 lenses. I also took a tripod. If I go again I would take my 28-300mm F4-F6 lens. You don't need fast lenses - there is lots of light, but you need depth of field and long length. Most of my pics where at 200 mm with the 70-200mm. The 200-500mm was too awkward most of the time. I didn't use the tripod but would have used a monopod. The animals move quickly so I was shooting continuous-high and taking 5 or more exposures at a time of the birds and whales. (Penguins are slow!). I was at ISO of 800 to 1000 or so and I was able to shoot F8 to F11 at 1/200 to 1/1000 speeds. I took a waterproof point and shoot and it was also useful. I rented the boots and poles from Ship-to-Shore and they were excellent. I recommend them in large part so you don't have to transport the weight. They have a stock on the ship so if you don't order the correct size you have a chance to exchange. They give you an orange parka and vest. I took some ski pants and jacket but never needed them. I wore jeans with ordinary long under ware, thick socks, their parka and vest, and was never cold except on the bow when cruising in the wind, when my face was cold. Bring two pairs of gloves - you may need to let one pair dry out. I purchased those golve/mittens for photographers that have removable covers for your fingers and thumb and they worked very well. I had a thin balaclava which was helpful when the wind was up. So I took more than a thousand pictures, edited them on the boat and had a great experience. The downside - Internet was slow since it's satellite based. I knew it would be slow but I was surprised to see they wanted so much extra for connecting. I purchased 120 mins for $50 but it was gone almost immediately. I am not sure why. I then purchased unlimited time for $250 for the trip and used it several times a day. During peak hours it was really too slow to use for any thing other than brief emails. You can see my pics on my face book page - Michael Stenstrom So if I had it to do over again, I certainly would. I would try my best to talk my family into going with me! mks Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
There are not enough words to describe Lindblad's trip from Antartica. Arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Transiting to Ushuaia via charter. Four hour catamaran cruise through the Beagle Channel. Safety, logistics and timing were ... Read More
There are not enough words to describe Lindblad's trip from Antartica. Arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Transiting to Ushuaia via charter. Four hour catamaran cruise through the Beagle Channel. Safety, logistics and timing were impeccable in a very dynamic weather environment. National Geographic Explorer is a class 1 A ice breaker. Peter Wilson is an experienced expedition leader. When you are at the end of the world, it was important to have confidence in the staff making daily decisions. Everyday was an excursions into the land of penguins, seals, whales and immense glaciers, that dwarf anything you think you know. And learn we did. There were 2 passengers for every naturalist, who had diverse specialty interests which they shared with us. I learned a lot from the National Geographic photographer, Todd Gipstein. The 3 National Geographic teachers also shared their views about educating children in todays world, which I found very interesting since my first grand baby was born while I was on this trip.This world will be hers. We must make a commitment to maintain Antartica's pristine ecology. This trip had spectacular, photographic scenery. It was much more than that. Lindblad's trip to to Antartica is a transformative experience.You will never be able to look at the world as you did, nor should you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are not "cruise" people. Lindblad/Nat Geo call this and expedition and we found out why. Expeditions will take you to the places they mention but where exactly is determined by the weather, the sea, and the animal life which ... Read More
We are not "cruise" people. Lindblad/Nat Geo call this and expedition and we found out why. Expeditions will take you to the places they mention but where exactly is determined by the weather, the sea, and the animal life which all can be tricky. What people don't tell you is how essential the expedition leader is. We had a seasoned leader by the name of Russ Evans. Russ was so good that we would try to find him on other cruises just to have him lead our travel. Russ made sure that each and everyday was special and working with the Captain Aaron and the Asst. Leader for launches and the extensive team of seasoned naturalists - our trip was a total WOW. While we were about 140 guests - we never missed our on any landing having both Zodiac and shore cruises going on at the same time. Oh and doing the three locations is the best - each location is so different - I know a lot of people can't give 24 days for a trip like this - but going just to the Antarctica penninsula - you miss a lot. We were very happy to the spring - very beautiful and less smelly I think than fall (e.g. Feb.). Yes - this one is a bit pricey - but absolutely worth it and the crew of the Explorer goes all out for lodging, meals, and the expedition. We would go with Lindblad/Nat Geo again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose Lindblad/National Geographic because we have traveled with them several times in the past and we were quite certain that the adventure would be one we would be glad we had - and we were not disappointed. Lindblad Expeditions truly ... Read More
