Planning Your Trip
What ships travel to Iceland?
Travel aboard the National Geographic Explorer, which accommodates 148 guests in 81 outside cabins, or the brand-new National Geographic Endurance and her sister ship National Geographic Resolution, each accommodating 126 guests in 69 outside cabins. Both ships are fully stabilized, ice-class vessels able to navigate polar environments in exceptional comfort.
When do you travel to Iceland?
The Iceland travel season is from May through September. Departure dates vary.
What type of weather can I expect during an Iceland expedition?
The average air temperature in Iceland during the summer is in the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius) and may be in the high 70s in the southern part of the island. That being said, Iceland often has rain and wind along the coastline throughout the summer months.
Is there a time difference in Iceland?
Yes, Iceland is four hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast (EST) and 12 hours behind Sydney, Australia.
What is included in my expedition cost?
Expedition costs are all-inclusive:
- All ship and hotel accommodations
- All meals aboard ship and most meals ashore except when an itinerary provides an “at your leisure” morning, afternoon, or evening
- All beverages aboard ship, including alcoholic beverages (excluding some premium brands)
- Tips, taxes, port charges, and service charges (gratuities to ship’s crew at your own discretion)
- All shore excursions and sightseeing, entrance fees, and special access permits
- Transfers to and from group flights
- Use of kayaks and Zodiac excursions
- Services of a ship’s physician
- Services of our expedition team
- International airfare is always shown as a separate cost since many of our travelers prefer to use frequent-flyer miles
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. Activities and shore excursions are included in the cost of every Lindblad expedition. We don't want you to miss out on anything. Many cruise lines charge you extra, often hundreds of dollars, to see the sites that prompted you to book in the first place. With Lindblad, all activities and sightseeing are included—from guided hikes to kayaking. You'll always have the freedom to pick and choose activities as your day unfolds: a long hike, a shorter walk, kayaking, a Zodiac excursion, or relaxing aboard ship. After all, these are not scheduled tours, these are expeditions. Everyone is different—every day is different.
Are airport transfers included?
Yes, as long as you arrive and depart on the recommended group flight.
Can I bring my children or grandchildren to Iceland?
Children of any age are welcome on our Iceland expeditions. We believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience. Take $500 off the double occupancy rate for each person under 18.
What are the requirements of children under age 18 traveling with one parent/or legal guardian?
A minor consent form must be signed by the parents or parent not traveling with the child. It is also suggested that the legal guardian of the child sign and have notarized a letter of consent to travel with their knowledge.
Is a medical form necessary?
Yes, it is mandatory that you and your doctor complete and return a required three-part General Medical Information Form prior to departure so that our ship’s physician is fully aware of your medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, pregnancy) and will be better able to care for you should an emergency arise.
Do I need any vaccinations?
All guests must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all guests 16 years of age and above for voyages departing July 31, 2021, or earlier. All guests 12 years of age and above must present proof of vaccination for voyages departing August 1, 2021, or later.
At the present time, no other immunizations are required for this expedition, but you should always check with your doctor.
Do I need a valid passport?
Yes, if you are a U.S., Canadian, or Australian citizen, the only document you will need is a valid passport.
Is a visa necessary?
No visa is necessary for U.S., Canadian, or Australian citizens.
Packing and Preparation
What kind of clothes do I need?
Our style is always informal. The relaxed atmosphere of every journey, a Lindblad-National Geographic expedition hallmark, is something our travelers tell us they particularly enjoy. There is never a need for fancy clothing, so our recommendations on your travel wardrobe are all about comfort, practicality, and the conditions in the region you’re exploring.
What footwear is a necessity in Iceland?
A pair of fully waterproof knee-high rubber boots with sturdy, high-traction soles are essential. We stress the importance of boots that are completely waterproof so that your feet will not get wet when you step into shallow, icy water during wet Zodiac landings. Additionally, boots should have good traction because you are likely to encounter poor footing on ice and rough terrain. Comfort is important—if your boots are too heavy or bulky, your footing will be awkward during hikes. Also, good walking shoes such as sneakers are essential.
How much cash per person should we bring?
That’s a personal choice. You can use a credit card for most purchases. Personal checks are accepted on the ships.
Will I get seasick? Will I need Dramamine or seasickness patches?
