Lindblad Expeditions are a family run travel company with fifty years of experience in this exciting and adventurous corner of the industry. It was Lars-Eric Lindblad who initially pioneered the brand; taking enthusiastic explorers from the public domain to places on Earth that were previously only examined by scientists during their important natural research. Places such as Antarctica and the Galapagos were suddenly accessible to the common man, beckoning a new type of travel that everyone could get excited about.
Lars-Eric believed that by bridging the gap between intrepid travellers and these undiscovered lands, awareness of the need to preserve and learn about these landscapes would be created via their passion for the wonders they had seen.
Sure enough, the venture took off and today the company is overlooked by the son of its original founder, Sven Lindblad. During the last fifty years, the enterprise has gone from strength to strength; expanding its fleet, discovering new frontiers and deepening their understanding of the natural landscapes that we know very little about. Lindblad now travel to a wide range of destinations on all seven continents, with their trips to the Arctic and Antarctica still at the forefront of what they do. Sven is always looking for new ways to grow the company and expand upon the regions that they visit on a quest to preserve the planet by educating people about its intricacies.
Part of this growth has seen an exciting partnership created in recent years when Lindblad Expeditions joined forced with National Geographic in 2004. As a long time reader and admirer of the famous magazines that this company produces, Sven saw an opportunity to further improve the work that Lindblad were already doing within expedition tourism.
This partnership now allows for increased research and conservation to occur, whilst travellers have the chance to share a ship with National Geographic representatives; learning from them, observing them whilst they work and even receiving photography workshops from those that do this professionally.
Lindblad Expeditions, in partnership with National Geographic, aim to provide you with a cool experience in more ways than one. Not only will their voyages into the Arctic and Antarctic wilderness leave you feeling slightly chilled, the experiences that you will get to be part of on your journey will also be very cool indeed. Whether its watching a pod of dolphins playing beside the ship, standing back in awe as a whale breaches the surface right in front of your Zodiac, or having to pinch yourself at the sight of an enormous glacier; you will feel very privileged indeed to be part of such an amazing occasion.
Not only will you get to experience a variety of things that can truly be described as once-in-a-lifetime events, you will get to do this with like-minded people and in the company of knowledgeable experts that are sure to enhance your awe-inspiring journey. And with a major focus on conservation and preservation, along with ships such as the National Geographic Orion and the National Geographic Explorer that are purpose built to access the destinations they visit, you know you are in the safest of hands.
Accommodation aboard both the Explorer and the Orion is very spacious and modern. There is plenty of space to store all of your belongings and the large desk that is found in all of the rooms allows you to lay out your camera, laptop, binoculars and any other essentials. This means you will have easy access to anything you could need to grab at a moment’s notice when the call comes over the public address system that there has been an exciting wildlife spotting.
There’s a choice between rooms which have a standard queen-sized bed, rooms which have two singles and rooms which can be either by converting the singles into a queen. Bathroom facilities are also very spacious and include modern showers, twin sinks (on the Explorer) and complimentary toiletries, towels, hair dryers and robes.
Balcony suites are available on both ships, either in the form of a ‘Juliet balcony’ on the Orion or a full private balcony on the Explorer. These options provide the perfect chance to have your own outdoor space from which you can take in the amazing scenery and relax with a drink in the evenings.
All of your meals and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price that you pay before you embark on your expedition, and so there is no need to worry about the bill that you might be racking up purely by trying to enjoy yourself. This also includes the nibbles and hors d’oeuvres which are regularly offered during recap sessions and the self-service beverage station which is found in the Chart room on the Explorer. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the initial price but are available in the various lounges, bars, restaurants and bistros.
The food on board is an event in itself and you may find yourself looking forward to meal times almost as much as you hanker for the next stunning destination to explore. Menus have been created by top chefs to often reflect the natural landscapes that you are discovering and ingredients are locally sourced wherever this is possible. There are no seating reservations taken for any of the meals, so whether it’s time for a fuelling breakfast at the start of the day, a light buffet-style lunch, or a full-on sit down extravaganza in the evening, you will never be told where to sit or who to sit with.
Meals can range from relaxed and casual, table-served a la carte offerings to spontaneous on-deck BBQs and buffet-style afternoon teas. But whether it is the smell of the freshly baked bread or the lure of a carefully crafted menu that gets you to the table; you are sure to enjoy everything that is placed upon it.
There are a range of fantastic public areas on both ships that are designed to make you feel at home on the waves and give you plenty to do when you are not off doing your best Ernest Shackleton impression. If you need to relax after a long day’s trekking then there are plenty of different options that will help replenish those energy supplies. There’s the opportunity to treat yourself to a calming massage in the spa or reinvigorate those frozen limbs in the sauna. You could take a dip in Orion’s whirlpool Jacuzzi or simply head to the observation lounge for a quiet chat and a view of what the very near future may hold.
To ensure that you are not fully cut off from the world you have left behind there is internet connectivity available in each cabin, although this will incur additional charges. And to make certain that you have plenty of memories to share with your loved ones on your return, there is even a photo kiosk on board Explorer which allows you to store and download the photos you have taken during your latest quest.
Education and safety are obviously two further concerns during your time with Lindblad and so state of the art technology has been implemented at every turn to ensure you are transported safely and return from your trip more enlightened than when you set off. Whether it’s the exploratory equipment such as hydrophones, ROVs and underwater cameras, or the precautionary devices like radar, sonar and ice lights; everything is in place to provide the perfect environment for your expedition.
The two main areas that the National Geographic Explorer and Orion travel to are the Arctic and Antarctica, however this includes many destinations within these large regions. Journeys south could include stops in the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula; focussing on the spotting of vast colonies of animals such as king penguins, elephant seals and albatrosses. You’ll also get to see the great contrast between the beautiful, enormous glaciers and sheer ice in Antarctica and the man-made retreats found in ports on the Falklands and other inhabited areas.
When heading into the Arctic Circle, your itinerary could include a dropping of the anchor in parts of Norway, Greenland, Iceland and the Canadian Arctic, along with areas of Spitsbergen and Longyearbyen in the Svalbard archipelago. During these voyages you may well be privileged enough to spot a polar bear or two in its natural habit whilst marvelling at various fjords, quaint fishing villages and sites where the Vikings once roamed.
Lindblad have a core belief that explorers should be taken right into the heart of the action and so in almost all the destinations they visit there are plenty of chances to leave the ship and head deeper into the wilderness. This could come in the form of a trip to shore on board one of the Zodiacs that each ship carries, or as part of a kayaking exercise which aims to penetrate places that the expedition vessels cannot reach.
With all the fancy equipment that is carried on board, you will also get the chance to view some of the important research that is taking place. With the help of remotely operated vehicles, underwater cameras, and hydrophones you can witness what is happening below the surface of the water and get a real privileged glimpse into what marine life is like in places where it seems little could thrive.