We chose Lindblad/National Geographic because we have traveled with them several times in the past and we were quite certain that the adventure would be one we would be glad we had - and we were not disappointed. Lindblad Expeditions truly provides travelers an opportunity to explore the world in the company of knowledgeable naturalists, experienced guides, professional photographers, and expedition leaders who strive to take the travelers where they want to go - safely and comfortably. We love the Explorer. The ship is beautiful, comfortable, fit for all seas and both poles. The cabins are all nicely appointed, comfortable and clean. Everyone on board the ship provides terrific customer service - starting with the captain, the hotel manager and the expedition leader. The chef does a great job of providing excelent meals all day long, which is quite a feat when there often is no re-provisioning for weeks at a time since the ship is busy exploring the Arctic, where towns with provisions are few and far between. There are plenty of opportunites to get off the ship - to do a bit of hiking, kayaking, or cruising the waters in a Zodiac. There are many lectures to attend, given by experts about the places you'll visit and the things you'll see. If you want casinos and floor shows, this is not the ship for you. If you want an adventure of a lifetime, I encourage you to sign up now! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Why Iceland: We did a back-to-back circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea on the Orion and loved the experience so we decided the way to see Iceland was by circumnavigation. This trip was amazing and is at the top of my list of ... Read More
Why Iceland: We did a back-to-back circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea on the Orion and loved the experience so we decided the way to see Iceland was by circumnavigation. This trip was amazing and is at the top of my list of recommendations to friends. We did the heli-hiking extension and it was an "over-the-top" experience. I highly recommend this extension for anyone that wants to see Iceland from places many never venture to. You must be adventurous and able to hike on rough terrain. Our guide Gaddi Hrafn Sigurjonsson, from Asgard Beyond was fabulous. He took us on hikes and was there to encourage us to experience the wild beauty of Iceland. I will enclose a couple of photos from our lunch on the top of a mountain and hiking across the glacier. We talked to a number of guests on the ship about taking the extension, and the feedback was it was too expensive. I would say yes, expensive, but a once in a lifetime experience, well worth every penny. I think Nat Geo and Lindbland could do a better job of marketing this heli-hiking adventure. The Ship: The staff was amazing. We especially want to call out Peter Wilson, Expedition Leader, Karen Veles, Naturalist, Madalena Patacho, Naturlist, James Coleman, Naturalist and one staff member that has been with Lindblad for many years, Chris who was a server in the lounge and restaurant. His customer service and engagement with the guests was first class. We heard he started as a dishwasher and has been promoted to his current customer facing role. It is nice to know that Lindbland is a family and promotes from within. The first time we met Peter Wilson he was a Naturalist and now is leading expeditions. Our trip to Iceland on the Explorer is filled with fine memories that will be with us forever. We are even considering going back in the winter for a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose Lindblad/NatGeo expedition because of the destination and the onboard naturalists. We have done two otherLindblad/ NatGeo expeditions before this one and were very happy with the crew, food, onboard naturalists and destination. We ... Read More
We chose Lindblad/NatGeo expedition because of the destination and the onboard naturalists. We have done two otherLindblad/ NatGeo expeditions before this one and were very happy with the crew, food, onboard naturalists and destination. We thought the Orion was a bit better (it is newer and smaller than the Explorer) with better food. There should be more snacks out in the observation lounge...the Orion had granola bars, ginger tea and ginger candies (ginger tea is great for seasickness!), which were missing on the Explorer. As i mentioned is describing the cabin, a lighted makeup mirror is essential. Again, the Orion had these installed in each bathroom. The dining room service could have been better. It felt like they were a bit understaffed. However, service was very friendly and courteous. Food was good, but not a tasty or inventive as we had on the Orion. There was occasionally confusion about our daily offshore excursions and I think that can be attributed to the expeditions leaders. In spite of these minor criticisms, the trip was wonderful overall. Lindblad/NatGeo is highly recommended! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
