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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
As always with National Geographic/Lindblad the naturalists and navigators create an amazing wildlife experience. On this expedition we had extraordinary views of orcas, sealions, dolphins, porpoise, birds, and scenery, as well as lovely ... Read More
As always with National Geographic/Lindblad the naturalists and navigators create an amazing wildlife experience. On this expedition we had extraordinary views of orcas, sealions, dolphins, porpoise, birds, and scenery, as well as lovely nature walks with beautiful views. The lectures onboard were interesting and well-informed. We enjoyed visits to Friday Harbor, Alert Bay, and Victoria. The arranged visit to the First People's Big House in Alert Bay included presentations by several elders of the tribe (the Kwakwaka'wakw) and also dancing and a sample of local salmon and fry bread. A tour of the amazing U'mista Cultural Centre offered the opportunity to see antique artifacts belonging to the tribe, and enhanced our understanding of the history of this area. The food was disappointing -- not as good as we've had on other NG-Lindblad trips. The ship is generally comfortable and clean, though very small. The cabins are extremely small but we knew that when we signed up. Unfortunately the last day included a tour of Vancouver by bus with a TERRIBLE guide, but this was arranged with a different company. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
4th Linblad cruise and lived up to expectations. Staff were fantastic. Loved the photography tips. Alaska is a beautiful place - animals, sea, quiet, pristine - few people - I am sure the earth is happy there also. Fewer people ... Read More
4th Linblad cruise and lived up to expectations. Staff were fantastic. Loved the photography tips. Alaska is a beautiful place - animals, sea, quiet, pristine - few people - I am sure the earth is happy there also. Fewer people everywhere would do the world a lot of good. The food was fantastic and the stewards so personal and great. The photographers were fantastic and the naturalists (Lee and Linda) are a Linblad treasure. I cannot say enough about John Mitchell - who I know is going back to school but he was a great EL. His voice created us every morning and set the tone for the day. Paolo and Kim added a new and fun dimension to the trip - being a diver myself, it was exciting to see their video. I cannot say enough about James Biscardi who stayed in the shadows but made and absolutely outstanding video. More Linblad please. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
After a dull Alaska cruise on a large ship, we decided to try again and were not disappointed - this was a truly a wonderful expedition on the Lindblad/National Geographic Sea Bird. It wasn't only the humpback whales, killer whales, ... Read More
After a dull Alaska cruise on a large ship, we decided to try again and were not disappointed - this was a truly a wonderful expedition on the Lindblad/National Geographic Sea Bird. It wasn't only the humpback whales, killer whales, sea otters, brown bears and sea lions - we saw plenty of them for extended periods of time - but the chance to explore ashore in the wilderness. It was as if a veil was lifted and the boring scenery of endless spruces and hemlocks became a magical world of wildflowers, ferns, mosses, rushing brooks and birdsong. Our eyes could not get enough of the colors and shapes of the icebergs as they floated by. We were also introduced to culture of the native peoples. All the staff was excellent - the naturalists impressed us by their knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness. Our expedition leader John Mitchell was extremely well organized, an excellent communicator, and above all had a wonderful sense of humor. The dining/cabin stewards were fine young people, always eager to please. The hotel manager responded to all our requests. The dining experience was top notch. Delicious food, and lots of it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for our family of 10. Ages were 9,11,15,18, 47,47,48,49,74 &75. The cabins were compact, but very workable. Because our cabins were all in a line we could find each other and the younger ones could be with their ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our family of 10. Ages were 9,11,15,18, 47,47,48,49,74 &75. The cabins were compact, but very workable. Because our cabins were all in a line we could find each other and the younger ones could be with their parents or not. Meals, snacks and service was exceptional. I asked each member to tell me the three things they liked best and the 9 year old listed breakfast as one of them.The picky eaters were catered to and there was a large variety for the non picky adults. When it came to what people liked best it was all across the board of shore excursions, kayaking, walking, flight seeing,floating the Chilkat and the DIBs rides. I personally liked the information from the wildlife talks. It was a bonding experience for our family in a comfortable, exciting, beautiful venue which is why we booked it. We would highly recommend it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The NatGeo Lindblad Wild Alaska cruise on the Sea Bird (May 19th embarkation from Sitka) was incredible! We cannot say enough good things about the staff, crew and naturalists who made our 6-day cruise exceptional. In addition, our little ... Read More
