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  • A typical cabin aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion. Stewart Cohen

  • Expert lectures are given in the view lounge. Ralph Lee Hopkins

  • A family style lunch in the view dining room. David Vargas

  • An open bridge allows guests to visit the captain. Alexandra C Daley Clark

  • The platform on the observation deck is a favorite perch for photographers

  • Returning from an excursion. David Vargas

  • Enjoy morning yoga on deck. Alexandra C Daley Clark

  • The National Geographic Sea Bird cruising in Misty Fjords National Monunment. Michael Nolan

National Geographic Sea Bird & Sea Lion

62 guests
Year Built: 1982
Length: 164 feet
Beam: 33 feet
Draft: 6 feet
Cruising Speed: 10 knots
Flag: United States

Twin expedition ships National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird can reach places inaccessible to larger ships due to their small size and shallow draft, yet each comfortably accommodate 62 guests in 31 cabins. The feeling is often compared to that of a large private yacht, with everyone integral to the adventure. The vessels are ideal platforms for exploration of remote and rarely-seen places.

The captains and crew have decades of sailing experience in the regions being explored. They know when and where to navigate so that you feel the places visited are all yours. The expedition staff likes nothing better than to surprise and delight guests by directing the ship toward breaching whales, bow-riding dolphins or into an alluring cove. The probable presence of National Geographic explorers, photographers, writers, scientists, and other experts gives guests unequaled opportunities to expand their knowledge.  Their energy, enthusiasm and field expertise are sure to enhance your experience. This is what expedition travel is all about: not just seeing wildness, but being out there, in it.

National Geographic Sea Bird & Sea Lion Review

Choose the National Geogrpahic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion if you are an active and inquisitive traveler seeking immerse yourself in nature and wildlife. The experts and equipment on board these small ships provide the finest intellectual and educational experience of any small ship cruise. These ships are not luxurious, so don't expect five-star accommodations and ammenities; there are other luxury ships if this is your priority. But if your priority is the best expedition experience possible, with the best guides in the industry, and you are willing to pay the premium of such an experience, the National Geographic Sea Bird and Sea Lion are the right small ships for you. 

The AdventureSmith Explorations crew has personally sailed aboard National Geogrpahic Sea Bird and Sea Lion. After you review the ship description below and our National Geographic review above, if you have any quesitons please do not hesiate to contact our  travel experts.

Common Areas Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

The large open bow provides a wonderful setting for wildlife watching or enjoying a cocktail with friends. Indoors, a lounge features a full bar and space for films, slide shows and lectures; a reference library completes this space. The bar serves a variety of beverages for purchase including wine by the glas or bottle, cocktails, specialty drinks and spirits.  The sun deck, on the aft deck, is a space to wake up with a morning yoga class, or to sit down with a book or a snack in the afternoon. The bow observation area can accommodate all guests at once for wildlife viewing and the raised platform in the center is a favorite perch for photographers. The bridge is open, providing a chance to observe and chat with the officers and crew. The dining room provides a relaxed atmosphere in which to mingle with other fellow passengers, naturalists, guest speakers and the expedition leader. A variety of exercise equipment is located in the open air of the sundeck. Simply ask the wellness specialist if you’d like a yoga mat, exercise bands or sets of small hand weights to use as well.

Meals Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

American chefs prepare fresh, delicious dishes from local ingredients. Meals are served in the dining Rrom in one unhurried seating with fine views through panoramic windows. Breakfast is a wide selection buffet and lunch is often served family style.

Activities Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

Launch a kayak from a picturesque beach, hike with naturalists into the rain forest or walk easily along a sandy dune. Thanks to a sturdy fleet of Zodiacs and a brace of virtually untippable kayaks, guests can be off the ship and out exploring within a moment's notice. Snorkeling gear and wetsuits are also available. Without leaving the ship, guests can see and hear nearby creatures with a video microscope, a hydrophone, and a bow-mounted underwater camera that streams footage to TVs in the lounge and staterooms. A Video Chronicler will be on board all voyages. Rejuvenating spa services are available, as well as a variety of exercise equipment.

Wellness Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

Making daily discoveries and exploring the wild world is naturally uplifting. Add to that a variety of wellness treatments available aboard, as well as outings led by your wellness specialist, and you’ll find your expedition relaxing as well as revitalizing. Massages, body treatments, natural facial treatments, and hand and foot treatments are all available. You will have the opportunity to sign up for treatments once on board.

Shopping Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

Discover the talent of local artisans in the ship’s global market. The global market includes a collection of items made by local residents. It is hosted in the ship’s lounge during each expedition. You may find silver jewelry crafted in Alaska, handmade dolls from Baja, paintings and books by the naturalist staff, plus expedition clothing and other essentials. Every item purchased in the global market contributes to an Artisan Fund, which supports artisans in communities around the world to develop their potential more effectively and successfully.

Cabins Aboard Sea Bird & Sea Lion

The ship’s cabins are comfortable and efficient, meant to provide a calming and quiet place to rest after an exciting day of discovery. Each cabin faces outside with view windows or portlights (Lower Deck only).  Cabins on the upper and bridge levels open to the outside deck. Each has private bathroom facilities, climate controls, hairdryers, organic cotton duvets and cotton sheets, and ample space to hang and store clothing. A PA system, which can be turned off if desired, communicates messages from the bridge regarding animal sightings, or can relay lectures being delivered in the lounge.

Category 1

Main Deck #300, 301, 302, 303.  Conveniently positioned between the dining room and lounge, these cabins feature twin lower beds, and a large view window.

Category 2

Upper Deck #200-212, 215; Bridge Deck #100-104, 108.  These well-located cabins include twin lower beds and a large view window.

Category 3

Upper Deck #214, 216-219; Bridge Deck #105, 106.  These large cabins feature a seating arrangement with table and two view windows. Certain cabins include twin lower beds. Cabins #214, 216, 217, 219 can be configured to accommodate three travelers. 

National Geographic Sea Bird & Sea Lion Deck Plan

Bridge Deck

National Geographic Sea Bird Sea Lion Bridge Deck PlanUpper Deck

National Geographic Sea Bird Sea Lion Upper Deck Plan

Main Deck

National Geographic Sea Bird Sea Lion Main Deck Plan