Five Things to Know About Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Endeavour II Cruise Ship
Best for: High-end cruisers who want to live out their National Geographic fantasies on a casual, wildlife-centric voyage in the Galápagos
Sails: The Galápagos
At a Glance: In December 2016, Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour II replaced Endeavour in the Galápagos. This 96-passenger, family-friendly expedition ship cossets guests with plenty of creature comforts, but as on other Lindblad cruises, the focus is on conservation and expert-led excursions into the wild.
It Sails Exclusively in the Galápagos
Lindblad has been leading tours in the Galápagos for 50 years, and today it has two departures there each week—one on National Geographic Endeavour II and one on the 48-passenger National Geographic Islander.
Excursions Are A Wildlife Lover’s Dream
Walk in the footsteps of Darwin during a cruise led by an expedition leader and four naturalists including a Lindblad-National Geographic photo instructor and an undersea specialist. They’re there to make sure you get close to as many only-in-the-Galápagos species as possible. Among the possibilities: snorkeling with Galápagos penguins and sea lions, communing with fur seals, spotting marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies, and snapping photos of giant tortoises.
There Are Lots of Gadgets
National Geographic Endeavour II has a fleet of Zodiacs to transport passengers to hard-to-reach places, as well as a number of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, which can be launched directly from the ship’s platform. But the ship also carries a variety of high-tech gear to help guests explore places they can’t go—like deep below the sea. There’s a glass-bottomed Zodiac, so non-divers can take a peek below without getting in the water. There’s an underwater camera that the ship’s undersea specialist takes along on dives, so he can share the film later that day in the lounge. And there’s a video microscope that magnifies tiny creatures like plankton for guests.
The Cabins Are Comfortable
Like the rest of the ship, staterooms are newly redone and inspired by the Galápagos. Every cabin has a window, photos of local wildlife hang on the walls, and throws and pillows with Ecuadorian prints accent the beds. Layouts are family-friendly, too: there are 14 connecting cabins and many suites have a sofa that converts to a bed.
The Food Is Sustainable
Lindblad’s focus on conservation also applies to the cuisine. Recently, the company began to source most of their ingredients in the islands and are about to implement a new farm-to-table program, thanks to a partnership with a Galápagos farm. In the dining room, expect dishes like harpoon-caught, in-season spiny lobster tail and herb-crusted roasted lamb leg with braised beans and Puerto Ayora rainbow Swiss chard.