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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.

Exceptional experience!

National Geographic Explorer Cruise Review by annepete

Trip Details
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.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 334
I didn't have a choice in selecting my cabin but ended up pleased with a location on the main deck in the middle of the ship. I get motion sickness and know that we had amazingly calm seas but I think I did better in this location. (I also valued the provision of ginger on the way back across Drake Passage and got by with that and ginger-lemon tea.)