Exploring The Wonders Of Baja California With Lindblad Expeditions- National Geographic

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Lindblad Expeditions–National Geographic’s expedition voyages offer wildlife encounters, active adventures, outstanding enrichment programs and memorable cultural interactions

Demand for expedition cruises is soaring. According to the Cruise Lines International Association’s 2024 State of the Cruise Industry Report, expedition and exploration cruise itineraries are the industry’s fastest-growing market segment. The 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report also shows upscale travelers are increasingly seeking to visit under the-radar destinations and witness nature in small ship settings. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s expedition voyages are ideal for these discerning travelers. In partnership with National Geographic, Lindblad

Expeditions delivers the kinds of awe-inspiring, immersive experiences desired by leisure groups and guests. “The growing popularity of expedition cruising mirrors the modern traveler’s quest for authentic, off-the-beaten-path journeys that push the boundaries of exploration beyond the conventional and enrich their understanding of the world,” said Noah Brodsky, Lindblad Expeditions’ Chief Commercial Officer.

“While we’ve been offering modern expedition cruises for nearly 60 years, we believe this is just the beginning of its surge in popularity.” Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s exploration-style sailings are available on 17 intimate ships designed for expedition travel, ranging in size from 28 to 148 guests. The nature-rich voyages visit some of the most stunning places across all seven continents. “From leading the very first civilian expedition to Antarctica in 1966 to launching opportunities to fly-in to the continent later this year, we’ve been immersing our guests in the world’s most remarkable destinations for decades,” Brodsky said.

Guests observe a spy-hopping California gray whale. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright Michael S. Nolan)

On Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s expedition cruises, travelers can explore the world’s wildest places and experience its wonders from a new perspective. During our recent “Baja California: Among The Great Whales” sailing, we enjoyed up-close encounters with California gray whales, snorkeled with playful sea lions and sea turtles, hiked and kayaked in remote settings, witnessed humpback whales breaching and hundreds of dolphins surfing the ship’s bow wave, and attended engaging enrichment presentations and cultural programs. The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic partnership offers unparalleled benefits, and guests return from these voyages of discovery energized and inspired.

Sailing On A Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Expedition Cruise

Mexico’s Baja California region is one of the world’s best places to see whales and other marine life. Our Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic journey aboard the 100-passenger National Geographic Venture began with a delicious pre-cruise lunch and nature-oriented presentation at the lovely La Mision Hotel in Loreto,

Baja California Sur. Our transfer to the nearby ship was swift and seamless, and the National Geographic Venture staff and crew warmly welcomed us aboard. Once onboard the National Geographic Venture, we quickly began to experience some of the many advantages of a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyage. Adventure and luxury co-exist beautifully on this ship. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed, and the ship’s intimate size made it easy to explore the well-appointed vessel. Our comfortable stateroom featured a balcony with lovely views and plenty of storage. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic provides top-notch complimentary snorkeling equipment, gear bags and wet suits for guests on these all-inclusive Baja voyages.

There’s even an onboard OM System Photo Gear Locker featuring complimentary cameras and equipment for guests to sample. Our top-notch National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor was readily available to help with
photography needs throughout the cruise. National Geographic Venture’s highly experienced staff and crew had been on voyages worldwide, and the evening briefing in the state-of-the-art lounge set the stage for upcoming adventures. Shayne Sanders, our outstanding Expedition Leader, provided engaging insights about our journey and the “magic moments” that occur. As Shayne foretold, these unexpected moments filled with wonder happened continually throughout our voyage.

Kayaking and other adventures await in Puerto Gato, Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter)

Exploring Remote Places And Memorable Off-Ship Adventures

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s small ships can access secluded, unspoiled places that larger ships can’t reach, providing the exclusive, unique experiences guests are seeking. Our idyllic expedition cruise visited magnificent remote areas along both coasts of Baja California Sur. While National Geographic Venture is a luxurious, five-star vessel, the nature-rich destination experiences and off-ship adventures were the stars of the show.

The expedition team provides engaging pursuits for guests of all ages, interests, and mobility levels. Safety and sustainability are paramount. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s exclusive National Geographic Global Explorers program offers enriching activities for kids and teens, making this an excellent choice for multigenerational groups. Expedition voyages are dynamic, and the weather and wildlife environments in this region are constantly changing.

Flexibility is the name of the game. Our nimble National Geographic Venture team had over 100 years of combined experience in Baja California, and they constantly adjusted our daily itinerary to deliver the best possible guest experience. The result could be “Plan A, B, and C (or Z),” depending on the current weather, marine life and guests’ interests. No two trips are the same. Mornings aboard began with spectacular sunrises, scenic views and fabulous sundeck stretch sessions with our ship’s Wellness Specialist. Then it was on to delicious meals and our day’s fun-filled events. Excursions on land often focused on photography, nature hikes, and birding.