No doubt about it , this is a trip of a life time . The itinerary allows one to have a very in-depth exploration of Iceland----- its history , culture , wild-life and scenery . And the crew and the scientific resource persons on board ... Read More
No doubt about it , this is a trip of a life time . The itinerary allows one to have a very in-depth exploration of Iceland----- its history , culture , wild-life and scenery . And the crew and the scientific resource persons on board cannot be better. However , because of the rough open sea around Iceland and the fact that the ship often had to sail in rough water during dinner , I have to miss 4 dinners out of the 9 evenings. And I am not the only one--- half of the 8 people in my group vomited at least once or had to take motion-sickness medication at some stage. The ship even had to put up ropes in the corridor to allow people to hang on to as they walk to dinner/lunch. So ,if you are prone to sea-sickness , this is not a ship for you . Another thing that I never realize , nor was I able to obtain any information prior to booking is that the people in the lower cabins at the back ( stern) of the boat will suffer from terrible engine noise . We were in the 300 level ( one deck below the reception) , and the noise in our cabin was so terrible that I had to raise my voice just talking to my wife whenever she was more than 10 feet away. And it was simple not possible to turn on any quite music in the cabin. Mercifully , the noise was constant and after awhile , one sort of got used to it and every night, sleep would eventually come after a initial irritating phase. On the other hand , my friends who were at the same level but had cabins near the front( bow) of the boat , experienced very minimal engine noise throughout the day . If someone had reviewed that before , I would have chosen my cabin more wisely . I just could not understand why no one has even mention that in any past review. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We did quite a bit of research on trips to the Antarctic and Lindblad/Nat.Geo. was always at the top of the list of preferred providers. We found them to be absolutely correct. The ship, the entire staff, the food, the itinerary, ... Read More
We did quite a bit of research on trips to the Antarctic and Lindblad/Nat.Geo. was always at the top of the list of preferred providers. We found them to be absolutely correct. The ship, the entire staff, the food, the itinerary, everything exceeded our expectations. The many very talented naturalists brought all the wonderful things we experienced to a new level of understanding and appreciation. The professional photographers were very helpful in the many different aspects of photography in the Antarctic and how we could improve our own skills in capturing memories of all the wildlife, terrain, icebergs, etc. We have spent the past 18 years traveling to many destinations around the world but this expedition has been among the very best. We particularly liked the way that the itinerary was adjusted regarding the weather and sea/ice conditions to allow us to make the very most of our time in the areas which we traveled Many thanks. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
After much research and talking to people who have been on Antarctic expeditions, we chose to go with Lindblad on this epic southern journey and it was an eye opening experience. We loved nearly all aspects of the expedition fundamentals - ... Read More
After much research and talking to people who have been on Antarctic expeditions, we chose to go with Lindblad on this epic southern journey and it was an eye opening experience. We loved nearly all aspects of the expedition fundamentals - the shore experience, the ship, the cabin, other guests, the ship crew, the naturalists, the hotel management and staff who in particular were truly wonderful. The voyage and the way it was planned and conducted was outstanding. Lindblad made sure we saw and experienced everything of beauty and importance that was within our reach including making detours wherever necessary. We liked the sense of adventure and exploration that was inherent in the way they planned the trip - it felt as if we were experiencing something not meant for many people. Consider, only in Stanley the ship docked and we walked out on to the jetty. Every other landing in those 3 weeks was a beach landing on zodiac boats! When we came back to the ship or on the days when we were at sea, the hotel management and the staff were simply outstanding in their service. The cabin was comfortable and spacious and housekeeping was simply outstanding. They also ran a great dining room with food from many countries on offer. The lounge and the bar were great places to mix with others and also learn from the Naturalists and NatGeo photographers who were all very generous in sharing their knowledge in the "re-cap" sessions. We also liked the diversity of the naturalist group - ranging from the lichen guy to the penguin guy to the reptile expert! We really liked the amount of time we spent away from the ship and the sometimes physically challenging hikes. While at sea when nothing much was happening outside, there was the library where one could read; the chart room where we could trace our voyage on charts; or the gym where one could work out. The open bridge policy and the easy access to the ship's crew and the captain was amazing and very, very comforting to us. The shore expeditions were incredibly well organized. The beauty of these places - we were able to enjoy it only because of the meticulous and safe manner in which Lindblad organized these excursions and made sure everyone had a chance to enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the animals. Kayaking in the waters off of South Georgia was absolutely a beautiful experience. We really appreciated that they put the guest experience of those lands as the central focus of the trip - supported by great service from each person that we encountered on the ship. The pristine beauty and the vastness of the landscapes we visited and the abundance and diversity of animals and birds was an experience we will never forget. We also made so many great friends on this voyage who were in awe of what we were experiencing around us. It took us some time to go over our concerns and fears about travel in the Southern Ocean (or, for that matter ship travel on high-seas itself). Having decided, we are very happy that we went with Lindblad who made everything possible to make this not only adventurous and memorable but also safe and "comforting". We have been on day excursions on the sea earlier. But this was our very first high-seas expedition/ cruise experience ever and we are hooked! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our second journey to this part of the world with Lindblad/National Geographic on the Explorer. We obviously wouldn't have gone a second time if we hadn't loved the first time. The destinations are ... Read More
This was our second journey to this part of the world with Lindblad/National Geographic on the Explorer. We obviously wouldn't have gone a second time if we hadn't loved the first time. The destinations are other-worldly.There is something almost majestic about Antarctica (kind of like Alaska on steroids - without the tanzanite shops). The ice, the skies, the weather, the animals are all spectacular. South Georgia is of interest to anyone who knows the story of Ernest Shackleton, as well as to anyone interested in seeing the abundant wildlife - the penguins, the elephant seals, the fur seals, the sea lions, the whales, the birds. And going to the Falkland Islands is like visiting the UK - a small (and charming) part of it, anyway. We love the Explorer ship. It is big enough, but not too big. Everyone gets to land on Antarctica (which isn't true of all ships). The captains are skilled and personable and welcome guests to spend time on the bridge. The naturalists must be among the best in the industry. The staff is terrific - skilled and helpful and welcoming. The food is very good. There are professional photographers on board to help novices figure out their cameras and help the more experienced enhance their skills. There are plenty of activities, both on and off the ship. There can be hiking, taking cruises in the Zodiacs, kayaking, paddle-boarding, taking a polar plunge. There are many lectures to attend to learn more about the destinations or the flora or the fauna. There is always a videographer onboard making a video that is available for purchase at the end of the trip - a professionally-produced memory of a splendid experience. Cabins 101 and 102 are big and very handy to the bridge, the chart room (where the coffee is always hot!), and the dining room. There are also a few large cabins at the stern of the ship on the 200 level. There is a fitness center, but it is quite small (a handful of aerobic excercise machines and a small area with weights). In summary, we love this ship, we love this destination, and we love the kind of adventures offered by Lindblad/National Geographic. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I have no suggestions to offer to make this trip any better. The coordination of all facets of this wonderful experience reminded me of well rowing negative effects of global warming. oiled gears that did not fail. The vessel, Explorer, ... Read More
