Category Archives: Small Ship Cruising (General)

Lindblad Expeditions Purchases Orion Expeditions

Lindblad Expeditions announced today that is had purchased Orion Expedition Cruises. It’s sole ship, the Orion, will become part of their existing fleet starting March 2014. Sarina Bratton, founder of Orion Expedition Cruises, will leave the company that pioneered small ship expedition cruising in Australia on April 19, 2013.

Lindblad Expeditions partners with the National Geographic Society and owns the National Georgraphic Explorer, the National Geographic Endeavour, the National Geographic Sea Bird, the National Geographic Sea Lion and the National Geographic Islander. It charters the Delfin II, the Lord of the Glens, the Oceanic Discoverer, the Jahan and the Sea Cloud seasonally.

Windstar Purchases Seabourn Ships

Windstar Cruises logoOn Tuesday, February 19, Windstar Cruises, a luxury cruise line notable for its modern computer-controlled sailing ships, announced that it was purchasing three ships from Seabourn Cruises. The three, the line’s original three vessels, include Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend.

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Last minute warm water sailings in Baja and Hawaii
Larry Bleiberg, special for USA TODAY10:51a.m. EST January 2, 2013

If you’re into photography or marine biology, or want to give your kids an intense nature experience, you might want to check out the new Un-Cruise theme trips.

The small-ship cruise line has added special theme sailings in Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortes for 2013.

The photography and marine biology trips will include a shipboard expert, who will offer presentations and meet in one-on-one sessions with guests during the week-long sailings.

The Hawaii trips on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer are seven-night cruises allowing the chance to explore four islands: Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island. In the Sea of Cortes, the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour sails round-trip from La Paz, Baja, Mexico.

The Kids in Nature sailings are aimed at families with children 12 and younger, and timed for spring break. The staff will present education programs and lead hiking, kayaking and snorkeling shore excursions suitable for all ages. Trips include March 9 and 30 Kids in Nature trips in Hawaii and March 9 and 23 Kids in Nature sailings in Mexico.

The photography cruises include two Hawaii trips: a Jan. 5 sailing with one of the world’s top whale photographers, and an April 6 trip with a top travel photographer. In Mexico, photography trips run Feb. 16 and March 16.

Marine biology trips are offered in Mexico on Jan. 12 and March 30 sailings.

All trips include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Sailings accommodate a flexible itinerary, allowing for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

Un-Cruise Adventures is a company with seven ships sailing Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Its parent company is InnerSea Discoveries and it began as American Safari Cruises.

It’s seven ships are Wilderness Adventurer, 60 guests; Wilderness Discoverer, 76 guests; Wilderness Explorer, 76 guests; Safari Endeavour, 86 guests; Safari Explorer, 36 guests; Safari Quest, 22 guests; and the Safari Legacy, 88 guests

2011 Holidays Aboard Small Ships

Many people settle down with family during the holidays to catch up, and reconnect with loved ones. For a small group, the holidays are a perfect time to explore and experience the world.

Small ship cruises have been busy this holiday season, exploring diverse areas of our world, from the southern reaches of Antarctica and the South Pacific, up to the unique Galapagos Islands and Central America, and further to Europe and America’s southern Atlantic coast.

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Oslo – Lindblad passengers are safe

Our passengers on the High Artic Russia sailing are at the Hotel Continental many blocks away from the horrible issues in Oslo. They are being well taken care of and fly out tomorrow on schedule.

Passengers on the Land of the Ice Bears will arrive in Oslo, and are scheduled to overnight at the airport hotel away from the center of town.

Reason to travel with a reputable company like Lindblad/Nationa Geographic, we are on top of it.

Love Those Crew Members on the Small Ships!

Simply stated, they become part of your traveling experience.

Different from the big ships where your waiter is only your waiter and your steward only fixes your cabin, otherwise they are somewhere else and you never see or interact with them. You may know your cruise director, but will he know you?

