National Geographic Sea Lion
One of Alaskaʼs pioneering expedition ships, National Geographic Sea Lion was built in 1982 and carries just 62 passengers. The ship, which was refitted in 2015, has three passenger decks and is small enough to call at remote coves in a range of places, from Alaska to Costa Rica, and can even traverse inland waterways such as the Columbia and Snake rivers.
What We Love
Great Deck Areas: There is an open bow with an elevated platform providing fantastic views, as well as a promenade that encircles an entire deck of cabins. In addition, the awning-covered aft deck area has plenty of space for stretching and exercise classes, as well as a treadmill and an elliptical machine.
One Dining Seating: The restaurant accommodates all passengers in a single, casual open seating, so meals are at your own pace and not rushed as they are when there's more than one dining time.
Sustainable Cuisine: National Geographic Sea Lion is mindful about serving locally sourced, sustainable cuisine whenever possible. The food is also extremely fresh and for the most part well-prepared.
Best Known For
Focus on Nature: Itineraries emphasize bringing guests as close to nature as possible through Zodiac and kayak excursions and naturalist-escorted hikes. The ship is also equipped with a splash cam, hydrophone, and bow camera for underwater exploration.
Enrichment Lecturers: Guest lecturers and the shipʼs team of naturalists provide frequent and detailed presentations about the flora, fauna, and geology of the regions the ship visits. These enlightening talks are among the highlights of the cruise.
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Who It's Best For
Adventure Seekers: Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic cruises are for nature lovers at heart and travelers seeking true adventure. They're not for folks who require splashy, big-production shows and other megaship-style amenities.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Cabins Lack Some Frills: Staterooms are on the small side with a set of twin beds that can't be converted to a king, and none has a balcony or TV.
Peter Knego is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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National Geographic Sea Lion at a Glance
- Line: Lindblad Expeditions
- Class: Sea Lion
- Number of Passengers: 62
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1982
- Refurbish Date: 2015