Pioneering expedition travel from the equator to both poles

By AG STAFF 27 June 2023
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With 50 years of exploration under its hulls, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is still setting the bar for expedition cruising.

When Lars-Eric Lindblad led expeditions to Antarctica in 1966 and the Galápagos in 1967, he made history as the first explorer to bring private citizens to these epic wildernesses. Since 1979, Lars-Eric’s son, Sven-Olof Lindblad, has nurtured the family legacy, establishing today’s Lindblad Expeditions and expanding the transformative travel experiences his father conceived, bringing together leading scientists, naturalists, and researchers to inspire travellers and foster a lifelong passion for the planet.

Over five decades after that first Antarctic expedition, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic sails to all seven continents with 550 departures a year on 110 unique itineraries, including to the places the company played a pioneering role: Antarctica and the Galapagos.

Iconic expeditions

To venture south–far south, to Antarctica–there are several itineraries to choose from. Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent is a 12-day adventure that starts in Buenos Aires or Santiago before flying to Ushuaia for the Drake Passage crossing to Antarctic Sound and Lemaire Channel, you will experience the ship crunching through pack ice and witness incredible wildlife including vast numbers of Adélie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins.

Guests photograph king penguins on the beach at the breeding and nesting colony at Salisbury Plains in the Bay of Isles, South Georgia, Southern Ocean, Antarctica. Image credit: Lindblad Expeditions

Nothing will prepare you for cruising around enormous, sculptured icebergs in Zodiacs, and there are plenty of adventures to be had, with hiking, kayaking and possibly cross-country skiing amid unbelievably wild surrounds.

To fulfil your bucket-list desire to explore the Galápagos, choose the Galápagos onboard National Geographic Endeavour, or the Wild Galápagos Escape which is aboard National Geographic Islander II. Built in 2022 with just 26 staterooms and suites and with a 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, the ship offers indoor-outdoor dining, an impressive observation deck and new amenities like a climate-controlled marina and a dedicated science hub.

The Wild Galápagos Escape eight-day journey in and out of Guayaquil sees guests fly to Baltra to board the ship before exquisite days spent visiting a selection of islands that may include Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Isabela, Fernandina, San Cristóbal, Española and Floreana. Your camera will be working overtime with the incredible wildlife in the Galápagos famous for having no fear of humans, including marine iguanas, sea lions, flamingos, flightless cormorants, boobies, lava lizards and the endemic mockingbird.

The Galápagos aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II is 10 days, and gives you more time in the archipelago to visit a selection of islands that may include: Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Isabela, Fernandina, San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, Genovesa, Santiago and Bartolomé.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic often has regular promotions on these itineraries, so check back regularly.

An adult Galapagos penguin hunts fish underwater as a guest snorkels and photographs his activity in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Image Credit: Lindblad Expeditions

The fleet

The spectacular itineraries are onboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s fleet of 16 ships, including 10 expedition vessels and 6 seasonally chartered ships, each embodying its own unique spirit of exploration. From intrepid vessels built to inspire a sense of adventure, to traditional tall ships that evoke the splendor of a bygone era, and a pair of PC5 Polar Class vessels, the ships in the fleet are as diverse and dynamic as the places explored. Each is small and nimble, allowing flexibility and ensuring unique opportunities to venture into places bigger ships cannot go.

The 10 expedition ships were designed by the people who work on the vessels: the captains, expedition leaders, undersea specialists and dive masters, the chefs, photographers and naturalists. Every little detail has been thought of, and implemented to ensure passengers get the most out of the idyllic and remote locations they are visiting. Guests also enjoy plenty of time to chat with the onboard experts, including naturalists, speakers, and expedition staff.

Some of the ships have been specifically designed to navigate shallow rivers and deploy narrow skiffs to explore flooded forests. Others have been built for discovering wild coasts and fast-moving channels. And then there are the ships designed to venture far into polar regions in safety and comfort without resupplying fuel or provisions for weeks on end.

Exploring responsibly

With such a long legacy to protect, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic understands how important it is to care for the places they visit. To Lindblad, “responsible travel” means adopting green business practices, protecting nature, preserving culture, and supporting local communities and artisans whenever and wherever possible.

In fact, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has raised nearly $20 million from committed travellers since 1997 to protect the ocean, conserve wildlife, preserve local communities and culture, and enable meaningful scientific research.

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is a 100 per cent carbon neutral company and is committed to green business operations and preserving the planet for future generations. The company focuses on green practices across all operations, from onboard technology to sustainable and local food sourcing, zero-waste processes, carbon neutrality, and more.

Setting the bar for expedition cruising continues to be part of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ethos. The company is always evolving, finding new and better ways to do things sustainably both for the company and the industry as a whole.

Venture forth and explore our world with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, knowing you will be in great hands.

This article is brought to you by Lindblad Expeditions. For more information call 1300 362 012 or email [email protected]