National Geographic Orion Inaugurated in New Zealand, Begins Maiden Voyage

The National Geographic Orion, the newest ship in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, was formally inaugurated in Auckland, New Zealand. It marked the culmination of a year-long transition from Orion Expedition Cruises to Lindblad Expeditions.

The inauguration ceremony was held alongside the dock at Queens Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand. Jeremy Lindblad, business development manager Australia for Lindblad Expeditions, captain Mike Taylor and diver and underwater filmmaking legend Valerie Taylor shared a few words from the bow of the ship, as guests watched with champagne in hand on the quayside.

Immediately following the ceremony, the 102-guest National Geographic Orion embarked on her inaugural voyage to the South Pacific following in the wake of Captain Cook from New Zealand’s North Island to the Solomon Sea. Valerie Taylor joined the expedition as the Global Perspectives guest speaker.

The newly renamed ship comes with a full roster of exploration tools, including kayaks, a state of the art remote operated vehicle (ROV) that reaches depths of up to nearly 1,000 feet, full snorkelling 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 other tools. The expanded expedition team now has a National Geographic photographer, a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, and a video chronicler on all departures; and undersea specialist/dive master on many voyages; plus Global Perspectives guest speakers on select voyages. 

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