Life Aboard

Aboard the world’s ultimate expedition ship

No other ship can you get as close to wild nature as National Geographic Explorer while maintaining a superb level of comfort and convenience. Whether it’s the fresh bread baked daily, the panoramic views and gracious appointments, or the soothing sauna and wellness treatments in the spa, Explorer is unrivalled for quality comfort.

Formal Dining Room

Part of the joy of sailing on Explorer is the contrasts: one moment you’re paddling among icebergs or hearing about the deprivations the Heroic Age explorers endured, and one hot shower and a cocktail later, you’re enjoying a glass of Malbec and duck breast. Dining is an integral part of your expedition experience, with influences and flavors that reflect the regions we’re exploring, along with traditional fare. All food prepared aboard is sourced locally whenever possible from sustainable providers. All seafood served is sustainably caught or raised.

Meals are served in our elegant dining room and the adjacent, more intimate bistro bar. Seating is open, allowing you to choose where to dine, and table sizes range from two to 12. And our style is relaxed and casual—there’s never a need to dress up. More than opportunities to eat well, meal times are also opportunities to engage in the diversity of the expedition community—to join or be joined by naturalists, guest speakers, ship’s officers, and fellow guests for stimulating and entertaining conversation.

Breakfast is usually served buffet-style in the dining room and consists of a selection of fruit, eggs to order, cereal, yogurts, cheese, and cold meats, and specially prepared daily dishes, plus fresh coffee and tea. An early riser continental breakfast is served in the bistro as well, and many guests choose to take their coffee and morning pastries to the bridge or out on deck.

Lunch is also served buffet-style in the dining room and bistro bar, with salads and both hot and cold buffet choices available. Most days a light-lunch option is held in the observation lounge at the very top of the ship. When weather conditions permit, the light-lunch is held outdoors on the aft sundeck, offering a stunning backdrop and the cheerful company of our amiable hotel manager.

Depending on the day’s activities, an afternoon tea with cookies, or occasionally, cakes and pastries, is served buffet-style in the bistro bar.

Dinners are served in the dining room and bistro, and feature plated service. Each evening, a ship’s officer, National Geographic staff, or a naturalist hosts small tables in the chart room as well.

And whether a meal is buffet-style or served, our gracious wait staff is always present to attend your every need.

With the entire expedition team dedicated to delivering the best expedition possible, meal times are always flexible. If a polar bear or a pod of whales is sighted shortly before lunch, our crew is adept at quickly changing meal times so you don’t miss a moment, and the quality of lunch is uncompromised.

Inviting public spaces for gathering & relaxing
Explorer is a perfectly sized ship—with a warm and intimate feeling, yet large enough to offer a variety of public spaces, plus plenty of nooks and crannies. Depending on your mood, there are shipboard places that gratify the need for sociability, from large gatherings to quiet conversations with newfound friends. And places that reward your desire for contemplative time, to read in quiet or simply stare peacefully at the sea or shoreline.

Bridge: You may come to consider the bridge another public space, as guests are encouraged to visit our officers 24-hours a day. Guests usually first arrive for a morning coffee shortly after sunrise, and many spend every evening watching the sunset and taking in the hushed darkness of the bridge at night. Two benches provide comfortable seating options to look out and enjoy the expansive view over the bow, and you’re always apt to find naturalists scanning the sea for wildlife when the ship is underway. Binoculars are available if you want to help them search.

Explorer lounge

Lounge: The lounge is the main social hub of the ship. Lounge seating is arranged to provide good views of the center podium; and multiple plasma screens on the surrounding walls ensure optimal views of presentations, slideshows, and videos. It’s here where the expedition community gathers for lectures, photography talks, guest speaker presentations, and the evening Recap. A long standing Lindblad tradition, Recap is when naturalists share stories and answer questions about the day’s events, and the expedition leader presents the plan for the following day—as guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’ouevres. Large windows line two sides of the room, so guests who gravitate to the lounge with their laptops won’t miss the dramatic views.

Bistro bar: Inviting and casual, the bistro bar is a perfect spot to have a cappuccino before or after activities. And the bistro is the place to be for afternoon tea, and choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well. A variety of beverages are available for purchase including beer, cocktails, spirits, and wines by the glass or bottle. Sodas, juices, and coffees (including cappuccinos and espressos) are complimentary.

Chart roomChart room: During the day, the forward-located chart room offers you direct access to the bow for optimal wildlife viewing. Some station themselves at the chart room’s windows. While those who choose to be out on deck or on the bow come in to warm up or re-fuel at the 24-hour self-service beverage station, stocked with cookies, sodas, soft drinks, hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. In the evening, intimate dinners of up to 14 guests are hosted here.

Library: You’ll find commanding views and comfortable leather armchairs in the library, set at the very top of the ship. A wide range of books run the gamut from fiction to regional guides, and reference books on the wildlife and region you’re exploring. For many, this room is their favorite onboard. An elevator provides easy access to the bistro bar and lower decks.

Observation lounge:
Walking aft from the library, you’ll enter the radiant observation lounge. With panoramic windows running the entire length of this narrow, domed lounge, you’ll feel as if you’re almost floating above the ship while spectacular scenery dramatically unfolds outside. Stocked with cards and board games, and equipped with binoculars, it welcomes guests for early morning reading or those wanting an evening card game. A light lunch is often served here as well.

Mudroom: You’ll use a locker in the mudroom throughout the expedition to store your boots, rain pants, and cold-weather gear. Our unique in-ship Zodiac boarding stations, designed by our VP-Marine Operations Capt. Leif Skog, are adjacent. They allow you to step into a Zodiac safely—and dry—from a secure platform inside the ship rather than a ladder dangling outside. With two possible embarkation gates, we can also get you into our Zodiacs quicker, meaning you’ll have more time ashore and less time waiting.

Everyone who travels with us discovers what Henry David Thoreau named “the tonic of wildness.” And to complement the inspiring destinations we visit, we’ve designed a Wellness program. From early morning yoga or stretching on deck or in the lounge to massages and face, handy or body treatments inspired by the location, our wellness specialist will help you achieve a more relaxed and revitalized state of being.

Fitness center: The fitness center with its expansive floor to ceiling windows and 180-degree vista offers a ‘million-dollar view’ along with exercise bikes, ellipticals and treadmills, free weights, yoga mats and exercise balls.

Wellness center: Our professional wellness specialist offers soothing massages and treatments in our LEXSpa. Adjacent, there is a Swedish Sauna, perfect for quick warms ups after polar plunges or as a relaxing way to end the day.

Global gallery
Located near reception, the global gallery is an inviting area—part shop, part gallery—that showcases an eclectic mix of handicrafts, jewelry, and artwork from the many regions  Explorer explores, as well as the work of acclaimed designers. It also offers a selection of expedition clothing, and practical items including camera memory cards and binoculars.


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