Check here first for Q&As about our Alaska expeditions
The Alaska season is May through September. Departure dates vary among our various itineraries:
- 8-day Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness itinerary has twice weekly departures on Saturdays and Sundays, May-September
- 15-day Alaska, British Columbia & Haida Gwaii itinerary has four departures; two in early May and two in early September
- 6-day Wild Alaska Escape itinerary has departures in early May through August
- 11-day Big Picture Alaska itinerary has departures in early June through August
- 13-day Treasures of the Inside Passage itinerary has departures in June and September
Temperatures vary from early season (May) to late season (September). May is springtime in Southeast Alaska, so temperatures are cooler, with average daytime temperatures in the low 50s. June will have daytime temperatures in the 60s, and by July and August, daytime temperatures can get as high as the 70s, but can also be as low as the 50s. During any month, the temperatures can be as low as the mid-40s, especially when we are exploring in front of a glacier. You will be spending a lot of time on water, and with a breeze the temperature can feel quite cool. Layers are key, and planning for a variety of weather conditions is most important.
No, there is no pool aboard National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion.
Yes, our ships are equipped with satellite communications for e-mail and internet access, and telephone and fax, for which charges apply. E-mail access is available 24 hours a day through the purchase of pre-paid internet access cards onboard, however, since it is satellite access and we explore remote locations, sometimes we are without a signal to connect. Once purchased, the internet cards can be used to access the internet on your personal laptop at select wireless access points onboard, or at the Internet Kiosks. Internet cards are available in the following increments: a. Internet Gold Card, 250 minutes, $100.00 b. Internet Silver Card, 100 minutes, $55.00 c. Internet White Card, 50 minutes, $22.50
Alaska’s waters are most often calm.
Gratuities to crew aboard ship are at your own discretion. Many guests choose to give $10 per person in their group per day. For example, a couple would leave $140. All gratuities ashore are included in your expedition cost.
As you can imagine, the wrong footwear can ruin your travel plans. Knee-high waterproof rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole for wet landings in our expedition landing craft, and for hiking in temperate forests are a must. Good walking shoes such as sneakers or hiking boots are also essential.
The Alaska season is May-September. Departure dates vary among our two itineraries:
- 8-day Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness itinerary has twice weekly departures on Saturdays and Sundays, May-August
- 15-day Alaska, British Columbia & Haida Gwaii itinerary has four departures; two in early May and two in early September
We include just about everything you have the opportunity to do as part of your expedition aboard the ship and ashore. The only items not included are those of a personal nature—alcohol, Internet usage, tips to the crew, wellness treatments, and specialized arrangements such as optional flightseeing in Petersburg.
- All ship accommodations
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship
- Tips, taxes, port charges and service charges (gratuities to ship’s crew at your own discretion)
- All shore excursions and sightseeing, entrance fees, special access permits
- Transfers to and from group flights
- Use of kayaks and expedition landing craft
- Morning stretch classes with our wellness specialist
- The expertise of our Expedition Team, including talks and presentations
- Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during nightly Recap in Lounge
- 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
- Complete pre-journey information, including what to bring and a reading list.
We don't want you to miss out on anything. With Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, all activities and sightseeing are included—from guided walks to museum entrance fees to water activities like kayaking and snorkeling—and you won't be locked-in to a pre-booked excursion. You'll always have the freedom to pick and choose activities as your day unfolds. After all, these are not scheduled tours, these are expeditions. Everyone is different, every day is different.
The ship travels at various times depending on the day’s activities.
Expedition landing craft
Key to our operation is our fleet of expedition landing craft, which we use to land on remote islands that would otherwise be inaccessible. These sturdy inflatable rubber boats are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small boats afloat. The expedition landing craft we use are 19 feet long, powered by outboard engines, and are capable of carrying 12 to 14 people with ease.
Kayaking provides one of the best means for personal exploration in the areas we travel. Therefore, we’ve outfitted our ships with a fleet of them; enough for everyone who wants to participate. They are very stable and easy to master for novices and experts alike. There is something special about being alone in a single kayak, or with your travel companion in our double kayaks, paddling along a remote coastline. Lindblad pioneered kayaking from expedition ships in both the Arctic and Antarctic, and Lindblad is the first company of its kind to be awarded unique permits for kayaking in the fragile Galapagos environment.
Undersea tools for exploring
Our vessels are outfitted with panoply of underwater exploration equipment. Bow cams and hydrophones bring to life the sights and sounds beneath the sea. And our undersea specialists dive in remote locations in Alaska for a look at marine life below the surface, capture their findings on video and share them with guests on the TV screen in the lounge. These tools allow us to go further and get closer to nature’s wonders, enabling you to see what few visitors to Alaska ever see.
