National Geographic Explorer docked on ice
National Geographic Explorer docked on ice / Lindblad Expeditions
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Bridge / Lindblad Expeditions
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Lounge / Lindblad Expeditions
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Library / Lindblad Expeditions
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Fitness Center
Fitness Center / Lindblad Expeditions
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Steam Room
Steam Room / Lindblad Expeditions
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Outside Cabin
Outside Cabin / Lindblad Expeditions
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National Geographic Explorer

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Rebuilt from a rugged circa-1982 Norwegian coastal passenger and cargo ship, Lindblad Expedition's National Geographic Explorer is an expedition ship outfitted with high-tech equipment (hydrophones, video microscopes, remotely operated vehicles) to study and photograph the surrounding waters. In the spirit of exploration, up to 148 passengers review the results during daily pre-dinner recaps. Itineraries concentrate on the Arctic and Antarctic, and in between seasons, National Geographic Explorer can be found in the Mediterranean, Egypt and Africa, Northern Europe, Iceland, Greenland, and South America, specifically Patagonia.

The ship’s eight Category 6 and 7 suites were refurbished in 2023 with a sleek Scandinavian-inspired design, but the rest of the staterooms retain the décor from the 2028 rebuild and a 2016 refresh. National Geographic Explorer also features fewer “luxury” amenities than its newer expedition siblings, National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution. Notably, there’s no pool or hot tub.

What We Love

The Observation Lounge: Located at the top of the ship, the naturally lighted space offers incredible views and creates a delightful perch for a light lunch, thumbing through library books, or just watching the world go by sheltered from the outside weather.

Photography Sessions: When National Geographic photographers are aboard, they run beginning and intermediate classes that combine learning techniques on board and testing out the new skills ashore.

Best Known For

Expedition Staff: Every cruise has a leader who coordinates a team of six to eight experts in the fields of botany, geology, ornithology, wildlife management, and other fields of study related to the regions explored.

Evening Recaps: The hour or so before dinner, the staff makes a presentation that reviews the day’s highlights, plus they share stories, answer questions, and outline what is planned for the following day.  

Who It's Best For

Active Travelers of All Ages: Most passengers are up there in age yet are still physically fit and keen to learn about the world around and beneath them. Lindblad has also managed to draw families traveling with children — especially in Antarctica and Svalbard — with kid-friendly menus, hands-on activities, and family photo ops

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Seas Can Be Rough: Turbulent waters are a high likelihood when crossing the Drake Passage between the tip of South America and Antarctica and surrounding South Atlantic’s Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Come prepared with your motion-sickness remedies.