I’m not even sure where to start with this post! There is just so much to share. If you were following along on instagram you’ve already gotten a peek into our trip, nonetheless, I’m super pumped to share even more with you today!
Thomas and I got home from Alaska about a week ago. We were up in Southeastern Alaska with my parents and sister on surprise vacation. My parents booked us an 8 day expedition on the National Geographic/Lindblad Cruise through the Inside Passage of Alaska.
I hesitate to even call it a cruise because this experience was seriously unlike any typical cruise I don’t want to confuse anyone. We were, in fact, on a boat, cruising the waters of Alaska, but it was different. Way different. And infinitely better.
Lindblad and Nat Geo have teamed up to provide basically one of the most in-depth and innovative ways to explore Alaska. We were aboard a 62 passenger ship which means it was way smaller than any typical cruise ship you might imagine. What’s super cool about this, is since we were much smaller, we were able to go in and out of nooks and crannies in Alaska to get the full scope of the Alaskan wilderness.
This particular trip took us from Sitka to Juneau and stopped at Kelp Bay, Lake Eva, George Island, Elfin Cove, Inian Islands, Glacier Bay National Park, Pavlof Harbor, Red Bluff Bay, Ideal Cove, Mitkof Island, Williams Cove and Tracy Arm.
There really isn't a schedule to the trip, we knew where we were headed, but if we encountered a pod of whales, bears, or anything else, our awesome Captain would hang back for as long as we needed to observe what was going on and then continue. Basically there was an agenda, but there wasn't at the same time. It was perfection.
Each day you’re in a new location and can explore the regions wildlife and nature as you see fit. Usually after breakfast we’d drop the anchor and hop off the boat to go explore. We did at least 1 hike per day and my family and I hopped into many a kayak (side note: I suck at kayaking and if you're ever stranded with me on a deserted island, it's probably best if I'm not the kayaker when we try to save ourselves) and small expedition crafts to go off on smaller little jaunts and learn about Alaskan wildlife.
Some days were super nature focused and we would learn about the plants and ecosystems created up in Alaska, others we would pile into our Zodiac boats and buzz around the waters searching for sea life. There was one point when a humpback whale literally was 10 feet away from our Zodiac. It just came out of nowhere and swam right up to our boat, did a little dance, and then dove down into the water. I was freaking out the whole time with some serious excitement. My mom and sister on the other hand were convinced the whale would surface under our little boat and tip us all over. Fortunately I did not have to experience the 37 degree water first hand as the whale did not breach under our Zodiac.
We saw a couple of brown bears from the bow of our ship which made for an excellent photo op. The bears were just chilling on the beach flipping rocks over looking for food.
I did my absolute BEST to try and find a moose, but I was unsuccessful, only being able to see some tracks in the mud. One day I will come across this 17 foot friend. One of the trip highlights came when we were cruising along after dinner and 15+ humpback whales decided to play around our ship. As one of our naturalists said "You don't find nice whales, nice whales find you." Some were breeching, others flapping their tales, and some just gliding along and fluking every few minutes. If only I had service this would have made for the perfect instavideo. We were also lucky to witness some really crazy bubble netting. (which is explained more in the video below)
We visited a handful of different glaciers and were lucky enough to witness some serious calving. Calving is basically when chunks of the iceberg fall off into the water, make a huge splash, and even louder thundering noise. You can kinda see the tail end of such an event in the next photo.
Life on the ship was equally as awesome. The staff and naturalists on board were fantastic. The naturalists are people on the boat that are seriously stuffed to the brim with passionate information about the wildlife and culture in Alaska. Each day they would take us out for hikes and excursions and educate us about what’s going on in the habitat we were exploring.
And let’s not forget about the food. I mean, you knew it was coming right? I’d be concerned if I didn’t talk about the food. Well, it was delish! I ate fresh fish 7 nights in a row and couldn’t have been happier. All the sides and sauces were simple yet tasty. Cooking for 60+ people a night is no easy task, and the chefs on board seriously stepped up the plate and wowed us.
I’m 100% obsessed with National Geographic/Lindblad experience. I’m ready to pack my bags and head out again at the drop of a hat. This adventure is by far the most amazing vacation and experience I’ve ever had. I’d HIGHLY recommend it to anyone. Alaska is such a gorgeous and untouched part of our world, it was really eye opening and amazing to see all the animals and wildlife up there.
Also. Christmas Card. Check.
Here’s a National Geographic Lindblad Alaskan Expedition Video just so you guys can get a little bit more up close and personal with the trip.
Another pretty amazing thing about this experience is that National Geographic and Lindblad support Global Stewardship. This means they work super hard inspiring people to explore and care about the planet. Guests aboard the Sea Bird and Sea Lion Ships in Alaska have donated over $584,000 to the Alaska Whale Foundation and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council in the recent years. All the donations are going to support some pretty phenomenal research on humpback whale communication and behavior for the AWF and protecting the temperate rainforests and productive watersheds for the SEACC. So not only are you getting basically the best experience/vacation on earth, but you're helping the world out by contributing to this funds. I'd say its a win/win for everyone involved 🙂
Next up for us is (fingers crossed) National Geographic/Lindblad Antarctica!!
I just booked a 5 night cruise with this same company for Glenn and I to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this summer! We have travelled with them to the Galapagos and also to Costa Rica / Panama Canal (compliments of my parents) and it was INCREDIBLE.
I am SO excited!
This trip is on my radar for next summer when my daughter is eight - I want her to remember every moment of the trip. Seeing whales up close is such a blessing, they're amazing creatures. I've got that same Antarctica trip on my wish-list but my husband isn't as eager as I am to see the ice - if you need a roommie LMK!