Water-based active adventures included snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. On our first day of naturalist-led explorations in secluded Puerto Gato, my favorite adventures included kayaking through the clear waters and hiking up a scenic arroyo, admiring the red volcanic rocks and desert vegetation. The area’s calm waters also provided a perfect location to get oriented to the ship’s snorkeling operations. In another pristine location, we hiked and strolled for miles along the picture – perfect white sands at unspoiled Man O’ War Cove. This idyllic beach is stunning, and guests enjoyed expert-led birdwatching, nature and photography hikes here. Our ship’s excursions continually featured indulgent special touches and “wow” moments that exceeded expectations.

California sea lion with guests at Los Islotes, Gulf of California (PhotoCourtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic)

Epic Wildlife Encounters Abound On Our Baja California Expedition Voyage

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic itineraries are ideal for nature lovers, and Mexico’s Gulf of California is home to over a third of the globe’s marine life. Jacques Cousteau called this area “the aquarium of the world,” and we certainly experienced that while sailing. Safe, sustainability-oriented wildlife viewing is a high priority, and our voyage provided unparalleled opportunities to engage with marine life and the natural world.

One of our most memorable adventures was snorkeling with curious California sea lions at Los Islotes. A large colony of these inquisitive creatures lives on these protected rocky islets, and snorkeling safely with guides amongst dozens of these graceful sea lions was one of our trip’s highlights. It was thrilling to have several swim up close, gently sliding around my arms and legs and playfully interacting before zipping away.

The early morning experience was exhilarating, capped off with a visit by a huge aggregation of mobula rays and a hearty brunch buffet. Cabo Pulmo National Park delivered another incredible day teeming with spectacular marine life encounters and magical whale moments. Accompanied by our naturalist guides, we snorkeled with schools of 7,000 to 10,000 Bigeye Jack and other reef fish and observed three sea turtles and a massive moray eel.

We also encountered several humpback whales, including a beautiful mother and calf. Pods of hundreds of dolphins surrounded the ship as we journeyed on to Gorda Banks, and we spotted numerous humpback whales breaching and slapping their fins. Whale interactions were a high point of our cruise. Spotting and getting up-close with majestic California gray whales on guided excursions in their North Magdalena Bay nursery lagoon was an extraordinary experience. We spent an entire day observing these gentle giants in protected Boca de Soledad, watching gray whales spy-hopping and others inquisitively venturing closer to our small boats. Birdwatching here was excellent as well.

Vibrant cultural performance in La Paz, Mexico (Photo Credit: Nancy Schretter)

Immersive Cultural Activities And Delicious Cuisine In La Paz

When done responsibly, travel can be inspiring and a powerful force for good. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is exceptionally committed to sustainability and positively impacting the people and places they visit. These fundamental values were evident throughout our cruise. Guests are uniquely connected with the destinations and world around them through cultural immersion programs and other endeavors, including meaningful interactions with local artists and the line’s outstanding LEX-NG Fund. Ships source and serve only sustainable food, and the Global Gallery gift shop onboard features works created by global artisans.

Some of my favorite guest experiences in La Paz included being treated to delicious handmade ice cream at La Fuente and an unforgettable multi-hour cultural performance and fiesta filled with music, dance and superb local cuisine. We also enjoyed supporting local artisans highlighted by the line, including the exceptional Casa Parra Gallery and Arte La Paz.

Guests learn about navigation on the ship’s bridge. (Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright David Vargas)

Enriching Programs And Connections Aboard National Geographic Venture

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic caters to the needs and interests of the passengers onboard, and service is exceptional. Our ship’s intimate setting and laid-back atmosphere made it easy to get to know other guests, bond and make new friends. The cruise line’s open bridge access policy also provides opportunities to talk with the captain and observe the navigation process, something we enjoyed during our journey.

Our sailing featured excellent daily presentations, briefings and evening recaps in the lounge. National Geographic Venture’s expert expedition team gave engaging lectures on whales, birds, desert plants, photography, and other topics. Guests were amazed by how much they learned and the accessibility of the staff. Touched by the beauty and wildlife we experienced, our onboard community came together to discuss how to act as global ambassadors and protect these unspoiled, pristine places. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fosters a strong sense of family and community, and guests become a part of it.

These remarkable expedition cruises attract fascinating, well-traveled guests who love talking about their experiences exploring the world. Lifelong friendships develop on these voyages. The staff and expedition team are passionate, committed, and willing to share. Many passengers on our voyage were repeat guests and highly loyal to the brand. This is the first time in my travels that I’ve found myself repeatedly lingering over meals with guests, deep in travel-related conversations that eventually adjourned to the lounge. An incredible camaraderie develops between this extraordinary community of guests and staff.

Engaging with our group of fascinating, enrichment-oriented travelers turned out to be one of my favorite things about the trip. Fellow passengers often commented that Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic experiences are life-changing, memorable, enriching, and impactful. I agree. Being aboard the National Geographic Venture felt like sailing with an extended family of global travelers. It’s easy to see why so many return time and time again. To this avid explorer, this unforgettable voyage in the company ofkindred spirits felt like coming home.

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By Nancy Schretter

Header Photo Courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Copyright
David Vargas

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