I have no suggestions to offer to make this trip any better. The coordination of all facets of this wonderful experience reminded me of well rowing negative effects of global warming. oiled gears that did not fail. The vessel, Explorer, was immaculately clean and the crew was professional, courteous and skilled. Captain Oliver was a true ambassador for Lindblad and National Geographic. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and very relaxing. Our dining experience was superb with fine food, excellent service which was enjoyed in three different dining areas. The opportunities presented by the activities will never be forgotten. The zodiac rides, the sites, the on the spot lectures about the continent and the sea world were terrific. We gained a new appreciation of the global warming. This experience will never be forgotten. Once again, we will be on another global adventure with your wonderful LINDBLAD NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO...... Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our third Linblad cruise, second on Explorer. Arctic was amazing, this was better. If you go early in the season, you can park the ship in the ice and cross country ski or snow shoe on the ice. If you go late in the season, as ... Read More
This was our third Linblad cruise, second on Explorer. Arctic was amazing, this was better. If you go early in the season, you can park the ship in the ice and cross country ski or snow shoe on the ice. If you go late in the season, as we did, you have a much better chance of seeing more whales. The penguins make you laugh just looking at them. Saw three species of penguins. The whales were just incredible. Saw a pod of killer whales and several humpback whales, also fin whales and blue whales. The naturalists are all amazing. They all obviously love what they do and convey that love to you. Everything Linblad does is first class. The only negative, which no one can control is weather. We had a very smooth Drake crossing southbound, but the return trip made up for it. 30 foot swells and wind. But you know that going in and cannot say it is unexpected. It actually adds to your trip memories. Fortunately, the weather in Antarctica was very favorable. We made two continental landings. Made it south of the Antarctic circle. Temperatures in the 32-34 degree Fahrenheit range. One day wind chill down tro 17, but with their supplied parkas, I never heard anyone complain about being cold. There were several passengers on board that this was their 3rd or 4th trip to Antarctica. Linblad is not inexpensive, but they do an excellent job. We booked our next trip to Baja while on this trip. Can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The Maritimes cruise was a disappointment. I expect more from Nat Geo/Lindblad. My prior trips were amazing but this one was boring at times. Part of it was the location and part was Lindblad. The Maritimes are pretty barren and sparsely ... Read More
The Maritimes cruise was a disappointment. I expect more from Nat Geo/Lindblad. My prior trips were amazing but this one was boring at times. Part of it was the location and part was Lindblad. The Maritimes are pretty barren and sparsely populated. Small fishing villages are quaint but after a while the whole Cod fish story gets fishy. The highlights were the Viking camps and restored Viking settlement and the field discussion on how the continents separated from Pangea; the guide was awesome. The cruise ship Explorer is very nice and the cabin was also very nice (209). What wasn't special was the food and the almost uninterested naturalists and their presentations. The learning could be much more interesting. Jim Richardson the cruise photographer is an awesome photographer but he also was more interested in taking his own photos instead of interacting with the guests. His photo presentation on the last night; however, was amazing. The cruise expedition Director often gave confusing complex information. The Captain spent way too much time talking and too much time praising a whole lot of cruise employees. Another issue was the guest makeup. The guest makeup of this cruise group seemed to be a lot older than previous trips. There were several people who could barely walk and should not have been on the trip because they made the pace frustrating. Many guests complained about how they impacted the trip. We loved our earlier cruises and tell all our friends about Nat Geo/Lindlad but this trip gets minimal kudos from us as I felt it did not offer much value for the expense. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my second cruise with Lindblad. The first was to the Galapagos. We chose this trip because we thought it would give us an overall view of both Iceland and Greenland. It did just that. The Iceland portion was disappointing as ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Lindblad. The first was to the Galapagos. We chose this trip because we thought it would give us an overall view of both Iceland and Greenland. It did just that. The Iceland portion was disappointing as we spent way more time in a bus than we cared to and everything felt rushed. This is a new trip for Lindblad and they need to iron out the wrinkles. The hotels were less than I expect from Lindblad. The Radisson was under construction and not a good choice. The Greenland portion on the ship was great, though the weather could have been more cooperative. Being among the icebergs is an experience that will stay with me forever and Eternity Fjord was magnificent! The food was excellent everywhere. The cabin was very comfortable. If you are on a budget, I would recommend spending the extra to get a full window as opposed to a porthole. The views are worth it. