Book by July 31, 2014 and receive complimentary round-trip airfare between Seattle and Alaska on select May & June 2015 departures. Subject to availability, new bookings only
|May 17, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|May 18, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|May 24, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|May 31, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 1, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 7, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 8, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 14, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 15, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 21, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 22, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 28, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|June 29, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 5, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 6, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 12, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 13, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 20, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 26, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|July 27, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 2, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 3, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 9, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 10, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 16, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 17, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 23, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 24, 2014*||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 30, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
|August 31, 2014||$6,290||$7,340||$8,390||$9,440||$11,010|
Discover the wildness that lives at the heart of Alaska; add an inland exploration of Denali National Park to your coastal expedition.
With the idyllic North Face Lodge as your base camp, you’ll enjoy special access. North Face Lodge’s relationship with the Park ensures exclusive opportunities for you to explore Denali’s most pristine backcountry areas for prime hiking and wildlife viewing. Set deep in the heart of the Park, this unique wilderness retreat offers unparalleled views of Mt. McKinley, a wide range of outdoor activities and nightly presentations that emphasize Denali’s natural and cultural history, plus locally sourced cuisine. The small group size of 11 guests per naturalist enhances the intimacy of outings and opportunities for in-depth learning. Explore via private touring vehicles, or if you prefer a more personal exploration, you can hike a trail near the lodge, canoe on Wonder Lake, bike the trails or even spend an afternoon fishing. At the expedition’s end, you’ll return to Anchorage first class in lavishly appointed cars on the Alaska Railroad that feature original Alaska art and a private outdoor viewing deck.
Depending on your departure date, you may be responsible for one night on your own before or after joining the Denali extension. Please call for details.
From: $5,590 Call for details
*A deposit of $550 is required at the time of booking. Additional payment (60% of total extension cost) due 120 days prior to departure or March 28th, whichever comes first. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure, along with the final payment for the voyage.
The twin 62-guest expedition ships offer the perfect platform for exploring Alaska. With a shallow draft, they can go where larger ships cannot, nosing up to waterfalls in secluded coves and venturing into narrow channels where humpback whales and orcas come to feed. The ships can accommodate accommodates 62 guests in 31 outside cabins. The open bow and sundeck have ample space for all guests to stand together and share in the wildlife viewing experience.
Besides the glory of Alaska which has to be experienced to believe, the Lindblad adventure was equal and beyond to what we expected. We had four days of pure sunshine and a few days of a little drizzle, better than anticipated.
We researched different options for months before making a decision. We ruled out big ships very quickly and knew we wanted to immerse ourselves in the destination which is what the small adventure ships are known for.
Our choice was better than we ever expected. Jen Martin was our head Expedition Leader. We were lucky as she doesn't takeout many trips any longer as she is now in charge of the Expedition Leaders on all the Lindblad ships. her staff of naturalists is what made the trip so exceptional.
Food was fabulous. Looking at the galley it is amazing how they feed 64 passengers and crew three meals a day from such a small little galley. And my husband and I fight over counter space when we cook for ourselves.
Category 3 cabin, adequate, do not think I would want anything smaller.
Activities just go on and on. You go to sleep and think what a fabulous day you had and nothing could be better, and the next day always seemed to be. Glaciers calving for us was spectacular. Whales, one zodiac had a real close encounter with a whale that was dinner conversation. They had us going all day long and in the evening was time to relax and be educated about the next day. Drink in hand, chips on my lap, I sat and listened to the experts entertain us with their experiences. Educational and entertaining.
Overall, fabulous experience. Linda, thank you for your attention to detail and your follow up.
The trip was awesome. All the naturalists and other specialty faculty were great -- always ready to talk with travelers and share information. We did see bear, whales (humpback and killer), couple of porpoises, goats and lovely flowers.
Should have left regular hiking boots at home because, like you said, most of the landings from the watercraft were "wet" and knee-high boots were the only resource. None of our hikes were that tremendously long that good hiking boots were necessary. Others hiked further than we did.