Crew members on a small ships share the thirst for adventure along with the passenger. Their job is unique in that they have the duties of whatever they are assigned, but they are also there to mix and mingle with the passengers. They become your traveling companions, your fellow explorers, your experts on less traveled waterways. Read the rest of this entry

Sitka, Alaska new dock no ships

Sitka, Alaska has built a new dock to encourage the big cruise ships to visit their small port town. So far they have a dock and no big cruise ships.

This is the time to take your SMALL ship cruise that visits Sitka. Once the big ships show up the town will be overrun. At this point I do not think there is a single Carribbean gold store in Sitka, as in all the other big ship ports. Sitka is on the verge of change, and not for the better in my opinion. I believe 2013 will see the transition of a native port to a tourist port. Read the rest of this entry

Alaska Inside Passage Bird Sightings – May 15-20

This is a list of bird sighting in the Alaska Inside Passage from National Geographic Sea Lion sailing May 15 – 20, 2011 Read the rest of this entry

Photographers & Small Ship Cruises – A Natural Fit

The latest issue of Outdoor Photographer (The Landscape Special) features an article from Ralph Lee Hopkins that documents the wild world in cruise expeditions that go to the ends of the earth. Ralph is a National Geographic photographer who can be found on many of the Lindblad Expeditions sailings. THis article is a must read for aspiring nature photographers and those who are wowed by these photos.

Expedition ships are a great platform for photography, but there’s no single “best place” onboard to set up camp. You have to be mobile. What follows is an except from the article on best places to shoot from an expedition ship:

  • While underway at sea, the stern or aft deck is best for photographing seabirds drafting along with the ship. I especially enjoy crossing the Southern Ocean to Antarctica and the dreaded Drake Passage, looking for wandering albatross effortlessly skimming the tops of the waves.
  • For shooting reflections of icebergs, I prefer to be as low as possible at the ship’s bow.
  • In contrast, for shooting patterns in the pack ice and polar bears at a distance, it’s best to be as high as possible on the top deck.
  • But when the whales or bears are close, put me on the rail where I can follow the action.
  • Image-stabilized lenses and a fast shutter speed are important for making sharp images shooting from the moving ship or Zodiac®. Every ship has its own unique motion and vibration. You still can shoot in rolling seas by firing in the troughs between waves when the motion is at a minimum. It’s not uncommon to shoot at ISO 400 or higher if that’s what it takes to get shutter speeds greater than 1/1000 sec.
  • If subjects are at a distance, I use a wide aperture (ƒ/2.8-ƒ/5.6) to maximize shutter speed. When depth of field is needed, I bump up the ISO and stop down to a smaller aperture. With noise-reduction improvement, ISO is now a creative control, so don’t just set it and forget about it. With changing conditions, vary the ISO as you do with the ƒ-stop.
  • Lastly, the polar regions are famous for variable and even stormy weather. In fact, bad weather can be a great time to make images, so be prepared with good foul-weather gear for both yourself and your equipment. Often, the most dramatic light is when the storm is clearing, so dress properly and get out on deck.

View the entire article from Outdoor Photographer »
View photography-themed cruises on Sunstonetours.com »

So Why a Small Ship Cruise?

So why a small ship cruise, you ask?

A small ship cruise is not for everyone. A small ship cruise does not offer rock climbing, wave boarding, ice skating, jumbo water slides, gigantic promenades, countless dining venues, majestic theaters, and high-stakes casino action. No, that is for travelers looking for the ship to be the destination.

A small ship cruise is about the destination, the region, the current surroundings. It’s about the region’s natural assets, it’s flora, it’s wildlife, or simply the scenery that surrounds you. It’s about the culture and history of the destination. It’s about learning, experiencing and enrichment. And it’s included in the price of the cruise, unlike mainstream cruises that offer shore excursions for an additional price.

If you are less of a vacationer, and more of a traveler and explorer, then consider a small ship cruise for your next adventure.

We just posted a comparison between small ship vs. large ship cruises on our website.

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