Check here first for Q & As about our Antarctic expedition
On Board Public Areas
A choice of public areas is available for all guests aboard Explorer and Orion. Some areas, such as the restaurant, are listed here but there is more information about meals in the “Dining” section below.
On Explorer, public areas include the restaurant, bistro bar, chart room, global gallery, library, lounge, internet café, mud room with lockers for expedition gear, fitness center, sauna, spa, and observation lounge.
On Orion, public areas include the dining room, main lounge and bar, outdoor cafe, global gallery, observation lounge and library, fitness center, sauna, spa, sundeck, whirlpool hot tub, and small mud room.
On both ships, the bridge is 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 restaurants, libraries, fitness centers, lounges, and observation lounges, connecting you to the outdoors.
Explorer and Orion feature an onboard library 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 in Explorer's Internet Café, or in Orion's observation lounge, 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 wi-fi areas aboard. Explorer has an Internet Kiosk onboard, and Orion guests are invited to borrow a laptop from the reception desk. 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.
Telephone & Fax
Satellite telephone calls and fax transmissions are available at an additional charge.
Explorer is equipped with a wheelchair accessible elevator that operates on most decks. Orion has a glass elevator, centrally located in the atrium, for ease of access. It services all cabin decks and the observation lounge. 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.
The season for Antarctica is from November through February, which is the Southern Hemisphere's summer, when days are longest and temperatures are highest.
Each cabin has its own thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature (heating or air conditioning) in your cabin.
On Explorer, certain cabin categories (Cat. 5, 6, 7) have exposed balconies with furniture. These balconies range in size from approximately 37 to 90 square feet. On Orion, cabin categories 5 and 6 have French balconies.
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 Zero% brand 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.
Hair dryers are available in a drawstring bag in each bathroom.
Each cabin is equipped with a flat screen LCD for video programming. 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.
The ships are not equipped with safety deposit boxes, though every cabin aboard Orion has a small hotel safe. 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.
Meals are served in one open seating in the panoramic-windowed restaurant or in the more intimate bistro bar on Explorer, and in the dining room on Orion. In addition, on occasion light lunches are served out on the sun deck or in the observation lounge on Explorer, and in the outdoor cafe on Orion. 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 from fruits, vegetables, freshly squeezed juices, 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 locally caught or harvested fresh seafood. And our bakers present 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 can provide vegan meals. Meal hours will be posted in your Daily Program.
Serge Dansereau, owner and chef of Sydney's beautiful Bathers' Pavilion restaurant, has been a transformative force in Australian cuisine since the 1980's. His committment to natural foods, sustainable producers, and responsibly harvested seafood mirrors Lindblad-National Geographic's own. The force behind Orion's celebrated cuisine, he continues to design the ship's menus, and train her kitchen and waitstaff.
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 12 to 14 people with ease.
Lindblad Expeditions pioneered kayaking from expedition ships in polar regions. Kayaking provides one of the best means for personal exploration. Explorer and Orion 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 kayak, paddling along a remote coastline. Conditions in Antarctica 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
Explorer and Orion 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 or hydrophones bring to life the sights and sounds beneath the sea, and our undersea specialists may also dive for a look at marine life. These tools allow us to go further and get closer to nature’s wonders. For more information, see our Tools for Exploration.
One of the most important aspects of every Lindblad-National Geographic Expedition is the expertise of our knowledgeable staff of naturalists, photography experts, biologists, oceanographers, historians, National Geographic photographers, 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.
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 Antarctica. Global Perspectives guest speakers will add depth, knowledge, and relevancy to your understanding of the region on all Explorer voyages and select Orion voyages. Our National Geographic photographers share their images and offer one-to-one critiques for those who are interested in participating.
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.
Yes, Explorer and Orion feature a glass-enclosed fitness center with gym equipment, including treadmills, stationary bicycles, an elliptical cross-trainer, free weights, benches, and body bar. There is also an outdoor stretching area.
