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National Geographic Linblad cruise

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National Geographic Linblad cruise

Is the National Geographic Linblad tour of Alaska's Inside Passage worth the money? Are there many off ship activities?

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Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

There have been a few posts about this cruise, all very favourable from recollection. Use the search box near the top of the page and type in Lindblad, then select the option to sort by most recent.

Wirral, United...
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2. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Hi forthright27

We are also considering a Linblad cruise for next year. As you will have discovered if you have done a search as Frommy suggested there are only a couple of posts relating to Linblad.

If you come across any further information I'd appreciate you sharing and I will do the same.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Thank you! I am new to this.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

You are welcome. I assume that you might also have perused the Lindblad website which lists the things they do on an Alaska trip. If not, go here:

http://www.expeditions.com/

Saint Louis Park...
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5. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

I just returned from a seven night Juneau - Sitka cruise on Linblad. I had a fantastic time, and I'm very glad I chose Linblad. However, Linblad cruises are not for everyone:

Pros:

1. Very attentive staff. Because Linblad cruises are so small, there is almost a 1:1 ratio between guests and staff. Staff were on a first name basis with guests within a day or two after we left Juneau, and they planned activities based on the interests of individual guests.

2. Linblad is the best cruise line if you want to see lots of birds and wildlife. My cruise had four full time naturalists, who were on deck at all times to answer questions and help guests spot wildlife. The captain of our ship maneuvered it within 100 yards of four humpback whales, and kept the boat close to the whales for more than two hours while the whales jumped out of the water to feed. Our boat had several smaller boats(“Zodiacs”) that were used to get us even closer to wildlife. One day, we were even taken by Zodiac to an area with a large sea lion population; the sea lions swam around our Zodiac repeatedly, jumping out of the water to entertain us. Bird watchers particularly enjoyed the cruise, because the naturalists helped them go to areas where there were large numbers of interesting species.

3.Lots of activities if you are physically active. Every day, guests were offered several activities, usually including a strenuous hike, a “moderate paced” hike, kayaking, and a bird watching cruise by Zodiac. I was so active that I lost weight on my cruise!

4.Linblad’s boats stop in places where there is no human habitation. On many of my hikes, the only thing I could hear was the wind, and the calls of the birds. You will experience “wild Alaska” much more on Linblad than on other cruise lines, where 3,000 people disembark at a stop within fifteen minutes.

Cons:

1. No nightlife, televisions, or shopping aboard ship. Because Linblad’s ships are so small, the only public rooms are a nine table dining room and a library / bar – no disco, comedy club, theater, shopping deck, etc. After dinner, most guests went back to the bow of the ship to whale watch, or played cards in the library / bar.

2.Meals are informal – no “dress up nights” or formal occasions. Most guests wore blue jeans all day, even at dinner. Many people who take cruises on large ships consider the "dress up nights" to be the highlight of their vacation. Guests on Linblad ships would rather look at the wildlife than at one another's ball gowns and jewelry.

3.No childrens’ activities. There were a few high school / college students on my cruise, but they participated in the same activities as the adults. If your kids would rather go hiking than go to a concert, or lay by the pool, they will enjoy a Linblad cruise. If your kids would rather go to the pool or a concert than take a hike, then they will be in for a very boring week.

4. The entire cruise was focused on nature / wildlife / geology / cultural history. If you really enjoy these things, you will have a fantastic trip. If you are not interested in wildlife, the history of the Tlingit in southeast Alaska, or geology, you will not enjoy cruising with Linblad.

5. Although the food was as good as what you would find at a four star restaurant, portions tended to be on the small side, and between meal snacks were very limited. This is what Linblad’s health conscious, physically active, guests prefer (there were only two or three overweight people on my cruise, and several guests had run the Anchorage marathon before joining the cruise), but if you enjoy gorging while you are on your cruise, you will be disappointed.

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6. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

That is very helpful. My family is very interested in wildlife and not in nightlife. I was concerned that it wouldn't be active enough and that we would be on the ship too much looking at the wildlife, but it sounds like there is plenty of off ship activities. Were you happy going in August. That is when we are planning to go?

Thanks again.

Wirral, United...
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7. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Thanks so much for this excellent feedback.

We are very interested in doing this cruise next year so very much appreciate your experience.

Glad you had such a brilliant time, what wonderful memories you will have to look back on.

Bridgewater
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8. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Nice review, JoeMSP. I love reviews that discuss what you loved and what might not appeal to people. Enjoyed your write-up.

Saint Louis Park...
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9. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Forthright 27, I felt that there were opportunities for as much physical activity as guests wanted.

Every morning at breakfast, the expedition leader would discuss the day's activities. Usually, there would be one round of activities in the morning, lasting 2 or 3 hours, and another in the afternoon, for another 2 or 3 hours. Often, the morning and afternoon activities were split into early and late sessions, so you could, for example, do a hike first thing in the morning, and then take a birdwatching cruise later in the morning before lunch.

In a typical day, we were off the ship, either on Zodiacs or hiking / kayaking, at least 4 hours, and some days it was as much as six to eight hours.

Obviously, if none of that day's activities appealed to you, you could stay on the ship and read, or watch wildlife from the bow.

The virtue of doing a cruise just from Juneau to Sitka is that we did not have to cover a lot of ground every day, so we were able to anchor for several hours at a time in particularly scenic coves, close to good hiking / kayaking areas.

I did not cruise in August. I travelled in June of this year. The guidebooks I read before choosing the dates of my cruise said the weather in southeast Alaska tends to be better in June than in July or August; that is why I chose to go in June.

We were exceptionally lucky with the weather. It was overcast only one or two days the entire trip, and several days, it was literally crystal clear.

One final comment about Linblad. Linblad offers a tour extension to Denali, but we felt Linblad's extension was overpriced. We made our own air / railroad / hotel arrangements for the Denali portion of our trip, for about 1/3 as much as Linblad would have charged us.

fti
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10. Re: National Geographic Linblad cruise

Thanks Joe for your detailed review.