Orion Expedition Cruises

Orion Expedition Cruises operates a single ship - named Orion. They are an Australian company whose niche in the industry is small ship, expeditions, and luxury. They offer a number of interesting itineraries in and around Australia and New Zealand. Their "far flung" expeditions will take in Antarctica and the South Pacific.

It was recently announced that Orion (the ship and the company) was purchased by Lindblad Expeditions. They will continue to operate under their name till spring of 2014 then will come totally under the Lindblad umbrella. Lindblad will continue to sail the same unique itineraries around Australia now sailed by Orion.

The Ship - Orion is a purpose built (2003) expedition ship, ice reinforced for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic. It has accommodations for 106 guests and a crew of 75. All staterooms are ocean view. The smallest is 175 sq ft and the suites are all over 215 sq ft - the four owners suites are 345 sq ft.

Life on Board - the atmosphere is casual but elegant. Dress is casual - no jackets required for men.

  • Unmatched range of onboard facilities including spa, gym, hairdresser, sauna and massage
  • Award winning cuisine - dining room is open seating
  • Highest staff to guest ratio - 75 crew servicing 106 guests
  • Highest guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Expedition Experience - the focus of an expedition ship is never the ship - it is all about the places the ship visits.

  • the Orion's unique construction allows her to go virtually anywhere offering access to locations that bigger ships can't consider visiting
  • Because of small size of the ship and low number of passengers, Orion is able to visit small communities without overwhelming them
  • Expedition leaders are all recognized experts in the fields of history, botany, wildlife, marine biology, and geology

Itineraries - Orion Expedition Cruises doesn't stray far from their home waters of Australia but, as with most small ships, their itineraries are pretty unique.

  • Antarctica is probably their best known itinerary. Since they leave from Australia rather than South America, they visit very different areas of the Ice Continent.
  • Concentrating on their own backyard, they offer some unique expeditions to Kimberley (Western Australia) and New Zealand and the Sub - Antarctic Islands
  • As winter approaches below the equator (April and May), the Orion goes north to the warm waters of the South Pacific with special trips to Borneo, Papua and New Guinea, Spice and Forgotten Islands and Melanesia

Cost - as with most small ships, especially those offering luxury accommodations, the cost of an Orion expedition is not cheap. Generally you can count on beginning prices to be $750 to $1000 per person per night.

Sample Itineraries - here are a couple of Orion's popular itineraries.

Recommendations - the idea of offering luxury cruises to some of the wildest and remote locations on earth is what Orion Expedition Cruises has built their company on. They are often compared to Lindblad Expeditions but they sail in some very unique locations. As with any of the small ship luxury lines, you will focus on their unique value rather than their price.