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Sail Date: July 2019
We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might ... Read More
We were on the Circumnavigation of Iceland, July 23-August 3, 2019 and it was a great way to see Iceland, as promised by the Captain. The ship was very comfortable and functional. Our cabin, 305, only had one small porthole, that might have been claustrophobic, but we spent little time there and the porthole made it easy to darken the cabin when it was still light at midnight. The cabin is also located near the anchor, so we knew when the ship was docking but it was never disturbing. The cabin was generously sized, especially the bathroom and shower - more so than other larger ships we have sailed. The exploration programs were accompanied with a naturalist, whether a hike on land, a ride in a zodiac right up to cliffs of nesting puffins or into a pod of whales or a bike ride on an abandoned road. There were always choices from strenuous to relaxed that allowed you to really see the geology and wildlife. The ship stopped at a different location every day. If we were traveling to a location over a morning or afternoon there were special presentations on Iceland and its politics and facets of the nature we would see. This voyage also included a National Geographic photographer who spoke several times - they even did a session on iPhone photography that appealed to me!! The trip was heavy on people with big cameras and big lenses but friendly and welcoming to all. It is a tradition on Lindblad cruises to meet every evening before dinner to recap the days adventures with a cocktail, photos, videos and short presentations from the naturalists and other experts on board. On this voyage, there were also music programs introducing traditional and current Icelandic music on board and on shore, including an on-board 'festival' one evening that offered the chance to listen to 3 different local performers. The presentations by the botanist on board were a big hit - who knew tiny plants could be so amusing. With the exception of an optional day trip to horseback ride, every excursion was included in the price. The hotel staff was friendly and efficient. The dining was excellent - lots of local dishes but a spectrum of choices for everyone. It was a buffet for breakfast and lunch and open seating for dinner. Smoked and pickled fish caught off the ship that morning, local lamb from the ubiquitous Iceland sheep; one day was Thai and Vietnamese, another day mostly Italian. My husband raved about the beef. I tried several of the vegetarian entrees offered each evening because they were so interesting. I know that Iceland struggles with vegetables but on this ship we had a bounty. A big plus was having the bar tab included - this is not a crowd that cruises to drink heavily, but how nice to have a pre-dinner cocktail, wine with dinner and sometimes an after dinner drink without fussing with invoices and deciding who was going to pay that evening. This voyage marked my first brush with sea-sickness - I can have trouble with cars and buses but usually not ships. Several days, the ship encountered rough water due to a storm system. The ship is proportionally smaller than the big ships (156 passengers) and it makes a difference. One afternoon it felt like being at the top of a roller coaster over and over - (that’s when I suffered:) I ended up taking Dramamine for several days. That managed the situation but for the future on a ship of this size I will be more pro-active. The ship’s captain did his best to steer the ship to avoid the worst of the weather and I know one day our location was chosen to get us into a fjord and out of the rougher seas. On the other hand, the weather on land was great and made many things much more enjoyable - very little rain, clouds and sun and moderately cool temps (45-62 degrees, but often windy). We didn't use our warmest clothes, but we were happy we had windproof/waterproof layers. If you are interested in really seeing and learning the culture, music, geography and nature and avoiding crowds at the most popular spots, this is a great choice. We went tiny places and privately owned places that are difficult to reach along with small cities that could not handle crowds. Getting to the ship was easy - we were met by Lindblad at the airport and transferred to a local hotel where a day room and lunch were available after our overnight flight. There was a city tour, museum visit and then we were transferred to board the ship late afternoon ( a very smooth process). We met a number of passengers who had arrived a day or two early and joined up with the group for lunch. Disembarkation was also easy - if you didn't have an early flight departure, there were final excursions that morning and lunch included. We stayed an extra night in Reykjavik and wish we had asked and known earlier which hotel was Lindblad's drop-off for those staying over (the info showed up in final documents we got a couple weeks before departure) - we would have stayed at that hotel rather than having to manage luggage transfer to a taxi and a trip to another hotel. Next time, we will know to ask about the departure hotel early. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Why Iceland: We did a back-to-back circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea on the Orion and loved the experience so we decided the way to see Iceland was by circumnavigation. This trip was amazing and is at the top of my list of ... Read More
Why Iceland: We did a back-to-back circumnavigation of the Baltic Sea on the Orion and loved the experience so we decided the way to see Iceland was by circumnavigation. This trip was amazing and is at the top of my list of recommendations to friends. We did the heli-hiking extension and it was an "over-the-top" experience. I highly recommend this extension for anyone that wants to see Iceland from places many never venture to. You must be adventurous and able to hike on rough terrain. Our guide Gaddi Hrafn Sigurjonsson, from Asgard Beyond was fabulous. He took us on hikes and was there to encourage us to experience the wild beauty of Iceland. I will enclose a couple of photos from our lunch on the top of a mountain and hiking across the glacier. We talked to a number of guests on the ship about taking the extension, and the feedback was it was too expensive. I would say yes, expensive, but a once in a lifetime experience, well worth every penny. I think Nat Geo and Lindbland could do a better job of marketing this heli-hiking adventure. The Ship: The staff was amazing. We especially want to call out Peter Wilson, Expedition Leader, Karen Veles, Naturalist, Madalena Patacho, Naturlist, James Coleman, Naturalist and one staff member that has been with Lindblad for many years, Chris who was a server in the lounge and restaurant. His customer service and engagement with the guests was first class. We heard he started as a dishwasher and has been promoted to his current customer facing role. It is nice to know that Lindbland is a family and promotes from within. The first time we met Peter Wilson he was a Naturalist and now is leading expeditions. Our trip to Iceland on the Explorer is filled with fine memories that will be with us forever. We are even considering going back in the winter for a different experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Lindblad/NatGeo expedition because of the destination and the onboard naturalists. We have done two otherLindblad/ NatGeo expeditions before this one and were very happy with the crew, food, onboard naturalists and destination. We ... Read More
