Planning Your Trip
When do you travel to the Pacific Northwest?
We have departures in April, May, September, and October
Can I bring my children or grandchildren to the Pacific Northwest?
Families and children of any age are welcome aboard. Our naturalists are trained to work with kids and are excellent role models, embedding fun and learning into all activities. 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.
What are requirements of minors under the age of 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.
Do I need a valid passport?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you need a valid passport or enhanced driver’s license.
Is a visa necessary?
No, U.S. citizens do not need a visa enter Canada. Non-U.S. citizens must check with their local authorities prior to departure.
What is the temperature like?
The Columbia & Snake River Journey will take us through varying climates, from the coastal town of Astoria, which can be quite cool, foggy, and rainy, through the eastern desert terrain of Washington and Oregon, which can be quite warm at midday. Keeping this in mind, you could experience temperatures as cool as 45°F and as warm as 85° F. Temperatures in late October/early November can be cooler, with lows in the upper 30s and highs in the mid 60s.
On our British Columbia voyage you will be spending a lot of time on the 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.
What is included in my trip cost?
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.
- All ship accommodations
- All meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard the ship
- Tips, taxes, port charges, and service charges (gratuities to ship’s crew at your own discretion)
- All shore excursions, entrance fees, and special access permits
- Transfers to and from group flights
- Use of kayaks and expedition landing craft excursions
- Morning stretch classes with our wellness specialist
- The expertise of our expedition team, including talks and presentations
- Hors d’oeuvres and snacks during nightly Recap in lounge
- 24-hour coffee, tea, and 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. 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.
What is the difference between photo expeditions and other expeditions?
On every expedition we offer 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 and you’ll go home with the best shots ever. The photo instructor is there to help every level of photographer, so remember to pack your camera.
Our photo expeditions, which are also designed to accommodate all levels of photographers from beginners to pros, offer 360º 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 onboard photo clinics, one-to-one critiques, and inclusive “laptop gallery” events to see each other's shots. 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’lre engaging presenters and interesting travel companions, too—with good stories to share about their assignments, from the podium and over drinks or dinner.
Is there a time difference in the Pacific Northwest?
Yes, Pacific Standard Time in the U.S. (-8:00 GMT). When it’s 9:00 a.m. on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, it’s 11:00 a.m. in Chicago and noon in New York.
Are group transfers included to and from the ship?
Yes, from the airports in Portland and Clarkston to and from the ship, as well as from the airports in Seattle and Vancouver to and from the ship.
Are there pre/post tours with this trip?
Yes, there are two options: a city tour of Portland, Oregon, and a tour of boutique Willamette Valley wineries. Please call for details.
Packing And Preparation
Will I get seasick? Will I need Dramamine or seasickness patches?
This is generally a very tranquil and easygoing expedition; however, if you are prone to seasickness, you might want to discuss some medication options with your doctor.
Do I need any vaccinations? Is a medical form necessary?
At the present time, no immunizations are required for this expedition, although the CDC recommends that the normal routine vaccines should be up to date: measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine), diphtheria, tetanus, perturssis (DTP vaccine), and polio vaccine.
How much cash should we bring per person?
That’s a personal choice. You can use a credit card for most purchases. Personal checks are accepted on the ships.
What kind of clothes do I need?
Our style is always informal. The relaxed atmosphere of every journey, a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic 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 likely 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 includes:
- Short- and long-sleeved T-shirts
- Jacket or fleece
- Waterproof jacket
- Pants—jeans, etc.
- Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and good support, e.g. tennis shoes or sneakers. Ship to Shore is our online store, which specializes in the kind of clothing, footwear, and accessory items suited to expedition travel
What footwear is a necessity in the Pacific Northwest?
Comfortable walking shoes with rubber soles and good support are needed for on board the ship and shore excursions. You may want to bring two pairs so you will have a dry pair if one should get wet. Many people find tennis shoes or sneakers suitable, while some prefer lightweight hiking boots for additional support.
What are the ships’ amenities?
Our ships feature a library; global market; lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; observation deck and 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.
Both 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 our ships. Your personal email 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 National Geographic Venture and National Geographic Quest are each equipped with an elevator.
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.
What are the cabin amenities?
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 100% 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.
Hairdryers 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 ships are 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.
What is the food like aboard the National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture?
Meals are served in one open seating, with an informal atmosphere and unassigned tables 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. If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will accommodate you.
