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Monday, November 22, 2010

Kimberley Quest II - Winners at the WA Tourism Awards

Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises were announced winners in the category of Ecotourism and silver medallists in Tour & Transport Operators at the Western Australian Tourism Awards on Saturday night.

Highly regarded within the tourism industry as prestigious awards, owners Jeff and Lynne Ralston are very excited of the great achievement and acknowledge the work of the entire team.

The win sees Pearl Sea Coastal Cruises automatically entered in to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in March 2011.

We are very proud of our achievement and thank you all for your support.

P 1300 156 035
F +61 (0) 8 9193 6303

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Behind Orion's Expeditions to Borneo

As you would imagine a great deal of time and effort goes into the preparation of Orion expeditions, whether to the Antarctic, PNG, Kimberley, or, in this instance for Orion II's 2011 four different itineraries that circumnavigate Borneo.

While some MD's can reel off seat pitch and others their wine list of preference for various airlines, the immigration stamps in Sarina Bratton's battered passport hint at adventures behind business trips of a different nature, to places where frequent flyer points are unheard of.

Behind Orion's expeditions to Borneo

In preparation for inaugural visits in 2011 by the expedition cruise ship Orion II, Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, recently returned from a scouting expedition to Borneo. Accompanied by Expedition Leader Mick Fogg, Sarina spent days trekking, researching and exploring parts of Borneo to finalise bespoke shore activities that Orion's guests will experience in August and September next year.

 "This visit to Borneo exceeded all my expectations on every level" enthused Sarina. "The wildlife is quite simply amazing – orangutans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys are just the beginning. Unfortunately much of the natural habitat has been impacted by logging, plantations, even poaching, so part of the reason behind my visit was to open discussions with a number of wildlife rehabilitation organizations at Camp Leakey, Samboja Lestari and Sepilok to see how we can meaningfully assist with rehabilitating orangutans and other endangered wildlife".

"Beyond the wildlife experiences and National Parks we will visit, our guests will also have the chance to stay overnight in a rainforest lodge retreat, snorkel with manta rays, scuba dive, see historically important World War II sites at Labuan and Sandakan and enjoy cultural interaction with the wonderful, gentle, locals with their longhouses and ancient traditions".

"I am very excited to be able to take Orion's guests there in a responsible, controlled manner, to help contribute to the local tourism industry in a sustainable way".

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Kimberley Cruise - 6-day Captain's Quest

We have put our Captain's knowledge and experience to the test and ask them to create their ideal itinerary along the Kimberley coast. Joining forces they have come up with an expedition that covers the places they love to explore and rarely have the opportunity to visit.

We are therefore very excited to announce this completely new six day expedition which delves into the hidden areas that highlight our Captains' love of the Kimberley. Exploring the area of coast between the Hunter River and Mitchell River which both seven day southern and northern cruises never encounter, this is your opportunity to share in the excitement and revel in new discoveries.

6 Day Captains' Quest 2011

25 September - 30 September
30 September - 5 October

Copies of the new itineraries are attached, otherwise please visit

Alternatively email or phone 1300 156 035 for more details.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Orion named Best Responsible Cruise Operator at World Travel Market

Orion Expedition Cruises, the leading operator of five-star expedition cruising in the Australasian region, has been named Best Responsible Cruise Operator at the internationally acclaimed 2010 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards which took place as part of World Travel Market in London on Wednesday 10th November (World Responsible Tourism Day).

Thousands of tourism organisations and travel experiences were nominated by the public in just 13 categories with the central tenet being that all types of tourism – from niche to mainstream – can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people. These prestigious awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

Commenting on Orion Expedition Cruises' award, the judges said: "Orion Expedition Cruises is the only cruise company with Earthcheck certification, and shows a real commitment to the communities it visits. By acknowledging that authenticity can only be realised for their guests by working in partnership with communities, they conduct community research ahead of establishing new ports of call - helping protect cultural heritage and environment while offering real benefits to the places they visit. They have influenced suppliers to make positive changes like moving from plastic containers to cardboard and aluminium bottles over plastic. Cruise is a growth area and this small operator is one to watch."

Commenting on the award, Sarina Bratton, Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, said: "The destinations visited by Orion have some of the most pristine and sensitive wilderness areas on our planet, with little or no infrastructure to support visits by hundreds of people at one time. Understanding this, we have a social responsibility to develop a marine tourism blueprint that is sustainable, one that is at the forefront of eco-sensitivity and a benchmark for internationally recognisable and environmentally sound operating practices. For Orion, sustainability is more than a fashion, a trend or a compelling need. Sustainability is a core component of our company's originating vision and values. To explore "a path less travelled" requires a gentle step. To work with the challenges and opportunities these environments offer is the starting point of every journey."

Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises has developed voyages to encourage guests to become a part of the region they are discovering. It is a unique product that appeals to both local and international travellers alike: people who seek the mental stimulation of new experiences, places and discovery, whilst enjoying the comfort of luxurious surroundings.

Orion Expedition Cruises operates the 106-passenger expedition vessel Orion in the Kimberley region of Australia, the East Coast of Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Sub Antarctic Islands, Melanesia, the Spice and Forgotten Islands and Antarctica.

In May 2011, Orion Expedition Cruises will increase the size of its fleet with the addition of a second specialist expedition cruise ship, Orion II. Based on thorough research, and following the success of Orion's recent voyages, Orion II will be based in South East Asia offering a wide range of expeditions that will include Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Borneo, the Inland Sea of Japan and the Russian Far East.

For further information or reservations call 1300 361 012 or visit