The Andrew Harper Traveler visited with Lindblad Expeditions, pioneers in small-ship expedition travel, and recent partners with National Geographic. Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Orion offers voyages in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Borneo, Indonesia, Antarctica and South America, with durations of 10 to 21 nights.
Describe the legacy that Lars-Eric Lindblad shared, not only with his son, Sven, but also with the world of exploratory travel?
A noted environmentalist, Lars-Eric was the first to bring civilians to some of the most exotic parts of the world including Antarctica, Arctic Svalbard, Galápagos, Easter Island, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea, the Seychelles, China, and Bhutan— all with the focus of creating experiences that foster an understanding and appreciation of the most remote and pristine places on the globe. Now regarded as the father of ecotourism, he believed that educated people who saw things with their own eyes would be a potent force for the preservation of the places they visited, and he made his notions a powerful force for the good of conservation and restoration projects worldwide.
“Lars-Eric Lindblad was the first to take citizen explorers to many destinations where only scientists had previously gone…”
What were the cornerstone journeys and how did they differ from any travel experiences of their time?
Lars-Eric Lindblad was the first to take citizen explorers to many destinations where only scientists had previously gone—including Antarctica and Galápagos, in 1966 and 1967, respectively. They were, and still are, some of the most exotic parts of the world, and until Lars- Eric, they were inaccessible to travelers.
Lars-Eric Lindblad was a pioneer and trailblazer. How has Sven carried the torch and added to his father’s efforts and accomplishments?
Sven maintains his father’s legacy, and his own appetite for finding new ways to experience existing places is unlimited. Some highlights of his accomplishments:
Sven regarded his explorer father as a hero, and was enthralled by National Geographic magazine, the Society and its roster of explorers past and current. He forged an unprecedented alliance with National Geographic, which affords our guests an unparalleled opportunity: to travel with the finest expedition teams in the travel industry, plus National Geographic explorers, photographers, writers, scientists and other experts in diverse fields.
One of the core tenets of Lindblad Expeditions is to conserve and protect the places we visit, and the company is committed to conservation, geographic education and marine stewardship. Under Sven’s leadership, Lindblad Expeditions has raised more than $10 million in collaboration with our guests since 1997, and in association with our alliance partner National Geographic since 2008, to support global, regional and local initiatives in ocean conservation, research, education and community development.
Increased the size of our owned and chartered fleet to 10 ships
Deepened our commitment to Galápagos by basing two ships there year-round
Pioneered travel to the High Arctic, and now sends National Geographic Explorer to diverse sectors of the Arctic every summer season
Created the most innovative and in-depth expedition program in Alaska
Added expeditions into history and culture to flank our wilderness expeditions: including to Greece & Turkey, Vietnam & Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand
He added groundbreaking programs to our expeditions. He added kayaking to our activities in Polar regions and in Galápagos, where it was previously impossible, and subsequently on all our expeditions to enable personal, water-level encounters with beauty and wildness.
Incorporated an undersea program to reveal the ocean’s mysteries, and expedition photography to give our guests the benefit of professional inspiration, instruction and assistance while aboard.
What are the most significant journeys available today?
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has unveiled four remarkable itineraries for 2015 that offer exciting new possibilities. The voyages have been designed for those seeking active, immersive travel, and on some, to take advantage of the newly christened National Geographic Orion which has been equipped with a full roster of exploration tools including a dive master, scuba gear that can accommodate up to 24 divers at a time, snorkeling gear for all, kayaks and a state-of the-art ROV (remote operated vehicle) reaching depths up to 1,000 feet.
How has the National Geographic alliance improved upon the richness of the experiences?
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic joined forces to further inspire the world through expedition travel. Our collaboration in exploration, research, technology, and conservation provides extraordinary travel experiences and disseminates geographic knowledge around the globe. Our alliance means a richer travel experience for our guests.
Guests can travel on a fleet of ships to the planet’s most extraordinary places in the company of world-renowned scientists, naturalists and researchers, and explore stunning natural environments alongside skilled specialists using stateof-the-art exploration tools. And for photo enthusiasts, every expedition aboard National Geographic Explorer & National Geographic Orion is accompanied by a National Geographic photographer.
How are the guides chosen, and what credentials and experience must they possess?
Our expedition team is the backbone of our educational component onboard and comprised of naturalists, historians, cultural specialists, naturalist/photo instructors, and undersea specialists. Key is a strong knowledge base and adaptable to diverse geographic regions; education and background in natural history/history as appropriate; a team-player with excellent training skills; a proven educator; strong communicator to individuals and groups, lively speaker; consistently high evaluations from guests and expedition leaders; diplomatic; responsible; dependable; creative; loyal; respected by peers. Our expedition team has thousands of years’ combined experience guiding travelers to the most interesting places in the world. They are the ones who write the books, they are the locals; they are the experts that knowledgeable explorers want to travel with again and again. They are the best in their fields.