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 Explorer, the two LEXspa treatment rooms, sauna, and fitness center are located on the wellness deck. On Orion, the LEXspa treatment room, sauna, fitness center, and whirlpool hot tub are located on the observation deck. A wellness specialist is available for wellness elements ranging from massages, facials, and body treatments to activities with more fitness in mind, such as aerobic hikes, morning stretching classes with poses inspired by yoga or Pilates, personalized guidance with the fitness equipment, and more. Our goal is not a one model fits all, but rather a multi-tiered approach to exploration and rejuvenation.
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 device in your cabin using an Ethernet cable or at select wireless access points on board, or at the Internet kiosk on Explorer. On Orion, guests are invited to borrow a laptop from the reception desk. 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, 30 minutes, $22.00. On Explorer, all items are charged in USD and on Orion, they’re charged in AUD.
Yes, there is a doctor on board all Explorer and Orion 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.
While the 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.
The shipboard currency on Explorer is U.S. Dollars, and on Orion is Australian dollars. 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, check, or credit card (American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover Card).
All gratuities ashore are included in your expedition cost. Gratuities to the crew aboard the ship are at your own discretion. Your expedition leader will offer a tipping guideline, usually between $10 and $14 per person per day.
The Voyage DVD costs between $65 and $75, depending on the length of your voyage.
Often, the most memorable events are those that are unplanned. That’s why every Lindblad-National Geographic itinerary has flexibility built into the schedule. Once in the Antarctic Peninsula region, considerable time is left open for exploring. So, if we happen to encounter killer or humpback whales, for example, we’ll have 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. You can read the top ten or browse our archives, looking at the destination and time of year that most interests you.
Yes, it is likely. Sometimes weather conditions simply don’t allow for it, but generally we are able to go kayaking at least once each expedition. Our ships are equipped with fleets of double kayaks—to give our guests the opportunity for personal, "eye-level" encounters with wildness. Lessons and assistance will be offered for newcomers to the sport, so all interested parties may join this activity.
Yes, as on all our ships, guests are welcome to visit the bridge to meet our officers and captain and learn about navigation and the extensive equipment located on the bridge.
On a photo expedition, the itinerary, presentations and activities are designed specifically with photographers in mind. On other expeditions, photography is a significant component of the expedition, but not the primary component. Explorer and Orion do not offer any photo expeditions but photography is a very significant component on board.
Explorer and Orion have a National Geographic photographer and a Lindblad/National Geographic-certified photo instructor aboard every voyage. After all, travel and photography go hand in hand. And, with the partnership between LEX 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.
Lindblad 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 non-alcoholic beverages aboard 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 Zodiac excursions
- Services of a ship’s physician
- Services of our expedition team
- One fully-lined, windproof, water-resistant parka per guest
- 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-National Geographic 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 us, 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.
Argentina is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). While in Antarctica, National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion recognize the local time in Argentina. This itinerary covers one time zone (Argentina). If you prefer to use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Argentina is UTC -3:00 hours during this expedition and the ship observes this time while in Antarctica. For more information, see http://www.timeanddate.com/time/map/.
Due to differences in aircraft used on charter flights, luggage restrictions vary slightly by ship. If you're sailing aboard Explorer, you are restricted to one checked bag of not more than 50lbs per person. If you're aboard Orion, the limit is 66lbs per person. For both ships, you're permitted one carry-on which may not weigh more than 17lbs per person.
No, Explorer and Orion do not have pools.
The season for travel to Antarctica aboard National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion is November through February, during the austral summer. The daily temperatures are usually in the mid-30s Fahrenheit. There are often clear and sunny days, but overcast skies with poor visibility and occasional snowfall can also occur at anytime.
Yes, a fully lined windproof, water resistant parka is included in the cost of your expedition. Information about what size parka you will need will be sent to you after you make your reservation.
Guests on early-season expeditions (November and December) are likely to see penguins building their nests and seal pups still being weaned by their mothers. In the early season, when ice conditions are just right, our captain is more likely to be able to “park” the ship in the sea ice so that our expedition team can lead a walk among penguins on the sea ice. Guests on expeditions later in the season will more likely be able to sail further south as ice recedes allowing them to cross the Antarctic Circle.