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3 Lindblad Expeditions Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because I have traveled with NG/Lindblad before and wanted to see Costa Rica with this group of naturalists etc. The timing was right for my daughter and I to travel together. we were looking forward to seeing the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I have traveled with NG/Lindblad before and wanted to see Costa Rica with this group of naturalists etc. The timing was right for my daughter and I to travel together. we were looking forward to seeing the wildlife primarily. Unfortunately, the brochure which specifically promotes seeing sloths in the wild was a total misrepresentation. I was told by the naturalists that sloths are not in the areas that we were visiting on this itinerary! A public relations move according to the staff, not accurate. We were also not going to see the Toucans, which were on the front of the brochure! Very disappointing. We did see some monkeys, iguana, birds, etc but one of the reasons we chose this itinerary was for the sloths specifically. The staff aboard and the naturalists were amazing, helpful and knowledgeable. The activities were geared to a cross section of interests and the naturalists on the hikes did a great job teaching us about the biodiversity of the region, Good communication by everyone. Dining area was clean and the staff was very accommodating. Food was average, nothing spectacular. Clean and quiet cabins with lovely fellow travelers. We did have one woman on the trip who had suffered a stroke a year prior which left her with a disability (right sided weakness.) She went on a difficult hike and had to be personally, PHYSICALLY assisted by the naturalist to manage the trail. This became an issue for the rest of the group as we were all slowing down to wait and assist, I even physically helped her to urinate on the side of the trail as she insisted it was an emergency.... She clearly did not have a realistic view of her physical limitations...and also went on the horseback riding excursion! Due to her disability this was very unsafe again, she ended up having to be removed from the horse and be "retrieved" by support staff coming out to our location and loading her in a vehicle. Again, this was a time consuming and concerning event for the rest of us. I suggest you devise someway to assess for the participators actual ability to participate as it effects the other paid travelers experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our ... Read More
We love the Lindblad / National Geographic Expeditions cruises because of their superb naturalists and their insight into wilderness areas of the world. The Quest is a new ship in the fleet and worked well for expedition cruising. Our cabin was small with a balcony; not much open floor space but you don't spend much time in the room. The general outline of the day is: a buffet breakfast, morning zodiac trip for nature event, buffet lunch, another zodiac trip for nature event, time for a shower, cocktail hour with naturalists' presentations, dinner (usually 3+ options), and another naturalist or photography discussion after dinner. This is an expedition cruise with the emphasis on nature, photography, country culture and history. Pretty much everything is included in the cost except for alcoholic drinks and the final tip to the staff. The ship holds 100 passengers but we had about 83. Passengers range from 20's to 90 although average in the 50-60's; they tend to be well-traveled, pretty active, and interesting. There is no set dinner seating so grouping change throughout the cruise. The food was good but not outstanding. Usually buffets had several options with salads, fresh fruits and a few mains. Dinner is served by staff with usually 3 options available. Preparation was okay but as the first cruise this season, they had a few bugs to work out with new staff and the kitchen not at the top of their game. A real strength is the depth of knowledge of the naturalists and the happy staff. The lounge (inside & air conditioned) was outfitted with books related to the area and was used throughout the day by passengers. We also sat out on the Sun Deck, on the front prow and could sit in the bridge at times. The cruise went through the Panama Canal and even had morning Zodiac options to see more of the lake in the middle of the canal. There is a one-day extension available in Panama City that includes a visit to the expansion canal and a close up of the original canal. Recommended for the real Panama Canal buff. Overall, a fun and interesting trip! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first Lindblad/National Geographic cruise, and it fully delivered on all counts. The focus is on seeing the environment, birds, and animals of the area, with a Panama Canal transit as a bonus. The ship was modern, in perfect ... Read More
This was our first Lindblad/National Geographic cruise, and it fully delivered on all counts. The focus is on seeing the environment, birds, and animals of the area, with a Panama Canal transit as a bonus. The ship was modern, in perfect condition, beautiful, and a real ship (not a mall.) I had some of the best meals ever on board - the rack of lamb comes to mind as a real winner. The ship’s crew plus the naturalists on board were excellent, and really added to the overall experience. I would like to compliment the naturalists in particular. They were true professionals - friendly and knowledgeable, and with decades of experience. There was a lot of discussion of photography, and several of the naturalists were excellent photographers. Going through the Panama Canal was surprisingly thrilling. You really got a sense of the historical magnitude of the canal as an achievement. The small scale of the Quest (240 feet long, 12 foot draft, less than 100 guests) meant that we visited small, intimate destinations and did not overwhelm them. Looking at seabirds such as frigates and the famous blue-footed booby from a zodiac was super fun. I got to try paddle boarding for the first time in a perfect setting - it was total enjoyment. Days are full, starting with a 7:30 breakfast and an 8:30 excursion, normally with another excursion in the afternoon and lecture or presentation at night. A great job all around by Lindblad/Nat Geo. No weaknesses. Expensive but worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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