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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Discovering the Remote Islands of Indonesia - Page 7

Written by Roger Marks
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Luxury Boutique Expedition Ship


The National Geographic Orion was a state-of-the-art expedition ship. There were 75 passengers on the ship and approximately the same number of crew. The ship can accommodate 102 guests in 53 cabins, each with oversized picture windows facing the ocean, ensuite bathrooms, internet access (for an additional fee) and a flat-screen TV where one could watch the presentations/lectures from the comfort of one’s cabin (although in most cases we preferred to attend the live lectures) as well as documentaries related to Indonesia. Public areas include an outdoor café and bar for dining in the balmy air or under the stars, an indoor lounge and bar, a sundeck, a state-of-the-art lecture theater, a library, a boutique shop, a fitness and sauna room, spa treatment rooms and a small hot tub/plunge pool, and a centrally located elevator. The ship is outfitted for both snorkelers and divers with snorkeling gear for all guests and dive gear for up to 24 guests. It carries 24 kayaks and a fleet of 14 Zodiac motorized landing craft. It also carried a glass-bottom boat.


The cabins were situated on 3 floors with cabins on the top floors having, in some cases, balconies, and a separate bedroom and living room. Our cabin was located on the lowest level. All of the cabins had king size beds, beautiful wood trim and plenty of drawers and closets to stow one’s travel gear. Bathrooms had a roomy glass-walled shower stall and were stocked with bath products and robes. A personal safe, hairdryer and mini-refrigerator were also in each room. The house-keeping service was very good and we always were able to get extra towels or soap when needed. Included in the price of the trip were all shore excursions, use of snorkeling equipment, meals and soft beverages. Alcoholic beverages, gratuities, spa treatments, scuba diving excursions, internet and phone, and laundry were not included. The cost of our expedition (with one of the least expensive cabins) was $16,620/person. This does not include airfare, travel insurance, any alcoholic beverages on board as well as tips to the ship staff.


Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style. Breakfasts included a selection of fruit and yogurts, freshly baked breads and pastries, omelets to order and many other items. Lunch included several cold and hot dishes as well as a homemade pasta dish each day, and a dessert buffet. With a few exceptions, dinner was served based on selections off of a menu. The dinners were truly superb with several evenings featuring a theme such as an Aussie barbeque, a seafood buffet and grill, and a lavish Indonesian buffet (with cold and hot selections, as well as several entrees from the barbeque and a chef’s carving station which included a whole roasted suckling pig). There was also a very fancy degustation menu one night. Dinners from the menu typically included an appetizer, a soup, salad and a choice of a choice of two entrees, and a choice of several desserts including assorted chocolates & French pastries, a fresh fruit platter, a bowl of ice cream or sorbet and a selection of cheeses. Periodically I would indulge in more than one dessert. After a full day exploring and/or snorkeling, we always looked forward to the gourmet dinners. Breakfast and lunch were generally served outside with dinner served in the dining room—with the exception of a few of the buffets served on the open deck. Every day there was also high tea in the late afternoon which included cookies, cakes and pastries. Most of the time we were either on island excursions or snorkeling in the water and therefore skipped high tea—just as well given 3 full meals a day. Dress for dinner was informal. There was open seating, allowing one to choose where to dine and table sizes ranged from two to twelve persons.

(Page 7 of 7)
Last modified on Friday, 02 September 2016

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