• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

National Geographic Explorer Review

2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Cabins
2018 Best for Dining
View More

Find a National Geographic Explorer Cruise

National Geographic Explorer
4.5 / 5.0
46 reviews

Pros
Accommodations include balcony cabins and suites
Cons
No hot tubs or pool available
Bottom Line
A sophisticated way to sail expedition-style to destinations like the Arctic

About

Passengers
148

Crew
86

Passenger to Crew
1.72:1

Launched
1982/2008

Shore Excursions
154
Sails To
Antarctica, South America, Europe, Canada & New England, Baltic Sea
Lindblad Expeditions Cruise Deals
Theodore Scull
Cruise Critic Contributor

National Geographic Explorer Overview

Lindblad Expeditions introduced National Geographic Explorer in 2008, providing the line with the most sophisticated expedition-style ship afloat. It's equipped with high-tech equipment for forecasting ice conditions, underwater cameras that can drop to the seabed and state-of-the-art audiovisual gear. An ice-strengthened hull allows the ship to penetrate deep fjords in the Arctic and sail through pack ice in Antarctica.

But this ship wasn't always so cutting-edge. National Geographic Explorer was originally built in 1982 as Midnastol (Midnight Sun), a first-generation combination passenger and roll-on cargo ship operated by Norwegian Coastal Voyages (now Hurtigruten) for service along the Norwegian Coast. Soon after, the ship was seen as too small, and it was enlarged to its present dimensions in 1988-89 to carry additional passengers, the mail, vehicles and considerable freight. When larger and more cruise-like ships came along, Midnatsol was eventually laid up and made available for sale.

When Lindblad Expeditions bought the ship in October 2007, it needed considerable rebuilding. The upgrades included roomy passenger accommodations (large, at least, by the standards of expedition ships), several dining venues and a well-designed main lounge where passengers and the naturalist staff gather every evening to recap the day and learn the next day's activities. While the 148-passenger Explorer carries 52 more passengers than fleetmate National Geographic Endeavour (stationed in the Galapagos), the ship is twice the size of its sister, thus providing much more room per passenger and greatly expanded facilities for expedition cruising.

National Geographic Explorer now roams the world, offering expedition cruises in the Polar regions and cultural enrichment sailings in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas. Lindblad and its partner, National Geographic, provide a top team of 14 naturalists, historians and photographers who cruise aboard Explorer. Some have been with Lindblad for years, and they, along with two highly experienced captains, aim to get the ship as close to wildlife as is warranted and give passengers the unique experiences they crave. A cruise on National Geographic Explorer does not come cheap, but you are paying for one of the best expedition offerings with respect to the standard of ship, the number and experience of the staff and the excellent organization.

Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Top National Geographic Explorer Itineraries

View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer Itineraries (11)

Fellow Passengers

The itineraries often dictate the age of the passengers. The longer expeditions attract an older group, except during school holidays, and the shorter trips see a wider age range. Most passengers are Americans, with a smattering from Europe, Australia or East and South Asia, depending on the cruising region. All announcements are in English. The ship prints a list of passenger and staff names, along with everyone's cities, states and countries of origin.


Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer Dress Code

There is no dress code. It is up to the passengers to decide what they feel most comfortable wearing, depending on the weather and circumstances. Lindblad passengers are not generally sloppy, so you won't see shorts and T-shirts at dinner. On the captain's night, few if any men will have jackets or ties. When cruising in the Polar regions, passengers will need special attire -- including boots that come up to the knee, heavy socks, waterproof pants to protect against rain and spray, parkas (supplied by Lindblad in Antarctica), scarves and gloves -- for going ashore.


Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Find a Cruise

National Geographic Explorer Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04.6
Dining4.04.5
Entertainment3.04.4
Public Rooms4.04.7
Fitness Recreation3.04.3
Family4.0N/A
Enrichment5.04.7
Service4.04.9
Value For Money4.04.4

Already Booked?

Get to know who you'll be sailing with

More about Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer

Where does Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer sail from?

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer departs from Ushuaia, Santiago (Valparaiso), Valparaiso, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Dover, Dover, Bergen and Buenos Aires

How much does it cost to go on Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer?

Cruises on Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer start from null per person.

Is Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer a good ship to cruise on?

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer won 6 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2018 Best Overall
  • 2018 Best for Cabins
  • 2018 Best for Dining
  • 2018 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2018 Best for Service
  • 2018 Best for Shore Excursions

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Explorer Member Reviews

National Geographic Explorer
Alan Cameron
Sail Date: Jan 2019
Some of the trips will definitely be with Lihndblad/National Geographic.... Read More
National Geographic Explorer
rmcgavin
Sail Date: Dec 2018
National Geographic Explorer is a class 1 A ice breaker. Peter Wilson is an experienced expedition leader.... Read More
National Geographic Explorer
Violinbow
Sail Date: Jul 2019
This voyage also included a National Geographic photographer who spoke several times - they even did a session on iPhone photography that appealed to me!!... Read More
National Geographic Explorer
RMcH
Sail Date: Aug 2018
We chose Lindblad/National Geographic because we have traveled with them several times in the past and we were quite certain that the adventure would be one we would be glad we had - and we were not disappointed... Read More

Lindblad Expeditions Fleet

National Geographic Sea Bird
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

17 reviews

Basic expedition-style cruising; carries naturalists and a photography expert; active and cultural excursions include hiking, snorkeling and museum visits; carries 62 passengers.

View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Bird Cruises
National Geographic Sea Lion
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 62-passenger ship spends its summers in Alaska and its winters in Costa Rica and Panama, getting up close and personal with wildlife.

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises to Alaska Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises to the Mexican Riviera View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises
National Geographic Explorer
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Basic expedition-style cruising mostly in polar regions with ice-strengthened hull and underwater cameras; active excursions including hiking, kayaking and Zodiac sightseeing.

Jahan (Lindblad)

The 48-passenger, Colonial-style Jahan spends its time on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia; a National Geographic-Lindblad-certified photography instructor accompanies every sailing.

National Geographic Orion
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

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.

National Geographic Quest
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic welcomed its first-ever new-build in June 2017. Quest is about a third larger than existing Lindblad ships.

National Geographic Venture

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.

Panorama II (Lindblad)

Panorama II is an intimate two-masted sailing vessel designed for adventure. Lindblad Expeditions has chartered the ship from Variety Cruises to offer Cuba voyages.

National Geographic Endeavour II
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

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.

National Geographic Islander

A true expedition vessel, National Geographic Islander has been sailing in the Galapagos for more than a decade.

National Geographic Resolution

Lindblad Expeditions' second purpose-built polar vessel sets sail for the world's most remote regions in 2021.

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Cookie Consent