The food offerings and presentation were worthy of fancy New York hotels. A couple of times hot chocolate (with or without schnapps) was offered when we returned from a several hour hike or kayak tour. One day while everyone was in the front of the ship watching whales, scenery, bears and everything -- the dining crew came up with hot apple cider for everyone.
Cabin was ok, on National Geographic Sea Bird, Category 2
Thanks for the wine. So -- between ordering more wine and beer in the lounge and the two pair of earrings I bought from Faith Grant (Tlingit), our bill was over $500 on board. Bet they wished they had more people like us!
Have attached 2 pics: goats, waterfall (hundreds or thousands of ft. high).
It is possible we will tour again with them. The tours are expensive, but certainly worth it.
John felt that this was the best trip of his life. The NatGeo/Lindblad staff was thoughtful about finding anything we needed and also in making sure that everyone on the boat had a great experience. John's main wish for the trip was to see orcas. That was fulfilled right at the beginning in a spectacular display of jumping orcas, and he got wonderful photos of it. I was more than impressed by the whole glacier experience. I loved being on the Zodiacs. It was amazing how close we could get, to the point of being able to hear the sounds of the glacier as it shifted and as pieces fell off. The hikes were fun and the leaders were knowledgeable and personable On the last hike I was on, a bear was spotted across the water, so the boat called our leader to say that a Zodiac was being sent so that all of us could get closer to the bear to get good photos. I think the flexibility of the captain in being willing to change directions so we could go see whales or anything else was one of the strengths of the trip.
In terms of the food, we did not have very high expectations, but were we were pleasantly surprised. I loved the fresh bread and cookies that were baked every day. The meals were more than satisfactory, and the chef was a delight.
I think it is often who is with you on a trip that can make or break the experience. We were lucky to be with a very compatible group of people. In spite of differences in ages and backgrounds, everyone was friendly and accommodating. Most had been a variety of places, and it was interesting to hear their stories. I am not sure how NatGeo/Lindblad selects their staff, but they could not have chosen a better group of people. All of them appeared excited about the information they had to share and were willing to answer a multitude of questions. Since we were on the photography expedition, I was surprised at how many of them had photography experience. Michael Melford, the expert photographer, was both informative and more than willing to help anyone who had a question. One of the other pleasures of the trip was seeing the underwater photography of the places where we had been.
All in all, our trip was good, and we would definitely recommend it to anyone we know (actually, I already did share the booklet and the video with someone who was interested).
Thank you for the great bottle of wine that you had waiting for us in our cabin. We enjoyed it, and we also appreciated all of the effort you put into making this such a good experience.
This trip exceeded our expectations from our first phone call to Sunstone Tours to the last trip when we were transferred to the airport for our flight home.
Besides Alaska being incredibly gorgeous, I assume this would be the same no matter what ship or what size ship you were on. Where this trip shines is the staff on board.
Expedition leader Lee Fleischer, experienced, knowledgeable and , approachable. Natural History Staff Bette Lu, William, Larry and Colin. I can't forget our video guy Eric who seemed to be everywhere. Our National Geographic photo instructor Linda who became my husbands new best friends over their camera conversations.
We hiked, we kayaked, we learned, we listened, we were taught, we laughed, we made new friends. We ate the very most delicious food that comes out of a galley no bigger than a shoebox. Don't know how they do it meal after meal. Amazing
Fellow passengers were from all states and age range from a few kids to 87 year old who was a pistol. A family from Australia and England.
We decided on a Category 3 cabin the best and largest on the Sea Bird. No awards in this department. It was clean, well maintained and the best was done with what was a smallish cabin and a bathroom.
One does not have to travel around the world to see such magnificent scenery, one can stay in their own country and be awed by the beauty.
Going to be a stretch to ever equal this experience. Thank you for your help.
