Lindblad Expeditions

Overall Editor Rating
Susan B. Barnes June 29, 2022

Fodor’s Expert Review

Cruise StyleExpedition
Ship SizeSmall
Prince Range$$$$

Founded in 1979 as Special Expeditions by Sven-Olof Lindblad, the son of Lars-Eric Lindblad, the company changed its name in 1984 to Lindblad Expeditions. Every cruise is educational, focusing on soft adventure and environmentally conscientious travel. Since 2004 the line has partnered with National Geographic to enhance the cruise experience by including experts and photographers on board to lead discussions and hold workshops and help balance “must-see” destinations and less-traveled spots.Read More

Beginning in 2008, National Geographic Expeditions began working exclusively with Lindblad Expeditions. Inspired by the legacy of National Geographic Explorers who have ventured around the world for more than 130 years, National Geographic Expedition Cruises distinguishes itself from other lines with the expertise of dynamic teams comprised of marine biologists, naturalists, historians and photographers who accompany each trip. 

The multifaceted strategic partnership that Lindblad Expeditions has with the National Geographic Society enables Lindblad travelers to participate in the world of natural and cultural history as engaged, active explorers who care about the planet.

More than 100 trips are offered through National Geographic Expedition Cruises, with voyages traveling in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America, Oceania, the polar regions and South America. Itineraries range from five to 35 days and focus on a variety of interests like history and archaeology, nature and wildlife, people and culture, wildlife encounters, and more. The National Geographic-Lindblad fleet of small ships range in capacity from 48 to 148 guests; these sizes enable the vessels to travel to places inaccessible by larger ships.

The ships of Lindblad Expeditions spend time looking for wildlife, exploring out-of-the-way inlets, and making Zodiac landings at isolated beaches. Itineraries are flexible, so as to take maximum advantage of reported wildlife sightings and weather conditions. Each ship has a fleet of kayaks as well as a video-microphone: a hydrophone (underwater microphone) is combined with an underwater camera so passengers can listen to whale songs and watch live video of what’s going on beneath the waves. In the evening the ship’s naturalist recaps the day’s sights and adventures over cocktails in the lounge. An “open bridge” policy provides passengers the opportunity to meet the captain and his officers and learn the intricacies of navigation or simply observe.

All activities and shore excursions, from guided walks and hikes to museum entrance fees to water activities like kayaking and snorkeling, are included in the cost of every Lindblad Expedition. Guests always have the freedom to pick and choose activities as the day unfolds. A video chronicler makes a DVD of the entire cruise that you may purchase.

Top Reasons to Cruise

Exotic Destinations.Expedition “soft adventure” cruising to destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, and other inaccessible areas of the world.
Expert-led.Cruises feature expedition experts, trained naturalists, and guest lecturers in various scientific fields depending on the destination.
Top-notch service.All expedition cruises feature a premium level of service.
Fare is all inclusive of excursions.Daily activities and excursions as noted in the itinerary are included in the fare.
Video Galore.Underwater and land videotaping to chronicle destinations and natural wildlife with regular topical presentations and discussions.

Is This Line Right for You?

Choose this Line If
Don’t Choose this Line If
You want to be an ecologically responsible traveler.
You want to keep learning. Subject matter experts are part of every expedition.
You want to fully immerse yourself in your destination.
You are mobility-impaired; the ships are not accessible, and Zodiacs are used to reach shore for certain explorations.
You want to party all night long. Days begin early, and nights follow suit.
You want to lounge poolside. Only one National Geographic-Lindblad ship, the National Geographic Islander has a pool.

What to Expect on Board

Fitness & Recreation

When it comes to dining, expect to enjoy dishes that are inspired by the region through which you’re traveling, highlighting fresh, local ingredients.

The culinary team does a fantastic job accommodating dietary restrictions, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Appetizers are often served on deck as you sail from port, while regional specialties are served in the dining room. Lindblad prides itself on serving fresh Alaska seafood, including Dungeness crab, halibut, and Alaska king salmon, but there are also plenty of meat and vegetarian options.


Lindblad clientele should not expect shuffleboard and glitzy Broadway shows or a casino, but it’s more likely they prefer reflective moments gazing at constellations, speaking about maritime navigation with the ship’s captain, or watching a video slide show about biodiversity anyway.

Expect to have the most fun boarding a Zodiac for remote shore visits or snorkeling surrounded by spectacular marine wildlife.

Back onboard, guests can expect lectures by subject matter experts, photography workshops, and perhaps local musicians and makers that highlight the region in which they’re traveling.

Fitness & Recreation

Activity levels are defined for each expedition’s itinerary, and daytime excursions may involve walking, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, or white water rafting, depending upon the destination.

Kayaks and standup paddle boards are available to launch right from the ships, so there’s always an opportunity for exploration.

Back onboard, small fitness centers equipped with cardio machines and free weights are available to burn off any extra energy.

Key cruising tips

Although fares are rather expensive, wine and cocktails are not included; nonalcoholic beverages are.
Note activity levels to ensure the itinerary you choose is compatible with your level of physical fitness.
Extensive pre-trip information, including recommended reading, photography guidelines, and what to pack, will arrive with your documents.
There is no elevator on board, nor are there accessible features for the mobility impaired.
Don’t expect round-the-clock availability of food; room service is only available if you are sick and confined to your cabin.

Your Shipmates

Lindblad attracts active, adventurous, well-traveled over-forties, and quite a few singles, as the line charges one of the industry’s lowest single supplements. However, the line has made a successful push to be more family-friendly by adding cruises aimed specifically at families and children. To that end, staff members have undergone extensive training designed by several of Lindblad’s family travel experts with years of experience in childhood and environmental education to tailor activities toward children. Some family expeditions are offered during the Alaska season, which follow the same itinerary as Lindblad’s other trips but include a crew member dedicated to running educational programs for school-age kids. All Lindblad cruises offer substantial discounts for young people up to 21 traveling with their parents.

Dress Code

Casual and comfortable attire is always appropriate. Recommendations are based on practicality and the likely weather conditions in the region you’re exploring. Good walking shoes are essential.

Junior Cruisers

Although there are no dedicated children’s facilities on board, families are welcome on all Lindblad itineraries. In fact, the number of families traveling with the company has grown substantially, so much so that the line will have dedicated staff on some designed “family” cruises that know how to inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Lindblad emphasizes shared experiences, and while there are always some activities just for children or adults, most are done together.

The National Geographic Global Explorers program was created to engage kids 18 and under (and their families) in hands-on, interactive activities that take learning to another level. Through drawings, videos, photographs, maps and more, young explorers can share their experiences in the field and onboard with their families, and with their friends when they return home. The program is available on all Alaska, Baja California, Galápagos, and Journey to Antarctica expedition cruises.


Guests can expect premium level service, from the housekeeping crew to the culinary team to the captain. What’s more, incredibly knowledgeable expedition teams strive to provide guests with in-depth, comprehensive and extraordinary experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime.


Gratuities are not included in the fare, and are at guests’ discretion. Suggested gratuities are provided onboard each expedition. For example, suggested gratuities for a 10-day expedition in the Galápagos is $200 per person.

212/765–7740 or 800/397–3348

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