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.
Do I need to dress up for dinner?
Throughout your expedition there is no need for formal clothing unless you’re inspired to do so. The onboard atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and so is the dress code.
Are snacks available during the day and in between meals?
In addition to mealtimes, we offer snacks, which are included.
Is alcohol available on the boat and on shore?
Alcohol is available on the ship for purchase and you’ll have the opportunity to taste craft beers and local wines on board.
Is there a gym or fitness center on board?
The National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture each feature an indoor gym that includes two treadmills, two stationary bikes, and an elliptical machine. All vessels have resistance bands, small hand weights, yoga mats, blocks, and foam rollers for your use at any time. In addition, and as part of our wellness program, our wellness specialist leads light exercise or stretching classes each morning on the sundeck before breakfast. Off-board fitness options include hiking, kayaking, and biking. Massage therapy is available aboard for an additional fee.
Is there a spa? What kind of treatments?
The vessels are staffed with a wellness specialist and feature services that will help you fully recharge. Choose from relaxing full-body, deep-tissue, and focused therapeutic massages; each session is tailored for your needs and preferences. National Geographic Quest and National Geographic Venture also offer body treatments. Spa services are available for an additional fee, and you will have the opportunity to sign up once on board.
Does the ship have a pool?
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.
Will I be able to access the internet while on board?
Yes, our ships are equipped with satellite communications for email and internet access, and telephone and fax, for which charges apply. Email access is available 24 hours a day through the purchase of pre-paid internet access cards on board; 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 on board, or at the internet kiosks. Internet cards are available in the following increments:
- Internet Gold Card, 250 minutes, $100
- Internet Silver Card, 100 minutes, $55
- Internet White Card, 50 minutes, $22.50
Is there a doctor on board?
There is no doctor on board; however, our First Officer is a certified EMT, all staff members are CPR certified, and the ship is always near land.
How will I pay my bill for personal items on board?
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).
Gratuities to the crew aboard the ship are at your own discretion. All gratuities ashore are included in your expedition cost.
What is the cost of the Voyage DVD?
Prices vary depending on the length of your voyage, but approximately $50.
When does the ship travel from location to location?
The ship travels at various times depending on the day’s activities.
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 lounge is equipped with facilities for films, slideshows, and presentations. Naturalists will share their knowledge and add insight to all you see and do. 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, and your expedition leader will outline the following day’s schedule.
How will I explore the Pacific Northwest?
Key to our operation is our fleet of Zodiacs, which we use to land on remote islands 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 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 Galápagos environment.
Are there landing craft and kayaks available on board for exploration in remote areas? If so, how many? And how often are they used on each voyage?
Each ship is equipped with four expedition landing craft and 20 kayaks (tandem and solo) so that everyone who chooses 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.
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 itinerary has flexibility built into the schedule. 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.
Is this expedition physically challenging? Is the terrain difficult?
No, this is a very tranquil and easygoing expedition. There are options to hike and kayak, but they can be enjoyed at a pace that is comfortable for you. You do need to be able to get in and out of a Zodiac.
Are there short and long hikes?
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.
Would hiking sticks be helpful or just get in the way? Are they even permitted?
Hiking sticks are permitted and could be helpful. There are some provided on board; however, you may bring a walking stick.
What activities are included or can be done on our own while on the voyage?
All activities are included: guided tours, hiking, kayaking, and jet boat rides on the Columbia & Snake Rivers Journey. You can enjoy personal discoveries in a kayak excursion.
What is a wet landing?
In a wet landing, you disembark the Zodiac into shallow water. All landings are dry on the Columbia & Snake River itinerary. However, on our Exploring British Columbia & San Juan Islands expedition, there are possible wet landings in some of our destinations. Please bring shoes that can get wet as a precaution.
What is a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic 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 the basics of composition and to help you become a better, more confident photographer. You’ll go home with the best shots ever. The photo instructor is there to help every level of photographer, so remember to pack your camera.
What can you tell me about the expedition staff on board?
The quality of our expedition teams has long been the hallmark of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. Each 100-guest ship hosts an expedition leader, a naturalist/geologist, a historian, and a wellness specialist—one expert per 15 guests. Our naturalists have a wide variety of expertise—from history and geology to photo instruction—and each one is a not only an expert in their field but also passionate about sharing their knowledge and dedicated to seeing that you get the most out of your experience.