Lindblad's Alaska
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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question on information pertaining to Lindblad Expeditions Alaska cruises? Check the frequently asked questions below, or contact us online.

What Lindblad Expeditions ships travel to Alaska?

Both sister ships, the National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion both sail during the Alaska season. Both accommodate 62 guests in 31 cabins. All cabins face outside with windows, private facilities and climate controls. There are three cabin categories to choose from.

When does Lindblad travel to Alaska?

The Alaska season is May-September. Departure dates vary among our two itineraries:

What are the ships’ amenities?

Public areas
Our twin sister ships feature a library; global market; lounge with full-service bar and facilities for films, slide shows and presentations; observation deck; partially covered sun deck with chairs and tables. And our open bridge policy offers the opportunity to learn about navigation and share the captain’s view.

Heating & air conditioning
The ships are air conditioned and heated throughout.

There are large view windows in the dining room and lounge.

Both ships feature a library with a selection of books pertaining to your destination.

Photo kiosk
For those interested in downloading digital photos aboard any of our ships, there is a digital photo kiosk where you can download your photos to various types of digital media and CD-ROMs/DVDs. Recordable CD-ROMs/DVDs and thumb drives may be purchased aboard.

Email/internet access
Email and Internet access are available on all LEX ships. Your personal e-mail and internet may be accessed from your own personal laptop or at the Internet Kiosk onboard. Charges apply.

No, we do not offer laundry services on board.

Telephone & fax
Telephone calls and fax transmissions are available at an additional charge.

Neither ship is equipped with elevators.

Open bridge policy
We have an open bridge policy that provides guests with an opportunity to learn about navigation and share the Captain’s view.

For the comfort of all our guests, smoking is permitted only in designated outdoor areas.

What are the cabin amenities?

Climate controls
Each cabin has its own thermostat, allowing you to control the temperature level in your cabin.

Some cabin windows can be opened, although most are secured for safety reasons. Some portholes may be covered during portions of voyages if the sea becomes rough.

Shower amenities
We supply 100% conditioning shampoo, body wash and body lotion. If you choose to bring your own shampoo and/or conditioner, we recommend that you bring biodegradable products.

Hair dryers
Hair dryers are available in each cabin.

Electrical appliances
Each cabin is equipped with at least one 110v (American) electrical outlet which can be used for electric razors, laptop computers and other small devices.

While our ships are not equipped with safety deposit boxes in the cabins, most have small locking drawers with a key where you can keep your valuables. As our vessel safes are quite small, our normal policy is that the ships cannot accept custody or responsibility for guests’ valuables while on board.

What is the food like onboard the ships?

Meals are served in one open seating, with an informal atmosphere and tables unassigned to encourage meeting new guests. The meal hours will be posted in the Daily Program you receive in your cabin each day. Full buffet breakfasts, casual lunches, and leisurely dinners with plenty of choices are served in our comfortable dining rooms, or on deck or even ashore on a remote beach.

Every destination has a “flavor” and we believe our guests should have every opportunity to “taste” the destination. A great deal of thought goes into what we serve. We make an effort to bring regional flavors to your table with fresh, local fruits, vegetables and spices. And we serve sustainable, locally caught or harvested fresh seafood whenever possible, including king salmon, local halibut and Dungeness crab.

If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance and we will accommodate you.

Do I need to dress up for dinner?

Throughout your expedition, there is no need for formal clothing, unless you’re inspired to do so. The onboard atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and so is the dress code.

Are snacks available during the day and in between meals?

In addition to mealtimes, we offer snacks, which are included.

Is alcohol available on the boat and on shore?

Alcohol is available on the ship for purchase and you’ll have the opportunity to stop into a local pub for a pint of beer.

How will I explore Alaska?

Key to our operation is our fleet of expedition landing craft, which we use to land on remote islands that would otherwise be inaccessible. These sturdy inflatable rubber boats are the same craft that Jacques Cousteau used in his expeditions for over 30 years. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small boats afloat. The expedition landing craft we use are 19 feet long, powered by outboard engines, and are capable of carrying 12 to 14 people with ease.

Kayaking provides one of the best means for personal exploration in the areas we travel. Therefore, we’ve outfitted our ships with a fleet of them; enough for everyone who wants to participate. They are very stable and easy to master for novices and experts alike. There is something special about being alone in a single kayak, or with your travel companion in our double kayaks, paddling along a remote coastline. Lindblad pioneered kayaking from expedition ships in both the Arctic and Antarctic, and Lindblad is the first company of its kind to be awarded unique permits for kayaking in the fragile Galapagos environment.

Undersea tools for exploring
Our vessels are outfitted with panoply of underwater exploration equipment. Bow cams and hydrophones bring to life the sights and sounds beneath the sea. And our undersea specialists dive in remote locations in Alaska for a look at marine life below the surface, capture their findings on video and share them with guests on the TV screen in the lounge. These tools allow us to go further and get closer to nature’s wonders, enabling you to see what few visitors to Alaska ever see.

