I don’t know about you, but the idea of boarding a cruise full of casinos with thousands of passengers on a ship so big you hardly know you’re on water, doesn’t fully appeal to me. I’m sure it would be a great time but I prefer things a little less commercialized, a little more authentic, and if you’ve been reading this blog, you know it’s gotta be immersed in nature and wildlife.
If you’re here you’re probably a bit like me in these respects so I wanted to let you know about the amazing expedition opportunities offered by LindbladExpeditionsand National Geographic.
Lindblad was founded in 1979 by a man named Sven-OlofLinblad, whose father, Lars-Eric Linblad, has been nicknamed as the father of eco-tourism. In 2004, Linblad formed a strategic partnership with National Geographic to offer responsible travel expeditions to exotic destinations in North America, Central and South America, the Antarctic and Arctic regions, Europe and Egypt.
Lindblad is defined by a passion for providing educational and adventurous expeditions that foster a deep appreciation for some of the most exquisite natural wonders of the world.
These expeditions are not typical cruises. They are for people interested in wildlife, marine life, conservation, photography, history, culture, and/or navigation and who want to venture off the beaten path without sacrificing comfort. They are for people who don’t want to go to zoos to see exotic animals but who want to observe them in their natural habitats.
These trips are about discovery, exploring fascinating and often inaccessible regions, traveling in harmony with the environment, and learning from renowned experts who know each destination intimately.
Here are some differences between big commercial cruise lines and wildlife expeditions like these:
1. Size Matters. A “small” ship in the typical cruising world holds 500 passangers and larger cruises are like floating cities with over 3,000 passengers (you’ll barely know you’re on a cruise). Lindblad’s ships are small – 42 to 148 guests, offering you easier access to off-the-beaten path places and a more intimate experience.
2. Getting Off the Tourist Path. Unlike typical cruises, on an Lindblad expedition, off-the-beaten-path shore excursions are the main event (and are included in the price). You won’t just hop from one popular crowded tourist spot to another. You’ll have intimate, authentic adventures, such as taking a Nile voyage accompanied by a leading Egyptologist or having afternoon tea with a farming family in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
Instead of passively appreciating a destination, with expedition travel you are an active participant.
3. Values.Lindblad understands the importance of maintaining natural resources and learning the cultural backgrounds of indigenous people. These values are often lost on big cruise ships. To ensure the integrity of areas visited, Lindblad invests substantial resources (personnel and finances) to support a wide array of conservation projects worldwide. Additionally, the food they provide on board is made with fresh, local and sustainable products from each region.
Linblad knows that travelers will experience a greater appreciation of and care for environments they have intimately explored.
4. Education. Instead of a cruise director making random announcements in multiple languages over a loud speaker, on these expeditions there is a naturalist, scientist, historian or other specialist for every 10 – 15 passengers. Their knowledge and personal experiences, as well as state of the art technology, will bring the places you’ll see to life. Small expedition ships, Zodiacs, sea kayaks, bow cameras, remotely operated underwater vehicles, underwater cameras, hydrophones, and video-microscopes facilitate intimate connections with your surroundings in previously uncharted ways. There are even experts trained specifically to provide enriching and engaging activities for your children if you are traveling as a family (there are no age limits).
The knowledgeable staff on board all share a passion for exploration, adventure travel, conservation, and scientific discovery.
5. Like-Minded Travelers. If you’re still reading this, you probably dig this kind of travel. On these expeditions, you’ll be traveling with small groups of like-minded travelers, so you’ll be with your people!
Instead of being lost in a sea of thousands of strangers, you’ll be having in-depth experiences and conversations with people who share your values.
6. Scheduling. Unlike a typical cruise with a very strict schedule, expeditions cruises are flexible and will adjust to capture special experiences, like spending extra time watching a family of whales or dolphins that happened to swim by.
7. Adventure (& Leisure). You won’t find a casino or a Broadway show on these cruises and tours but adventure and thrill-seeking are core components of all Linblad Expeditions. There are countless adventure activities from hiking to kayaking to jumping into a Zodiac (a 10 to 12 person motorized landing craft) to see something the boat can’t get to (like a polar bear!). That being said, there is also ample time for leisure including relaxing in the lounges, indulging in spa treatments, or exercising in fitness centers. The atmosphere on board is laid-back and relaxed, travelers are encouraged to enjoy the casual and comfortable pace of life at sea.
So if cruise casinos aren’t your thing and you’d rather watch playful sea lion pups on the beaches of the Galapagos or the inquisitive white-faced capuchin monkeys playing in the trees of Costa Rica, or cruise to Alaska to see glacial ice thundering into the sea, or watch dolphins chatter as they playfully swim alongside your Zodiac, or even island hop through Greece as you learn about Greek gods and mythology, Lindblad Expeditions likely has something for you.
Anyone can go on a vacation, but not many choose to go on a life changing experience.
I’ll give you more information on individual expeditions in the future, this is just a general overview to introduce you to this style of traveling. Hope you enjoyed it!
If you’re interested in booking an expedition cruise, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to work as your agent to find the perfect expedition for you!
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Here are some pics from various expeditions…
Lindblad is a leader in environmentally responsible travel and has received countless awards including Travel & Leisure’s 2009 “World’s Best” and “World’s Best for Families” awards for small ship cruise lines and ForbesTravel.com’s 2009 “Best Adventure Cruise” award.
All photos are courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions. Copyrights held by: Stewart Cohen, Stefan Lundgren, Ralph Lee Hopkins, Sven-Olof Lindblad, David Vargas, Michael S. Nolan and Cindy Manning.