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The hiking on this trip is rather vigorous and not for those disabled in any way by physical issues. Not the trip of a lifetime. If you have only one trip in your future, this is not the one to choose. I would not go on this trip again, but would choose the Svalblad trip which many of our fellow passengers recommended. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Although we did complete the evaluation form given to us onboard the Explorer, when we got home from the Epic 80* trip, we wished we had said more. That expedition was absolutely one of the best trips we have ever taken. Russ Evans, ... Read More
Although we did complete the evaluation form given to us onboard the Explorer, when we got home from the Epic 80* trip, we wished we had said more. That expedition was absolutely one of the best trips we have ever taken. Russ Evans, the expedition leader, did everything he could to maximize our exposure to spectacular wildlife and landings. As promised, he woke us during the night when there were special sightings. He worked so hard all the time executing his role but we also saw him carrying out mundane tasks such as stuffing information sheets in our mailboxes while we were eating dinner. He clearly made this trip an extraordinary adventure. The efforts of many of the other staff members went beyond our expectations. Dan Odess came to “rescue” several of us who were stuck in knee-deep mud while climbing to the Greenland ice cap. We also noticed that in the Greenland airport, Dan was the Lindblad person standing in the security area and helping guests maneuver with their luggage. The naturalists were all excellent, but we want to give special kudos to two in particular who were our favorites. Karen Copeland was always approachable and reliable as a source of important information. Carl Erik Kilander was very special to us as a leader of long hikes, our guide to birds, and also as master of munitions in the event we needed that expertise. The waiters were excellent, and it was fun to see so many we had known on previous trips. Many thanks especially to Fausto, Rommel, and Renato, and also to Hector and Reynaldo. The housekeeping staff was outstanding, and Leizl, our housekeeper, always left our cabin in immaculate condition. She was also an expert at folding blankets into a variety of fun shapes; we loved seeing her creativity. Patrik, the hotel manager, is a pro, extremely well organized and so much fun. Likewise, Johanna, as Assistant EL, was a “breath of fresh air” when she spoke over the PA to direct us to the mudroom. Rita was so capable and approachable as ship physician. Captain Leif Skog was clearly an expert; he and his crew worked well with Russ to find new and exciting venues to explore and to spot wildlife. The Captain always made us feel welcome on the bridge. In all, the staff made our trip an extraordinary experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
For the money, my recent cruise to Greenland and Canadian Arctic was a bit of a let down. First, we were misdirected at the Reykjavík airport and the bus actually left without us! And did the same to at least one other person. The ground ... Read More
For the money, my recent cruise to Greenland and Canadian Arctic was a bit of a let down. First, we were misdirected at the Reykjavík airport and the bus actually left without us! And did the same to at least one other person. The ground tours were ok but very rushed, and they paraded us around Iceland for 6 hours or so after arriving at 6am from a 5-hour flight. The parting lunch was abysmal, and the restaurant was so crowded the food buffet was mostly inaccessible. I finally found a seat and a tour rep asked me to move so a couple could sit together! Then no one had any idea how the luggage would be retrieved by us at the airport going to Greenland, but clearly told us it was solely our own responsibility. Wow. The cruise itself was great, but again, there was a complete lack of organization by the expedition crew. And most, but not all, expedition crew were really very unfriendly and downright arrogant. The leader even rushed me along into the zodiac leaving an island, and I was one of the fast ones. Another one mocked me for not getting out of the way quick enough so he could photograph a site without people in it. Also, why does the staff get to sit in the first-class seats to and from Greenland/Iceland? And on the ship, while everyone occupied the bow area to photograph interesting animals, the best spots were taken by the Nat Geo photographers. They are PAID to be there, while the guests paid for the experience. Surely we should have access to the very front first. Back in Iceland, the same disorganization continued. Where are the bags?, no one knows, come down at 9am to ID your bag, then the story changes. The very high price is supposed to, in part, avoid these types of things. But apparently not. The ship itself was very clean and pleasant. Her crew was excellent. The food was not bad, but gets repetitive after a while. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We decided to take Lindblad/National Geographic to the arctic because we had gone on a Lindblad cruise to Baja two years ago and loved it - But this was even better. We had one of the least desirable cabins (we booked late) but it was ... Read More
