"What other magazine has a navy?" asked Marilyn excitedly as we pulled up alongside the great blue hull of of the National Geographic Explorer, which was docked in the Alexandria, VA harbor last week. The recently refurbished expedition vessel, working in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions, is on its maiden voyage down to the Antarctic. Working together, Lindblad and National Geographic are aiming to inspire people to care about (and explore) the planet. But thankfully, doing so doesn't mean having to sacrifice your sense of style.
The Explorer accomodates 148 guests in tastefully-designed cabins, but that's pretty much where the line gets drawn in terms of the cruise comparisons. Lindblad is committed to sustainable travel, and as you'd expect from National Geographic, the equipment on board is state of the art, meaning that you can hang out on the captain's bridge or watch video footage from the ocean's depths shot day-of from the Remote Operated Vehicle (a high-tech piece of equipment that our tour guide and marine mammal expert said make all of her colleagues insanely jealous). Food is sourced from local purveyors along the voyage, and the chef's presentation made us hungry. Marilyn and I considered becoming stowaways when we saw the observation lounge, a glass-enclosed library on the top deck that was perfect for both reading and stargazing. Take a peek at the photos we snapped while on the tour, and you may be thinking of stowing away yourself.*
*You can, of course, go on board as an upstanding member of society by booking at the Lindblad website.