The usual high standards about all aspects of the expedition were quite evident. The ship and the facilities were top class. The food and drink were of high quality and highly varied. The dining room was informal and it was always nice to find different people to eat meals with. The hotel manager and his staff were outstanding.
The naturalists were all qualified, well experienced and most importantly local. They were approachable and took pride in explaining the biology and geology of the islands. The excursions were very well planned and executed in an impeccable manner without any hitches. As in our past journey, the logistics were managed outstandingly well.
This is our second trip with Lindblad/ NatGeo and it fully met our expectations (which were very high after our first trip to Antarctica on the NG Explorer). We covered the older islands and didn’t go to the two western-most – Isabella and Fernandina. However, we had seen all the wildlife that we ever wanted to see – the finches, the mocking birds, the boobies (all three types), frigate birds, tropic birds, Galapagos penguins, the giant tortoises, marine and land iguanas, barn owls, Flamingos, Shearwaters, Herons, Egrets, and many other animals. We went snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, went kayaking (and some others did paddle boards), rode in glass bottom boat and had our fill of marine life that included numerous fish species, rays, sea turtles, sea lions, etc. We also went to a white tipped shark nursery among the mangroves on northern side of Santa Cruz island. On the last day of the voyage we went across the equator to the island of Genovesa which was a paradise for birds with mangroves abound.
A visit to the Darwin Foundation was special. The National Geographic photographer on board – Todd Gippstein was special. He gave a presentation nearly every day on how to shoot better, sharing his vast experience in a very accessible manner. And, he was very hands on in terms of help with cameras and shooting in the field. He was a great magician too, so entertainment came alongside learning! Overall, the people of Lindblad and National Geographic made the trip very special.
Excellently equipped though somewhat smaller than what we expected (after NG Explorer). A large window and enough closet space. Good bathroom with a shower.