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National Geographic Explorer Cruise Review

Itinerary: Antarctica - The White Continent - January 2017

National Geographic Explorer

Wow what a trip. We had done Galapagos on Lindblad and thought that was perfection so we didn't hesitate to sign up for this next trip. Yes we could have done it for much less money, but value is the name of the game and Lindblad provided value beyond the cost.

Drake Passage was pretty flat on the way over. We had two lazy days of education and getting to know our fellow passengers. We had many lectures on those two days. All were excellent and got us ready for what to expect and appreciate. The exception was the Geologist. Maybe it is just not an exciting subject for he was a nice guy.

The ship itself was exceptional, the staff beyond exceptional. I can't think of any negative or even a suggestion to make it any better than it was. Shawn Powell was naturalist extrodinaire.

The experience...you can not understand until you have been there...I was absolutely taken back by the pristine nature and expansiveness of the areas. The clean air, the clean water, the silence of civilization. It was life changing.

We were off the ship much of each day. The ice is the determining factor of how close the ship can get to off load. We saw many many whales, Humpback, one killer whale that stuck with ship so long the Chef said he couldn't hold dinner any longer we needed to come to the dinning room. Penguins many and one Emperor Penguin that they said was about 150 miles from it breading grounds. One night I stayed up in the Bridge until almost midnight watching the Captain navigate through the narrow ice openings. His experience showed is all I can say...quite a special education to navigate such waters. And special to be able to watch, open bridge is wonderful.

Drake Passage going back had swells but not anything that it could have been.

Ok...so now everything goes off script. We arrive back in Usuhua to discover Buenos Aries is on a one day transportation strike. The incoming passengers for the next cruise took off before the strike so they were not inconvenienced at all. We were stuck. The crew went into emergency mode. Everyone's flight home had to be changed. Lindblad was on top of it. I guess the ship was in touch with New York who did it all. We finally were able to fly up to Buenos Aires. We were met with a whole group of Lindblad ground crew to help us. We were all put up overnight at the Sofitel Hotel. Easy and organized no waiting, arrived, handed our key to our room. Obviously the hotel used every room they had available. One couple said their room was larger than their home and they weren't leaving. We had unexpected time to explore more of the city. We had breakfast the next morning and were taken to the airport for our flight. Everyone went different ways depending when their new flight was. Lindblad said they will reimburse everyone for any expenses, change fees etc. In the face of adversity, this company went the extra mile. Linda, you told us they were the best and they were. We will definitely travel with them again.

Thank you for all your help.

— Irene B., Reno, Nevada