Melanesian Island Discovery« All Orion cruise options
|Dates||Deck + Cabin Type|
|Cat B - Oceanview Stateroom||Cat A - Oceanview Stateroom||Junior Suite||Deluxe Suite||French Balcony Suite||Owner|
|Deals, Discounts... Savings!|
|40%||All Departure Dates|
|These special offers are applicable only to new bookings. Discounts are subject to availability, so contact us for more details.|
A passenger booking with two additional adults saves 50% off the fare, children aged 2-15 with two adults save 75%.
Day 1 Port Vila, Vanuatu/ Embark Ship
Port Vila is the capital and largest town of the republic of Vanuatu, southwestern Pacific Ocean. Located on Mele Bay on the southwest coast of Éfaté, Vila is a port and the commercial centre of the island group. In the 19th century, French settlers established the municipality of Franceville, which declared independence in 1889 and became the first self-governing nation to practice universal suffrage without distinction of sex or race. Although the population at the time consisted of about 500 native islanders and less than 50 whites, only the latter were permitted to hold office. Although the town is French in appearance, the population is multinational, including British, French, Vanuatuans, and Vietnamese.
Day 2 Malukula
Malakula is the second largest island in the Vanuatu group, once known as The Cannibal Islands due to the fierce reputation of the predominant tribal groups known as the big and small Nambas. The island is also the most diverse, culturally and linguistically, with over thirty distinct languages spoken. Sandalwood does not grow on the island and so it attracted little interest from the ruthless sea traders of the 1800s, leaving the culture virtually intact and the inhabitants unscathed by the slaving and introduced Western diseases prevalent elsewhere in the South Pacific.
Day 3 Paradise Lagoon, Santo, Vanuatu
During WWII James A. Michener, then a lieutenant in the American Army was stationed in Santo along with 100,000 other army personnel. Such was the effect of this place on him that here he wrote the legendary Tales of the South Pacific. From Espiritu Santo, Michener would gaze across the sea to the volcanic island of Ambae, often with its summit shrouded in cloud and dream of "Bali Hai". Relics and reminders of the war remain everywhere today.
Orion will be anchoring in an area dubbed by the locals as “Paradise Lagoon” where you will land on a small island. The island forms a perfect backdrop for photo opportunities and gives Orion guests access to some great snorkelling locations.
Included Expeditions for guests include swimming, snorkelling and sea kayaking in the crystal clear South Pacific waters! You will also delight at the range of cultural performances arranged for your entertainment today.
Optional Shoreside Expeditions
SANTO – WWII HISTORY TOUR Duration: Half Day
Price: To be confirmed
RIRI RIRI RIVER CANOEING Duration: Half Day
Price: To be confirmed
SS COOLIDGE SCUBA DIVE Duration: Half Day
Price: To be confirmed
SANTO – FISHING TOUR Duration: Half Day
Price: To be confirmed
Day 4 At Sea
Day 5 Utupua Island, Solomons
Part of the volcanic Santa Cruz Island group, the remote and rarely visited Utupua has been described as a small Bora Bora with its lagoon and barrier reef surrounding the high island. Once ashore you'll find the island is densely forested, the island's 750 inhabitants cultivating lush vegetable gardens in the rich volcanic soil. Like several other islands in this region it’s considered a Polynesian outlier with the population made up of a mixture of Polynesian and Melanesian people.
The island's barrier reef offers great opportunities for snorkeling over brilliant coral formations teeming with fish. Today will be a true “expedition day” on this remote, seldom visited island as you never know what surprises the locals will have in store.
Today Orion guests can access the local village where the island’s inhabitants will engage you in their cultural activities and artefacts will be on display available for purchase. Communication with such a remote island is near impossible, and although attempted, it is not unusual to arrive at Utupua “unannounced” as such which adds to the excitement of the day. The island’s surrounding barrier reef of brilliant coral and crystal clear waters ensure a wonderful experience for swimming and snorkeling.
Day 6 Santa Ana Island, Solomons
Early this morning Orion will navigate through the picturesque channel separating Santa Ana and Santa Catalina Islands before dropping anchor on the west coast of Santa Ana just outside shallow Mary Bay. The islanders are well known for preserving ancient traditions so as we step ashore from the Zodiacs don't be surprised if we are greeted by songs and elaborately costumed dancers. The craft work from Santa Ana includes magnificently carved fishing floats, ceremonial black bowls inlaid with shells and intricate animal designs. In the afternoon, snorkel or dive the reefs to view clownfish, soldierfish, and brilliantly hued wrasses or join a guided walk across the island through a shady forest to the village of Nataghera with its Spirit Houses. Women are not permitted to enter these buildings as they contain the bones of chiefs laid in carved caskets taking the shape of fish or canoes.
