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National Geographic Orion Review

5.0 / 5.0
25 reviews
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Editor Rating
Carolyn Spencer Brown

Lindblad's National Geographic Orion, which joined the fleet in 2014, was originally built in 2003 as a luxury expedition vessel and the combination of the gorgeous nautical decor, upmarket services (such as massage and a gym), high-quality cuisine and expedition-/adventure-programs and explorations is a huge win.

Orion is ideal for regular cruisers who may be looking to vary their repertoire with a dash of adventure and reach some destinations unsuitable for larger vessels. Expedition purists may once have seen Orion, which originally sailed for the one-ship Orion Expeditions, as more luxurious -- with large cabins, a pretty lounge, a sun deck with hot tub and a lovely restaurant -- than they expected. But don't let its pretty trappings fool you: It's got all the expedition tools, from Zodiacs to bicycles that are hoisted down by crane. In addition, after it acquired National Geographic Orion, Lindblad invested in upgrading the ship's technology, adding an ice-strengthened hull along with retractable stabilizers, sonar and radar.

Most of the crew who'd worked for the ship under its Orion ownership have stayed on with Lindblad. Tenure onboard averaged between five and 10 years, and as a result of clearly feeling passionate about this particular ship, the crew was superb -- dedicated, professional and charming.

If it's your first time on Lindblad, you may be bowled over, if not a bit intimidated, by the exuberance of its very passionate repeaters. Many wear logowear from other trips. It can feel like old school week, as repeaters, who on our trip represented well over 50 percent, already know each other, having bonded on voyages to the exotic destinations that Lindblad's famous for. The feeling of strangeness doesn't last long though. All that's needed to feel like a member of the Lindblad club is an insatiable curiosity about the world and traveling, an adventurous spirit and the willingness to try new adventures.


Private yacht feel with highly personalised service and exceptional expedition experience


Recent refurbishment has disenfranchised some past passengers with loss of previous facilities

Bottom Line

Lavish by expedition standards, yet faithful to the Lindblad philosophy


Passengers: 106
Crew: 80
Passenger to Crew: 1.32:1
Launched: 2003

Fellow Passengers

Lindblad Expeditions attracts passengers primarily from North America, comprising a majority of older, well-traveled active couples and solos. It's made inroads as well in appealing to the family and multigenerational market, particularly for its summertime Baltic and Western Europe explorations.

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion Dress Code

While most passengers like to dress resort casual in the evening, Orion has a largely informal, but neat, dress code. It might be wise to pack one smart outfit for the Captain's dinner -- perhaps shirts, ties and jackets for men and dressy blouses for ladies. Otherwise, there is little need for formal attire.

Daywear is important, not so much from a fashion sense but from a practical point of view for the environmental conditions expected. In the tropics, cool, light and sun-smart is appropriate, comprising long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, walking shoes and water-friendly sandals like Tevas. In polar destinations, thermal underwear, beanies, fleeces and spray jackets and pants are de rigueur.

National Geographic Orion Inclusions

All gratuities ashore and onboard are included. On its Europe itineraries, cocktails are also complimentary, as is wine and beer with lunch and dinner. A selection of tours in each port, one almost always an active offering with bicycles or hiking, is included in the cruise fare.

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Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion Cruiser Reviews

Nothing beats the unexpected by Liz and Pat

Me and Pat were enjoying a couple of Lindblad cruises, even before when it was National Geographic.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Great cruise with few particulars

We also had National Geographic photographer Chris on board, with his outstanding photos, stories and travel talks. Stunning really.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 70s

Dreams Really Do Come True

I researched every type of tour operator before deciding on National Geographic Orion.Read More

2-5 Cruises

Age 60s

Extraordinary Journey on Orion

Our last day in Antarctic, the Orion turned around to follow a group of Orcas for over an hour. The entire naturalist staff was exceptional.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

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