The NatGeo Lindblad Wild Alaska cruise on the Sea Bird (May 19th embarkation from Sitka) was incredible! We cannot say enough good things about the staff, crew and naturalists who made our 6-day cruise exceptional. In addition, our little Sea Bird made it possible to get up close and personal to some of the Alaskan inlets and passages that the larger cruise ships cannot (or SHOULD not). [I'll be writing another review to lambaste the "Disney Wonder" monstrosity that barreled through Endicott Arm at 7 knots on its way to Dawes Glacier. It was not allowed to be there AND ignored the speed limit in order to block our view of the glacier.] From the moment we were greeted by the captain and crew at Sitka to disembarkation in Juneau six days later, we were treated like royalty, yet the atmosphere was wonderfully casual and down to earth. We were informed of upcoming talks by the naturalists, expedition choices each day, wild life sightings, wellness/exercise classes and photography workshops. The meals were outstanding and featured local cuisine with locally grown produce and sustainably caught seafood. We were transported by zodiaks (sturdy inflatable rubber boats like the ones Jacques Cousteau used) to remote shorelines where we could continue on by foot on hikes, kayak around the inlets, or hop on a stand-up paddle board! No one fell in! In Haines, Alaska we visited the Klukwan Heritage Center and floated down the Chilkat River, learning about this tribe and the wildlife that lives there. At the end of the trip, we were treated to a wonderful video compiled by the ship's rockin' videographer and we each received our own copy of the video to take home. Our photography expert also compiled our guest photos which we submitted before dinner, and got to see after dinner (when did HE eat dinner?). We came away with wonderful new friends and an appreciation for the indigenous people of southeast Alaska. THANK YOU LINDBLAD and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC for giving us the trip of a life time! We would definitely go again! And remember, do NOT sign up for a "Disney Wonder" cruise - EVER! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Whales! Not only did we see blue whales, gray whales and humpback whales, we were also close enough to hear them, and feel the spray of the "blow." The arcs of dolphins, rolls of sea lions, flights of pelicans, and spirals of ... Read More
Whales! Not only did we see blue whales, gray whales and humpback whales, we were also close enough to hear them, and feel the spray of the "blow." The arcs of dolphins, rolls of sea lions, flights of pelicans, and spirals of frigate birds were also impressive. The strolls through the desert were also compelling and a stark change from life on the water. The staff were experienced, enthusiastic and informative. They really made the expedition a success! They were all amazing and all added a special touch to the experience. The onboard expedition recaps, talks and photo lessons really enhanced the experience. The cabins were more comfortable than you might expect on an "expedition" though they are admittedly small and no frills. Who'd want to spend much time in their cabin with whales, seabirds, amazing scenery, and observations with fellow explorers to enjoy on the decks? I'd highly recommend this expedition! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I have been a raving fan of National Geographic for over 60 years! Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic combine adventure, hiking, snorkeling, learning about the planet in an unbelievable experience to be remembered forever. I love ... Read More
I have been a raving fan of National Geographic for over 60 years! Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic combine adventure, hiking, snorkeling, learning about the planet in an unbelievable experience to be remembered forever. I love the crew and the variety of experiences that comes all packaged in a remarkably well-organized expedition. I plan on being on one of their expedition per year. Future excursions will be to Costa Rica, Panama Canal, The Faulklands, Antartica, and Europe. This year we took our 9 year grandson. He came back with a deeper appreciation for the earth and was changed forever. My husband and I always come back more relaxed and enlightened to do better and to be better. Thank you, National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions for sharing your work with us. Everyone I see hears me talk about my many excursions with Nat Geo. From Alaska, Galapagos and now from Baja California. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My travel is, for the most part, independent so read what I have written here with that in mind. On occasion, I’ve tried a cruise or a guided tour in the hope that traveling with experts would enrich the experience even if it means being ... Read More