Day 7 Ngella (Florida Islands)
After a few hours to see the megapodes on Savo, the ship will reposition across Iron Bottom Sound to Nggela Island, part of an area named by the early Spanish explorers as the Florida Islands. On the south Western shores of Nggela is Tulagi Harbour and Tulagi Island, the one-time British capital of the Solomons Protectorate and a significant Japanese base during WWII. Tulagi was the scene of some very heavy fighting after landings by US Marines. Our destination this afternoon is Roderick Bay inside Sandfly Passage. A stunning white sand beach with huge trees growing right down to the water’s edge with abundant marine life living in colourful coral reefs a few metres off shore in the crystal clear waters awaits us here. To add to the this stunning environment, nosed up onto the beach, listing heavily to its port side is the wreck of the World Discoverer, a cruise ship beached here in 2001 after an unfortunate mishap in the top half of Sandfly Passage (our vessel will not be entering into that area). Snorkel around the wreck, which now has large ferns growing where the spa pool was and fig trees spreading across the anchor deck. This place has to be seen to be believed. Paradise with its very own (permanent) cruise ship!
Day 8 Marovo Lagoon, Solomons
In the heart of the New Georgia Islands is a place James A. Michener once described as the eighth wonder of the world - Marovo Lagoon. The world's largest double barrier enclosed lagoon, this isolated spot in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands has been proposed for World Heritage listing. Marovo's isolation accounts for the outstanding diversity and richness of life here, both above and below the surface of the water. World famous for its intensive coral reef ecosystems, the waters teem with tropical fish and boast exceptional dive sites. This afternoon the expedition team will select a snorkelling site where even the inexperienced can explore the fringing reefs and huge coral bomboras. The only way to get around is by boat so embark on a visit to Chubikopi village for the opportunity to sit down with locals and learn something of village life. Most villages sit on stilts over the waters edge within the lagoon. Expert Marovo carvers are justifiably famous for the intricate pieces they create from king ebony with inlays of rosewood and mother-of-pearl.
Day 9 At Sea
Days 10-11 Rabaul, PNG/ Disembark Ship/ Return Home
The tropical port town of Rabaul has always been famous for its spectacular setting at the eastern end of the island of New Britain. Nestled on Simpson Harbour, the township is surrounded by six volcanoes providing a sensational backdrop for our visit. Musicians, drummers and traditional dancers heraldour arrival, providing a boisterous welcome. The Volcano Observatory affords panoramic views of the harbour but a helicopter flight is the ideal way to take in the scale of the 1994 eruptions that destroyed two-thirds of Rabaul. You'll fly over empty streets and what was the town's municipal swimming pool - now just an outline of blue ceramic tiles, the pool filled with ash. Rabaul was the focus of fierce battles during World War II and the steep coastal cliffs are riddled with tunnels filled with relics. Explore Admiral Yamamoto's bunker and touch the wreck of a Japanese Betty Bomber for intimate reminders of the Japanese presence. This evening join the expedition team on an encounter with the surreal Baining Fire Dancers whose elaborate costumes and trance-like dance will leave you with an unforgettable conclusion to your voyage.
Deposit & Payment
Initial deposit is 30%, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/fourways.php
Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.
Final payment by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or AmEx.
Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 100 days prior to departure.
Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.
|Days Prior to departure||Fee|
|121 days or more||$1200 per person|
|90-0 days||100% trip cost|
|90-0 days||100% trip cost|
- Ship Highlights
- Passengers : 106
- Luxury Expedition Ship
Technically and aesthetically, Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. The Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships guide describes her as "the latest in the quest to build the ideal expedition cruise ship". Constructed by the world-leading Cassens Shipyard in Emden, and launched in November 2003, she boasts a host of advanced design features including technology that sets new standards in sustainable marine environmental practices.
Although custom-made for expedition cruising, Orion is the epitome of elegance. No expense has been spared when it comes to the quality of fittings and furnishings, and the range and calibre of onboard recreational facilities are nothing short of five-star. Orion's luxurious appointments means she is more mega-yacht than cruise ship and her guests are few; around just 50 couples, all cared for in 5-star comfort by a crew of 75. Chart your own path less travelled.
Open daily when the ship is at sea, the Boutique offers a wide range of gifts ranging from signature clothing to the most beautiful pearls in the world from Paspaley. A limited supply of sundry items is available.
Orion has a glass elevator, centrally located in the atrium for ease of access. It services all stateroom decks and Deck 6, where you will find the Galaxy Observation Lounge and Cosmos Lecture Theatre.
Located on Deck 6 with sweeping ocean views, the gymnasium is equipped with the following LifeFitness equipment: a step machine, a treadmill, a cross trainer, 2 bicycles, free weights and exercise mats.
Hair and Beauty Salon
Our hair stylist is available by appointment, offering a range of services from a simple shampoo and blow dry to a complete make-over including manicure and pedicure.
Hospital & Infirmary
Orion has a doctor on board at all times and consultations should be arranged through the Reception Desk. A very limited range of pharmaceuticals is maintained on board so please be sure to pack sufficient quantities of medicines for your journey. Please note the Australian Medicare system does not extend to Orion and consultation fees will be charged to your stateroom account.
