National Geographic Sea Bird Cruise Review
Itinerary: Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness - July 2015
Linda, we are more than glad to offer a review of our spectacular experience with National Geographic/Lindblad sailing Alaska from Juneau to Sitka.
This was our first trip to Alaska. I believe you would be as awed by the beauty if you were floating through on a rubber raft as well as our experience. Coming from New York and the air quality of a big city, everywhere in Alaska is literally a breath of fresh air. I do wish their smoking laws were a little stricter.
At your suggestion we came into Juneau early and stayed at the Baranoff. Acceptable is all we can say...but you warned us not to have high expectations. It worked well as location for two nights. We toured and ate salmon at every turn. Your restaurant and touring suggestions were spot on. We were lucky with no pouring rain. Way to many big ship passengers taking over the city during the day. For those in Juneau who benefit from the throngs of tourists more power to them. Those that wish to live a peaceful life in Juneau, we don't know how they survive the summer months when the population at certain hours must quadrupple.
The best moment, when we were on the ship on deck, sailing out with our glass of champagne, our new friends and all waving good by to the big ships as we passed by. It is true we never saw them again.
Expectations were met from the get go. Staff was helpful, energetic and knowledgeable on everything. We had a Category 3 Cabin, the big bucks but I can't say the big cabin. It was bigger but not all that much. Well appointed as I understand it just went under a refurbishment. We were taken care of by a team of expeditions leaders. Each had a field of speciality we discovered during the week of lecturers. One a historian, one National Geo trained photographer, one a whale specialist, wellness specialist, with the rest of the crew outstanding in every way.
The common theme is everyone seemed to be there for the destination. Discussion was that they had high expectations of the National Geo connection since most other ships even small ships were less expensive. Maybe this is the reason everyone seemed to be best friends after a day or two. Just one happy connection between the passengers and the crew. A number of passengers had been on Lindblad, Galapagos a few on Arctic, everything had high marks. As Lindblad promises we had lots of enrichment and technology along with the magnificent scenery.
We observed a varied list of wild and sea life. The Captain just knew where to take us. Whales would show up during meals during lectures (it doesn't get dark), so everything stops and everyone on deck to observe. I know it is an older ship, but a private balcony sure would have been nice.
Of course must review the food. We had our fill of Salmon on our time in Juneau or so we thought. more delicious fresh salmon on the ship. Food was good to excellent. Bead and soups were the standout in our opinion. Would have liked more fresh vegetable choices at lunch and dinner. Always a fish, meet and vegetable option for meals.
Extra pluses - message therapist, photography education, patient kayak instructors, varied ability hikes and activities. and just about everything else we say and did. A very memorable enjoyable overall experience.
Post cruise, one night at the Westmark Sitka. Good to decompress before the very long flight back to New York.
— Brian and Sandra - New York, New York