Expedition cruises are designed to take travelers to wild and remote locales, but what does exploration look like once you’ve arrived in these rugged places?

Getting into Kayaks on Expedition.jpg
Photo: Michael S. Nolan

While the Lindblad-National Geographic experience is tailored to the individual traveler, we encourage and facilitate ‘active exploration’ for every guest, no matter your interests, activity level, or destination. 
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So, what do we mean when we say, ‘active exploration,’ and how do we make it work for everyone who travels with us? Below are some common questions about our exploration philosophy and how it translates to a superior expedition experience for travelers, both on shore and at sea.

Lindblad-National Geographic emphasizes active exploration—what does this mean for travelers?

Active exploration means getting out into the world and maximizing your experience in a way that is meaningful to you. When you explore actively on our expedition cruises, you don’t simply observe, take a photo, and return to the ship. You might go kayaking at your own speed, soaking in the environment. Or you could take a walk with one of our naturalists, learning every little detail about that area’s ecosystem. Or you might visit an ancient cultural site where you learn how people once lived there. It is a more intimate and connected way to travel.

Paddleboarding Past a Waterfall.jpg
Photo: Mike Greenfelder

What are the various tools used to enhance active exploration?

We’re constantly researching the latest and most innovative technologies and deploying numerous tools to enhance the expedition experience. For example, each of the ships in our fleet has an onboard photo locker stocked with gear that you can test, as well as spotting scopes that are strategically positioned so you can track and safely approach wildlife. Sonar equipment helps us get to remote locations where other ships can’t go. And from our years of research, we know that a Zodiac is the best vehicle for immersive discovery during an expedition cruise. As part of our exclusive undersea program, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) access depths of the ocean that divers can’t reach on their own, and hydrophones allow our travelers to listen in on whales beneath the ship.

Watching Bears from Zodiac.jpg
Photo: Andrew Peacock

How do expedition team members help differentiate an expedition from a cruise?

On a Lindblad-National Geographic expedition, the team traveling alongside you brings incredible advantages. Our travelers aren’t left to their own devices or their own initiative. The experienced group of naturalists, professors, scientists, and scholars are there to help facilitate your connection to the environment. 

How does the size of Lindblad-National Geographic ships impact the way travelers explore?

The small scale of the ships in our fleet serves several purposes. On an interpersonal level, it allows travelers to get to know everyone on board. Small ships also allow us to maximize each exploration experience. While whale watching, for example, instead of watching from eight decks up on a large ship, we quickly get everyone out on Zodiacs so they can observe their own little group of whales at water level. We can also go where large ships simply cannot. With our sonar and skilled captains, our vessels can access remote shorelines that aren’t outfitted with the docks and jetties that larger ships need to disembark travelers.

CPI Helping Guest.jpg
Photo: David Vargas

How can expedition cruises accommodate guests who prefer a slower pace or who are less comfortable with vigorous activities?

Lindblad-National Geographic goes to some remote and rugged destinations, but we always have safety and comfort in mind, and all activities are created to suit varied desires, comfort levels, and abilities. For example, one afternoon there might be options for a more vigorous hike up to a cliff with dramatic views, a moderate hike through a valley that leads to a waterfall, and a slower-paced photo walk along the flat shoreline. Plus, each vessel’s embarkation and disembarkation platform is designed to accommodate nearly all capabilities. We also have many ways for travelers to explore from the comfort of our ships. You can peruse books on your destination at the onboard library, take in the scenery or wildlife from a deck chair,  or enjoy a spa day with epic ocean views. Adventure awaits for all!

Main image of hikers: David Vargas