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National Geographic Orion Review

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National Geographic Orion
5.0 / 5.0
23 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line
Lavish by expedition standards, yet faithful to the Lindblad philosophy

About

Passengers
106

Crew
80

Passenger to Crew
1.32:1

Launched
2003

Shore Excursions
71
Sails To
Antarctica, South Pacific, South America, Alaska
Lindblad Expeditions Cruise Deals
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Contributor

National Geographic Orion Overview

Lindblad's National Geographic Orion, which joined the fleet in 2014, was originally built in 2003 as a luxury expedition vessel and the combination of the gorgeous nautical decor, upmarket services (such as massage and a gym), high-quality cuisine and expedition-/adventure-programs and explorations is a huge win.

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Orion is ideal for regular cruisers who may be looking to vary their repertoire with a dash of adventure and reach some destinations unsuitable for larger vessels. Expedition purists may once have seen Orion, which originally sailed for the one-ship Orion Expeditions, as more luxurious -- with large cabins, a pretty lounge, a sun deck with hot tub and a lovely restaurant -- than they expected. But don't let its pretty trappings fool you: It's got all the expedition tools, from Zodiacs to bicycles that are hoisted down by crane. In addition, after it acquired National Geographic Orion, Lindblad invested in upgrading the ship's technology, adding an ice-strengthened hull along with retractable stabilizers, sonar and radar. 

Most of the crew who'd worked for the ship under its Orion ownership have stayed on with Lindblad. Tenure onboard averaged between five and 10 years, and as a result of clearly feeling passionate about this particular ship, the crew was superb -- dedicated, professional and charming.

If it's your first time on Lindblad, you may be bowled over, if not a bit intimidated, by the exuberance of its very passionate repeaters. Many wear logowear from other trips. It can feel like old school week, as repeaters, who on our trip represented well over 50 percent, already know each other, having bonded on voyages to the exotic destinations that Lindblad's famous for. The feeling of strangeness doesn't last long though. All that's needed to feel like a member of the Lindblad club is an insatiable curiosity about the world and traveling, an adventurous spirit and the willingness to try new adventures.


Top National Geographic Orion Itineraries

View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion Itineraries (10)

Fellow Passengers

Lindblad Expeditions attracts passengers primarily from North America, comprising a majority of older, well-traveled active couples and solos. It's made inroads as well in appealing to the family and multigenerational market, particularly for its summertime Baltic and Western Europe explorations. 


Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion Dress Code

While most passengers like to dress resort casual in the evening, Orion has a largely informal, but neat, dress code. It might be wise to pack one smart outfit for the Captain's dinner -- perhaps shirts, ties and jackets for men and dressy blouses for ladies. Otherwise, there is little need for formal attire.

Daywear is important, not so much from a fashion sense but from a practical point of view for the environmental conditions expected. In the tropics, cool, light and sun-smart is appropriate, comprising long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, walking shoes and water-friendly sandals like Tevas. In polar destinations, thermal underwear, beanies, fleeces and spray jackets and pants are de rigueur.

National Geographic Orion Inclusions

All gratuities ashore and onboard are included. On its Europe itineraries, cocktails are also complimentary, as is wine and beer with lunch and dinner. A selection of tours in each port, one almost always an active offering with bicycles or hiking, is included in the cruise fare.


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National Geographic Orion Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins5.04.7
Dining5.04.7
Entertainment5.04.3
Public Rooms5.04.8
Fitness Recreation5.04.2
Family4.0N/A
Enrichment4.04.7
Service5.05
Value For Money5.04.4

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More about Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion

Where does Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion sail from?

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion departs from Ushuaia, Santiago (Valparaiso), Valparaiso, Tahiti and Whittier

Where does Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion sail to?

How much does it cost to go on Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion?

Cruises on Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion start from null per person.

Awards and Recognition

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Orion Member Reviews

National Geographic Orion
Cprofct
Sail Date: Jan 2020
I researched every type of tour operator before deciding on National Geographic Orion.... Read More
National Geographic Orion
Davben58
Sail Date: Sep 2019
This was our 7th adventure cruise with Lindblad and the 4th on the Orion.... Read More
National Geographic Orion
2cruiseSue
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Our last day in Antarctic, the Orion turned around to follow a group of Orcas for over an hour. The entire naturalist staff was exceptional.... Read More
National Geographic Orion
joan1931
Sail Date: May 2018
The crew on the Orion is proud of its staff and well it should be. Always smiling, they freshened our cabin daily, served us with glorious food.... Read More

Lindblad Expeditions Fleet

National Geographic Sea Bird
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

17 reviews

Basic expedition-style cruising; carries naturalists and a photography expert; active and cultural excursions include hiking, snorkeling and museum visits; carries 62 passengers.

View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Bird Cruises
National Geographic Sea Lion
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

The 62-passenger ship spends its summers in Alaska and its winters in Costa Rica and Panama, getting up close and personal with wildlife.

Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises to Alaska Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises to the Mexican Riviera View All Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic Sea Lion Cruises
National Geographic Explorer
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Basic expedition-style cruising mostly in polar regions with ice-strengthened hull and underwater cameras; active excursions including hiking, kayaking and Zodiac sightseeing.

Jahan (Lindblad)

The 48-passenger, Colonial-style Jahan spends its time on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia; a National Geographic-Lindblad-certified photography instructor accompanies every sailing.

National Geographic Orion
5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Small, upscale expedition ship with hot tub and massage room; emphasis is on active excursions like biking, hiking and Zodiac trips; ice-strengthened hull for polar cruising.

National Geographic Quest
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic welcomed its first-ever new-build in June 2017. Quest is about a third larger than existing Lindblad ships.

National Geographic Venture

Larger than existing Lindblad ships, with an additional fourth deck, Lindblad’s new 100-passenger Venture accommodates families. Almost half the cabins will have balconies.

Panorama II (Lindblad)

Panorama II is an intimate two-masted sailing vessel designed for adventure. Lindblad Expeditions has chartered the ship from Variety Cruises to offer Cuba voyages.

National Geographic Endeavour II
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Expedition-style Galapagos Island cruising; carries nine Zodiacs (including one with glass bottom), kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel gear; has connecting cabins as well as solo rooms.

National Geographic Islander

A true expedition vessel, National Geographic Islander has been sailing in the Galapagos for more than a decade.

National Geographic Resolution

Lindblad Expeditions' second purpose-built polar vessel sets sail for the world's most remote regions in 2021.

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