As an expedition ship, Orion boast an expansive range of exploration equipment, including: zodiac landing craft, kayaks, snorkel gear for all guests and scuba gear for 24 guests, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), glass-bottom boat, hydrophone, underwater video cameras, Splash-Cam, video microscope, and crow's nest camera. These allow guests to discover the destinations visited in more depth and in unusual ways. (Please note: exploration tools available vary depending on the destination)
Whilst onboard, experts on destinations and naturalists are available to talk to and also give lectures on a wide range of topics associated with the destinations visited.
Taking place in the Lounge, Recap is when naturalists share stories and answer questions about the day’s events, and the expedition leader presents the plan for the following day—as guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Orion carries Zodiac landing craft—a full fleet—allowing the crew to get the entire expedition community out, engaged in activities quickly, comfortably, and safely. Widely regarded as the most robust watercraft available, they can run up on sandy shores and push through pack ice. While Zodiacs can carry 15 people, the crew usually limits capacity to 12 or less to ensure everyone has plenty of room, and an opportunity to get that perfect shot.
Orion is equipped with a fleet of kayaks. Prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of the guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch.
Undersea specialist will dive many days of your expedition, even in Antarctica, with almost 200 pounds of gear, to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colourful nudibranchs, swimming, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment.
Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. In polar waters, for example, the fleet's specialists may be the first ever to explore and record in vast areas. By sharing videos of potentially new species with scientists, such as a large worm one of the fleet's specialist captured in the Weddell Sea, Lindblad actively contribute to science. Chances are you, like many guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colourful undersea life is in these unlikely places. And this glimpse may fundamentally change how you view the ocean.
Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building blocks of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding images of a krill’s body, at 80x magnification, fills the plasma screens in the lounge with vivid detail, and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of an otherwise unobservable creature.
Perched high atop the vessel on the ship’s mast, this camera provides a continual view on the outside world that can be seen on your cabin TV. You’ll get a unique perspective on your surroundings.
The underwater microphones are deployed to listen to the vocalisations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback.
On warm weather itineraries where there will be snorkelling, you’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to are welcome to bring their own.
Orion offers scuba diving for up to 24 guests on warm weather itineraries where scuba diving is available. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to are welcome to bring their own. There is a surcharge for scuba diving which includes equipment and the services of a certified divemaster.
*Scuba diving requirements: Scuba divers must be certified by an internationally recognised dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage.