The National Geographic Orion is a purpose built expedition vessel that has been designed to explore the world’s most remote and pristine regions. Built in 1993 for Orion Expeditions, the cruise ship is capable of traveling to the ends of the Earth and providing an unparalleled experience for its passengers. The ship is equipped with advanced navigational, communication and environmental systems, and its staterooms feature modern amenities and luxuries. After spending 12 days exploring the South Pacific, I can highly recommend this super yacht and is one reason why I Love National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions.
The yacht-sized National Geographic Orion was created with a high ice-class to venture safely into polar regions, which makes her a rarity because a ship of her size is seldom built with such ice-cutting ability. Joining the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet in 2013, her size and nimbleness offered the perfect combination of safety and capability to discover remote geographies. In fact, National Geographic Orion currently holds the distinction of having sailed farther south than any other Lindblad-National Geographic vessel! Now the Orion is being repurposed to focus on the South Pacific.
The Orion offers a variety of voyage types throughout the South Pacific and Antarctica from New Zealand. Enjoy trips full of wildlife spotting and cultural expeditions, to marine-focused explorations. As Lindblad and National Geographic acquire more ships, the Orion will primary be located on South Pacific itineraries. Which is perfect as it doubles as a diving liveaboard. Interested in a Lindblad Expedition, reach out to Scott & Thomas Travel for help booking your expedition.
Lindblad Orion Review
National Geographic Orion is gracious and intimate, with an inviting, almost country-club atmosphere. Of her many amenities, public areas, and features, the most appealing is her outside deck space which beckons in the balmy reaches of the Pacific. There’s a sun deck across the top of the ship with a small jacuzzi which is utilized as a plunge pool and an outdoor bar. There’s plenty of space to soak up the sun.
Orion’s Other Public Spaces
The Nat Geo Orion features two dining areas. One outside where breakfast and lunch is primarily served and another more formal dining room. On warm mornings and afternoon, this is a great place to have a meal while having 180 degree view of the world around the ship. BBQs and events also happen in this space.
Most evenings, dinner is downstairs in the larger dining room with full table service and menus. Despite being the formal dining room, the entire ship has a casual astrosphere. You are on expedition and there is no dress code or requirement to dress up for a meal.
Another great feature of the ship is the large lounge with a bar and state-of-the-art presentation facilities. Every day this area was utilized for daily recap, briefing meetings, and a place to learn. National Geographic staff provided cultural talks, photography training lessons, and more. The lounge was also the heartbeat of the vessel. We gathered here to drink and socialize with other guests.
Up top there is also an observation lounge and library. This area features maps of the voyage, several books, and even board games to help pass the time. It’s also a great place to grab a snack between meals and features all day coffee, soda, and other drinks. The library features multiple computers to share photos as well. Don’t forget a jump drive!
Finally, a highlight of every Lindblad expeditions is their open bridge policy. Lindblad allows guests on the bridge 24 hours a day, when conditions permit. This is a great way to have a conversation with the Captain or Officers and discuss the voyage. The bridge also offers a prime viewing location for animals and star gazing at night.
Wellness & Spa
The National Geographic Orion features a small fitness center with a few treadmills and free weights. It’s not a large space, but provides a space to workout and burn off some calories between meals. There’s also a walking track along the top floor. If I recall, 22 laps equals a mile. The ship also features a complimentary morning yoga class. There’s also a LEXspa treatment room and sauna, staffed by a wellness specialists. The sauna is complimentary and is open 24 hours a day.
Additionally, the National Geographic Orion offers guests the opportunity to experience the best psychic readings on board. With a team of trusted and experienced psychics, guests can book a private reading session to gain insight into their personal lives or seek guidance for any challenges they may be facing. Whether it’s tarot cards, palmistry, or astrology, the psychics on board are well-versed in a variety of divination methods and can help guests tap into their inner wisdom and intuition. The serene and peaceful environment of the ship provides the perfect backdrop for a transformative psychic reading session that can leave guests feeling rejuvenated and empowered.
Diving With Lindblad
Diving with Lindblad Expeditions offers an unparalleled adventure for both experienced and novice divers. These luxury expeditions take you to some of the most remote and pristine diving locations in the world, from Raja Ampat to Papua New Guinea and beyond. Diving does require a few hoops to jump through to be pre-approved, yet it is 100% worth it. The National Geographic Orion dive program is perfect for divers and their companions who may not dive. As one can dive while the other can use snorkeling gear, hike, or kayak. With only one or two dives offered a day, this is a perfect hybrid liveaboard.
One of the highlights of diving with Lindblad Expeditions is the opportunity to explore areas that are often inaccessible to the general diving public. These exclusive dive sites offer a chance to see a diverse array of marine life, including exotic fish, sharks, and even whales. The Lindblad Expeditions team is comprised of experienced dive guides who are well-versed in the local marine life and dive sites and a underwater specialist. They will take you on dives to explore shipwrecks and coral reefs. We were able to dive at the SS Coolidge wreck in Vanuatu. We also explored several unmapped dive sites that we found via sonar detection and exploration.
Not a diver, no worries. In addition to diving, Lindblad Expeditions also offers a variety of other activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and environment, and gain a deeper understanding of the natural world.
Lindblad Orion Suite Overview
The ship accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins. On our trip my partner I had were in a category three room. The room wasn’t large, but it was perfect for us. You can have two single beds or the beds can make a single large queen size bed. Each room also has a beautiful bathroom with lots of marble. There’s a chair and a desk. Rooms feature a safe, a closet with lots of storage, a TV and more.
Traveling with National Geographic is a true treat. If you have been thinking about an expedition, I highly recommend National Geographic and Lindblad. The Orion is a great vessel for divers and non-divers plying the warm waters of the South Pacific. From Indonesia to French Polynesia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and more, there’s a dive trip for you. For non-divers there are lots of opportunities to explore new cultures and go where the big ships cannot. Expedition cruising is a fantastic way to see the world, going off the beaten path to remote villages and places where 99.5% of the world’s population will never see.
Costs on the Orion can easily cost between $800 to $1000 a day. Although this is on the higher side, its commonly seen on small ships which are all inclusive, such as SilverSeas or RSSC. Is the cost worth it. YES! Many places that Nat Geo visits are impossible to get to otherwise. If you want to explore the world and get off the beaten path, splurge! Looking to travel soon, consider my exclusive deal on Lindblad Arctic cruises during the 2023 Arctic Summer.
When you’re ready to see and do something different, myself and the Scott & Thomas travel team is here for you. National Geographic and Lindblad has expedition tours on all 7 Continents. I would love to help you find the right expedition. Email me for the best travel options and prices on the Nat Geo Orion or other National Geographic ships. Stay tuned, as I am about to announce special pricing on a Lindblad and National Geographic July 2024 Svalbard expedition. Only available to those who book directly through me!