Orion Expedition Cruises Announces 2011 Calendar of Sailings

In keeping with the Orion Expedition Cruises philosophy to take voyagers on “a path less traveled,” the cruise line will welcome a second ship, the 100-passenger Orion II, to the fleet in 2011. The additional vessel will double capacity and allow expeditions to access a wider array of unique destinations – all enjoyed in a casual ambience boasting world-class facilities and attentive service onboard.

Orion II’s inaugural voyages in 2011 – all of which are currently open for booking – include the Russian Far East, also known as the land of ice and fire; a circumnavigation of the island of Borneo, the home to the orangutan (an endangered great ape species); Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument; Vietnam; Thailand; and the tranquil Inland Sea of Japan.

In addition to the new ship’s sailings, the fleet’s original ship, Orion, will feature 2011 itineraries – also currently available for booking – with voyages exploring remote and exotic destinations including Australia’s Kimberley coast; the rarely visited indigenous art of Arnhem Land; and a voyage to the Spice Islands, known to the Chinese as the “land of fragrant nails” (referring to the abundance of cloves). Voyages to New Zealand and the Sub-Antarctic islands will include the seldom-visited Antipodes islands, while Orion’s Papua New Guinea itineraries will include an exciting new voyage across northern Papua to West Papua and Maluku.

The 2011 voyages on Orion and Orion II will feature:

* 13 Kimberley Expeditions, each including Bungle Bungle “flight-seeing”
* Orion’s inaugural West Papua and Maluku Voyage of Discovery
* Orion II’s Voyage of Discovery to the Russian Far East
* Discover the ancient cultures on Orion II’s Inland Sea of Japan voyage
* 7 Borneo voyages including a Circumnavigation of Borneo
* 2 Tasmanian Food and Wine focused voyages
* Orion’s inaugural Exploration of the Antipodes
* 3 Orion Antarctic Centenary voyages of celebration to the Ross Sea (Mawson’s Hut) and Commonwealth Bay (Scott and Shackleton’s huts)
* Lord Howe Island and Aotearoa, including the active volcano at Mt. White island
* Christmas in New Zealand’s spectacular fjordland and Sub-Antarctic islands

· 8 voyages to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, including the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh and Angkor Wat

When 2011 will draw to a close, Orion Expedition Cruises will offer celebratory Centennial voyages to the historic Antarctic explorer’s bases of Mawson, Scott and Shackleton.

Designed for travelers who seek intellectual and physical stimulation, Orion’s ecologically sensitive expeditions provide authentic experiences in remote and seldom-seen destinations, allowing time to relax and absorb the surroundings and cultures.

Guests to the unique voyages will discover worlds unknown to mainstream tourism. They will explore hidden rivers, coves and fjords; photograph crocodiles, brown bears, Komodo dragons, penguins and humpback whales; visit ancient temples and stand inside Mawson’s hut; dive on World War II wrecks, snorkel untouched coral reefs; learn about ancient and mysterious cultures and visit traditional tribal villages.

Onboard the cruises, biologists, ornithologists, marine biologists and historians – members of the dedicated Orion Expedition Team – and special guest lecturers reveal secrets of lands visited, sharing their knowledge and insight to enhance the travel experience.

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