We decided to take Lindblad/National Geographic to the arctic because we had gone on a Lindblad cruise to Baja two years ago and loved it - But this was even better. We had one of the least desirable cabins (we booked late) but it was still more than adequate. The ship's public spaces are surprisingly commodious; lots of empty places to sit if you wanted to be alone. Very attractively designed. The food was ridiculous it was so good. Actually, a bit "much" sometimes. Everything was brilliantly organized and worked like clockwork. And the entire staff was so good humored and helpful. The most amazing part of the trip was the quality of the programs. We wanted to learn about the animals, the geology, the effect of climate change, the plants, the towns...everything. My standards are pretty high (I am a university professor) but everything was professionally planned and presented, with both enough information for the serious as well as enough entertainment for the casual. The program staff was unbelievable both in terms of expertise and also approach-ability. We so much enjoyed getting to know the naturalists, geologists, photographers, etc. You will probably find this hard to believe (I did at first!) but they really make you feel like a welcome guest. I should add that I was quite worried before i went about the fact that i am mobility impaired. The accommodations that were made to help me out were really outstanding,even though I was not able to do much of the hiking and kayaking. Everyone made it possible for me to do as much as I could, and did so without stressing me out in any way. It was helpful that there was a good quality elevator that made most parts of the ship easily accessible. THANK YOU, LINDBLAD/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!! Excellent service, Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This is my second time cruising with Lindblad Expeditions on the National Geographic Explorer. The first time was in Antarctica, and this time was in Svalbard. Overall, I would recommend taking these two cruises, as the shipboard ... Read More
This is my second time cruising with Lindblad Expeditions on the National Geographic Explorer. The first time was in Antarctica, and this time was in Svalbard. Overall, I would recommend taking these two cruises, as the shipboard experience is fantastic, and I reckon second to none. However, their weak customer service pre-cruise and post-cruise remains a material negative, which accounts for my 4 out of 5 stars rating. The reasons why I feel that the shipboard experience is fantastic include: (1) for a relatively small ship, it is very stable and comfortable; (2) the ship's crew is very diligent and caring, with great attention to details, and service is first class in every aspect; (3) the meals are delicious and there is sufficient variety, with different themes for lunch and dinner; (4) the wine list is decent, and on this latest cruise, complimentary as well; (5) the expedition staff are so passionate, knowledgeable, and capable that it is easy to forget that they are tourist industry professionals and instead mistake them for full-time scientists and explorers; (6) the itinerary is full of opportunities to get off the ship and explore the awesome surroundings; (7) the guest speakers, which includes one NatGeo photographer, deliver on making the overall experience even more memorable; and (8) even the gift shop is nice! On the other hand, my pre-cruise and post-cruise experience with them have been disappointing. Pre-cruise, their customer service team is inconsistent in responding to queries, choosing to address only what is convenient, and ignoring even the slightest complication in questions and requests. They sometimes even drop the ball, and have to be reminded to complete agreed upon tasks. For example, I had some credits which I wanted to apply to my latest cruise, but it took three reminders before they were reflected in the bill. Post-cruise, I dislike the absence of their staff at the final departure point. For example, on this latest cruise, they took on luggage from the ship, and loaded them directly on to trucks to be transported directly to the airport's departure hall, separately from the coaches we were on. When we reached the airport, their staff on the coaches gave us final instructions on collecting our luggage and boarding the flight, and went on their way. I then went to collect my luggage and discovered that it was damaged, but couldn't find any of their staff to report this problem, albeit a member of their expedition team who was on the same flight went out of her way to help us. When I returned