Our History

The Lindblad legacy of respectful cruise tourism

Lars-Eric Lindblad really wanted to be an explorer, and he channeled his passion to the travel business. But organized tourism proved to be a bit tame for his adventurous spirit, so he formed his own organization in 1958, Lindblad Travel. He got around the tameness, would take anyone anywhere, and his itineraries ventured where no tourist had gone before. 

A noted environmentalist, Lars-Eric was the first to bring civilians to some of the most exotic parts of the world including Antarctica, Arctic Svalbard, Galápagos, Easter Island, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea, the Seychelles, China, and Bhutan—all with the focus of creating experiences that foster an understanding and appreciation of the most remote and pristine places on the globe. These legendary pioneering adventures led him to be defined as the father of "eco-tourism".   

Sven-Olof Lindblad, Lars’ son, traveled extensively with his father from an early age, developing his inherent passion to explore the pristine corners of the globe. As a young man, Sven spent six years in East Africa photographing elephants and wildlife and assisting filmmakers on a documentary about the destruction of African rain forests. This time was instrumental in molding a fundamental objective of his work—to find ways for his business to help preserve natural resources and get involved in conservation efforts.

Special Expeditions to Lindblad Expeditions
In 1979, Sven Lindblad founded Special Expeditions as a division of Lindblad Travel, enabling the company to further its mission of offering innovative and educational travel expeditions that were primarily marine focused. Offerings expanded to Costa Rica, Baja California, and Alaska providing travelers with opportunities to explore, on small ship cruises, the islands, coves, and open spaces of the sea that reminded Lindblad of the remote and vast expanse of the Serengeti plains. The company’s name was later changed to Lindblad Expeditions.



Today with offices in New York City and Seattle, Lindblad Expeditions operates its own fleet of 10 ship, six owned and four leased, offering life-changing adventures on all seven continents. Sven Lindblad and his team continue to pioneer innovative ways to connect with the places already “discovered”— the first to introduce kayaking to the Arctic, Antarctica, and Galápagos; the only one to offer kayaking on the Upper Amazon; the first to reveal the wonders below the ocean with an unmatched undersea program; the first to offer an unparalleled photography initiative with a certified photo instructor on each expedition.

Twentieth and twenty-first century explorers respectively, Lars-Eric and Sven Lindblad have exposed countless people to the wonders of the world, fostering generations of committed citizens who care about the future of our planet. It’s in the genes.

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