Known as the father of ecotourism, Lars-Eric Lindblad was the first travel company owner to take guests where only scientists had previously gone, to destinations like the Galápagos and Antarctica. His son, Sven-Olof has continued – and expanded – his legacy by finding new destinations to explore and expanding the fleet.
In 2004, the company joined forces with National Geographic, and have continued to maintain a strong alliance since then. Guests on National Geographic ships have access to some of the publications top experts in a setting like no other.
How Many Passengers: From 28 to 102 passengers
Personality: Expedition ships are intimate and adventure-focused, which means they’re outfitted with the latest gadgets for exploring the natural habitats they sail to. Public spaces and are comfortable but simple.
Fellow Passengers: The average age is 50’s and up, but you’ll find younger passengers, too. Many are loyal to Lindblad, and are reasonably fit because of the nature of excursions and the vessels. Families can also be found onboard, even though there is no specific children’s programming.
Cabins: Since many of the ships are so different, cabins vary widely between each. Some cabins are small and simple, while others roomy with more cozy details. Many big-ship features won’t be found on Lindblad ships, but they do include touches like plush towels, World Atlases, and wildlife photographs.
Dining: Each ship is different; there is not one formula to how dining looks on every vessel. Generally speaking though, meals are almost always served in the main dining room. Dishes use the freshest, organic ingredients when possible and are often inspired by the locale in which the cruise is sailing. Many ships offer a buffet for breakfast and lunch, and a traditional meal during dinner, but again, this will depend on each specific vessel.
Amenities: Guest speakers, workshops, a lounge/bar, library, spa treatments, a fitness area, bridge tours, kayaks, the opportunity to view what’s on the underwater camera, snorkeling gear (on select itineraries), and zodiacs. On the National Geographic ships, guests have access to National Geographic experts, and there is a National Geographic photographer on every voyage who leads “photo walks,” gives presentations, and are available for one-on-one critiques.
Best For: Couples, friend groups, or families who have a yearning for adventure and value authentic, up-close nature experiences over a big-ship, more luxurious cruise vacation. Those who are active and mobile, as shore excursions usually require some kind of exercise and only one ship has an elevator.
Included Alcohol: None
Where They Go: Alaska, Baja California, Caribbean, Pacific Northwest, Canada, Costa Rica & Panama, Belize & Guatemala, Amazon, Peru, Galápagos, South American West Coast, Scotland, Mediterranean, British & Irish Isles, Vietnam & Cambodia, South Pacific & French Polynesia, Antarctica, Arctic & Russian Far East, and Egypt