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National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

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Los Angeles...
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National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

Any comments - pro or con about the National Geographic Explorere cruises ?

Washington DC
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35 posts
15 reviews
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11. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

Hi Raja,

Received and thank you!

We just booked our "Land of the Ice Bears" (or "Land of the Polar Bears", depending on whether you're looking at Lindblad or National Geographic) trip on the Explorer for summer 2011. I will post a report when we return. Very much looking forward to seeing the Arctic....

Best,

Katherine

Singapore, Singapore
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12. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

hi katherine & raja,

me and my husband are also really interested in this tour for 16. june 2011.

can you please provide me more info on it. like where did you book it, i.e. online or though an agent? did they give you any discount?

what would be the weather like and what type of clothing do i need?

i would really appreciate any reply.

thanks,

jolly

Washington DC
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35 posts
15 reviews
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13. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

Hi Jolly,

We wound up booking directly though Lindblad.

They are offering airfare on some of the sailings, but I don't know which.

I believe the temperature will be around 30-40 degrees at that time of year. They send you a packing list with detailed instructions. Most important items are waterproof pants and high warm boots, I think. It can be quite foggy that time of year, so expect a mix of foggier days with a few sunny ones.

Hope that helps!

Best,

Katherine

Singapore, Singapore
2 posts
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14. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

hi Katherine,

thanks a lot for the reply. we have booked the june 16. expedition with National Geographic finally after lot of research here and there...now i keep my fingers crossed for good weather and luck with the polar bear sightings!

do let us know how your trip was...

Cheers!

jolly

Berkeley, California
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1 post
16 reviews
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15. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

Our family just returned from the National Geographic cruise, Land of the Ice Bears. We agonized for a long time between taking this voyage vs. the Silversea Explorer cruise. In the end, we decided that this trip was an expedition and who would do that better than National Geographic. We have not regretted our decision.

I booked this trip with Adventure Life who offered us a 5% family discount and free airfare on the charter flight between Oslo and Longyearbyen. When I phoned Lindblad to book to compare, they offered neither. When booking you can specify your cabin. My husband and I were in cabin 222, with a balcony. This turned out to be well worth the extra expense as we had fantastic views of whales, dolphins, and polar bears from our balcony. Our teenage daughters were in cabin 201 which had a large picture window. Another tripadvisor member recommended this cabin as being very quiet. It was, but so was ours, in fact the cabins were so well insulated that you could never hear the voices of your neighbors. The cabins were very nice, with plenty of storage space. The bathrooms were luxurious with ample space for 2 people to be in there at the same time. Plenty of hot water in the showers and great pressure. Since this is a new boat, the cabins were in great condition. There is no need for a suite. The public spaces on the boat were all very nice and comfortable. Dress was casual, which we wanted as this was an expedition, not a black-tie affair.

The food was very good. Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style, where the lines could get quite long. Dinner was sit-down, with waiter service and 3 options for each of three courses. The wait staff were very accommodating to special requests.

The gym was the nicest I have ever seen. Imagine exercising on top of the world with endless views of flowing ice-packs from your elliptical trainer. There were enough machines.

We saw amazing wildlfe and scenery. On our voyage we saw polar bears, reindeer, the blue whale, the fin whale, dolphins, walrus, seals, birds, bird cliffs, and beautiful arctic flowers.

Each day there was 1 shore excursion which consisted of a walk. Passengers could choose between a short walk, medium or long walk. We always opted for the long walk which was a 3-4 mile excellent workout over terrain of varying difficulty. Passengers who were less mobile were offered zodiac trips to view the shoreline from the water. The walks were divided into groups of 15 and were led by naturalists who explained the wildlife and were there to protect us from a polar bear attack, but they never looked behind them to check if the group stayed together.

We bought special gear for this voyage: Muck boots, waterproof pants and waterproof jacket. These were absolutely essential as we walked through knee-deep water and knee deep snow quite often. Otherwise, the terrain was either very rocky or muddy and the boots were great protection.

The ship does have kayaks although we were unable to use them as we were told it was too windy, although there were sheltered bays where this activity could have been done.

90% of the passengers were American. 80% were aged 60-80 years old. 20% consisted of a few singles, a few couples in their 30's, and 5 families with older teenagers.

Every afternoon there were lectures given by staff and guest speakers on a wide range of topics from polar bear behavior to global climate change. The quality of these lectures was very high.

The captain always tried to navigate the ship to view the most wildlife. He was very nice and had an excellent sense of humor. There was a National Geographic photographer on board who very kindly offered to help anyone with photography questions. All announcements are made over the PA system which is everywhere on the ship. This means that although we appreciated knowing about wildlife sightings and when the dining room was open for meals, this system became tedious and annoying very quickly as it would wake you up multiple times every morning with repeat announcements which was unnecessary.

Due to 1 charter flight which brought new passengers to Longyearbyen for the start of the cruise and returned passengers at the end of the cruise back to Oslo, there were 3-4 hours of wait time at either end. This was very boring and a waste of time. Lindblad could have handled this better.

Overall, we had an excellent trip and recommend this expedition cruise highly.

16. Re: National Geographic cruises to Svalbard

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