Lindblad Expeditions Acquires Orion Expedition Cruises

NEW YORK, NY, March 5, 2013 ‐‐‐Lindblad Expeditions, the U.S.‐based small ship expedition company which partners with the National Geographic Society for expedition cruising, has announced that Orion Expedition Cruises will become part of Lindblad’s existing fleet starting with March 2014 itineraries, offering Orion past and future guests access to expeditions around the globe.

The Orion will become part of Lindblad’s existing fleet in March 2014, when it transitions to the National Geographic Orion, and will offer new itineraries designed to blend the interests of the U.S. and Australian markets with the incomparable experience of a Lindblad‐National Geographic expedition. The acquisition will increase passenger capacity for Lindblad Expeditions by 18%.

“Following two straight years of record revenues, it was the natural progression for company growth,” said Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to offer global expedition cruising to Australians and we intend to bring the full weight of our experience and that of National Geographic to the Orion organization and the ship.”

Lindblad Expeditions owns five ships: the National Geographic Explorerthe National Geographic Endeavour, the National Geographic Sea Bird, the National Geographic Sea Lion and the National Geographic Islander. In addition, Lindblad charters five ships – the Delfin II, the Lord of the Glens, the Oceanic Discoverer, the Jahan, and the Sea Cloud for seasonal expeditions.

Destinations include Arctic Svalbard, Antarctica, Alaska, Baja California, Central America, Galapagos, the Amazon, New Zealand, Africa, British Isles, Egypt, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific Northwest and South America.

Orion Expedition Cruises pioneered and defined five‐star small ship expedition cruising in the Australasian market. Launched in 2003, the 106 guest Orion has taken thousands of people to The Kimberley, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, Borneo and explored the far reaches of the Russian Far East, Japan and SE Asia.

Trey Byus, Lindblad’s Chief Expedition Officer, said “The geographies that Orion has explored in the past are well known to us through the decades. I am very much impressed with the knowledge of the Orion team as we develop compelling ideas for the future.”

Sarina Bratton, the founder of Orion, will leave the business on completion of her current contract on April 19. “The move is both amicable and timely,” she said. “I will welcome a break in which to travel and work on my golf handicap.”

Orion’s operations will continue to run out of the company's Sydney, Australia office. Additional details regarding U.S. sales, itineraries and onboard experiences will be released in the coming months.