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National Geographic Sea Bird Cruise Review

Itinerary: Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness - August 2010

National Geographic Sea Bird

I have cruised to Alaska twice on larger ships. Recently friends who had been on a cruise with Lindblad before talked us into trying the small ship experience. The differences between the cruise experiences surprised and impressed me - from the difference in size of small ships and the places they can go, the difference in traveling with 64 people instead of 1200-2500, the difference in sailing the true Inside Passage and narrow Alaskan fjords and waterways.

I'd love to recap some of the major highlights and differences that I discovered during my small ship experience.

The Lindblad Small Ship Difference in Alaska's Inside Passage

  • MORE Authentic Alaska Experience – Visiting communities like Petersburg and Sitka a more true and genuine glimpse into life in Alaska, aside from the touristy gift shops and commercialized towns you visit on the larger ships. And, you'll find no mention of the best place to buy jewelry during any of the port presentations.
  • MORE Glacier & Wilderness Encounters - Glacier Bay, Misty Fjords, Tracey Arm, and Frederick Sound as compared to one or two of these experiences on a large ship. Lindblad uses Zodiacs to give guests the opportunity to actually touch ice bergs and have a first-hand wilderness experience - this is priceless, as you can't purchase one of these excursions on a large ship.
  • MORE chances to see wildlife and marine life - more flexible schedule which allows the captain to stop or circle back for as long as needed so everyone can see marine animals or wildlife and take as many photos as possible. I saw humpback whales, orcas, porpoise, grizzly bears, sea lions, seals, sea otters, eagles and deer – all on one seven night itinerary.
  • MORE value - added benefits with included kayaks, zodiacs, all port excursions.
  • MORE educational experiences - with Naturalists onboard for the entire cruise as well as three Forest Service Park Rangers coming onboard in places like Glacier Bay and Misty Fjords, providing more focus on the destination - ALASKA!
  • MORE intimate cruising experience - LESS people which amounts to an easy embarkation and disembarkation process which means walking on or off the ship – no crowds of people gathered in a lounge waiting to hear their “number” called over the loud speaker.
  • MORE - money in your pocket, only things to spend on, maybe liquor and gratuities
  • MORE - casual attire and the opportunity to interact with the chef and dining room staff. Complimentary soft drinks, coffee, tea, and juice.
  • MORE - all around experience.

NOW feel like I have really seen what Alaska has to next cruise will for sure be a small ship.

—Leona and friends

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