What can you tell me about the expedition staff on board?

Each 62-guest ship in Alaska hosts five naturalists plus an Expedition Leader—one expert per 10 guests. One of the most important aspects of every expedition is the knowledge of our terrific staff of naturalists, undersea specialists, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructors and other specialists who provide talks, guidance ashore and daily camaraderie. The staff will greatly enhance your experience, sharing special insights into areas of the world they know intimately.

Will there be talks or presentations on board?

Your expedition team is key to your experience. They not only accompany all your explorations off the ship, they also give engaging talks and informal presentations on board. The state-of-the art lounge is equipped with facilities for films, slideshows, and presentations.

  • Naturalists will share their knowledge and add insight to all you see and do.
  • The Undersea Specialist shoots undersea footage and then shows images on flat screens in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, giving you a rare view of the undersea world in Alaska.
  • Global Perspectives guest speakers will add depth, knowledge, and relevancy to your understanding of the region.
  • The National Geographic Photographer shares their images and offer one-to-one critiques for those who are interested in participating.
  • Each evening at cocktail hour the entire expedition community gathers in the lounge for an expedition ritual we call Recap. As you enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the house, various naturalists give talks, the undersea specialist may show video, and your expedition leader will outline the following day’s schedule.
  • A video chronicler accompanies every expedition. We send our video chroniclers “on assignment” to remote corners of the globe 365 days a year. With cameras at-the-ready 24 hours a day and seven days a week, these talented professionals have just one goal: to capture the essence of each expedition for you. A Voyage DVD will be available for purchase at the end of your expedition-proof of your intrepid spirit!
Is there a gym or fitness center on board?

The National Geographic Sea Bird and National Geographic Sea Lion carry exercise equipment on the covered portion of the sun deck, including an exercise bike, elliptical, stretch bands and yoga mats.

In addition, and as part of our Wellness Program, our wellness specialist leads stretch classes inspired by yoga and Pilates each morning on the sun deck before breakfast. Other elements range from kayaking and hiking, to massage therapy and body treatments. There is a menu of spa treatments onboard, available for an additional fee. Wellness program Exploring the world can be a powerful reenergizing tonic. To that end, we are delighted to offer you more options to tap into your own personal wellness goals and help you rest and rejuvenate as best we can. Our Tonic of Wellness is a holistic approach that includes many levels of choice for you, with wellness elements ranging from massages and body treatments to activities with more fitness in mind. There is a menu of spa treatments onboard, available for an additional fee. And our staff will provide expertise in massage therapy and relaxation, water sports and aerobic hikes, stretching classes with poses inspired by yoga or Pilates, personalized guidance with the fitness equipment, and more. Our goal is not a one model fits all, but rather a multi-tiered approach to exploration and rejuvenation.

Is there a spa? What kind of treatments?

The vessels are staffed with a wellness specialist and feature services that will help you fully recharge. Our treatments are inspired by elements of the natural environment and will touch your senses and enhance your overall expedition no matter when you choose to have them – as a mid-day pick-me-up, or as a way to end the day. Spa treatments are available for an additional fee.

Can I bring my children or grandchildren to Alaska?

Alaska is one of our most popular family destinations, and families and children of any age are welcome aboard. Kids thrive in the sociable confines of the ship where they can exercise some autonomy while remaining in contact with adult supervision. Our naturalists are excellent role models who are trained to work with kids and embed education in every fun activity. We offer a range of kids activities including photography workshops, journals & journaling time to record kids’ daily activities, Zodiac-driving lessons & “certificates of achievement,’’ hands-on nature and science lessons, scavenger hunts, a kid-friendly menu option, a special kid’s pizza and movie night and a representative from the Parks Service gives kids a Jr. Ranger Badge and a coloring book in Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, we believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience, and we offer $500 off the double occupancy rate for each person under 18 on all departures.

What are requirements of minors under age of 18 traveling with one parent/or legal guardian?

A minor consent form must be signed by the parents or parent not traveling with the child. It is also suggested that the legal guardian of the child sign and have notarized a letter of consent to travel with their knowledge.

Will there be activities for kids on board?

Kids thrive in the sociable confines of the ship where they can exercise some autonomy while remaining in contact with adult supervision. Our naturalists are excellent role models who are trained to work with kids and embed education in every fun activity. We offer a range of kids activities including photography workshops, journals & journaling time to record kids’ daily activities, Zodiac-driving lessons & “certificates of achievement’’, hands-on nature and science lessons, scavenger hunts, a kid-friendly menu option, a special kid’s pizza and movie night and we give kids a Jr. Ranger Badge and a coloring book in Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, we believe sharing an expedition with your kids or grandkids is a life-enhancing experience, and we offer $500 off the double occupancy rate for each person under 18 on all departures.

