Orion Expedition Cruises

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Orion Expedition Cruises Highlights

  • Line's one ship, Orion, circles Australian year-round
  • Expeditions to Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef
  • Stresses comfort, with delectable cuisine and luxurious cabins
  • Line added second ship -- based in South East Asia -- in 2011
  • Orion Expedition News: Update: Cruise Ship Passengers Compensated for Rescue of Stranded Yachtsman -- Video and Photos

Orion Expedition Cruises Fleet (1)

4,000-ton M.V. Orion, carries 106 passengers on expeditionary cruises in luxury and comfort, combining excellent cuisine, spacious cabins and a pampering spa with an ice-strengthened hull (for Antarctic sailings), a fleet of 10 heavy-duty fast Zodiacs, a near-waterline transom platform from which to board them, and a covey of kayaks for passenger use.

The 100-passenger Orion II joined the Orion fleet in May 2011, after $19 million of refurbishments. However, after a series of incidents including technical problems, and an episode in September 2011 when the 20-year-old vessel ran aground in Borneo, Orion has decided to return it in mid-November 2012. Orion owner Serina Bratton has said she will make an announcement regarding a replacement vessel joining the fleet "very soon".

Onboard

Editor's Note: Now-defunct Orion Expedition Cruises was acquired by Lindblad Expeditions in 2013. Read more in our Lindblad Expeditions profile.

Life onboard is casual. Sport jackets with or without ties are rare to nonexistent. The key players in the ship's staff are the expedition team, including one or more accredited experts in the sciences, history or culture, who provide background lectures, briefings, daily recaps and lead exploration trips ashore.

Dining is buffet for breakfast and lunch, and a la carte dinners served open seating. Entertainment is limited to one or two musicians.

Fellow Passengers

Eighty percent of Orion's passengers come from Australia, though the ship and itineraries draw the same passenger demographic whether Aussie or American. They tend to be well traveled, mature, adventurous and tolerant of unexpected events and mild discomfort. We found them an unpretentious, intelligent, convivial lot with loads of interesting stories and insights to share.
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