by Louise Goldsbury, Editor, Cruise Weekly
Orion Expedition Cruises is yet to debut Orion II in Asia, but plans are already underway for a third ship.
Australia's Orion Expeditions has had such success with the impending launch of its second ship that a third vessel is set to be added within the next three years.
Speaking exclusively to Cruise Weekly, Sarina Bratton, Orion’s founder and managing director, said: “The way things are going, I absolutely expect we will do.
“I have already had some discussions with ship owners and we normally have to work two to three years in advance,” she said.
A launch of Orion III in 2012 was “maybe a bit early, but maybe 2013”, Bratton revealed.
The proposed destinations for a third ship remain under wraps while the company pushes ahead with next year’s program on the new Orion II.
The brochure for 2011 cruises in the Russian Far East and Asia will be released in late April or early May.
Options include Kimberley expeditions with complimentary flights over the Bungle Bungles; three first-time Orion voyages – ‘West Papua and Maluku’, ‘Exploration of the Antipodes’ and ‘Antarctic Centenary’; Tasmanian food and wine cruises; Lord Howe Island and Aotearoa; Christmas in New Zealand’s fjordland and sub-Antarctic islands; Orion II’s cruises of the Inland Sea of Japan; the Russian Far East; a circumnavigation of Borneo; and eight voyages to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Meanwhile, a “smattering of space” is still available this year on the original five-star, 100-passenger Orion for cruises in Australia.
The most immediate opportunities are for ‘Wild PNG & Bismarck Archipelago’, departing 07 April; ‘Tropical Reefs & Culture’ on 28 April; ‘Art of Arnhem Land’ on 04 May; and several Kimberley cruises between May and September 2010.
“The way things are going, I absolutely expect we will do”
“We have got the most exciting destinations on offer in the Asia Pacific – whether you’re interested in the wilds of Borneo, the cultural aspects of Cambodia, Vietnam or Japan, the remote wilderness of PNG or our brilliant experience in the sub-Antarctic, we’ve got it covered,” Bratton said.
Details of all 2010 and 2011 voyages are available at www.orionexpeditions.com.