Each ship is equipped with five expedition landing craft and twenty kayaks (tandem and solo) so that everyone can get out and explore with a naturalist, travel companion or solo in search of more personal discoveries. Both expedition landing craft and kayaks give our guests the opportunity for personal, "eye-level" encounters with beauty and wildness in all the pristine places we explore. Weather dependent, we hope to get you out and exploring nearly every day of the voyage.
We do not offer fishing as part of our expedition experience in Alaska.
Our ships allow us to go deeper into the domain of humpback whales in Alaska. Researchers from the Alaska Whale Foundation come aboard to share their knowledge and the latest findings about humpback behavior in the region. Guests often observe pods of humpbacks, plus killer whales and Steller sea lions. Sea otters, brown bears, black bears, wolves, mountain goats, bald eagles, and puffins are among the animals you may see on an Alaska expedition.
Yes. We will always have a few varieties of hikes, from leisurely paced to medium to fast. Options will be outlined and described by the expedition leader before your excursions begin. We will also offer expedition landing craft cruises if none of the hiking options appeal to you.
A wet landing is when you disembark the expedition landing craft into shallow water and walk to shore (while wearing waterproof boots).
You can enjoy personal discoveries on a solo kayak excursion. There may also be some time to explore on your own in the remote Alaskan fishing villages and towns we visit.
Our style is always informal. The relaxed atmosphere of every journey, a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic hallmark, is something our guests 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 likely weather conditions in the region you're exploring. A full packing list will be provided in your expedition documents. In the meantime, our suggested packing list Alaska packing list includes:
• Knee-high waterproof rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole, for hiking and wet expedition craft landings—a must!
• Waterproof rain gear and pants
• Lightweight thermal underwear
• Pants: jeans, corduroy, etc.
• Short and long-sleeved T-shirts/blouses
• Two or three different weight sweaters or fleece
• Three or four pairs of warm, sturdy, tall wool socks and an equal number of thin socks to wear underneath for extra insulation
• Warm jacket
• A woolen or fleece hat with ear protection for colder weather
• One or two pairs of waterproof ski mittens or gloves
Ship to Shore is our online store, which specializes in the kind of clothing, footwear, and accessory items suited to expedition travel.
In general, mosquitoes are not a major issue in Southeast Alaska. However, this is not to say they won’t be found in this area of Alaska or be considered a nuisance to mosquito sensitive guests. Depending on the terrain and weather conditions, they can be encountered at times. We indicate insect repellent in our packing lists for this reason. On our Denali extension and the more inland areas of Alaska, one will most definitely encounter mosquitoes.
We believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience, and we offer $500 off the double occupancy rate for each person under 18 on all departures. Alaska is one of our most popular family destinations, and families and children of any age are welcome aboard. Kids thrive in the sociable confines of the ship where they can exercise some autonomy while remaining in contact with adult supervision. Our naturalists are excellent role models who are trained to work with kids and embed education in every fun activity. We offer a range of kids activities including photography workshops, journals, and journaling time to record kids’ daily activities, expedition landing craft-driving lessons, “certificates of achievement,’’ hands-on nature and science lessons, scavenger hunts, a kid-friendly menu option, a special kid’s pizza and movie night. A representative from the Parks Service gives kids a Jr. Ranger Badge and a coloring book in Glacier Bay National Park.
If you are traveling on our Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness itinerary, and you are a U.S. citizen, no passport is required. If you are traveling on our Alaska, British Columbia, and Haida Gwaii itinerary, U.S. citizens will need a valid passport since we travel to Canada. Passports must be valid for up to 6 months after the return date to the United States.
Often, the most memorable events are those that are unplanned. That’s why every itinerary has flexibility built into the schedule. So, if we happen to encounter humpback whales bubblenet feeding, or a mother bear with cubs foraging along the shore 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 (DERs), which are reports from our staff on the highlights of each day. These are archived on our website for your reference.
The ships feature a library; global market; lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slide shows and presentations; observation deck; partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables. And our open bridge policy offers the opportunity to learn about navigation and share the Captain’s view.
Heating & air-conditioning
The ships are air conditioned and heated throughout.
There are large view windows in the dining room and lounge.
The ships feature a library with a selection of books pertaining to your destination.
For those interested in downloading digital photos aboard any of our ships, there is a digital photo kiosk where you can download your photos to various types of digital media and CD-ROMs/DVDs. Recordable CD-ROMs/DVDs and thumb drives may be purchased aboard.
Email and Internet access are available on all ships. Your personal e-mail and Internet may be accessed from your own personal laptop or at the Internet kiosk onboard. Charges apply.
No, we do not offer laundry services on board.
