Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will drop its iconic Kimberley and the South Pacific itineraries in favour of Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia from next year.
After more than a year since taking over the Orion ship, Lindblad Expeditions has made the strategic decision to re-route its 102-passenger vessel, National Geographic Orion to spend spring, summer and fall 2016 in Europe, instead of its traditional playground of Australia and the South Pacific.
From 2016, the vessel will explore Portugal, Spain, France, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, the Baltic and Scandinavia on 22 one-week voyages.
The change of itinerary was due to increasing requests from former guests to find new destinations outside of Australia.
”A vast majority of our past guests have been to the Kimberley and the South Pacific,” explained Jeremy Lindblad, business development director.
“A ship like National Geographic Orion depends heavily on past guess and past guests need new geographies – evident by the strength of Australian bookings for the other nine ships in our fleet.
“We are committed to providing past guests the most compelling opportunities available on the National Geographic Orion and have listened to their feedback for new destinations.’’
This will be the last year for passengers to book on expedition cruises to the Kimberley and the South Pacific.
National Geographic Orion runs 11-day expeditions to the Kimberley from Darwin to Broome during May, June, July and August and there are still “very limited’’ availability left, the company said.
For its European itineraries, the vessel will continue to offer its diverse expedition leaders on the region’s modern and ancient history, political science, art, viticulture and music. There will also be options for hiking, biking and kayaking. Each voyage will also have an experienced National Geographic photographer on board.
Dining options on the voyages will feature degustation menus by Australian chef Serge Dansereau of Sydney’s Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral Beach to reflect the flavours of the European region.