One of the biggest adventure cruise lines in the industry, Lindblad has created the perfect blend of comfort and expedition with its 100-passenger ship, National Geographic Venture. A relatively large vessel, by expedition standards, the ship maintains Lindblad's focus on sustainable, respectful travel while providing passengers comfortable spaces to socialize, dine and sleep.
Built in 2018, Venture features a totally casual vibe, as passengers and crew tend to be single-minded in their focus on adventure and wildlife. You won't find a formal night anywhere, and most doors -- including those to your cabin -- are usually unlocked. There's even an open-bridge policy; if you want a tour, just knock on the door.
Service is excellent, and staff mix with passengers in a friendly yet respectful way. Naturalists and field staff bring a wealth of knowledge to the daily excursions and lectures, and they're always open to questions. (They even join passengers at some meals; if you have an opportunity to dine with one, do it! Just sit back and listen to the amazing stories they have to tell about their adventures.)
Venture is highlighted by a magnificent lounge, which includes big windows, binoculars galore and comfortable seating for cocktail hour or lectures. Cabins are larger than you'll find on many other expedition ships, and while they're still compact, they're well laid-out to maximize the space. The ship also has a large marina opening directly to the water -- necessary because virtually all of the excursions are reached via small motorized rubber boats (known as rigid inflatable boats or RIBs). In fact, as lovely as the ship is, it truly serves as the backdrop for Venture's itineraries, which are geared toward passengers looking to actively explore locations by land and sea.
Passengers on National Geographic Venture are mostly mature North Americans traveling in couples. They tend to be well-educated and curious, and they share an adventurous spirit. Families are more common during the summer and at holiday time, and kids are usually comfortable in an adult environment. Announcements and paperwork are in English only.
There's no dress code on Venture. It's simply about comfort. Onboard, jeans, T-shirts, shorts, hiking or workout gear are acceptable. It's more important to pack for the itinerary you're sailing. That generally means layers, with clothing that is moisture-wicking (or waterproof), solid hiking shoes, water shoes, hats and gloves for colder environments, and backpacks for taking ashore. Lindblad provides personal floatation devices and wetsuits for use during water activities. It also offers boot, pants and pole rental services for its Alaska sailings; these must be ordered at least 13 days before your sailing and are delivered to the ship for your cruise.
Cruises on National Geographic Venture include all meals and shore excursions. Nonalcoholic beverages, including soft drinks, tea and coffee, are included all day. Lindblad covers all sightseeing and entrance fees, along with gear for snorkeling and walking sticks. Hors d'oeuvres and snacks are served during the nightly recaps.
You'll pay extra for alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, scuba diving and the internet, which is charged by the minute. Gratuities also are not covered; Lindblad suggests tipping $10 per person, per day. (So for a seven-day sailing, for example, a couple would tip $140.) Tips are divided among the staff. Spa personnel are not covered under this policy, expect to tip the therapist separately -- around 18 percent.
A few additional optional excursion choices might be available in some ports, and these will incur an extra cost.
The U.S. dollar is the onboard currency.
Basic expedition-style cruising; carries naturalists and a photography expert; active and cultural excursions include hiking, snorkeling and museum visits; carries 62 passengers.
The 62-passenger ship spends its summers in Alaska and its winters in Costa Rica and Panama, getting up close and personal with wildlife.
Basic expedition-style cruising mostly in polar regions with ice-strengthened hull and underwater cameras; active excursions including hiking, kayaking and Zodiac sightseeing.
Small, upscale expedition ship with hot tub and massage room; emphasis is on active excursions like biking, hiking and Zodiac trips; ice-strengthened hull for polar cruising.
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic welcomed its first-ever new-build in June 2017. Quest is about a third larger than existing Lindblad ships.
Larger than existing Lindblad ships, with an additional fourth deck, Lindblad’s new 100-passenger Venture accommodates families. Almost half the cabins will have balconies.
Expedition-style Galapagos Island cruising; carries nine Zodiacs (including one with glass bottom), kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel gear; has connecting cabins as well as solo rooms.