A laptop is available in the Library with internet connection. Internet access is also available in your stateroom using your own laptop. If your laptop is wireless enabled you may use it anywhere in the Galaxy Observation Lounge or the Leda Lounge. Two laptops are available for loan from the Reception Desk. Internet access cards can be purchased for A$30.00 (60 minutes) or A$50.00 (125 minutes). Communications at sea are subject to satellite connections.
A Jacuzzi spa is located on the Sun Deck, Deck 6. In warmer climes you'll find the spa affords a cool dip, doubling as a plunge pool.
Our state-of-the-art lecture theatre with surround-sound is the scene for themed presentations by our Expedition team and Guest Speakers. All guests are comfortably accommodated in arm-chair style seating.
Leda Lounge and Cocktail Bar
Centrally located on Deck 4, the Leda Lounge and Cocktail Bar is the hub of social life aboard Orion, comfortably seating all guests at once. Tour briefings are held here before dinner and a duo plays for your entertainment later in the evening.
Our library is well-stocked with a wide variety of informative books and journals on our destinations, and both novels and games are also available. You'll also find a laptop here for internet access.
You'll embark the Zodiacs from either the Stern Marina Platform (accessed by the rear stairs from the Outdoor Café) or the Portside Embarkation Platform (accessed via the Mud Room on Deck 2). Cruise staff will direct you to the platform in use each day.
Located on Deck 2, this is a "wet area" allowing you to wash down boots after returning to the ship, thereby minimising the risk of cross-contamination between pristine locations ashore, such as those found in Antarctica. You may also use this room to store your snorkel and flippers in designated lockers.
Located high atop Orion on Deck 6, the intimate Galaxy Observation Lounge affords stunning 270º views. Early Riser breakfast and Afternoon Tea are both served here.
The Delphinus Outdoor Café, located aft on Deck 4, offers al fresco dining for buffet breakfast and lunch. On balmy evenings you may book a table outdoors for dinner enjoying the same menu and service as presented in the restaurant.
Located high on the ship adjacent to the Sun Deck Jacuzzi spa on Deck 6.
Manned 24 hours a day, the Reception Desk is your 'first port of call' for all administrative matters.
The Constellation Restaurant offers guests a relaxed yet sophisticated environment for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dining aboard Orion is a leisurely experience with a single, open sitting allowing you to choose when and with whom you dine. Special signature menus designed for us by Sydney's Serge Danserau of 'The Bathers' Pavilion' fame complement our other alternatives.
Orion is equipped with a fleet of 10 inflatable 2-man kayaks and when in warmer waters you are welcome to borrow goggles, snorkels and fins for the duration of your stay with us.
You'll find padded teak steamer chairs on Deck 6 beside the Jacuzzi spa affording you a relaxing spot to read a book or simply doze in the sun. You'll find an ample supply of large blue beach towels close by.
Vega Health Spa
The Vega Spa offers a uni-sex dry sauna, the gymnasium is equipped with cardio vascular exercise machines and a range of massage/spa treatments are available.
Length: 103 metres
Beam: 14.25 metres
Draft: 3.82 metres
Hull: Ice-reinforced for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic
Ice Class: E3 (Germanischer Lloyd)
Gross Tonnage: 4,000
Engines: Mak; 8M25; 3,265HP
Speed: 12.5 knots
Stabilisers: Blohm & Voss, retractable fin stabilisers
Manoeuvrability: Bow and stern thrusters
Delivery Date: November 2003
Builder: Cassens Shipyard-Emden, Germany
Staterooms and Suites: 53
Guest Capacity: 106 (twin occupancy). 19 additional guests may be accommodated in convertible sofa or upper Pullman beds.
Classification: Germanischer Lloyd
100 A5 E3 Passenger Ship MC E3 AUT
Regulations: Orion is built according to the latest international safety regulations, including those of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health, Canadian Arctic Shipping, and St. Lawrence Seaway.
Additional Craft: 10 Zodiac Heavy Duty MK5, 10 Kayaks
Communications: Direct-dial satellite telephones; fax; e-mail; Internet access; internal telephone system
|Cat B - Oceanview Stateroom|
Outside Staterooms with oval window and sitting area. Deck 3. 175 sq. ft. #301, 322, 323.
|Cat A - Oceanview Stateroom|
Outside Staterooms with oval window and sitting area. Deck 3. 180 sq. ft. #302-312, 314-321.
Outside Junior Suites with rectangular window and sitting area. Decks 4 & 5. 218 sq. ft. #401-412, 414-419, 512.
Outside Suites with large window and living room. Deck 5. 230 sq. ft. #511, 515.
|French Balcony Suite|
Outside Suites with French balcony and living room. Deck 5. 230 sq. ft. #501, 503-506, 508.
Outside Grand Suites with French balcony, separate bedroom and living room. Deck 5. 345 sq. ft. #502, 507, 509, 510.