Beyond our expectations, in all aspects of the trip, beauty of Alaska being number one. We spent hours going over each Alaska company, we checked TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic, Yelp and our friends, most who had been on large ships which was not our choice. We can't remember how we found Linda at Sunstone Tours, but in a ten minute conversation she was able to explain the clear differences in each company which we were not able to see looking at their promotional material.
We chose Lindblad due to Linda's recommendation for what she thought would be the best fit for our interest. She was spot on, our trip could not have been better.
We visited Denali and then the cruise, the best order to do it in our opinion. Alaska is vast, varied and untamed. You need the help of the experts to move you around and not waste precious vacation time wandering.
Denali Land Tour
Arrived in Fairbanks - picked up at airport and our luggage showed up in our hotel room, Pikes Waterfront Lodge. Met for dinner with our fellow passengers and Lindblad personal who gave us an over view of the next few days adventure. Lovely dinner presentation and then a good walk. Alaska Wildland Adventures works with Lindblad on their land tours and we had Elise as our guide throughout our whole trip. She could not have been better in all areas. We had a driving tour of the history of the Alaska Pipeline and history of Fairbanks.
Next morning, the University of Fairbanks, which in itself is a unique building. Then a lovely bus ride down to Denali. Transferred to the North Face Lodge Bus and into Denali we went. We spent some time at the Denali Visitors enter at the Entrance to the park. It was a long valuable educational bus ride, we had many potty and snack breaks among many stops to see phenomenal wildlife. We were treated to a wonderful buffet dinner in the wilderness, set up by the staff from North Face we assume, quite an unexpected treat. Upon arrival at North Face we joined the lodge for dessert and a presentation of our time at North Face. We had a small group some had already sailed and some were going on the ship with us after. Our luggage was picked up in Fairbanks and it showed up in our room at North Face..quite organized.
North Face Lodge
Exceeded expectations - Warm, friendly, run by a family. Our tour guide Elise was exceptional, we felt taken care of and were able to explore on our own or with the group. The lodge provided boots, backpacks, walking sticks, insect repellant. We had large choices of outdoor activities and never felt pushed or rushed. No TV, no radios, no cellphones. Always a fire going in the lodge, large library of books on Alaska. We had talks every night, one night was on berries one night on fungus (fungi, not kidding here) it was fascinating and presented with education and humor. Meals were absolutely delicious with the Chef coming out to tell us about himself and the nights planned dinner. Lunch was a buffet where you make your own sandwich and goodies to take along with you for the day. Dinner, lodge employees sit with you, each has a fascinating story of how they work half the year at the lodge when it is open June-Sept and what they do other times. Hiking levels very accurate, we had very little rain, were able to see Mt. McKinley a number of times on the whole trip. When finally ready to leave Denali the bus ride out was not as long as the ride in. Then transfer to the Denali Railroad for the trip down to Anchorage. At this point we had a hotel night in either Juneau or Anchorage before flying down to the cruise.
Sea Bird - Category 2. We were so spoiled, not sure anything could live up to the North Face experience. The cruise did come close. We had fabulous weather the whole trip. In Petersburg some stores were actually "closed for sun, we are out playing". Our trip was Juneau to Sitka. 3am one morning we were woken up to see the Northern Lights, they were not in color but flashes of light across the sky, never saw anything like it. Taylor was our Hotel Manger on the ship and everything was run perfectly. We saw, we did, we experienced, we learned. Whales sightings were so many in number we were amazed. Our only little issue on the trip were the naturalists. Their presentations were perfect, good information, not to long not to short, answered questions, all done well. We felt their personality on a one to one basis was not all that great. A treat was Mary Jo from Elfin Cove came on our ship and gave us "life in Elfin Cove", what an unforgettable experience.
Overall this trip was over our intended budget, but we clearly feel it was worth every penny spent and wish we could do it all over again. We have started our new trip fund which will be Galapagos in 2014. Thank you for all your help. Congratulations on your new signature of Top 25 Travel Agents, you certainly are and we are blessed to have worked with you.
