National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos
National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos / Lindblad Expeditions / David Vargas
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 Zodiac Excursion From National Geographic Islander
Zodiac Excursion From National Geographic Islander / Lindblad Expeditions / Louis Verdesoto
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National Geographic Islander's Hammock
National Geographic Islander's Hammock / Lindblad Expeditions / Marco Ricca
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National Geographic Islander's Cabin 401
National Geographic Islander's Cabin 401 / Lindblad Expeditions / Marco Ricca
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National Geographic Endeavour's Veranda Deck
National Geographic Endeavour's Veranda Deck / Lindblad Expeditions / Alexandra C. Daley-Clark
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National Geographic Islander's Lounge and Bar
National Geographic Islander's Lounge and Bar / Lindblad Expeditions / Marco Ricca
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Lindblad Expeditions

Our Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

If you partner with the National Geographic Society like this line, founded in 1979 by expedition explorer Lars-Eric Lindblad does, you’d better deliver adventure, right? Lindblad does, offering roughly 100 global itineraries that include everything from extreme polar expeditions to Antarctica and The Arctic to nature- and culture-focused cruises that are the floating equivalent of “glamping” — comfortable and not too challenging while still making you feel like you’ve explored the Great Outdoors.

Every ship in the Lindblad fleet, from PC5 polar-ice-rated vessels such as 138-guest National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution to 88-guest sailing ship Sea Cloud II, includes complimentary tours, but other inclusions vary by ship. The majority of Lindblad’s vessels include complimentary beer, wine, and spirits, as well as crew gratuities, but on some ships, these are extra charges. 

What We Love

Onboard Specialists: Scientists and naturalists give lectures and join tours, making sure you don’t miss a breaching whale or a blue-footed booby. A National Geographic-certified photography instructor is also onboard to offer tips on how to capture the sights.

Kayaking: The ships are equipped with kayaks and you can paddle in places you never imagined you’d paddle, such as the Peruvian Amazon, in water that’s home to piranhas, anacondas, and creepy red-eyed caimans.

You Can Get Massages: Every ship has spa treatments, and they’re inspired by nature. Look for the Marine Iguana Salt Glow.

Best Known For

Included Tours: Escorted daily tours are included in your cruise fare and they have an active focus. Expect to spend your days snorkeling, diving, hiking, or riding in inflatable Zodiacs or skiffs, always with your binoculars in hand. You can join a group that moves slowly for those who want that, and there also are opportunities to explore on your own.

Uncrowded Small Ships: You are never part of the crowd on this line. The largest ship carries 148 passengers, and many carry only a few dozen. Best of all, the environment is so casual you could even walk around barefoot.

Who It's Best For

Active Older Travelers: These cruises are for anyone who gets excited about seeing wildlife, though those under 50 might get bored with activities that aren’t necessarily strenuous, as well as the lack of nightlife.

Families: Specific family departures are offered in a variety of destinations, including the Galápagos Islands. The crew is great with kids, letting them do things such as drive a Zodiac.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

These Cruises Are Pricey: Expect to pay for the handholding. Galápagos cruises, for instance, start at $650 per person, per day.

The Cabins Can Be Spacious or Tiny: Accommodations vary widely from ship to ship, so read the details carefully. Sometimes you get a big, hotel-like room, but you could just as easily end up in a tight space with a porthole.

Fran Golden
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger