National Geographic Orion
Built in 2003 and purchased by Lindblad Expeditions in 2014, National Geographic Orion exudes as much charm and comfort as an expedition ship can. Carrying just 102 passengers, it offers lots of amenities for a ship of its size with numerous lounges and outdoor spaces geared to watching the scenery and conversing with fellow passengers. Once deployed in the South Pacific and along Australia’s Kimberley Coast, National Geographic Orion now cruises Antarctica and Europe, offering enrichment-focused journeys that explore each destination deeply.
What We Love
Public Spaces: Whether it's plucking a book from the library, attending a video presentation in the theater, or heading to the spa and fitness room, there are plenty ways to amuse yourself when not exploring in port — which is not always the case on a small ship.
Handsome Cabins: The cabins and suites have a maritime theme with wood paneling and marble-clad bathrooms. Some offer balconies, others glass sliding doors if not double portholes or large picture windows.
Best Known For
Enrichment Staff: Education and exploration are key to the Lindblad experience. Veterans of the business, the company has curated an expedition team that's well-versed, entertaining, and enthusiastic about the regions you're cruising.
Varied Itineraries: Besides some perennially popular destinations, Lindblad also operates some unusual routes that are offered infrequently to provide more choice for the company's very loyal clientele and for off-the-beaten track adventurers.
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Who It's Best For
Adults Yearning to Learn: The ship’s itineraries are so diverse, delving into the complexities of the natural world and European civilizations. These destinations beg for you to arrive with an open, inquiring mind.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Lots of Talks: Expect frequent presentations, discussions, and recaps. Sometimes, all the discourse may feel like too much but when you experience how the topics are approached, it's hard not to be engaged and intrigued.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.