Telephone & fax
Telephone calls and fax transmissions are available at an additional charge.
The ships are not equipped with elevators.
Open bridge policy
We have an open bridge policy that provides guests with an opportunity to learn about navigation and share the Captain’s view.
For the comfort of all our guests, smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas.
Each cabin has its own thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature level in your cabin.
Some cabin windows can be opened, although most are secured for safety reasons. Some portholes may be covered during portions of voyages if the sea becomes rough.
We supply botanically inspired 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.
Hair dryers are available in each cabin.
Each cabin is equipped with at least one 110v (American) electrical outlet which can be used for electric razors, laptop computers and other small devices.
While our ship is not equipped with safety deposit boxes in the cabins, most have small locking drawers with a key where you can keep your valuables. As our vessel safes are quite small, our normal policy is that the ships cannot accept custody or responsibility for guests' valuables while on board.
The cabins on National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion are not connecting cabins.
National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird are not wheelchair accessible.
Kids thrive in the sociable confines of the ship, where they can exercise some autonomy while remaining in contact with adult supervision. Our naturalists are excellent role models who are trained to work with kids and embed education in every fun activity. We offer a range of kids activities including photography workshops, journals & journaling time to record kids’ daily activities, Expedition landing craft-driving lessons & “certificates of achievement,” hands-on nature and science lessons, scavenger hunts, a kid-friendly menu option, a special kid’s pizza and movie night . A representative from the Parks Service gives kids a Jr. Ranger Badge and a coloring book in Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, we believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience, and we offer $500 off the double occupancy rate for each person under 18 on all departures.
Meals are served in one open seating, with an informal atmosphere and tables unassigned to encourage meeting new guests. The meal hours will be posted in the Daily Program you receive in your cabin each day. Full buffet breakfasts, casual lunches, and leisurely dinners with plenty of choices are served in our comfortable dining rooms, or on deck or even ashore on a remote beach. Every destination has a “flavor” and we believe our guests should have every opportunity to “taste” the destination. A great deal of thought goes into what we serve. We make an effort to bring regional flavors to your table with fresh, local fruits, vegetables and spices. And we serve sustainable, locally caught or harvested fresh seafood whenever possible, including king salmon, local halibut and Dungeness crab.
If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will accommodate you.
We can provide vegetarian and vegan meals, and we can accommodate many food allergies. If you have allergies, restrictions, or special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance. Unfortunately, we cannot provide kosher meals.
Alcohol is available on the ship for purchase.
The National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion each carry exercise equipment on the covered portions of their sundecks, including an exercise bike, elliptical, stretch bands and yoga mats. In addition, and as part of our wellness program, our wellness specialist leads stretch classes inspired by yoga and Pilates each morning on the sundeck before breakfast. Other fitness options include kayaking and hiking. Massage therapy, body treatments and other spa treatments are available aboard for an additional fee.
All services and products purchased on board the ship may be paid for by cash, check or charge (American Express, VISA, MasterCard and Discover Card).
Each 62-guest ship in Alaska hosts five naturalists plus an expedition leader—one expert per 10 guests. One of the most important aspects of every expedition is the knowledge of our terrific staff of naturalists, undersea specialists, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructors, and other specialists who provide talks, guidance ashore, and daily camaraderie. The staff will greatly enhance your experience, sharing special insights into areas of the world they know intimately. Each one is a not only an expert in their field, but passionate about sharing their knowledge and dedicated to seeing that you get the most out of your experience
A video chronicler accompanies every expedition. We send our video chroniclers "on assignment" to remote corners of the globe 365 days a year. 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. A Voyage DVD will be available for purchase at the end of your expedition—proof of your intrepid spirit!
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 specialist shoots undersea footage and then shows images on flat screens in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, giving you a rare view of the undersea world in Alaska.
Each evening at cocktail hour the entire expedition community gathers in the lounge for an expedition ritual we call Recap. As you enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the house, various naturalists give talks, the undersea specialist may show video, and your expedition leader will outline the following day’s schedule.
Designed to accommodate all levels of photographers from beginners to pros, our photo expeditions offer 360° photo ops, the instruction of a robust photo team giving you the tips you need when you need them, and all the time you need to get your shots right. They feature outings timed to take advantage of the best light—aboard expedition landing craft for up-close encounters with marine mammals, or on trail hikes. Plus, unique “share and learn” opportunities like on board photo clinics, one-to-one critiques, and inclusive “laptop gallery” events to see each other's shots. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to shoot with and learn from the best in the world—a National Geographic photographer joins every Photo Expedition, in addition to two Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors. They're engaging presenters and interesting travel companions, too—with good stories to share about their assignments, from the podium and over drinks or dinner.