My wife and I booked this cruise almost a year ago. As with any cruise that involves international travel, one needs to be flexible and make sure you don't hold your expectations too high. Santiago Chili was not that impressive but I did not worry to much about that, since it was just a stopping point along the way.
From the first day on the Cruise the crew and expedition staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. The pace of the excursions was fine for my wife and myself but may be too much for small children or for people with limited mobility. Doug, the Expedition Leader was seemingly everywhere all of the time. We were all convinced he never slept. Between Doug and Captain Martin, our trip was the once in a lifetime trip we expected. We saw so many whales were convinced we will never need to ever take a whale watching trip again. I'm a history geek and the lectures by Dr. Andrew Atkins about the history of Antarctic exploration were fantastic. Regardless of their specialty, each member of the expedition crew were sufficiently knowledgeable that they could double as naturalist.
With regard tot he Engine failure, yes it was a cause for concern since it occurred in the Drake passage. On the morning of the failure I woke about 2am because the ship was not moving. Nat Geo/Limbed has an Open Bridge policy so I went to the bridge, which to my surprise was still open. Doug and the Captain were on the bridge and in communication with Lanbad's main office. By the time I go the bridge auxiliary power was restored but limited our forward speed to between 3 and 7 knots. The next morning announcements were made concerning our status. The slow speed added another 36 hours to our trip. The crew immediately began organizing to help us with travel arrangement and keeping the younger guest entertained.
Nat/Geo Linbad were extremely accommodating and quick about refunding our additional travel expenses. People have said to me "well in light of the emergency, this is going to be your last Linbad cruise." I've told them that as long as the Captain is of the same caliber as Captain Martin and the expedition staff was as competent and enthusiastic as Doug and his team, I'd go on the same cruise in a heartbeat.
Overall this was an excellent cruise with a fantastic crew on a wonderful ship. I'd do it again without a second thought.
The Orion is not desiged for the typcial "cruising experence and there are not many balcony type rooms. Our room was awesome. It is near the front of the ship two rooms back from the cutwater. So we did hear bow thrusters and anchoring operations.