While our ships are fully stabilized, you may want to bring some preventative medication if you are susceptible to motion discomfort. Please check with your personal physician for recommendations.
Is a parka provided?
No, a parka is not provided.
What are the ships' amenities?
Onboard public areas
A choice of public areas is available for all guests. Some areas, such as the restaurants, are listed here, but there is more information about meals in the dining section below. Public areas include the restaurant, chart room, global gallery, library, lounge, mud room with lockers for expedition gear, fitness center, sauna, spa, and observation lounge. The Bridge is also open to guests, giving you the opportunity to meet the captain and officers, and to learn about navigation.
Heating & air-conditioning
The ships are fully climate controlled, either heated or air-conditioned, depending on the outside temperature.
There are grand view windows in the dining room, fitness center, library, lounge, and observation lounge connecting you to the outdoors.
National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Resolution, and National Geographic Endurance feature on-board libraries with an extensive selection of books pertaining to the region.
For those interested in downloading digital photos aboard ship, there is a digital photo kiosk which will enable you to download your photos to various types of digital media.
Email and Internet access are available onboard. Your personal email and Internet may be accessed from your own device in your cabin or in one of many wifi areas aboard, or at the Internet kiosk onboard. Charges apply. Please note that when the vessel is operating at high latitudes, or in deep fjords, satellite email access may not be possible.
Laundry and pressing services are available at an additional charge. There is no dry cleaning available on board.
National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endurance are equipped with wheelchair accessible elevators that operate on most decks. Not all areas of the ship are accessible by wheelchair.
For the comfort of all our guests, smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas.
What are the cabin amenities?
Each cabin has its own thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature (heating or air-conditioning) in your cabin.
Certain cabin categories (Cat. 5, 6, 7) have exposed balconies with furniture and glass sliding doors. These balconies range in size from approximately 37 to 90 square feet.
All cabins face outside with either windows or portholes. Cabins with balconies have sliding glass doors. Some portholes may be covered periodically during rough seas.
We supply conditioning shampoo, body wash, and body lotion. If you choose to bring your own shampoo and/or conditioner, we recommend that you bring biodegradable products. In addition, Expedition Essential Kits are provided for each guest. Toiletries are also available for sale in the Global Gallery.
Hairdryers are available in a drawstring bag in each bathroom.
Each cabin is equipped with a 22-inch flat-screen LCD for video programming (the size of the screen is 32 inches in the suites). Video programming includes movies, educational programming, and live feeds from the screens in the lounge.
At the desk in each cabin there is an outlet for 110v and 220v (European). Additional outlets of both types are located in every cabin.
Ships are not equipped with safety deposit boxes. Guests are asked to see the purser if they have something that must be kept in the ship’s safe, although we recommend leaving valuables at home. All passports are kept throughout the duration of the voyage by the purser.
Can my family and friends contact me in case of emergency at home?
Prior to your departure date, we will provide you with a list of port contacts and phone numbers, indicating how you can be reached in case of emergency. The ship is equipped with satellite communications for internet access, telephone, and fax.
Do I need to dress up for dinner?
Throughout your expedition, there is no need for formal clothing unless you’re inspired to wear it. The onboard atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and so is the dress code.
What is the food like on board?
Meals are served in one open seating in the panoramic-windowed restaurant or in the more intimate bistro bar. In addition, on occasion light lunches are served out on the sun deck or in the observation lounge. Tables are always unassigned to encourage mingling and to ensure you dine with a variety of fellow guests, expedition team members, and special guest experts. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style, with an array of healthy options including fruits, vegetables, freshly squeezed juices, and homemade breads—choices range from simple to indulgent to satisfy any yearnings. Dinner is served with varied meat, fish, or vegetarian options at every meal. Our sustainable seafood program aims to serve fresh seafood, locally caught or harvested. Our onboard baker presents fresh breads and desserts daily to surprise and delight. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance and we will gladly accommodate you. Unfortunately, we cannot provide kosher meals but we can provide vegan meals. Meal hours will be posted in your Daily Program.
Are snacks available during the day and in between meals?
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and hot chocolate are available throughout the day as are light snacks. A casual afternoon tea is available nearly every day.
Is there a gym or fitness center on board?
Yes, all three of our ships feature glass-enclosed fitness centers with gym equipment including treadmills, stationary bicycles, an elliptical cross-trainer, free weights, benches, and body bar.
