Summary : Flip the California script as you explore the beauty and highlights of its coast and islands in a unique way—on the inaugural voyage of the brand-new National Geographic Venture. Be among the first to experience this beautiful ship as you discover coastal California by sea. Visit Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove where December is an ideal time to visit as some 10,000+ butterflies are in residence. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Enjoy an unforgettable sunset cruise south along Big Sur. Hike through the spectacular back-country of Catalina Island for superb coastal views. Explore Point Lobos State Marine Park, home to sea lion rookeries, epic kelp fields and extensive marine wildlife.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
NEW – National Geographic Global Explorers kids and teen program.
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Arrive into San Francisco and board the National Geographic Venture in the afternoon. Enjoy a sunset harbor cruise around this iconic harbor, drinks on the bow, and a welcome dinner before National Geographic Venture anchors for the evening.
Meet your wellness specialist on the sundeck this morning for stretching before breakfast, or head straight to the dining room. After breakfast, go ashore at California Historic Landmark, Angel Island, with expansive 360º views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County headlands, and Mount Tamalpais. Administered by California State Parks, the island’s fascinating 3,000-year history spans its origins as fishing and hunting grounds for the Miwok Indians; the California touch point for Spanish explorer, Juan Manuel de Ayala’s 1775 expedition; its tenure as a cattle ranch, and a US Army post during the Civil War. Join your staff for a multitude of hikes. Take advantage in the afternoon to explore the quaint town of Sausalito. Embark Venture in the afternoon and prepare for a sunset sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Choose to start your morning with a stretching session on deck or a bountiful breakfast. Your day begins with a behind-the-scenes tour of the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Following the tour, local guides will lead history walks to Cannery Row, immortalized by John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name followed by some free time to explore the waterfront. Explore Point Lobos State Marine Park, home to sea lion rookeries, epic kelp fields and extensive marine wildlife. Cruise south along Big Sur for a sunset to remember.
This morning begins with an early zodiac foray from the anchorage to Port San Luis Pier, to give those interested a long, challenging hike directly from the pier out to Point San Luis Lighthouse. Or choose the less demanding option—a leisurely morning, some kayaking or a trolley to the Lighthouse for a head start. Visit Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove where December is an ideal time to visit as some 10,000+ butterflies are in residence. Observe, take photographs, and enjoy a natural history talk. Both the Grove explorers and the hikers will head back for lunch aboard, as we sail south to the Channel Islands for sunset. Be sure to spend time on deck as this stretch of ocean affords great whale watching.
Awake in the morning anchored off Catalina Island. Developed as a tourist destination in the 1920s by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr., Catalina remains a popular destination. In 1972 William’s son, Philip Wrigley, established the Catalina Island Conservancy. In 1975 he deeded 42,135 acres, giving the Conservancy control of nearly 90 percent of the island to manage and protect. Enjoy an active morning here. Hike through the spectacular Catalina back-country with superb coastal views. Or explore the shoreline—take out a paddleboard or kayak, or head out on a Zodiac exploration.
Enjoy lunch aboard, as the Venture repositions to the town of Avalon. Enjoy a free-ranging afternoon in Avalon Harbor to explore the town. And celebrate later with a cocktail reception and behind-the-scenes tour of the famous Catalina Casino, an architectural gem built by Wrigley in 1929, to cap off our expedition.
Enjoy a final stretching session on deck and then disembark the ship after breakfast and transfers to the airport.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
NOTE: This ship is NEW for this season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.
National Geographic Global Explorers:
Developed in conjunction with National Geographic Education, this unique program will offer kids and teens the opportunity to choose cool activities—from earning a Zodiac “driver’s license” to recording wildlife sightings in their Field Notebook—all designed to help them develop what National Geographic Education defines as the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of an explorer. They’ll take part in all kinds of cool activities—like learning about glaciers by making ice cream sundaes, or using glacial ice to paint water colors. They will be encouraged to use their creativity—with photos, videos, music, writing, drawing and more, to tell stories about all they’ll see and do.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Accommodations and meals aboard ship; use of kayaks and stand up paddleboards; park entrance fees; port charges; group transfers from the ship to the airport if booked on the group flights; service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; individual transfers not mentioned as included; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, Internet, etc.; gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Lindblad Expeditions