Friday, 9 March 2012

Orion II dumped from 2013 program

Orion II is being sent back to its owner and dropped from 2013 sailing schedule
Source: Cruise Weekly

Orion Expedition Cruises’ troublesome second vessel will be returned to its owners in Nov – but a replacement is on the horizon.

RELEASING its 2013 Calendar of Sailings this week, Orion has revealed that it will not be renewing its lease of Orion II. Citing problems with the ship, the company’s managing director Sarina Bratton said: “We have not been satisfied with some performance aspects, such as the fuel efficiency of the vessel, and therefore have
decided to return the ship at the completion of the first charter term”.

Bratton said she hoped to make an announcement regarding another vessel “soon”, but it was unlikely to operate in 2013. “We have managed to accumulate a great deal of local knowledge and pioneered some remarkable remote destinations across Asia through investments in resource, time and money – this knowledge will see us return as soon as possible,” she said. “In the meantime it is very much business as usual.”

All scheduled 2012 Orion II voyages will go ahead, Bratton confirmed. “But we do not anticipate having a replacement vessel in Asia during 2013, so if planning to visit these destinations, then 2012 is the year to do this,” she said.

Orion II voyages for the balance of 2012 include expeditions to the Yangtze Delta (Kobe to Shanghai) and Shanghai to Tawau (Yangtze, Taiwan, Philippines), Java and the temples of Borobudur.

The original Orion will continue to offer voyages in 2013, in Antarctica, the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Borneo, New Zealand and the sub Antarctic Islands, with itineraries ranging from five to 20 nights.

There will be 15 opportunities for the 10-night Kimberley voyages (still to include a Bungle Bungle sightseeing flight for all clients), while other one-off expeditions are set to explore the Solomons and the Forgotten and Spice Islands of the Indonesian archipelago.

Prior to general release, the new inventory will be made exclusively to Orion’s past guests until 30 Mar 2012.

2013 pricing has increased by an average 3%, but advance purchase options are available, with savings of up to 40% off published prices.

Additional incentives are offered for back-to-back voyages, see www.orionexpeditions.com.