Is there a spa on board? What kind of treatments are offered?
Exploring the world can be a powerful restorative tonic. To that end, we offer you options to tap into your own personal wellness goals and help you rejuvenate as best we can. On National Geographic Explorer, the LEXspa treatment room, sauna, and fitness center are located on the wellness deck. On National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution, the LEXspa treatment room, saunas, fitness center, and infinity-edge hot tubs are located on the observation deck. A wellness specialist is available for wellness elements ranging from massages, facials, and body treatments to morning exercise classes inspired by yoga, qigong, and Pilates, as well as personalized guidance with the fitness equipment. Our goal is not a one model fits all but rather a multitiered approach to exploration and rejuvenation. Spa treatments are available for an additional fee, and you will have the opportunity to sign up once on board.
Does the ship have a pool?
No, National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endurance do not have pools.
Can I visit the ship’s Bridge?
Yes, guests are welcome to visit the Bridge to meet our officers and captain, and to learn about navigation and the extensive equipment located on the Bridge.
Will I be able to access the internet while on board?
Yes, our ships are equipped with satellite communications for internet access, telephone, and fax, for which charges apply. You may access Wi-Fi on your laptop, tablet, or phone to check email, social media, or surf the web, but you may find that the internet connection is not strong or stable enough to support Skype or video chat. If you choose not to travel with a computer, there are Internet kiosks available.
Is there a doctor on board?
Yes, there is a doctor on board all National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Endurance voyages, and his/her services are free of charge. The doctor is available at any time in case of emergency. Please inquire about the doctor for your individual expedition.
How will I pay my bill for personal items on board?
The shipboard currency is in U.S. dollars (USD). In foreign ports, a small amount of local currency will be available for exchange aboard ship. All services and products purchased on board the ship may be paid for by cash, checks drawn against a U.S. bank, or credit card (American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover Card). Please note that transactions posted against credit cards issued outside of the U.S. may be subject to foreign transaction fees.
Are gratuities included in the cost of the expedition?
All gratuities ashore and to shipboard staff are included in your expedition cost.
What is the cost of the voyage video created by the video chronicler?
Prices vary, depending on the length of your voyage.
When does the ship travel from location to location?
There is no set schedule, as our schedule is partially dependent on conditions and wildlife viewing. Mostly we travel at night from location to location, although we sometimes travel during the day as well.
Will there be talks or presentations on board?
Your expedition team is key to your experience. They not only accompany all your explorations off the ship, they also give engaging talks and informal presentations on board. The state-of-the art lounge is equipped with facilities for films, slideshows, and presentations. Naturalists will share their knowledge and add insight to all you see and do. Our undersea specialists take undersea footage and then show images on flat screens in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, giving you a rare view of the undersea world. Our National Geographic photographer shares their images and offers one-to-one critiques for those who are interested in participating.
What is Recap?
Each evening at cocktail hour the entire expedition community gathers for an expedition ritual we call Recap. This is a Lindblad Expeditions tradition, as much a part of the expedition as riding in the Zodiacs. Recaps are generally held each evening in the lounge prior to dinner and include informal presentations by the staff and a lively review of the day’s events involving both staff and guests. At the conclusion of Recap, your expedition leader will review the activity options for the next day.
Lindblad Expeditions often refers to the value of flexible schedules. What does this mean to me?
Often the most memorable events are those that are unplanned. That’s why every Lindblad-National Geographic itinerary has flexibility built into the schedule. On some of our journeys, in fact, whole days are left open for exploring. So if we happen to encounter a minke whale, for example, we’ll be afforded the luxury of taking the time to stop and watch rather than having to rush off somewhere else. To get a sense of what these adventurous, open-ended days are like, spend some time reading our Daily Expedition Reports, which are reports from our staff on the highlights of each day. These are archived on our website for your reference.
How will I explore Iceland?
Key to our operation is our fleet of Zodiacs, the amphibious landing craft we use to land on remote islands and shorelines that would otherwise be inaccessible. These sturdy inflatable rubber boats are the same craft that Jacques Cousteau used in his expeditions for over 30 years. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small boats afloat. The Zodiacs we use are 19 feet long, powered by outboard engines, and are capable of carrying 10 to 12 people with ease.
