Trace the maritime connections of six North Sea countries, from the Norwegian Fjords to the storied canals of Amsterdam and the medieval Hanseatic League traditions to the European Union of today. In UNESCO-designated Old Towns, visit renowned museums and sample the region’s celebrated culinary specialties. Explore less-visited gems like Lübeck, whose Hanseatic League capital status is still visible in gabled houses and converted warehouses; and Antwerp, where 16th-century guildhalls line a picturesque Grote Markt. Compare the university city of Ghent with the European capital of Brussels.
• Dive into the multi-layered pasts of countries bordering the North Sea and learn how these independent nations have been linked over time through trade, economics, culture, and politics
• Explore UNESCO-designated Old Towns including Bryggen, Speicherstadt, and Lübeck
• Hike along the Norwegian fjords, explore Holland’s De Hoge Veluwe National Park, and stroll through the botanical garden on France’s Côte d’Opale
• Trace the events of the World Wars in and around Dunkirk, where remnants of the Atlantic Wall still stand near the beaches where more than 338,000 Allied troops were rescued in 1940
• Capture your best photographs alongside a National Geographic Photography Expert
Arrive in Bergen and walk along the colorful wooden waterfront buildings of Bryggen, the easily recognized warehouses of the city's trading past, and explore the the narrow lanes separating the gabled structures. The Hanseatic League established four overseas offices, and Bryggen is the only one preserved today. Embark this afternoon and enjoy a scenic sailing through the fjords of southern Norway.
The waterfront area of Flekkefjord, with charming white wooden houses, flower boxes, and wall murals, was inhabited by the Dutch in the Middle Ages. Stroll the village of Hollenderbyen, or Dutch Quarter, this morning and learn about its maritime history or walk with a naturalist on a coastal trail.
As we sail the North Sea en route to Germany, attend a talk about the different facets of our upcoming destinations or learn from a National Geographic Photography Expert about how best to capture the wonderful architectural and natural subjects that await us. Our first experience in Hamburg is an overview tour of Germany’s second-largest city. We see how its strategic location between the North Sea and the many canals that lead inland has made it an important port and a major hub of transportation throughout the centuries. Enjoy the city at your leisure this evening as we are docked in Hamburg overnight.
Today, spend more time in Hamburg or travel to Lübeck, a former capital of the Hanseatic League. Speicherstadt means “warehouse city” and Hamburg’s unique collection of tall neo-gothic brick buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s largest warehouse district. Walk its winding streets cut by canals and connected by bridges, see the impressive Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall, and learn about the artifacts donated by citizens to trace the city’s development as a colonial world trading power. Or choose to step back in time on a walking tour of Lübeck’s Old Town lined with gabled houses and converted warehouses. Visit the inspiring 13th-century gothic Marienkirche and at the European Hansemuseum, delve into the important history of the Hanseatic League.
Travel back into the North Sea on a course to the Low Countries. Our route follows in the wake of merchant ships throughout the ages, and our shipboard historian discusses the relationships of the Northern European countries we have just visited with our next destinations, the Netherlands and Belgium. These countries have been inextricably linked through time, evolving from trading powers to roles as colonial forces, and now as part of the European Union.
Explore Amsterdam’s storied canals, lined with pleasure boats and houseboats, crossed by arched bridges, and affording a window on this beautiful city called the “Venice of the North.” This afternoon, learn more about the maritime and trading history of the Netherlands and the famous Dutch East India company, or see some of the most famous artworks by Dutch masters at the Rijksmuseum. The next day, head into the lowland countryside to Haarlem for a walking tour of the medieval streets and gabled houses of this North Sea port. Outdoor enthusiasts may wish to explore De Hoge Veluwe National Park, the country’s largest nature reserve. Join a naturalist to walk on the park’s sand dunes, wooded paths, and heathlands.
Wake up in Belgium today, in the vibrant city of Antwerp. Admire the Flemish Renaissance architecture of Grote Markt, the central square lined by 16th-century guildhalls. A walking tour also includes a stop at the world’s only museum with a UNESCO designation. Surrounded by books in the original home of a dynasty of printers, treasures of the Plantin-Moretus Museum include one of the world’s oldest printing presses. Cap the day with private tastings of Belgian culinary specialties.
Choose to explore either Ghent or Brussels or to tour an impressive Dutch feat of engineering. The historic capital of Flanders, Ghent is a very walkable city known for public squares and marketplaces surrounded by medieval castles, monasteries, and guildhalls that are never far from canals and harbors. Known today as the seat of the administrative, legislative, and executive branches of the European Union, Brussels is a culturally rich city with a long history dating back to the Roman Empire.
Our last full day is spent in the French town of Dunkirk, site of the courageous 1940 Operation Dynamo that rescued 338,000 British and French soldiers from German forces. The town has experienced much turmoil beginning in the 16th century, and we honor its critical role in global conflicts with visits to select war memorials in the region. Another option today is to take in the beauty of a botanical garden on the Opal Coast followed by a stroll along Dunkirk’s historic waterfront.