Linda, this trip exceeded all our expectations. It set the bar for any other vacation we will ever take. Your help and knowledge was perfect as was your gift of the bottle of wine.
We were in Cabin 105, Category 3, top category. The cabin was small but adequate. Thank goodness you warned us about the bathroom, it was clearly the bottom of the list of enjoyable moments on this trip. Sleep apnea machine was no problem.
We flew into Seattle a day early and stayed at the Four Seasons. A beautiful hotel but to do it again I would take your suggestion and stay at the Inn At The Market right near Pike's Market. Our flights went well and we were picked up at the airport by the Lindblad staff.
Our naturalists told us the prior sailings had nothing but rain and we lucked out with almost all sunshine. Our time in Glacier Bay was bright and sunny all day. Each day exceeded the prior. We saw Orcas, bears, wolves, and everything you can even imagine rare and not so rare in Alaska. Our Naturalists were thrilled for us as we had an unusual week. We were able to watch a brown bear walk down the beach and view two foxes laying on the sand. They saw each other, the bear stood up and put out a smell we were told, then carefully walked a big circle around the foxes back into the bushes. The foxes didn't move from their spot and did not take their eyes of the bear. It was an incredible sighting.
Food at each meal was delicious, better than I ever expected once I saw the size of the galley. They do amazing things in there. I do not eat seafood of which there was plenty of. Even a Crab night that everyone was so excited about. I had no issues, there were always other choices for me. Even Crab night they had a little buffet of ribs and coleslaw.
My husband found a fellow passenger who was big into kayaking, they went out together every morning for a workout. They were thrilled to have this option for them. The ship was not full, 41 passengers and the ship holds 62, this was nice as everything was wide open for us. Our fellow passengers were very compatible and we made a number of friends that we hope to keep in touch with and even sail another Lindblad sailing with. Thank you for your help and you will be hearing from us soon.
The trip was extraordinary, beyond our expectations. The staff and crew on the ship couldn't have been more helpful and professional, and we were very sad at the end to separate from them. I was ready to stow away for another week! All the naturalists were so knowledgeable and went out of their way to answer any questions and give complete explanations for what we were seeing. We ended up feeling as though we had made many new friends. In fact, I coincidentally discovered that an old high school friend was on the ship with her family and we had a delightful time getting reacquainted.
In addition, the physical beauty of Alaska, particularly the coast, was remarkable. The glaciers were awe inspiring. The animals were plentiful. Denali was amazing, and the mountain was in full view on a rarely gloriously clear day.
The arrangements made by Knightly Tours were fine, and all went smoothly. Fairbanks was a surprise, much more interesting than we'd expected. Mary Shields was wonderful, and we came away feeling like she too was a new friend as well as a remarkable woman. The Museum of the North at the University of Alaska was one of the best small museums I've ever visited. And the Ice Museum was a lot of fun as well.
Talkeetna was a cute funky old town though very touristy, but the hotel was the nicest one we stayed in and beautifully situated with a clear view of "The Mountain". Anchorage, with the exception of the museum, was a disappointment. I can't imagine living there! But by that time, we were in "return home mode".
Thank you for steering us in the right direction. Though Lindblad / National Geographic was decidedly more expensive, we felt it was really worth the extra money. It made the difference between a very nice trip and a superlative experience. Thank you too, for the bottle of wine that welcomed us to our cabin. We enjoyed it for two evenings at dinner! That was a very nice touch.
My wife Heidi and I had a wonderful time. And thank you for the bottle of wine, which we shared with our tablemates at dinner the last evening.
Crew and Vessel
The captain of the vessel, George Coughlin, is a master seaman and organizer, and runs a wonderful ship. His first officer, Lucynda Boyce, is also a superb addition to the vessel, and I hope that your organization will keep a close eye on her as within several years I think she will be worthy of elevation to captain status, in charge of her own vessel. The open bridge policy is also special, especially for someone with a nautical background; I was on the bridge by 430 am each morning that we were underway, and often stood a portion of the afternoon and evening watches as well.
