Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises is internationally recognised for a wide range of voyages, each designed to encourage guests to intimately connect with the region they are exploring. Expeditions that appeal to travellers who prefer to participate rather than spectate; those who seek the mental stimulation of new experiences, places and discovery, whilst enjoying the extensive facilities of their floating base camp, Orion. Orion is a purpose-built expedition vessel designed to access the inaccessible, equally capable and at home whether it be voyaging in equatorial climes or polar ice cap. Technically and aesthetically, Orion is arguably the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Constructed by the world-leading Cassens Shipyard in Emden, Germany, and launched in November 2003, she boasts a host of advanced design features including technology that sets the standard in sustainable marine environmental practices. Expedition Cruising is different to 'deckchair' cruising. Life onboard and ashore is inclusive, not exclusive, involving a regular interchange of information, thoughts and ideas between guests and expedition team. As befits an expedition, experiences are occasionally mentally and, optionally, physically challenging. Cultural experiences and interaction invariably uplifting, sometimes confronting. Always stimulating. Onboard Orion the ambiance is intimate and subtly elegant and the international-standard of service warm and unobtrusive. Unlike typical mainstream cruise ships, Orion's guests are few, merely 100, cared for by an attentive crew of 75, including an expedition team who will inform, assist and guide you through these adventures. As part of our commitment to offering guests an enriching experience, specialist onboard lecturers have been selected to join us on each voyage to share their knowledge and expertise on the regions we visit. Varying by voyage these may include marine biologists, naturalists, diplomats, artists, historians, photographers, explorers and scientists.