National Geographic Explorer
Operated by: Lindblad Expeditions
Originally built for service along Norway’s coast as part of the famed Hurtigruten, or Coastal Express, National Geographic Explorer was completely rebuilt in 2008 upon her acquisition by Lindblad Expeditions. Explorer is uniquely equipped with an ice-strengthened hull and advanced navigation equipment for polar expeditions; a roster of tools for exploration; and a well-appointed interior with vast expanses of glass for an unprecedented connection to the outdoors. Explorer accommodates 148 guests in 81 cabins, including 13 cabins with private balconies, six spacious suites and 14 cabins specifically designed for single travellers. At 112 metres with six decks, she is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer startling views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Explorer instantly fosters a welcoming environment where enthused and curious passengers share in exceptional experiences and enrichment. Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined library and observation lounge perched at the very top of the ship, plentiful observation decks, and the forward facing chart room. The spacious lounge is the heart of the ship and is also used for informative presentations.
Category 7 Suite with Balcony
SIZE:36m2 / 388sqftSLEEPS:2
These large suites feature private balconies and have twin lower single beds that can be converted into one queen size bed. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks. All suites also feature climate control, hair dryer, bathrobes, and flat-screen TV.
Category 6 Suite with Balcony
SIZE:33m2 / 355sqftSLEEPS:2
These large suites feature private balconies and have twin lower single beds that can be converted into one queen size bed and a writing desk. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks. All suites also feature climate control, hair dryer, bathrobes, and flat-screen TV.
Category 5 with Balcony
SIZE:15.50m2 / 168sqftSLEEPS:2
Category 4 cabins feature two lower single beds and at least one large window, climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programming. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. The lounge and chartroom are easily accessible from these cabins.
SIZE:19.50m2 / 210sqftSLEEPS:2
Category 3 cabins feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
SIZE:17.50m2 / 188sqftSLEEPS:2
Category 1 cabins feature one or two portholes. Most of these cabins feature two lower single beds, although three offer one queen-sized bed. All offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
Category SB (Single Traveller)
SIZE:12m2 / 126sqftSLEEPS:1
Category Solo B cabins are allocated for single travellers requiring sole use of a room. These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming. The dining room and ship's bow are easily accessible.
Category SA (Single Traveller)
SIZE:12m2 / 126sqftSLEEPS:1
Category Solo A cabins are allocated for single travellers requiring sole use of a room. These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
Part of the joy of cruising on National Geographic Explorer is the contrasts: one moment you’re paddling among icebergs or hearing about the deprivations the Heroic Age explorers endured, and one hot shower and a cocktail later, you’re enjoying a glass of Malbec and duck breast. Dining is an integral part of your expedition experience, with influences and flavors that reflect the regions you're exploring, along with traditional fare. All food prepared aboard is sourced locally whenever possible from sustainable providers. All seafood served is sustainably caught or raised.
Meals are served in an elegant dining room and the adjacent, more intimate bistro bar. Seating is open, allowing you to choose where to dine, and table sizes range from two to 12. And the style is relaxed and casual - there’s never a need to dress up. More than opportunities to eat well, meal times are also opportunities to engage in the diversity of the expedition community - to join or be joined by naturalists, guest speakers, ship’s officers, and fellow guests for stimulating and entertaining conversation.
Breakfast is usually served buffet-style in the dining room and consists of a selection of fruit, eggs to order, cereal, yogurts, cheese, and cold meats, and specially prepared daily dishes, plus fresh coffee and tea. An early riser continental breakfast is served in the bistro as well, and many guests choose to take their coffee and morning pastries to the bridge or out on deck.
Lunch is also served buffet-style in the dining room and bistro bar, with salads and both hot and cold buffet choices available. Most days a light-lunch option is held in the observation lounge at the very top of the ship. When weather conditions permit, the light-lunch is held outdoors on the aft sundeck, offering a stunning backdrop and the cheerful company of the amiable hotel manager.
Depending on the day’s activities, an afternoon tea with cookies, or occasionally, cakes and pastries, is served buffet-style in the bistro bar.
Dinners are served in the dining room and bistro, and feature table service. Each evening, a ship’s officer, National Geographic staff, or a naturalist hosts small tables in the chart room as well.
And whether a meal is buffet-style or served, the gracious wait staff is always present to attend your every need.
With the entire expedition team dedicated to delivering the best expedition possible, meal times are always flexible. If a polar bear or a pod of whales is sighted shortly before lunch, National Geographic Explorer's crew is adept at quickly changing meal times so you don’t miss a moment, and the quality of lunch is uncompromised.