The presence of naturalists, geologists, and others on board was a special addition to the spectacular scenery. It makes all the difference in the world to be able to hike through a rain forest with somebody who can point out not only the names of the plants, but some of the behavioral issues, forest progression, ecology of a bog, etc.. Lee Moll, and Linda Nicklin added immeasurably on hikes, and it was a true pleasure talking with each of them on board ship as well. Al Trujillo shared a lecture or two with us, and his enthusiasm and interest, not only for the rocks, but also for anything in Alaska, is infectious. I did have to request specifically to drop the plankton net, and then push to use the microscope to examine the plankton, but I do understand that my background and interests may be a bit more technical than that of most guests.
One suggestion – after dinner, desert could be offered in the dining room, or forward in the lounge, with a different break-out session, led by a naturalist, in each place.
Justin Hofman, our photographer, and underwater naturalist, could have been better utilized. He did perform two dives, and shared aspects of those dives with the group. He led walks, and took us out in the Zodiac. He also led a short photography seminar. However, his photography, which is wonderful, could also have functioned as semi-official photographer for the group. Specifically, it would be a wonderful memory and keepsake had he been able to capture candid photos of Heidi and me on a Zodiac, or kayaking, or simply enjoying sites on the rail of the ship. It would certainly be easy, given his presence on the boat for a week, to task him with the unofficial job of recording each of the guests in a natural and candid manner, and then making those photos available to the guest as part of the package.
The presence of the videographer, conversely, was of little interest to me. Reviewing a video of our trip, with numerous interviews with other of the guests, was of no interest, and we did not order the video. The video position could easily have been switched to the still photo position, filled by Justin, with the above minor change in his job description.
The food was good, and at times wonderful, and there was always an option for my semi-vegetarian wife at all meals. The ship obviously sports cramped cabins, but they were certainly adequate, and other than sleeping, we spent very little time in the cabin. Cleanliness is good, again especially for a cramped ship. I did possibly break my right fourth toe on the coming between the shower stall and the main cabin area, but that was my mistake, due to my negligence in not picking up my foot high enough as I was exiting the bathroom at 3 a.m. (I have ignored it, and it is healing.)
Kayaking was wonderful, but again tremendous effort on the part of the crew goes into making the kayaks available. If kayaks could be launched from the stern of the Sea Bird itself, then it would make kayaking more available, for instance in evenings when at anchor, or allow kayaks to be launched and then recovered from the mother ship, allowing longer kayaking sessions. I know that some friends of ours on the boat were upset that they could only kayak for short intervals, and I believe we only had three or at most four kayaking sessions total. If there were a small finger dock off the stern of the Sea Bird, which could be dropped/hinged into the water with a winch, and we could launch and recover kayaks from that finger dock, then not only would a tremendous amount of effort be saved in terms of launching and retrieving the kayaks from shore, but I think we would have greater utilization of the kayaks.
The hikes, offered at different paces, and with differing objectives, are spectacular. Again, the presence of a naturalist or other knowledgeable guide adds so much!
There are three life jackets on the vessel assigned to each passenger. There's the evacuation life jacket, a typical huge May West kapok filled jacket, which stays in the cabin, for emergency use. The day-to-day jacket is a large kapok filled vest type, and finally for kayaking we were issued inflatable emergency U-shaped over the neck jackets. I don't see why we couldn't avoid use of the bulky vest type, which we were wearing every time we got in the Zodiac, and instead simply all wear the inflatable type, whenever getting into a kayak, getting into a Zodiac, etc.. This would eliminate a large number of vests, and considerable confusion as to which one to wear. Essentially, whenever we would be doing something, we should be wearing our own inflatable vest, and each one of these should have our room number attached prominently to it, so if we went for a hike, we would put that vest down and pick the same one up again upon our return.
