National Geographic Islander Cruise Review
Itinerary: National Geographic Islander Galapagos - June 2015
As you know we were on the National Geographic Islander, the 44 passenger ship. It was a lovely ship and your recommendation of what cabins were available when we booked (8 months in advance) was spot on. We had a Category 4 cabin which was nice. All the cabins on the ship seem to be good size. We had previously been on the National Geographic Sea Bird and the Islander was a totally different type of ship, both appropriate for the destination they were exploring.
This was an active trip, always on the move with lots of walking, Snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, MUCH more active than Alaska. We talked to you about the Galapagos experience, we talked to people on the Alaska trip who had done it. I did lots of research as to the best operator and time of year to go. I felt I was well informed of what to expect. A little hesitant to spend the big bucks on Lindblad and the islander. But we can say we had high expectations, and were blown away how everything was in the "exceeded expectation category".
Of course the animals...they walk all over you, they have no fear, the fish the birds the land animals are all in your face. Can't explain this until you experience it. Not at all like Africa...a sea lion I could almost say cuddled up to my wife when she was laying on the beach.
44 passengers three rock star naturalist, expedition guides. All Ecuadorian which is the rule as to protect jobs of their countrymen. We had Salvadore, Paul and Juan Carols. All three excellent, their knowledge, passion, concern for us all made every minute of the trip a joy. As you can not wander off on your own and always have to be with a guide, the quality of this guide can make or break the trip. We understand the Lindblad guides are the top banana and everyone wants to work for Lindblad. We had Lynn as our head person. She was more involved in making sure everything was running well, like a cruise manager. She did give two excellent lectures on Darwin and one on the turtles.
We had very little rain and the weather and sea was very calm. As you never dock you are always out in the open waters. Snorkeling was a top on my list and I was able to do it enough that I was satisfied. I had trouble getting the equipment to fit properly. Our rock star naturalists worked with me each time to make sure all was perfect before I went out. Very much personal care.
If we would fault anything it would be the food. Our trip in Alaska had fresh salmon, halibut, bought from the fisherman. To please the American palette when you are half way across the world would be a challenge. We always had enough to eat and always found something on the menu that we enjoyed. it just wasn't the quality that we remember in Alaska.
To sum it up...Lindblad is the best...worth the price and then some. Linda, thank you for your knowledge. We called you for Celebrity which our neighbor had been on. Oh my goodness, are we glad we found you to explain the differences. Not that Celebrity is bad..just not what type of experience we were looking for. We are saving our pennies for another Lindblad adventure...maybe Artic next time.
—Jeff and Margaret, Las Vegas, Nevada