Can my family and friends contact me in case of emergency at home?

Prior to your departure date, we will provide you with a list of port contacts and phone numbers, indicating how you can be reached in case of emergency.

Will I be able to access the internet while onboard?

Yes, our ships are equipped with satellite communications for e-mail and internet access, and telephone and fax, for which charges apply. E-mail access is available 24 hours a day through the purchase of pre-paid internet access cards onboard, however, since it is satellite access and we explore remote locations, sometimes we are without a signal to connect. Once purchased, the internet cards can be used to access the internet on your personal laptop at select wireless access points onboard, or at the Internet Kiosks. Internet cards are available in the following increments: a. Internet Gold Card, 250 minutes, $100.00 b. Internet Silver Card, 100 minutes, $55.00 c. Internet White Card, 50 minutes, $22.50

Is there a doctor on board?

There is no doctor onboard, however, our First Officer is a certified EMT, all staff members are CPR certified and we have access to nearby ports if needed.

Will I get seasick? Will I need Dramamine or seasickness patches?

Alaska’s waters are generally calm and still. If you are prone to seasickness, you might want to discuss some medication options with your doctor.

Do I need any vaccinations? Is a medical form necessary?

At the present time, no immunizations are required for this expedition, although the CDC recommends that the normal routine vaccines should be up to date: Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR Vaccine), Diphtheria, Tetanus, Perturssia (DTP Vaccine) and Polio Vaccine.

Do I need a valid passport?

If you are traveling on our Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness itinerary, and you are a US citizen, no passport is required. If you are traveling on our Alaska & British Columbia Photo Expedition itinerary, U.S. citizens will need a valid passport since we travel to Canada. Passports must be valid for up to 6 months after the return date to the United States.

How will I pay my bill for person items on board?

In foreign ports, a small amount of local currency will be available for exchange aboard ship. All services and products purchased on board the ship may be paid for by cash, check or charge (American Express, VISA, MasterCard and Discover Card).

Gratuities to the crew aboard the ship are at your own discretion. All gratuities ashore are included in your expedition cost.

How much cash should we bring per person?

That’s a personal choice. You can use a credit card for most purchases. Personal checks are accepted on the ships.

What is the cost of the Voyage DVD?

Prices vary depending on the length of your voyage, but approximately $50.00.

What will my overall Alaska experience be like?

We bring you where others can’t, with the experts who know Alaska best, to show you Alaska up close and in-depth. Our 30+ years of experience, nimble expedition ships and special use permits enable our passionate expedition team and experienced captains to bring you to hidden coves and narrow channels that only Alaska adventure travel experts know. You will experience wild Alaska at its finest.

Where will we go ashore? The usual cities and towns or does the expedition have permits for the exploration of remote areas?

With our goal of immersing you in wild Alaska, we go ashore as often as possible and these excursions are included in your expedition price. Nearly all of our destinations are off the beaten path, far away from the larger cruise ships. Our special use permit in Tongass National Park will enable you to hike and kayak in pristine wilderness.

Are there landing craft and kayaks available on board for exploration in remote areas? If so, how many? And how often are then used on each voyage?

Each ship is equipped with five Zodiac landing craft and twenty kayaks (tandem and solo) so that everyone can get out and explore with a naturalist, travel companion or solo in search of more personal discoveries. Both Zodiacs and kayaks give our guests the opportunity for personal, “eye-level” encounters with beauty and wildness in all the pristine places we explore. Weather dependent, we hope to get you out and exploring nearly every day of the voyage.

Lindblad Expeditions often refers to the value of flexible schedules. What does this mean to me?

Often, the most memorable events are those that are unplanned. That’s why every itinerary has flexibility built into the schedule. So, if we happen to encounter humpback whales bubblenet feeding, or a mother bear with cubs foraging along the shore for example, we’ll be afforded the luxury of taking the time to stop and watch rather than having to rush off somewhere else. To get a sense of what these adventurous, open-ended days are like, spend some time reading our Daily Expedition Reports (DERs), which are reports from our staff on the highlights of each day. These are archived on our website for your reference.

What is the temperature like?

We offer voyages from May to September in Southeast Alaska and therefore it is important to note that temperatures vary from early season to late season. May is springtime in Southeast Alaska, so temperatures are cooler, with average daytime temperatures in the low 50s. June will have daytime temperatures in the 60s, and by July and August, daytime temperatures can get as high as the 70s, but can also be as low as the 50s. During any month, the temperatures can be as low as the mid-40s, especially when we are exploring in front of a glacier. You will be spending a lot of time on water, and with a breeze the temperature can feel quite cool. Layers are key, and planning for a variety of weather conditions is most important.

Is Alaska physically challenging? Will I be able to walk unassisted, or is the terrain difficult?

