National Geographic Sea Lion Cruise Review
Itinerary: Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness - June 2014
A wonderful trip. We didn't want to miss a thing so we have come home rather tired. Not as young as we used to be. I won't go into the aggrevationwith fights getting home as that is not what your reviewer wants to read about.
Followed your advice, came into Sitka a day early. Lovely little town full of history. Westmark Hotel was fine. We had some confusion meeting the Lindblad people at the Totem Square Inn. They were responsive and came back and picked us up.
From that moment on, we could tell why you suggested we travel with Lindblad. We asked you for knowledgeable staff and comfortable ship, It was right on the money from the first moment. We had six Naturalists with us on the cruises, at times we hiked with all of them. Each a joy to be with. How do they keep their enthusiasm each week I don't know. They truly seem to enjoy what they do. Rob stands out as the one who we interacted with the most. We had a Category 2 cabin, small compact and efficient, comfortable and cozy. The food was exceptional, better than expected.
We saw whales, dolphins, a moose, glaciers calving, bergy bits of ice, we went out in DIB's kayaks, hiked learned from the naturalists and had a great time. Weather was good (didn't exactly stay that way).
I believe we were the only first time Lindblad people on the ship. Others had been all over the world with Lindblad. Some Galapagos, Antarctica, some previous trips to Alaska with Lindblad. It was an amazing well traveled group of passengers.
We ended the cruise in Juneau, said goodbye to the ship and crew. 14 of us went to the airport for our flight to Fairbanks to start our Denali portion. From now on there were so many transfers and meet up points and everything went smoothly. Our leader for the Denali portion was a lovely lady named Laura. She was with us and pointed us in every right direction. Pikes Waterfront Lodge was our first night, then on to Denali the next morning.
Bus to North Face Lodge where we were all welcomed. Tired and hungry, they took good care of us. A lovely lodge, I guess one could say in the middle of no where, We were lucky to see Mt. McKinley our day in and the next day. The lodge bused us to hiking points. We took hikes of different levels and on difference surfaces. Walking on the soft tundra is like walking through sand at the beach, not easy. Mosquitos weren't a problem as I expected they would be, Then the rain started. We hiked in the drizzle which wasn't any big deal. That night came the 50 year flood, as the North Face staff said. Never rains so hard for so long. One of the other lodges in the area we understand had to be evacuated from the streams overflowing. The Lodge had no problems except we understood the roads were washed out in places. Some guests went out on their own hiking, we preferred to say in and participate in the lectures that they put together for those who didn't want to get soaked. Slide history of climbing Mt. McKinley was interesting.
On our day out of the Lodge we understood road crews had been out to repair the roads. Since all roads are gravel maybe easy to repair. Our ride out was uneventful, we never saw any evidence of rain damage. Again the transfers the train, the transfers and the hotel in Anchorage, all done without a hitch. Nice hotel wish we had stayed in Anchorage an extra day. We could have used the relaxing before the long flights home.
This was beyond an extraordinary experience. Destination and staff are the reasons. Linda your preparation was excellent and Lindblad was exceptional. We were thinking of Panama/Costa Rica as our next adventure. But, re-thinking as Glapagos was discussed on the ship and rated so highly. I know you have been there already, so we will again want your expertise. Thank you.
— Robert, Miami FL