National Geographic Orion is a state-of-the-art expedition ship, designed to safely explore the remote regions of the planet. Orion carries 102 guests in 53 cabins, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs, an ROV and the capacity to accommodate Scuba divers. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the ability to go to the out-of-the-way islands of the South Pacific and other places where large cruise ships cannot go.
Built in 2003, Orion is a modern, elegant ship with an intimate ambiance. Her stylish setting is completely compatible, however, with relaxed informality. You’ll find sociability in the dramatic, window-lined main lounge and library where the expedition community gathers each evening for cocktails and recap. The dedicated theater offers a comfortable place to take in presentations by the ship's expert staff and guest speakers. You’ll find expansive outdoor spaces, perfect for gathering with a small group or dining alfresco—an option always available when conditions permit. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find panoramic windows that connect you with the wild world you’re exploring.
National Geographic Orion Review
In 2013, expedition cruise pioneers Lindblad Expeditions purchased Orion Expeditions and rechristened the Orion as the National Geographic Orion. The ship itself remains the same with new cabin categories. With Lindblad's relation with National Geographic, the ship will have onboard experts from National Geographic. We expect the National Geographic Orion to maintain or exceed the same high standards of quality and service with these additional onboard experts and a number of new itineraries. Choose the National Geographic Orion if you are seeking an upscale exploration with outstanding service and programs.
Common Areas Aboard National Geographic Orion
Designed and purpose built in Germany in 2003 specifically for expedition travel, National Geographic Orion was created from the outset to explore the far comers of the Earth in complete self-sufficiency.
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. Ten Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration. National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the onboard waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge/cocktail bar and library, as well as an observation lounge perched at the very top of the ship, plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and the nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, the dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet and public-area wifi make packing and traveling more convenient. Conditions permitting, you’re always welcome to dine alfresco at National Geographic Orion’s outdoor café. In adddition there is an outdoor bar; a state-of-the-art theater with surround-sound for expedition presentations; a mud room; a glass elevator; a sundeck with padded chairs and a jacuzzi spa; a gym with a step machine, treadmill, cross trainer, two bicycles, free weights and exercise mats; and a health spa with a unisex dry sauna.
In the library, a wide range of books run the gamut from fiction to regional guides, and reference books on the wildlife and region you’re exploring, as well as board games and cards. A laptop with internet access is available for those who haven’t brought their own. An onboard Wellness Program offers everything from early-morning guided yoga to massages and body treatments.
Dining Aboard National Geographic Orion
After your day exploring, you can relax in the comfort of National Geographic Orion’s Galaxy or Leda Lounge, share your day’s stories with convivial company over a classic cocktail, an cold beer or chilled champagne and enjoy the anticipation of another evening of fine dining.
Orion's degustation menus are created by one of Australia’s renowned international chefs, Serge Dansereau, principal of Sydney’s The Bathers’ Pavilion. Serge has created a selection of fantastic menus, while Orion’s executive chef and team have also been busy in the galley creating a delicious companion menu using the best and freshest seasonal produce. Dining is an integral part of your expedition experience, with influences and flavors that reflect the regions Orion explores. Much of the food prepared aboard is sourced locally whenever possible from sustainable providers, and the chefs endeavor to always use seafood that is sustainably caught or raised.
Seating is open, allowing you to choose where to dine, and table sizes range from two to 12. More than opportunities to eat well, mealtimes are also opportunities to engage in the diversity of the expedition community—to join or be joined by naturalists, guest speakers, ship’s officers and fellow guests for stimulating and entertaining conversation. Dress is always casual. A selection of New World Australian, New Zealand, North American and European wines: vintages from exceptional lesser-known wineries complement the range of familiar labels and wine styles.
Breakfasts are designed to set you up for a day of physical and mental activity. Hearty and always healthy, with a seasonal selection of fruit and yogurts, freshly baked breads and pastries, cheeses, cold cuts, and freshly made omelets to order. An early riser continental breakfast is served as well, and many guests choose to take their coffee and morning pastries out on deck. Lunch is a favorite on-deck experience, perhaps accompanied by a beer or glass of wine, perfect for a more relaxed afternoon, and is usually served buffet-style on the outside deck (weather permitting), with salads and both hot and cold buffet choices available. Depending on the day’s activities, an afternoon tea with cookies, cakes or pastries, is served buffet-style in the lounge.
With the entire expedition team dedicated to delivering the best expedition possible, meal times are always flexible. If a pod of dolphins is sighted shortly before lunch, the crew is adept at quickly changing meal times so you don’t miss a moment, and the quality of lunch is uncompromised.
Cabins Aboard National Geographic Orion
All accommodations are outside, and most cabins feature oversized picture windows that connect you with the passing views. Double occupancy cabins come in a variety of configurations, including two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-sized bed and queen-sized beds. Soothingly decorated in elegant tones, National Geographic Orion’s spacious cabins offer a large desk, with ample drawer space. All offer a comfortable armchair or sofa for reading. Cabins designed for solo travelers are similar to double occupancy cabins, and feature the same amenities. Individual climate control is available in every cabin. Reading lamps above the bed allow for a focused beam of light to ensure your neighbor sleeps undisturbed.
Each cabin has a flat panel TV with several channels: for movies; for documentaries; and one for displaying the ship’s electronic chart system with the ship’s current position. Other channels allow you to view presentations from the comfort of your cabin, or to follow progress on the crow’s nest camera. A public address system keeps you alerted to the daily activities, including any wildlife sightings such as an early morning whale or dolphin sighting.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. They are stocked with environmentally inspired bath products and shower gel, cotton towels and cozy white robes. Beds are cossetted in duvets and crisp cotton sheeting. Designed with expeditions in mind, there is ample room to hang your parkas and plenty of drawers and hooks for the amount of clothing you might need on a longer voyage. In addition, there is abundant under-bed storage space for luggage. The generous desk space can handle camera equipment, your laptop and peripherals. In addition to a personal safe, hairdryer and a mini-refrigerator, you’ll find Ethernet jacks are available for in-cabin Internet access. Most cabins have a choice of either queen or twin bed sleeping arrangements.
Owner’s Suite with balcony 502, 507, 509, 510. Orion's four Owner's Suites are located on the Bridge Deck with three unique configurations. They contain a beautifully appointed bedroom and separate living room (except 502). Enjoy a private French balcony and small outside area (except 509). Owner's Suites average 345 square feet.
Bridge Deck Suite with balcony #501, 503-506, 508. The six luxurious Balcony Suites have an open living room with a total average area of 230 square feet. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors open onto a private French balcony allowing you to take in the sea breeze.
Bridge Deck Deluxe Suite with window #511, 515. The two Deluxe Suites occupy up to 230 square feet. An open living room with a two-seater sofa and large rectangular window lets you relax and enjoy the beautiful ocean view after a day of exploration.
Upper Deck Suite with window #401-412, 414-419. These generously sized 218 square-foot suites offer lots of storage space and most feature a comfortable two-seater sofa in the sitting area.
Main Deck with large oval window #302-312, 314, 315, 317. 180 square feet.
Main Deck with oval windows #316, 318, 319-321. 175 square feet.
Category 1 Solo
Main Deck with oval windows #301, 322-323. Dedicated for solo occupancy. 175 square feet.
Category 3 Solo
Bridge Deck Suite with window #512. Dedicated for solo occupancy.
National Geographic Orion Deck Plan