Many, including this writer, believed that the NG Orion would be committed to Southern Hemisphere itineraries including the Kimberley, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.
Lindblad Expeditions has issued the following statement:
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced that following the Antarctic season in early 2016, the National Geographic Orion will set course for Europe where she will spend spring, summer and fall on a highly curated series of 22 one-week voyages.
The voyages will provide a unique take on a familiar geography, with innovative itineraries that will explore Portugal, Spain, France, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, the Baltic Republics and Scandinavia.
"A vast majority of our past guests have been to the Kimberley and the South Pacific. A ship like National Geographic Orion depends heavily on past guests, and past guests need new geographies - evident by the strength of Australian bookings for the other nine ships in our fleet. We are committed to providing past guests the most compelling opportunities available on the National Geographic Orion, and have listened to their feedback for new destinations," stated Jeremy Lindblad, Business Development Director for Australia.
The voyages will be led by an extraordinary team with a diverse scope of expertise about the countries being explored covering ancient and modern history, political science, art, viniculture and music, as well as leading active options such as hiking, biking and kayaking. Special speakers will be drawn from the top tiers of journalism, science, and world affairs to add relevant insights as part of the 'Global Perspectives Speakers' program, and each voyage will feature a National Geographic photographer. The itineraries have been designed to afford guests the option to take consecutive voyages to discover a range of destinations.
On board dining will continue to be an integral part of the experience and will feature degustation menus by one of Australia's renowned international chefs, Serge Dansereau, principal of Sydney's The Bathers' Pavilion. The cuisine will be influenced with the flavours of the region.
The 102-guest National Geographic Orion's size and level of comfort will be highly appealing for European travel. The interior is spacious and offers a range of modern public rooms with panoramic views. Her public rooms include a window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library at the top of the ship. In addition, a dedicated theatre provides a unique setting for specialist presentations, films or slideshows.