We chose Lindblad/NatGeo expedition because of the destination and the onboard naturalists. We have done two otherLindblad/ NatGeo expeditions before this one and were very happy with the crew, food, onboard naturalists and destination. We thought the Orion was a bit better (it is newer and smaller than the Explorer) with better food. There should be more snacks out in the observation lounge...the Orion had granola bars, ginger tea and ginger candies (ginger tea is great for seasickness!), which were missing on the Explorer. As i mentioned is describing the cabin, a lighted makeup mirror is essential. Again, the Orion had these installed in each bathroom. The dining room service could have been better. It felt like they were a bit understaffed. However, service was very friendly and courteous. Food was good, but not a tasty or inventive as we had on the Orion. There was occasionally confusion about our daily offshore excursions and I think that can be attributed to the expeditions leaders. In spite of these minor criticisms, the trip was wonderful overall. Lindblad/NatGeo is highly recommended! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
No doubt about it , this is a trip of a life time . The itinerary allows one to have a very in-depth exploration of Iceland----- its history , culture , wild-life and scenery . And the crew and the scientific resource persons on board ... Read More
No doubt about it , this is a trip of a life time . The itinerary allows one to have a very in-depth exploration of Iceland----- its history , culture , wild-life and scenery . And the crew and the scientific resource persons on board cannot be better. However , because of the rough open sea around Iceland and the fact that the ship often had to sail in rough water during dinner , I have to miss 4 dinners out of the 9 evenings. And I am not the only one--- half of the 8 people in my group vomited at least once or had to take motion-sickness medication at some stage. The ship even had to put up ropes in the corridor to allow people to hang on to as they walk to dinner/lunch. So ,if you are prone to sea-sickness , this is not a ship for you . Another thing that I never realize , nor was I able to obtain any information prior to booking is that the people in the lower cabins at the back ( stern) of the boat will suffer from terrible engine noise . We were in the 300 level ( one deck below the reception) , and the noise in our cabin was so terrible that I had to raise my voice just talking to my wife whenever she was more than 10 feet away. And it was simple not possible to turn on any quite music in the cabin. Mercifully , the noise was constant and after awhile , one sort of got used to it and every night, sleep would eventually come after a initial irritating phase. On the other hand , my friends who were at the same level but had cabins near the front( bow) of the boat , experienced very minimal engine noise throughout the day . If someone had reviewed that before , I would have chosen my cabin more wisely . I just could not understand why no one has even mention that in any past review. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was my second cruise with Lindblad. The first was to the Galapagos. We chose this trip because we thought it would give us an overall view of both Iceland and Greenland. It did just that. The Iceland portion was disappointing as ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Lindblad. The first was to the Galapagos. We chose this trip because we thought it would give us an overall view of both Iceland and Greenland. It did just that. The Iceland portion was disappointing as we spent way more time in a bus than we cared to and everything felt rushed. This is a new trip for Lindblad and they need to iron out the wrinkles. The hotels were less than I expect from Lindblad. The Radisson was under construction and not a good choice. The Greenland portion on the ship was great, though the weather could have been more cooperative. Being among the icebergs is an experience that will stay with me forever and Eternity Fjord was magnificent! The food was excellent everywhere. The cabin was very comfortable. If you are on a budget, I would recommend spending the extra to get a full window as opposed to a porthole. The views are worth it. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The hiking on this trip is rather vigorous and not for those disabled in any way by physical issues. Not the trip of a lifetime. If you have only one trip in your future, this is not the one to choose. I would not go on this trip again, but would choose the Svalblad trip which many of our fellow passengers recommended. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
For the money, my recent cruise to Greenland and Canadian Arctic was a bit of a let down. First, we were misdirected at the Reykjavík airport and the bus actually left without us! And did the same to at least one other person. The ground ... Read More
For the money, my recent cruise to Greenland and Canadian Arctic was a bit of a let down. First, we were misdirected at the Reykjavík airport and the bus actually left without us! And did the same to at least one other person. The ground tours were ok but very rushed, and they paraded us around Iceland for 6 hours or so after arriving at 6am from a 5-hour flight. The parting lunch was abysmal, and the restaurant was so crowded the food buffet was mostly inaccessible. I finally found a seat and a tour rep asked me to move so a couple could sit together! Then no one had any idea how the luggage would be retrieved by us at the airport going to Greenland, but clearly told us it was solely our own responsibility. Wow. The cruise itself was great, but again, there was a complete lack of organization by the expedition crew. And most, but not all, expedition crew were really very unfriendly and downright arrogant. The leader even rushed me along into the zodiac leaving an island, and I was one of the fast ones. Another one mocked me for not getting out of the way quick enough so he could photograph a site without people in it. Also, why does the staff get to sit in the first-class seats to and from Greenland/Iceland? And on the ship, while everyone occupied the bow area to photograph interesting animals, the best spots were taken by the Nat Geo photographers. They are PAID to be there, while the guests paid for the experience. Surely we should have access to the very front first. Back in Iceland, the same disorganization continued. Where are the bags?, no one knows, come down at 9am to ID your bag, then the story changes. The very high price is supposed to, in part, avoid these types of things. But apparently not. The ship itself was very clean and pleasant. Her crew was excellent. The food was not bad, but gets repetitive after a while. Read Less
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