My travel is, for the most part, independent so read what I have written here with that in mind. On occasion, I’ve tried a cruise or a guided tour in the hope that traveling with experts would enrich the experience even if it means being tied to a large group of travelers that may not share my interests. When I’ve done this, I’ve kept it short, understanding that if it is good, I can always go on a longer trip with the same company. In early January, my teen son and I traveled with Lindblad’s Base Camp Baja: Espiritu Santo trip. The cruise was a partnership with Exhale, a company focused on wellness via yoga, meditation, and exercise programs. Lindblad pitches their program as an education-driven experience that gives insight into the natural world you are sailing through and the challenges of conservation. National Geographic co-markets the cruises and provides onboard photographers to deepen the experience for the guests through ongoing photography advice. Personally, I was hoping it would be a photography seminar of sorts provided by a professional. Taken together, I couldn’t imagine a better combination of activities. The cruise left La Paz, on the National Geographic Sea Bird, a 62-guest ship with 31 cabins, and circled Espiritu Santo an island wildlife preserve in the Gulf of Mexico. Stops on the trip were made for snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding as well as on-beach yoga. We learned from the staff that including Exhale in the program did attract a younger demographic to the trip than on their other cruises (which tend to be retirees and their families). The most memorable parts of our trip were: 1) Snorkeling with the sea lion pups. This encounter with the playful and acrobatic pups brought us close up to an iconic part of the ecosystem. The pups would dive, dart, and dodge around the snorkelers while also wrestling with one another and occasionally nibbling on a snorkel fin. Fortunately, there was no reward provide to the sea lions (in food) and our visit was not disrupting their lives except a long snooze that was ongoing during our time there. 2) Seeing the sea glow with bioluminescence as we returned from dinner on the beach. The zodiac pilot stopped, turned out the lights and shared with us what was happening to create the water to sparkle green in the wake of the boat. This was magical. 3) A chance encounter with a small pod of orca whales hunting rays. It was our first time seeing orcas and the boat was abuzz as they corralled the rays together. At one point, they swam alongside the boat and we could clearly see their distinctive white and black patterns. Apparently, this was a rare sighting with few of the staff or crew having seen orcas onboard. 4) Sunrise yoga on the aft deck. The instructor was excellent and the setting simply beautiful. The areas that Lindblad needs to improve: 1) Although the food onboard was good it fell short of expectations. The salads available for lunch and dinner and were excellent. Breakfast was also good. Fish entrees lacked flavor or adequate searing (tuna). The chicken also lacked flavor and was dry. The beef was excellent for one meal and poor the next. Accepting the challenge of cooking for the whole ship in a limited space, I am satisfied with the meals but did expect more. 2) Lindblad did not follow through on their partnership with Exhale and failed to provide the promised programming (as per their marketing materials). During the trip, the single Exhale employee onboard lead sunrise yoga classes (2), paddleboard yoga (2), and evening chill yoga classes (2). There was no Exhale core fusion boot camp, mindfulness hikes, post-hike stretching, or meditation sessions (all promised). In other words, lots of yoga and nothing else. There should have been two people from Exhale onboard and Lindblad should have taken their promises seriously. 3) Hire better photographers and naturalists. The lead photographer onboard was not a professional and had a basic knowledge of photography. Add to that she was not the friedliest person and we quickly learned to steer clear of her while onboard. The naturalist shared little beyond the obvious and the names of islands we didn’t really need to know. Pair that with him being out of shape and our hike became a tedious walk. Near the top, the naturalist told us we wouldn’t be going to the top for fear of disturbing the ecosystem even though a footpath was clearly visible curling up the hillside. If photography and observing the natural world are going to be Lindblad’s trademarks, they need better staff. 4) Staff that talked less about their experience working for Lindblad and more about nature, photography, and wellness. It’s only natural for people to talk about themselves but I lost interest eventually and was left asking why we weren’t talking more about sea life, etc. Training would give the staff the tools to turn the guests’ attention to what is truly meaningful on the trip. Unacceptable parts of the trip: 1) This trip was about nature but Lindblad insisted on having a videographer operating a drone again and again. In case you’ve not been around one, drones will drown out the sound of birds, disturb the wildlife, and make you wonder if there is a very large bee buzzing around your head. Understandably the videographers asked us just to ignore them as they captured footage for their marketing videos. Easier said than done. Lindblad sacrificed the guests’ experience for their own marketing needs and it sucked. 