A trip to Alaska is an active holiday that calls for good health. Some of the shore excursions involve a good deal of walking on rocky trails and sometimes on uneven and slippery terrain. However, several sightseeing options will be offered, such as a choice of walks ranging from easy to more strenuous. If you are in any doubt that you will be able to enjoy the trip to the fullest, please check with us and we will be happy to discuss it further. We recommend that you consult your personal physician for medical advice, showing him or her the places you will be visiting. Your physician is most familiar with your personal medical history and is best qualified to determine your particular needs.

Are there short hikes and long hikes?

Yes. We will always have a few varieties of hikes, from leisurely paced to medium to fast. Options will be outlined and described by the expedition leader before your excursions begin. We will also offer Zodiac cruises if none of the hiking options appeal to you.

Would hiking sticks be helpful or just get in the way? Are they even permitted?

Hiking sticks are permitted and could be helpful. There are some provided onboard, however, you may bring a walking stick.

What is a wet landing?

A wet landing is when you disembark the expedition landing craft into shallow water.

What is a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor?

Every expedition aboard a ship in our fleet offers an exclusive service – a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to help you become a better, more confident photographer and you’ll go home with the best shots ever.

What is the difference between photo expeditions and other expeditions?

On every expedition, we offer an exclusive service—a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor. This naturalist is specially trained to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to help you become a better, more confident photographer and you’ll go home with the best shots ever. The photo instructor is there to help every level of photographer, so remember to pack your camera. Also designed to accommodate all levels of photographers from beginners to pros, our photo expeditions offer 360º photo ops, the instruction of a robust photo team giving you the tips you need when you need them, and all the time you need to get your shots right. They feature outings timed to take advantage of the best light—aboard Zodiacs for up close encounters with marine mammals, or on trail hikes. Plus, unique “share and learn” opportunities like onboard photo clinics, one-to-one critiques and inclusive “Laptop gallery” events to see each other’s shots. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to shoot with and learn from the best in the world – a National Geographic Photographer joins every Photo Expedition, in addition to two Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors. They’re engaging presenters and interesting travel companions, too—with good stories to share about their assignments, from the podium and over drinks or dinner.

What is included in my trip cost?

We include just about everything you have the opportunity to do as part of your expedition aboard the ship and ashore. The only items not included are those of a personal nature-alcohol, internet usage, tips to the crew, wellness treatments and specialized arrangements such as optional flightseeing in Petersburg.

  • All ship accommodations
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship
  • Tips, taxes, port charges and service charges (gratuities to ship’s crew at your own discretion)
  • All shore excursions and sightseeing, entrance fees, special access permits
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • Use of kayaks and Zodiac excursions
  • Morning stretch classes with our wellness specialist
  • The expertise of our Expedition Team, including talks and presentations
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during nightly Recap in Lounge
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
  • Complete pre-journey information, including what to bring and a reading list.

We don’t want you to miss out on anything. With Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, all activities and sightseeing are included-from guided walks to museum entrance fees to water activities like kayaking and snorkeling-and you won’t be locked-in to a pre-booked excursion. You’ll always have the freedom to pick and choose activities as your day unfolds. After all, these are not scheduled tours, these are expeditions. Everyone is different, every day is different.

When does the boat travel from location to location?

The ship travels at various times depending on the day’s activities.

Is there a time difference in Alaska?

Yes. (-9:00 GMT) When it’s 8:00 a.m. where we travel in Alaska, it’s 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 11:00 a.m. in Chicago and noon in New York.

Are airport transfers included?

Yes, as long as you arrive and depart on the group flights.

What kind of clothes do I need?

Our style is always informal. The relaxed atmosphere of every journey, a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic hallmark, is something our guests tell us they particularly enjoy. There is never a need for fancy clothing, so our recommendations on your travel wardrobe are all about comfort, practicality and likely weather conditions in the region you’re exploring. A full packing list will be provided in your expedition documents. In the meantime, our suggested packing list Alaska packing list includes:

  • Knee-high waterproof rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole, for hiking and wet Zodiac landings – a must!
  • Waterproof rain gear and pants
  • Lightweight thermal underwear
  • Pants – jeans, corduroy, etc.
  • Short and long-sleeved shirts/blouses
  • Two or three different weight sweaters or fleece
  • Three or four pairs of warm, sturdy, tall wool socks and an equal number of thin socks to wear underneath for extra insulation
  • Warm jacket
  • A woolen or fleece hat with ear protection for colder weather
  • One or two pairs of waterproof ski mittens or gloves
What footwear is a necessity in Alaska?

As you can imagine, the wrong footwear can ruin your travel plans. Knee-high waterproof rubber boots with a strong non-skid sole for wet landings in our expedition landing craft, and for hiking in temperate forests are a must. Good walking shoes such as sneakers or hiking boots are also essential.