Explorer is an ideally sized ship - with a warm and intimate feeling, yet large enough to offer a variety of public spaces, plus plenty of nooks and crannies. Depending on your mood, there are shipboard places that gratify the need for sociability, from large gatherings to quiet conversations with newfound friends. And places that reward your desire for contemplative time, to read in quiet or simply stare peacefully at the sea or shoreline.
Bridge: You may come to consider the bridge another public space, as guests are encouraged to visit the officers 24-hours a day. Guests usually first arrive for a morning coffee shortly after sunrise, and many spend every evening watching the sunset and taking in the hushed darkness of the bridge at night. Two benches provide comfortable seating options to look out and enjoy the expansive view over the bow, and you’re always apt to find naturalists scanning the sea for wildlife when the ship is underway. Binoculars are available if you want to help them search.
Lounge: The lounge is the main social hub of the ship. Lounge seating is arranged to provide good views of the centre podium; and multiple plasma screens on the surrounding walls ensure optimal views of presentations, slideshows, and videos. It’s here where the expedition community gathers for lectures, photography talks, guest speaker presentations, and the evening Recap. A long standing Lindblad tradition, Recap is when naturalists share stories and answer questions about the day’s events, and the expedition leader presents the plan for the following day - as guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’ouevres. Large windows line two sides of the room, so guests who gravitate to the lounge with their laptops won’t miss the dramatic views.
Bistro bar: Inviting and casual, the bistro bar is a perfect spot to have a cappuccino before or after activities. And the bistro is the place to be for afternoon tea, and choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well. A variety of beverages are available for purchase including beer, cocktails, spirits, and wines by the glass or bottle. Sodas, juices, and coffees (including cappuccinos and espressos) are complimentary.
Chart room: During the day, the forward-located chart room offers direct access to the bow for optimal wildlife viewing. Some station themselves at the chart room’s windows. While those who choose to be out on deck or on the bow come in to warm up or re-fuel at the 24-hour self-service beverage station, stocked with cookies, sodas, soft drinks, hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. In the evening, intimate dinners of up to 14 guests are hosted here.
Library: You’ll find commanding views and comfortable leather armchairs in the library, set at the very top of the ship. A wide range of books run the gamut from fiction to regional guides, and reference books on the wildlife and region you’re exploring. For many, this room is their favorite onboard. An elevator provides easy access to the bistro bar and lower decks.
Observation lounge: Walking aft from the library, you’ll enter the radiant observation lounge. With panoramic windows running the entire length of this narrow, domed lounge, you’ll feel as if you’re almost floating above the ship while spectacular scenery dramatically unfolds outside. Stocked with cards and board games, and equipped with binoculars, it welcomes guests for early morning reading or those wanting an evening card game. A light lunch is often served here as well.
Mudroom: You’ll use a locker in the mudroom throughout the expedition to store your boots, rain pants, and cold-weather gear. The unique in-ship Zodiac boarding stations are adjacent. They allow you to step into a Zodiac safely - and dry - from a secure platform inside the ship rather than a ladder dangling outside. With two possible embarkation gates, boarding of Zodiacs is quicker, meaning you’ll have more time ashore and less time waiting.
Wellness: From early morning yoga or stretching on deck or in the lounge to massages and face, handy or body treatments inspired by the location, a professional wellness specialist will help you achieve a more relaxed and revitalised state of being.
Fitness centre: The fitness centre with its expansive floor to ceiling windows and 180-degree vista offers a ‘million-dollar view’ along with exercise bikes, ellipticals and treadmills, free weights, yoga mats and exercise balls.
Tools for Exploration
Explorer carries 15 Zodiac landing craft - a full fleet - making it possible to get all expeditioners out, engaged in activities quickly, comfortably, and safely. Widely regarded as the most robust watercraft available, they can push through pack ice and run up on sandy shores. Each Zodiac is equipped with reliable, 60hp four-stroke Yamaha outboard engines that zip over the water, but is also quiet enough that you can slowly approach without disturbing wildlife. And while Zodiacs can carry 15 people, Lindblad usually limit capacity to 12 or less to ensure everyone has plenty of room, and an opportunity to get that perfect shot.
Explorer is equipped with 36 two-person AIRE inflatable kayaks—a fleet large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity. Specifically chosen because of their inherent stability and suitability for polar waters, AIREs are virtually untippable. Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary and the custom-designed floating platform allows kayaks to be deployed directly from the ship. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch.
Explorer is equipped with a number of other expedition tools including: remotely operated vehicle, video microscope, crow's nest camera, hydrophones and electronic charts.
National Geographic Explorer Expeditions
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