Lindblad Expeditions, allied with National Geographic, offers soft-adventure cruises on a fleet of six capable vessels (as well as several charters) that carry from 28 to 148 passengers.
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The detail of Lindblad Expeditions Cruise Ship Lines
Forget big-ship accouterments like casinos and multiple bars and restaurants – though all ships offer LEX spa treatment rooms for onboard spa services. (The Endeavour even has a floating platform equipped with a massage table for unique open-air treatments.) The ships are comfortable, and there are some great touches like the local, organic foods used in meals. The line has become especially well regarded for its staff of topflight naturalists, historians, undersea specialists and expedition leaders who accompany each of its trips; many also have National Geographic photographers, or at least a Lindblad-National Geographic-certified photo instructor.
But Lindblad’s ships serve more as base camps for exploring the world’s waters, with cruises to all seven continents, including the Galapagos, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic Circle. Besides kayaks (for paddling excursions) and the obligatory Zodiacs, which are used to make landings, ships are equipped with scientific tools like hydrophones (to snoop on marine mammals), underwater cameras and video microscopes.