home, I filed a claim against my travel insurance, who requested for proof that I was on this cruise. I sent an email to their customer service team requesting for the final receipt and a letter confirming that I was on this cruise. They only sent me a final receipt. They did not apologize for the inconvenience I suffered as a result of this problem; it is irritating that I had to ask them for a final receipt when it should have been sent to me after I made full payment; and they ignored my request for the letter confirming that I was on the cruise. Overall, the cruise experience was sufficiently positive to negate the frustrating pre-cruise and post-cruise customer service experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were originally booked on the Orion which we chose because it was the smaller ship carrying almost 30% fewer passengers than the Explorer. We transferred to the Explorer when the Orion sailings were cancelled. The Explorer was excellent ... Read More
We were originally booked on the Orion which we chose because it was the smaller ship carrying almost 30% fewer passengers than the Explorer. We transferred to the Explorer when the Orion sailings were cancelled. The Explorer was excellent and we never regretted not being able to sail on the Orion. We spent 6 days exploring Buenos Aires before joining our group flight to Ushuaia. We loved every minute of it. We recommend tango lessons for dancers and non dancers! We had 3. Our expedition was fantastic. Antarctica was breathtaking. In fact we were really disappointed when the ship set sail for South Georgia. We would have loved to stay longer. Our disappointment was soon forgotten once we arrived at South Georgia and started to enjoy the hikes, the scenery, wildlife and history. Our trip was made all the more enjoyable by the people we met on board and the fantastic crew and staff. Our expedition leader and the team of naturalists and photographers went out of their way to make sure our experience was enriched to the fullest. We have been home 3 days and our thoughts we keep returning to the wonderful experience we've just had. We feel very privileged to have had this opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Traveling on the National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, South Georgia, and The Falkland Islands was a "trip of a lifetime"! Our Expedition leader, Russ Evans, a Falklands Islands native, and NG Explorer Captain Oliver took ... Read More
Traveling on the National Geographic Explorer to Antarctica, South Georgia, and The Falkland Islands was a "trip of a lifetime"! Our Expedition leader, Russ Evans, a Falklands Islands native, and NG Explorer Captain Oliver took us to places that the Explorer had never been before. The Naturalists aboard were tops in their fields and were accessible to the passengers throughout the trip, albeit through their talks, traveling alongside us in zodiacs, on the landings, and sharing meals in the dining room. We especially enjoyed the Shackleton connections aboard and off the ship, including seeing Elephant Island, the hike into Stromness, the movie ENDURANCE available for viewing, the talks by the Naturalists, and toasting "The Boss" at his grave when we were in South Georgia, It was a life changing experience to be in such a pure and untouched part of our world, seeing the ever changing landscapes and being with animals in their natural turf and on their terms. Experiencing it was a privilege! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
How can you beat National Geographic? I had the best whale watching ever! A baby humpback headed towards our Zodiac and didn't dive under it until it was 20 feet away. I watched a leopard seal chase a penguin and both leaped out of ... Read More
How can you beat National Geographic? I had the best whale watching ever! A baby humpback headed towards our Zodiac and didn't dive under it until it was 20 feet away. I watched a leopard seal chase a penguin and both leaped out of the water onto a growler. Who has ever seen a leopard seal make it in one leap. Best of all, the penguin got away. The landing staff made sure we were in safe zones. Safety was a priority. I walked among the penguins, and they walked among us. The fledglings came right up to us, hoping to be fed. It was hard not to reach down and pick one up to take home. The land is starkly beautiful, as in an Ansel Adams photograph. Shear black mountains rose out of the sea. They were covered in ice caps, valley glaciers, and the ice flowed all around them and into the sea. It is a black and white continent, even the wild life. There is a loneliness to the land, a don't-leave-me-behind kind of loneliness. Above all, there is the ice; sea ice, land ice, glaciers, and icebergs - blue, white, and cold. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
National Geographic Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.3
Family 4.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.7
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.4
Rates 5.0 N/A

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