Much-loved with Australian cruisers, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Orion, is setting sail for Europe, with the company recently announcing its inaugural 2016 European program commencing April next year.

After many successful seasons sailing across the seas of Indonesia, the South Pacific and Australia, the National Geographic Orion will embark on its maiden voyage of Portugal, Spain, France, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, the Baltic Republics and Scandinavia with 11 one-week itineraries and 22 sailings.

“National Geographic Orion holds many fond memories among Australian travellers, some of whom have travelled aboard the ship on repeat seasons,” said Jeremy Lindblad, business development director for Australia.

“Each itinerary will be highly curated to provide travellers with a more enriching and authentic European holiday, taking them beyond the usual tourist experience as led by experts in ancient and modern history, political science, art, viniculture, photography and music,” he said.

Itineraries remain true to National Geographic’s adventurous character, with experiences such as ‘Wild and Windswept: Exploring the Coasts of England and Wales’, where passengers can join a local astronomer from the Astronomical Society for a night of stargazing on the island of Sark; or ‘Norway and Scotland: Fjordlands to the Inner Hebrides’, where they have the chance to dive historic wrecks.

Guests have the option to ‘hop on-hop off’ and those that book more than one voyage will receive a savings of 10% off each trip.

They can take two or more back-to-back, or enjoy one journey, disembark and then rejoin Orion for a journey in a different region.

Authentic food experiences form an integral part of the 2016 program, with cuisines influenced by the flavours of each region, such as the ‘Culture and Cuisine’ voyage from Oporto to Basque Country, where guests can spend the day discovering Galicia, collect mussels with local fisherman and listen to traditional music. On the ‘London to Copenhagen’ voyage, they can work alongside local artisans to make Belgian chocolates in Brugge and sculpt marzipan in Lubeck.

Degustation and fine dining menus on board will be prepared by international chef, Serge Dansereau – principal of Sydney’s The Bathers’ Pavilion.

The first European deployment commences with the ‘Portugal and Spain: From the Algarve to Catalonia’ expedition departing 24 April 2016, and concludes with ‘Culture and Cuisine’ from Oporto to Basque Country departing 18 September 2016. Prices for all voyages start from $9,990 per person, which includes bar tab and staff gratuities.

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