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Sail Date: February 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
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
1 Helpful Vote
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: November 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: August 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: July 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
National Geographic Explorer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 5.0 N/A

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