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Orion Expedition Cruises
Orion Expedition Cruises was only founded in 2004, but has already won several industry awards. Running only one small but luxurious ship, and specialising in Australasia, the company keeps things simple and does them well.
Destinations vary with the seasons, the vast white expanses of Antarctica in summer, the jungles of Papua New Guinea in the autumn, Australia's fabled and remote Top End in winter and the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand in the spring.
With a guest capacity of little more than 100, and with a crew of 75, the boat is less a small cruise ship than a large yacht, cabins are beautifully-appointed and boast marble bathrooms. Elsewhere onboard, the atmosphere is one of quiet elegance. Facilities are comprehensive, and the dining menus are overseen by an award-winning Australian chef. There are regular talks on destinations by local experts.