Lindblad Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions turns vacationers into explorers. Small groups set sail on nimble expedition ships and voyage to unique destinations around the globe, going places luxury liners can’t. A roster of celebrated Expedition Leaders and naturalists will guarantee every minute of every day of every expedition is different from the last.

History - Lindblad Expeditions has such a long and interesting history, it seems appropriate to devote some space to a review of their story (the following is from their website).

When Lars-Eric Lindblad set out with the first groups of expedition travelers in the late 1950’s, he was following his passion to discover unknown places and to share the unique cultural and environmental aspects of these places with others. These first adventure travel expeditions led many to define him as the father of “eco-tourism.”

Early expeditions in those days included destinations such as Easter Island, the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea, China and Bhutan — all with the focus of creating experiences that foster an understanding and appreciation of the most remote and pristine places on the globe. In Antarctica, where Lindblad also pioneered expedition travel, the US Geological Survey mapped a cove in Lars-Eric’s name, Lindblad Cove, on Trinity Peninsula.

Sven-Olof Lindblad, Lars’ son, traveled extensively with his father, learning early on the joy and wonder of exploring the pristine corners of the globe. As a young man, Sven spent six years in East Africa photographing elephants and wildlife and assisting filmmakers on a documentary about the destruction of African rainforests. This early and deep exposure to the balance between man’s relationship to natural resources was instrumental in Sven’s efforts over the years, to find ways for his business to help preserve natural resources and get involved in conservation efforts.

In 1979, Sven Lindblad founded Special Expeditions as a division of Lindblad Travel, enabling the company to further its mission of offering innovative and educational travel expeditions that were primarily marine focused. Offerings expanded to Costa Rica, Baja California, and gorgeous Alaska cruises providing travelers with opportunities to explore, with small ship cruises, the islands, coves and open spaces of the sea that reminded Lindblad of the remote and vast expanse of the Serengetti plains. The company’s name was later changed to Lindblad Expeditions.

Today the company is focused on finding creative ways to explore the places already “discovered.” Their growing fleet of small expedition ships, Zodiacs, sea kayaks, onboard Naturalists and underwater cameras are all examples of how Lindblad continually strives to help open the eyes of our guests when it comes to truly exploring. They do this because they believe the more their guests connect with these incredible places, the more they will become a force for preserving and protecting them.

Under the guidance of experienced leaders who have a great respect for natural and cultural environments, Lindblad Expeditions continues to approach expedition travel as a catalyst for making a difference in one’s life, and in the world.

“All the animals and land throughout the planet are held in trust by us. We have no right to destroy or change this heritage so that it becomes unrecognizable. We have a duty to pass the planet along to future generations in as unspoiled a way as possible. This requires intelligence, foresight, understanding and creative effort.”

- Lars-Eric Lindblad from his book Passport to Anywhere

Destinations - the company has expanded to offer tours to much of the world. Out-of-the-way places are still prominent - Antarctica, Arctic, Galapagos, Amazon - but they also offer cultural expeditions to the Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand, British and Irish Isle, South America, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest.

Ships - Lindblad currently has 9 ships.

  • The pride of the fleet is the National Geographic Explorer (148 passengers and world wide itineraries).
  • They operate 4 other exploration ships that carry the National Geographic name - Endeavour (96 guests - Galapagos itineraries), Sea Bird and Sea Lion (62 guests each - Caribbean and Alaska itineraries), Islander (48 guests - Galapagos Itineraries).
  • The 28 passenger Delfin II (Amazon)
  • The 48 guest Jahan (Southeast Asia)
  • The 48 passenger Lord of the Glens (Scotland)
  • The Oceanic Discoverer -68 guests stationed in New Zealand
  • The Sea Cloud (58 guests) is a sailing ship originally built for the Post family. She sails several itineraries in the Mediterranean.

Experiences on board - the atmosphere on all Lindblad ships is casual. Most of their itineraries are expeditions which include going ashore in inflatables, paddling kayaks in the bays, which suggests dressed for adventure rather than dinner and cocktails. Even with the heavy adventure orientation the accommodations on board are comfortable - larger cabins and extensive public areas.

  • Most of the "entertainment" consists of lectures of many sorts (history, wildlife, culture, and ecology). The staff on the itineraries include many very highly qualified lecturers and guides chosen by National Geographic.
  • While not considered gourmet, the food is good and varied.
  • Service has less to do with towel animals and chocolates on your pillow and more about how to paddle a kayak or adjust your snorkel mask.

The exceptions to the expedition orientation is the Sea Cloud and Lord of the Glens - the atmosphere on these ships could be classed as "luxury".

Prices - generally a standard comfortable cabin on most all of Lindblad's itineraries will come out to $1000 per person per night. There are specials available from time to time that will affect that price. Early booking discounts are common and occasionally there are specials like free air or shipboard credits.

Recommendations - I don't think there is any better expedition oriented company than Lindblad Expeditions. The itineraries are all outstanding and the staff is exceptional. You also have the benefit of traveling to some of the most remote areas that exist on earth without giving up the creature comforts of a nice cabin and excellent food. The downside is the expense - small ship cruising is expensive but Lindblad is more expensive than most - they also offer more value than most so I guess it evens out.

Sample Itineraries - this is a small selection of the total but should give you an idea of scope and value of the itineraries.

For More Information

Visit Lindblad's website