2) The captain set sail on the second morning midway through the sunrise yoga. I had the impression he hadn’t gotten the memo that this was a wellness cruise and that maybe it was best to wait half an hour so the 20 guests on the aft deck didn’t need to worry about toppling over as the ship swayed as it steamed north. As we disembarked the next day, I overheard the captain speaking with a crew member about how terrible “these short trips” were and I realized that he hadn’t given a thought to the yoga taking place. Lindblad needs to take seriously the core principles of their business (not just print them in their marketing materials) and hire staff that is dedicated to it. The trip leader needs to have an itinerary for each trip that actively pursues those principles and, if it is a wellness trip, make sure that is central. The company’s goal is to be the best in class and this will not happen without sustained attention to staffing and how that staff executed onboard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
This small ship, the Lindblad-National Geographic Sea Bird, was able to go into the small bays of the inside passage of Alaska to kayak around icebergs while we got to watch seals swim around us and bears up close on the shore. The staff, ... Read More
This small ship, the Lindblad-National Geographic Sea Bird, was able to go into the small bays of the inside passage of Alaska to kayak around icebergs while we got to watch seals swim around us and bears up close on the shore. The staff, the naturalists, made our trip! No other like it. There was a big ship watching us from the mouth of the bay because they couldn't fit where we went! They took us to a glacier by zodiac and saw it up close. We saw a piece calve and fall into the water with a big boom! Then our naturalist plucked a same bit of ice floating in the water and told us the history and journey that piece took through time. Activities were stellar. Service and knowledge made our trip. More food than we could eat. The cabin was small, but we were only there to sleep. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have cruised to Alaska several times on larger ships, but decided to try the Lindblad/National Geographic cruise because we have taken others of their cruises and loved them - and because we wanted to go where the bigger ships ... Read More
We have cruised to Alaska several times on larger ships, but decided to try the Lindblad/National Geographic cruise because we have taken others of their cruises and loved them - and because we wanted to go where the bigger ships can't go and do what the larger groups can't do. We were not disappointed. What sets Lindblad/National Geographic apart for me is its emphasis on adventure, its excellent group of knowledgeable naturalists, its lectures and presentations about the places and the things to be seen and experienced, and the opportunities offered to guests to explore the destinations with guides to explain and to help every step of the way. Every trip we have been on has also had at least one National Geographic photographer on board who talks about his/her (always interesting) photography career, offers tips about photographing whatever the destination might be - and helps everyone on board who wants some advice about cameras, picture taking and picture processing. The destinations are carefully selected before the cruise and changed if need be due to weather conditions or because something really interesting is happening somewhere that shouldn't be missed. The activities and excursions are excellent. On this trip, there were plenty of opportunities to hike, to ride in Zodiacs (known here as Dibs) to get even closer to the wildlife or the interesting glaciers and shorelines, to ride bikes, to flightsee, to kayak or even for the brave to swim in the waters of Alaska - and all guests are led or accompanied by naturalists and guides who provide information and assistance (if need be) all along the way. There are no casinos or cabaret shows on board and no need to dress up for any occasion, which appeals to us very much, but may not appeal to others. The rooms on this ship are very small, but we did manage to find a space for everything we brought. The beds (twins) are comfortable but small; I wasn't sure how someone much over 6-feet tall would be able to sleep comfortably. The food was very good. The customer service was terrific. The staff, as on all trips we have taken, have been friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful. The only opportunity for exercise on board besides walking around the ship is to use one of three exercise machines, which are located on the top deck, which is essentially outside, which can be tough in the rain, the wind or the cold. Read Less
National Geographic Sea Bird Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 3.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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