Arrive in London this morning. After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights home.
Itineraries are subject to change.
19 July, 2024 to 29 July, 2024
National Geographic Explorer
#301-308 — Cabins feature one or two portholes. Most cabins feature two single beds that can be converted to a queen. Cabins #301-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All cabins feature a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.
#317-320, 335-336 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.
#313-316, 321-328, 337-350 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV. Cabins 341 & 343 have a sofa bed for a triple.
#103-104, 107-108 — Cabins feature two single beds than can convert to a queen-sized bed, and at least one large window, climate controls, sitting chair, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
#201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228 — Cabins feature two single beds and at least one large window. All cabins can convert between two single beds to a queen, except Cabins 217, 226 & 228 that feature one queen-size bed only. All cabins feature climate controls, sitting chairs, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
#309-311, 329-334 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV.
#209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224 — Cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. (Cabin 221 has two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.)
#105-106 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV.
#203, 208 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV.
#101-102 — These spacious cabins can be converted into triples. They have two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, sofa-bed, chairs, two large windows, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
#213 — This spacious cabin has a private balcony, two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, chairs, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
#215, 219, 230 — These large cabins with private balconies have two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have seating areas with a sofa-bed and can be converted to triples. Cabins also include a desk with chairs, coffee table with sitting chair, and a small table. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 108 meters
Passenger Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins)
Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008
National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world.
Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.
Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.
Cabins: A New Look for National Geographic Explorer Suites
National Geographic Explorer recently debuted updated suites, enhanced with the sleek, Scandinavian design that has become the hallmark of our polar fleet. Each of these elegant cabins now holds a Command Center, which allows guests to continue to explore from the comfort of their suites with a set of tools that includes a barometer, a National Geographic Atlas, a television that broadcasts entertainment and ship navigation, a coffee maker, and multiple USB and universal electric ports for cameras and other devices. 81 outside cabins
All feature windows or portholes, private facilities, climate controls, hair dryers, and TV, plus Ethernet, Wi-Fi connections, and USB ports for mobile devices. Some cabins have balconies. Single cabins in Category SA and Category SB are located on the main deck and upper deck.
Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear.
Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry.
Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.
TRAVELING AS A GROUP Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more people. Take advantage of these great savings, while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. This savings is applicable to voyage fares only, and is not valid on extensions or airfare. Deposit, final payments, and cancellation policies for group travel vary from our regular policies.
CELEBRATE LIFE'S MILESTONES Join us and celebrate your great milestones, including birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, retirements, and more. Groups of eight or more traveling together in celebration receive 5% off and a complimentary group photograph, while the cabin-of-honor receives onboard ship credit, beautiful cake, and more onboard celebrations. Milestone celebration must be communicated at time of booking. Milestone amenity package is one per group, intended for the guest celebrating the Milestone event. Group discount is applicable to cruise portion only, and does not apply towards additional services such as hotels, extensions, airfare, etc. Group cancellation terms also apply. Not combinable with certain offers.
BACK-TO-BACK SAVINGS Save 10% on any consecutive journeys taken on board one of our expedition ships. This savings is applicable on voyage fares only, and are not valid on extensions or airfare.
COMBINING OFFERS Combine now and save! Certain offers may be combinable, up to two savings opportunities, except where noted otherwise. For example, travel with a group of 8 or more on back-to-back expeditions, and take advantage of both savings.
• Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary
• Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
• Guidance and company of our leading expedition staff
• All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible.
• Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
• 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
• Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the NG Endurance, NG Resolution, NG Explorer, NG Orion, NG Endeavour II, NG Islander II, Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud II, Lord of the Glens, and The Jahan. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors, available for purchase.
• Beer and wine, spirits and cocktails on all 2024 departures aboard NG Venture, NG Quest, NG Sea Bird, and NG Sea Lion, and specialty cocktails with meals aboard Delfin ll, with super premium wines and liquors available for purchase.
• Crew gratuities aboard NG Endurance, NG Resolution, NG Explorer, NG Orion, Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud II, Lord of the Glens, Oberoi Philae, and The Jahan
• Free Wi-Fi aboard Lord of the Glens and The Jahan.
• Free Wi-Fi, up to one hour a day per person, aboard NG Islander II and NG Endeavour II
• Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
• Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
• The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic
• Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
• 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces
• Complimentary Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic parka or jacket on select Arctic and Antarctic voyages
• Assistance by the onboard NG Photography Expert (NG Endurance, NG Explorer, NG Orion, NG Resolution) and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor (all ships)
• Access to the OM System Photo Gear Locker with the latest gear to try out on loan (all Lindblad-National Geographic ships except in Galapagos)
• Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
• Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers
• Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees
• Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi, and phone services (except when indicated as included)
• Crew gratuities aboard NG Endeavour II, NG Islander II, NG Venture, NG Quest, NG Sea Bird, NG Sea Lion, and Delfin II