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National Geographic Explorer versus Orion

Pinehurst, North...
1 post
National Geographic Explorer versus Orion

We plan on taking a trip to Antarctica late next year with National Geographic to celebrate my father's 70th birthday (we'll have three generations, my eldest son, my father, and I on the trip).

What I am trying to determine is whether to book the trip next december on the Explorer or the Orion, and would appreciate any thoughts anyone might have on which of the two ships we should travel on. I'm guessing this is one of those "you can't go wrong" situations, but if any member of the trip advisor community has traveled on both (or just on one for that matter) and has an opinion on the two ships we would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

Thank you for your time and insights.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
17,044 posts
30 reviews
1. Re: National Geographic Explorer versus Orion

I Have friends who have done the Aus side of Antarctica with Orion along with many of its pacific and Northern Aus itinerary sand another did their Russian trip earlier this year.

It's Easter Island trip is on my 3 year plan.

It has an extremely good reputation in Aus and the partnership with NG has allowed it to fit the ship out with pretty speccy technology.

Level Contributor
290 posts
34 reviews
2. Re: National Geographic Explorer versus Orion

I traveled on the Explorer earlier this year, but have no experience on Orion, though Lindblad were heavily marketing the ship to us at the end of our cruise so I heard a bit about it. Assuming the facilities are the same, all other things on the trip being equal, and you find a suitable time for your cruise, knowing what I know now, I would take the Orion as it has less passengers that Explorer.

Another point worth checking out is how fast the ship sails, Explorer got across the faster than other ships which meant we got an extra day in Antarctica, and what is the ice rating, a higher rating meaning you may be able to crush through ice, park the ship in the ice and walk on the ice (unfortunately we didn't do that, by others on this forum have). Also depending on how agile your father is, look at the zodiac boarding area, Explorer was very easy to board, while I have seen photos of other ships which involve a lot more stairs, which maybe more difficult if someone has mobility challenges. But honestly, Lindblad really do run a quality operation, and are so proud of the capability of their vessels, so I would be surprised if they bought a ship that was not to at least the standard of the Explorer, if not higher.

What a great trip, 3 generations, you will have a great time no matter what ship you choose!

3. Re: National Geographic Explorer versus Orion

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