In terms of clothing, we did not pack sufficient waterproof gear, and my wife and I bought waterproof pants in Petersburg, Alaska, and it would be important to stress to visitors to Alaska that a pair of waterproof pants really is a must. The North Face pants which I bought were perfectly adequate for the job, and I was happy to use them after my original pair of pants proved insufficient and for that matter not warm enough.
The itinerary is, I assume, somewhat variable, based on wind, current, and season, but one obvious suggestion is to spend more time in the Inian Islands. That morning of sea life observation – humpback whales, sea lions, eagles, puffins, and sea otters – was the clear high point of the entire journey. An extra half day among the Inians, or a similar spot, would have been far more interesting than the afternoon at Ford’s Terror, or in Petersburg.
Conversely, the day spent at Glacier Bay was, frankly, somewhat of a disappointment. We had already seen glaciers, closer up than in Glacier Bay, and seen much of the same sea life – again closer up from the Zodiaks. While I understand that it will be hard to pitch the cruise without a day in Glacier Bay, for me it was actually far less interesting than most of the other days!
Again, we had a wonderful time. Indeed, I have every confidence that we will be joining National Geographic again, for a multiplicity of further explorations. As we left the ship in Sitka, I turned to my wife and mentioned how much I would have loved to turn around and do the same trip all over again!
Thank you for assisting with all of our arrangements. I hope these suggestions are of some utility.
Thanks for all your help. We had a wonderful vacation! Our kids are DYING to go on another. (Us too!) They are foregoing some out-to-eat and other expenditures in order to save that money toward another trip. Sweet! We were five in our family and two cabins, worked perfectly.
Yes, Lindblad did a wonderful job. The crew is the standout and makes the trip more wonderful. We particularly appreciated Justin (naturalist and diver), Adam (bosun), Kendra (1st mate), Alexis (3rd mate), Michelle (health & kayaking), Steve (naturalist), Breanna (cleaning), Michael (hotel), and Sam (server). The only glitches were early in the week, probably when the staff were nervous about a 9 year old being unruly.
Brown Bear in Alaska
Yes, we purchased the video of the trip. But in hindsight, we wondered if we should have purchased two, since I doubt we can “back up” the video onto another DVD? I’d hate for something to happen to it – it was such a cool trip! Can you get us another one?
Our experience in Alaska was beyond any words I can express. To see the smiles and laughter from my grandchildren was worth every penny spent. We are gladly starting a new savings fund for a trip in 2013, and you can bet we will be calling you soon on that idea.
Our food issues were not issues at all. Granddaughter with vegetarian was good, grandson with lactose intolerant was good, husband with diabetes was good (his desserts were delicious), the rest of us with our likes and dislikes were well accommodated. We were well taken care of.
Casey counted 12 whales in one day, some right next to the ship and others at a distance. We saw many variety of birds and beautiful spring wild flowers. We heard and saw and experienced the glaciers, the ancient ice falling in front of our eyes. We were educated as we watched by the most patient, sweet, passionate members of the crew. It was like they were seeing everything through our eyes for the first time. Meagan, has decided to major in marine biology when she goes to college so she can come back and work on a National Geographic ship.
The grandkids could be kids, our sons and daughters could have private time, and family time, and we could sit back and enjoy it all as everything was done for us. Not a single meltdown of anyone on the whole cruise, what a statement that is.
The ship was perfect for the experience. Expedition not luxury. Our cabins were scattered around the ship since we should have booked earlier, but that was ok. Everyone on ship became family and there were two other families with children which worked well for us. We had a mixture of Category 3 (for us) and the rest Category two on two different decks.
Overall, everything was perfect. We loved our first night in Sitka and took your suggestions for ice cream malts and dinner. You helped us plan every inch and we thank you so much. Also for the video and bottle of wine. Perfection.
Now what to do with all our Alaska clothes and rubber boots, we don't need them home in Florida. Linda - thank you.