Over 50 years ago, Lars-Eric Lindblad chartered a ship and brought the first non-scientific travelers to Antarctica. A year later, in 1967, he did it again in Galápagos. Regarded as the father of ecotourism, he believed that educated people who saw things with their own eyes would be a potent force for the preservation of the places they visited.
Lars-Eric was a real—as well as symbolic—father, and since 1979 his son, Sven-Olof Lindblad, grew his legacy by greatly expanding transformative travel experiences in the world’s most remarkable places. Under his leadership, Lindblad Expeditions has grown the conservation ethos his father imbued in his company, not only making the operation 100% carbon neutral, but raising millions of dollars that has gone directly to on-the-ground projects in the places it explores.
Since the mid-60’s when Lars-Eric Lindblad took the first travelers by ship to remote parts of the world. In 1969 he commissioned the first purpose-built expedition ship for travelers—the Lindblad Explorer—built for sustained operation in the world’s most remote places (he sold her in 1982). In the ‘60’s and ‘70’s he opened up opportunities to explore places like Antarctica, Galapagos, the Amazon, the Seychelles, and much of the Pacific. Sven-Olof Lindblad, Lars’ son, traveled extensively with his father, learning early on the joy and wonder of exploring the pristine corners of the globe. In 1979, Sven Lindblad founded Special Expeditions as a division of Lindblad Travel, enabling the company to further its mission of offering innovative and educational travel expeditions that were primarily marine focused. The company’s name was later changed to Lindblad Expeditions.
Who owns the ships that your expeditions are on?
Lindblad Expeditions owns the nine National Geographic branded ships in our fleet—National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Endeavour II, National Geographic Islander, National Geographic Sea Bird, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest, and National Geographic Endurance. We also operate several ships on long-term charter.
What experience does your expedition team have?
Our expedition teams are the best in the field, bar none. It begins with our captains who have navigated hundreds of expeditions and have the experience and passion to guide our voyages safely, while maximizing the opportunities for quality wildlife sightings for our guests. Our expedition leaders, naturalists, historians, anthropologists, geologists, marine biologists, officers, photographers, and undersea specialists—many from the regions we travel—collectively have thousands of years of experience researching, studying, absorbing, and guiding travelers to the most interesting places in the world. They are the ones who write the books, they are the locals with a vested interested in preserving the places we visit. Our staff-to-guest ratio (no more than 1-to-16) fosters a genuine exchange of knowledge/information on natural surroundings, history, and culture of the places we explore.
What is your relationship with National Geographic?
Formed in 2004, our partnership with the National Geographic Society is an alliance of two exploration pioneers in an innovative program to remote and pristine destinations around the globe. We work in tandem to produce educational marine expeditions to inspire travelers to explore and care about the planet, and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The Lindblad Expeditions fleet also serves as a platform for a collection of researchers from the Society to cost-effectively study the regions we explore.
What does your partnership with National Geographic mean to the guest experience?
As a result of the alliance, our guests interact with world-renowned scientists, researchers, explorers, and photographers, who serve to enhance every voyage aboard the Lindblad/National Geographic fleet and insures our guests return home inspired by the wonders of the world around us. Our incomparable photography initiative offers an exclusive service—a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor aboard every expedition in our fleet, and a National Geographic photographer is aboard every departure on our flagship, National Geographic Explorer.
What differentiates Lindblad Expeditions from other expedition travel companies?
The Lindblad-National Geographic approach to expedition travel—unmatched expedition heritage and excellence, state-of the-art exploration tools, and an unparalleled reputation for commitment to responsible travel—creates an inspiring and educational environment, where guests become catalysts for change by being inspired, and then joining others in conservation efforts that they see and experience directly.
Do you explain appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites?
Our belief is that by exposing adults and children to the wonders of the world, we will help foster the next generation of committed citizens who care about the future of our planet. Our expedition team ensures we abide by all the rules and regulations of the places we visit, and we often institute our own internal programs and initiatives to preserve and protect these places. Our staff is actively involved in organizations such as International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators and Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, which seek to lead the tourism industry with best management practices for visiting unique places such as Antarctica, the Arctic, and Galápagos. They have helped to create guidance for visitors to those places and in turn help to enforce their compliance.
We embrace the leave-no-trace philosophy, “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.” While we have a strict no-collection policy about the places we go—no shells, no animal fur/feathers, no rocks, no sticks, etc., there is an exception made to the occasional beach trash cleanup.
Do you give back to the places you visit?
The Lindblad family has spent decades exploring the world’s wildest places, and has undertaken multiple efforts in support of conservation, education and marine stewardship raising nearly $10 million in collaboration with our guests in the last 10 years alone. We have also initiated a number of programs to reduce impacts of our activities on the regions we visit.
In an effort to raise more monies for conservation and sustainable tourism projects around the world, Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic launched a Joint Fund for Exploration and Conservation to support initiatives around the world, with a special focus on the regions we explore.
How far in advance should I make my reservation?
We encourage you to make your reservation just as early as possible—especially if you are limited to the time period in which you can travel. Our expeditions are popular, and our ships tend to fill quickly.