Lindblad Expeditions pioneered kayaking from expedition ships in polar regions. Kayaking provides one of the best means for personal exploration. Our ships are outfitted with a fleet of kayaks for everyone who wants to participate. They are very stable and easy to master for novices and experts alike. Lessons and assistance will be offered for newcomers to the sport, so all interested parties may join in this activity. There is something special about being alone, or with a partner in our double kayaks, paddling along a remote coastline. Conditions will determine where and when you’ll be able to kayak. Your expedition staff will always strive to provide you with this experience but will never compromise your safety.
Undersea tools for exploring
Our ships are equipped with panoply of underwater exploration equipment, including an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that can dive 1,000 feet below the surface and bring up images to view on LCD screens in the comfort of the lounge. Splash cams and hydrophones bring to life the sights and sounds beneath the sea, and our undersea specialists will also dive and take high-definition video footage of the local marine life. These tools allow us to go further and get closer to nature’s wonders. Get more information on our undersea program and Tools for Exploration.
Is Iceland physically challenging? Will I be able to walk unassisted, or is the terrain difficult?
This expedition can be physically demanding and you should be in general good health and able to walk short distances over uneven and rough terrain unassisted. Since you are traveling to a remote area without access to sophisticated medical facilities, you must not join this expedition if you have a life-threatening condition.
Are there short hikes and long hikes?
Yes, your expedition team always offers hikes of varied lengths for different fitness levels and interests. One of our naturalists may lead a faster-paced walk for those who want more of a workout. Naturalist-guided walking and hiking options will be offered regularly throughout your expedition, as conditions allow. Hikes and walks may be done over snow, ice, and rock, depending on the time of year. Distances will vary, and often involve an incline or irregular terrain. Shorter walks will always be offered.
Would hiking sticks be helpful or just get in the way? Are they even permitted?
Hiking sticks are permitted and could be helpful. Walking sticks are provided onboard, but many guests also prefer to bring their own.
Are there activities that can be done on our own while on the voyage, and will we have free time?
Given the nature of an expedition to Iceland, you’ll have opportunities to take Zodiac excursions and hikes in the company of a naturalist. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you can take advantage of our fleet of kayaks to explore on your own. If you’re spending extra time in Iceland before or after your expedition, we will be happy to assist you with suggestions about independent travel.
What is a wet landing?
A wet landing is when you disembark the Zodiac into shallow water and walk to shore (while wearing waterproof boots).
Will there be kayaking opportunities?
Yes, more than likely. Sometimes weather conditions simply don’t allow for it, but generally we are able to go kayaking at least once each expedition. Our ship is equipped with an onboard fleet of 36 double kayaks—to give our guests the opportunity for personal, eye-level encounters with wildness.
What kind of photography assistance and learning opportunities do you offer?
All expeditions feature a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor on board. In addition, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, and National Geographic Resolution have a National Geographic photographer aboard every voyage. After all, travel and photography go hand in hand. And with the partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic, it’s natural that photography has become a vital component of our expeditions. While all of our expeditions offer a full contingent of specialists to give you plenty of options and an in-depth experience—ornithologists, marine biologists, historians, oceanographers, and other experts—our photo team is there to help you take the best travel photographs of your life, whether you’re an interested beginner or seasoned pro.
The photo team can enhance everyone’s voyage with useful tips for improving your images, strategies for being in the right place at the right time, and assistance with using your camera to take the best possible photos.
What can you tell me about the expedition staff on board?
One of the most important aspects of every Lindblad-National Geographic expedition is the expertise of our knowledgeable staff of naturalists, photo instructors, biologists, oceanographers, historians, and other specialists who provide talks, guidance ashore, and daily camaraderie. These engaging people will greatly enhance your experience, sharing special insights into areas of the world they know intimately.
Is English spoken on board?
Yes, everyone on our expedition team speaks English. Some are multilingual as well.
What is a certified photo instructor?
Every expedition aboard a ship in our fleet offers an exclusive service—a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings and the basics of composition and to help you become a better, more confident photographer. You'll go home with the best shots ever.
What does the video chronicler do?
A video chronicler accompanies every expedition. With cameras at the ready 24 hours a day and seven days a week, these talented professionals have just one goal: to capture the essence of each expedition for you. They will shoot, edit, and create a documentary of your voyage that will be available for purchase at the end of your expedition.