Full exterior of starboard side and bow of National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Fresh flowers in the elegant dining room on the National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Observation lounge and library with charts on large table and seating areas aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Tables and chairs set up by the windows with bar in background of lounge aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 2 cabin with large bed, armchair, small table, desk, chair and oval window aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
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National Geographic Orion

capacity
102 guests
year built
2003
crew members
75 crew members
length
338 feet
beam
46.5 feet
draft
12.5 feet
cruising speed
13 knots
flag
Bahamas

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 and other places where large cruise ships cannot go.

National Geographic Orion Review

AdventureSmith Explorations’ National Geographic Orion review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Our experts have been aboard the Orion firsthand. Please read our National Geographic Orion review below then contact our experts to compare the National Geographic Orion with other with other small cruise ships, expedition ships offering New Zealand cruises, small ship cruises in Australia and Pacific Island cruises.

Designed and purpose-built in Germany in 2003 specifically for expedition travel, Orion is a modern, elegant ship with an intimate ambiance. In 2013, expedition cruise pioneers Lindblad Expeditions purchased Orion Expeditions and rechristened the Orion as the National Geographic Orion. The ship itself remained the same with new cabin categories and the added benefit of onboard experts from National Geographic. The National Geographic Orion has since maintained the high standards of quality and service that the vessel has always been known for, while adding a special focus on education. Choose the National Geographic Orion if you are seeking an upscale exploration with outstanding service and programs. 

Design & Technology Aboard National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion was created from the outset to explore the far corners 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 polar operational standards enabling travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.

Common Areas Aboard National Geographic Orion

Orion’s 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. The spacious lounge is the heart of the vessel’s expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and the nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated state-of-the-art theater with surround sound provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows.

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. In addition there is an outdoor bar; 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. An onboard Wellness Program offers everything from early morning guided yoga to massages and body treatments.

Dining Aboard National Geographic Orion

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.

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, a cold beer or chilled champagne and enjoy the anticipation of another evening of fine dining.

Seating is open, allowing you to choose where to dine, and table sizes range from 2 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.

Breakfasts are designed to set you up for a day of physical and mental activity: hearty and 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 & Deck Plan Aboard National Geographic Orion

All accommodations have external doors and most cabins feature oversized picture windows. Double occupancy cabins come in a variety of configurations. Soothingly decorated in elegant tones, National Geographic Orion’s spacious cabins all offer beds cossetted in duvets and crisp cotton sheeting; an armchair; reading lamps; generous desk space; Ethernet jacks for in-cabin Internet access; personal safe; mini-refrigerator; individual climate controls; ample room to hang parkas and plenty of drawers, hooks and under-bed storage space; a public address system; and a flat-screen TV with several channels for movies, documentaries, lounge presentations, the Crow’s Nest camera and the ship’s electronic chart system displaying the ship’s current position. Generously sized marble bathrooms feature a spacious shower stall with a glass door and are stocked with environmentally inspired bath products and shower gel, hair dryer, cotton towels and cozy white robes.

Thumbnail of cabin with large bed, armchair, desk, chair and oval window aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 1

#316 & 318-321 on Main Deck: a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. 175 square feet.

Thumbnail of cabin with large bed, armchair, desk, chair and oval window aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 2

#302-312, 314, 315 & 317 on Main Deck: a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. 180 square feet.

Thumbnail of cabin with large bed, sitting area and large window aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 3

#401-412 & 414-419 on Upper Deck: a large window and sitting area (including sofa except in slightly smaller 401 & 402). Beds are configurable (call for details). 218 square feet.

Category 4 cabin with large bed, couch, coffee table, desk and two chairs aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 4

#511 & 515 on Bridge Deck: separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). 230 square feet. Included suite exclusives: welcome gift, priority booking for 1 spa treatment, in-room espresso maker & complimentary laundry.

Category 4 cabin with large bed, couch, coffee table, desk and two chairs aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 5

#501, 503-506 & 508 on Bridge Deck: open sitting area with a sofa and sliding glass doors to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details). 230 square feet. Included suite exclusives: welcome gift, priority booking for 1 spa treatment, in-room espresso maker & complimentary laundry.

Cabin with couch, armchair, coffee table, desk, chair, two beds aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
Category 6

#502, 507, 509 & 510 on Bridge Deck: French balcony, except 509 which has double windows. Separate sitting area with a sofa, except 502 which uniquely offers a “soaking tub with a view” in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity. 345 square feet. Included suite exclusives: welcome gift, priority booking for 1 spa treatment, in-room espresso maker & complimentary laundry.

Solo cabin with portholes, blue carpet and chairs with sage green window shades aboard national geographic Orion
Category 1 Solo

#301 & 322-323 on Main Deck: One window or two portholes. Queen-sized bed, except for 301 which has a double bed. 175 square feet.

Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls.
Category 3 Solo

#512 on Bridge Deck: two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table.

Deck plan detailing Expedition Deck, Main Deck, Upper Deck, Bridge Deck and Observation Deck aboard National Geographic Orion expedition ship
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