What’s included in the cost? Are there any hidden charges for port taxes, for example, that are not included?
There are never hidden charges, like port charges. Of course, you’ll want to check carefully the inclusions for the journey you’ve selected, but you can rest assured there will be nothing hidden.
Included in costs:
* All accommodations, meals, and non-alcoholic beverages aboard ships
* Use of Snorkeling equipment, wet suits, and kayaks (where available)
* Services of our expert expedition team and guest speakers
* Services of a ship physician on most voyages
* Certain hotels and meals ashore as indicated in the itinerary
* Round-trip transfers based on group flights
* Shore excursions, sightseeing, entrance fees, and special access permits
* Taxes, service charges, and tips (except for ship’s crew, at our guests’ discretion)
Not included in costs:
* Air transportation, since many of our travelers prefer to use their frequent flyer miles (except when we indicated in the itinerary, as included)
* Passport, visa, and immigration fees
* Travel Protection Plan
* Special and unique excursions such as scuba diving, flightseeing, etc. (where offered)
* Alcoholic beverages
* Items of personal nature
* Phone and Internet Service
* Voyage DVD
* Gratuity for ship’s crew, at our guests’ discretion
Will I have to make payment at the time I make a reservation?
A deposit is required in order to hold a reservation. Deposit amounts vary depending on the destination and expedition you are reserving.
What form of payment do you accept?
We gladly accept payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Or, you may pay by personal check.
Can I make special cabin requests?
We will be happy to confirm your cabin request based on current availability.
What if the cabin I request is not available?
We will add you to our waiting list, and you will be contacted as soon as a cabin of your choice becomes available.
What happens if I need to change my mind about my choice of expedition and/or a departure date?
Any revisions you make within the cancellation penalty period, such as departure date or choice of voyage, are subject to cancellation fees.
What is the maximum number of guests that can stay in one cabin?
We offer triple accommodations on certain expeditions. We recommend you reserve early, as these cabins may be limited on certain ships.
What if I am traveling alone, as a solo guest?
We offer solo accommodations on all our expeditions. We recommend you reserve early, as solo cabins may be limited on certain ships.
If I am traveling alone, will you find a roommate for me?
If you are traveling solo and are willing to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to make your reservation indicating your choice. This program allows you to pay the per person double occupancy rate whether or not we find a roommate to share with you. This program is subject to availability, and limited to certain ships and categories.
Who should think about group travel?
Everyone! Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, getting together with friends and family is always fun.
Some of our groups have included yacht clubs, country clubs, church/temple groups, gluten–free groups, class reunions, and family travel/reunions.
Mark your special event this year with an expedition to one of the world’s most beautiful places!
How many people do we need to be considered a group?
Our groups range in size from 8 – 148!
What are the benefits of traveling as a group with Lindblad Expeditions?
Save 5% for you and your entire group off of the base cost of the voyage.
Our small ships are perfect for group interaction, and will take you in style to places that are inaccessible by others.
You will gain a deeper understanding of your destination by traveling with our expert Expedition Team.
Our Expedition Specialists will assist you and your group with all aspects of your expedition - from logistics to special arrangements and airfare.
What if I don’t meet my minimum?
We never cancel our expeditions. You can still join us - even if you don’t meet your group minimum of 8 or more. However, depending upon your final group size, the savings incentive may not be applicable.
What ships and itineraries are available for group travel?
All of them! We have ten ships in our fleet and all of them are available for group travel.
What is included?
Group travel arrangements vary by destination and ship but generally include:
- All accommodations aboard our ships or in hotels as per itinerary
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship and as indicated on land (per itinerary)
- All shore excursions (as indicated in the itinerary) and activities such as Zodiac excursions, hiking, kayaking, tide-pooling, beach walks, and snorkeling*
- The services and expertise of an Expedition Leader, our natural history staff, an Undersea Specialist,* a Video Chronicler and a ship’s physician*
- An extensive Undersea program including nightly recap presentations incorporating onboard video microscopes, hydrophones and under water cameras
- A fleet of kayaks* and the use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits*
- Presentation capabilities with state-of-the-art equipment including Plasma TVs, DVD players, power point and digital slide shows
- Port charges and service charges
- Gratuities to local guides
- Air transportation where indicated as included in the itinerary
- The personal guidance of an experienced in-house team to help create a seamless, “once-in-a-lifetime” expedition
* Depending on ship/destination
What is not included?
All group travel arrangements vary by destination and ship, but generally they exclude: airfare, transfers, optional extensions, gratuities to ship staff/crew, items of a personal nature (e.g. laundry, email, telephone, alcoholic beverages, LEXspa services), passport/visa expenses, airport departure tax, guest travel insurance, custom voyage DVDs and optional tours.
Does Lindblad Expeditions handle the air arrangements?
Airfare is generally an additional cost, unless otherwise indicated in the itinerary. We have a full service air department and we will gladly assist in making your air arrangements. There is a $50 per person service fee if you elect for Lindblad Expeditions to handle your air arrangements.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.