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.