Cruisers with yen for the exotic can do so in high style.
U.S.-based Lindblad Expeditions has purchased Australia-based Orion Expeditions, known for its luxury service to remote destinations including Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Australia's Kimberly region. The Orion ship will join the Lindblad fleet in March 2014.
"Following two straight years of record revenues, it was the natural progression for company growth," Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, said in a release.
Award-winning Lindblad is known for its small-ship expeditions run in partnership with The National Geographic Society. Orion's single ship, the 102-passenger Orion, will take on The National Geographic brand. Itinerary details haven't yet been released, but a Lindblad spokesperson said the Borneo and Kimberly sailings will continue into 2014.
Cruises into the wild have become increasingly popular as active Baby Boomers seek more expansive vacations. In recent years, luxury line Silversea Cruises added an expedition-style ship, Silver Explorer, and recently announced that it will add a second ship this fall exclusively in the Galapagos, where Celebrity already operates the 90-passenger Celebrity Xpedition that is virtually sold out year round. Luxury line Seabourn has announced it will take a ship to Antarctica, as will Crystal Cruises. Several lines--including Azamara Club Cruises and SeaDream Yacht Club--are adding exotic ports including Komodo and Borneo to their itineraries; next year, Aqua Expeditions (currently a luxury option in the Amazon) will add a ship on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. Hurtigruten, which has long offered sailings to Greenland, is joined in the Arctic by a number of lines, including Compagnie du Ponant and Zegrahm.
For those who worry that they'll be out of touch, Quark Expeditions is introducing a new media twist: the first Floating Polar Film Festival, produced by Hot Docs, on a November sailing from Buenos Aires.
Jane Wooldridge is T+L's cruise editor.