National Geographic Islander Cruise Review
Itinerary: Islander Galapagos Plus Machu Picchu and the Land of the Incas - May 2014
Phenomenal is the first word that come to my mind. The whole trip, the whole experience.
Cruise: Lovely cabin, lovely ship, only 44 passengers. Felt like a big yacht. Our anniversary trip so we went for the top cabin. We were not disappointed. As we were not in the cabin all that much during the day, but when we were we felt opulent in our surroundings. To think we were in the middle of the ocean in Ecuador and had a classy cabin. Food was good, not gourmet but good. Breakfast a buffet, lunch was just way to much food. Again a buffet and after a few days I just had soup and salad and I was happy.
Why we went with Lindblad/National Geographic? We had high expectations on the educational part of the trip. We were blown away in how it was presented. Never a "class" so to speak, never a dry boring lecture. It was hands on....standing over a iguana, the naturalist would educate us. A bird flies overhead and the Naturalists gives us a whole education and perspective on the bird pattern on that island. Deep water snorkel with your expert next to you. Not a question they couldn't answer, would engage in conversation on hikes, sitting at the dinner table any time. The naturalists besides being knowledgeable, are people people, and nice and patient and enthusiastic at the same time. We flew into Baltra and out of San Cristobal. Our overnight in Guayaquil was at the Hilton hotel which was very nice. All transfers were done well.
Level of activities I appreciated. As I am highly active, my husband not so. Everything was offered in different levels. A family with teens on the ship was nice. Everyone was so homogeneous, we made a few good friends. My husband is a professional corporate organizer. He was highly impressed how well everything ran on both the cruise and land portion.
Machu Picchu - a group of 30. Half from our cruise which made it nice. Others from the Lindblad Amazon cruise and a few who just were doing the land tour. We somehow expected a smaller group. That said we had excellent guides, naturalists, hotel accommodations. Did not feel any negative being a larger than expected group. Took altitude pills and did not have any problems. This was a very active trip, you have to be in reasonable shape. Climbing, walking, and some at higher altitudes. All logistics of flights and transfers went smoothly. It was comfortable to know this was all taken care of for us. Naturalists again were knowledgeable and friendly. The food in Peru we thought was much better than Ecuador. The history and the education of the culture was expected after the cruise experience and it did not disappoint.
Linda, we agree the Galapagos was as magnificent as you lead us to believe. Lindblad an excellent choice, we thank you for that, we were not aware as to the differences in tour operators. We will definitely be savings our pennies for another trip. I should mention that a number of the guests on our cruise, it was not their first Lindblad experience. A number seemed to have been to Alaska with Lindblad.
—Marge H., San Francisco