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Experience The National Geographic Orion's Undersea Program With New Enhancements

29 May 2014: Expedition travellers are encouraged to book now to ensure a place onboard the National Geographic Orion for the 2014/15 season, with new exploration tools added that will provide the best experience yet for guests.

Images have now been released that highlight the underwater experience on offer. This comes after the newly named National Geographic Orion was upgraded with a range of new exploration tools in March 2014, including kayaks, a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that reaches depths of up to 300 metres, full snorkeling gear for all, a SCUBA program that can accommodate up to 24 divers at a time with a dive master*, a glass bottom boat, additional Zodiacs and more.

There is also an expanded expedition team to accompany the new tools, including a National Geographic photographer, Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors and a video chronicler on all departures; an undersea specialist/dive master on many voyages, plus guests speakers that are part of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ‘Global Perspectives’ program on select voyages.

Jeremy Lindblad, Business Development Director - Australia for Lindblad Expeditions, says: “The photos from the inaugural expeditions highlight the range of equipment on offer that allows guests to explore the undersea like never before. There really is no better time to discover the underwater world - the destinations we travel to are home to some of the best marine life on the planet.”

The following is a snapshot of Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages in 2014/2015 that include a focus on underwater exploration. Rates are per person, in Australian dollars based on a double occupancy in a category one cabin:

Kimberley with Spice

This expedition includes the landscapes of the Kimberley along with the remote island villages of Indonesia. Guests can experience four dive locations, including the pristine and remote marine area of Rowley Shoals. The 15-day voyage begins 10 August 2014 and 16 August 2015 with rates from $11,155, departing Broome, Western Australia and disembarking in Bali, Indonesia.

Spice Island Adventure

Guests will set sail from idyllic Bali to explore a range of tropical islands off the Indonesian coast. Activities include swimming, snorkelling and diving at reefs, isolated atolls, and ivory beaches. The 17-day voyage begins 20 October 2014 with rates from $15,540, departing Bali, Indonesia and disembarking in Cairns, Australia.

Exploring the Coral Sea: Papua New Guinea to Fiji

This voyage combines the white-sand beaches that saw some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific Theatre during World War II with reefs, shipwrecks and discarded armaments now covered in coral. Guests can snorkel or dive the lagoons of Papua New Guinea’s Louisiade Archipelago. The 14-day voyage begins 5 November 2014 with rates from $12,550, departing Cairns, Australia and disembarking Lautoka, Fiji.

Reefs, Lagoons and Volcanic Isles: Fiji to Tahiti

This is a journey through the archipelagos of the South Pacific that defines island paradise, with the chance to dive or snorkel amongst underwater canyons and tunnels formed from lava, and explore the reefs of Kiribati that were chosen as part of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project. The 18-day voyage begins 18 November 2014, departing Lautoka Fiji and disembarking in Papeete, Tahiti,with rates beginning at $18,420

Legends of the South Pacific: Tahiti to Easter Island

The tropical seas along this route have seen a range of explorers and cultures pass through over the years. Guests can dive or snorkel the incredible reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the Pitcairn Islands, one of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas preservation areas. The 19-day voyage begins 3 December 2014, departing Papeete, Tahiti and disembarking on Easter Island, with rates beginning at $17,410.

Treasures of the Indian Ocean: Zanzibar and the Seychelles

This trip provides an opportunity to see tropical nature at its best in almost every location. Guests will be able to spend two days at Aldabra, an atoll with a variety of sea life, and see the unique coco-de-mer on Praslin Island. The 13-day voyage begins 9 April 2015 departing Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and disembarking in Victoria, Mahe; and 22 October 2015 departing Mahe and disembarking in Dar es Salaam.  Rates begin at $14,770.

Indian Ocean Odyssey: Seychelles, Maldives and Sri Lanka

On this voyage guests will explore the middle of the Indian Ocean – home to tiny tropical islands with pristine ecosystems. Here they can snorkel with more than a thousand types of fish species including manta rays and whale sharks, and search for blue whales near the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The 19-day voyage begins 20 April 2015 with rates from $22,140, departing Mahé, Seychelles and disembarking in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Wild Islands of Sri Lanka, Borneo, and the Andaman Sea

Guests can search for leopards or elephants on game drives and see bird and primate species on this voyage full of rare opportunities. There is the chance to dive and snorkel the vast coral reefs of Indonesia. The 20-day voyage begins 6 May 2015 with rates from $23,380, departing Colombo, Sri Lanka and disembarking in Denpasar, Bali.

Wildlife & Cultures of South Africa, Mozambique, and Madagascar

One of the more diverse expeditions, this voyage spans five countries and a range of habitats. Guests will have the opportunity to dive and snorkel with the enormous whale sharks of Mozambique. The 21-day voyage begins 21 March and 3 November 2015 with rates from $28,820, departing Cape Town, South Africa and disembarking Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins. The interior is spacious and offers a range of modern public rooms with panoramic views. Her public rooms include a window-lined main lounge and library, as well as an observation lounge at the very top of the ship. In addition, a dedicated theatre provides a unique setting for specialist presentations, films or slideshows.

The dining on board includes degustation menus by one of Australia’s renowned international chefs, Serge Dansereau, principal of Sydney’s The Bathers’ Pavilion. Dining is an integral part of the expedition experience, with influences and flavours that reflect the regions being explored.

Designed and purpose built in Germany in 2003 specifically for expedition travel, National Geographic Orion was created from the outset to explore the far corners of the Earth in self-sufficiency.

The National Geographic Orion’s enhancements mirror the rest of the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, which includes six National Geographic branded small ships and four seasonal charters that travel to all seven continents.

To obtain additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic or to book, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1300 361 012 or see your travel agent.

* Editor’s note:

Guests scuba diving onboard must be certified by an internationally recognized dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage.

About Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

Lindblad-Expeditions announced the acquisition of Orion Expedition Cruises in 2013. The inaugural voyages of the National Geographic Orion, formerly the Orion, took place in March 2014.

Lindblad Expeditions‐National Geographic, pioneers in expedition travel, offers voyages in the Galápagos, Antarctica, the Arctic, Baja California, Alaska, Costa Rica, Panama, the Amazon, Asia & Pacific, Africa, Europe and beyond. They work in alliance to inspire travellers to explore and care about the planet. Their collaboration in exploration, research, technology and conservation provides extraordinary travel experiences and disseminates geographic knowledge around the globe. 

For more information contact Ellie Swift at ellie@klick.com.au or 02 8353 7118