Boarding Orion Expedition Cruises Orion II in Bali
Yesterday afternoon we departedSt. Regis Bali and headed for Benoa Cruise Port to board Orion II, Orion Expedition Cruises' newly christened expedition ship. We weren't sure what to expect of the Benoa Cruise Port. We knew it would be small with few facilities and that's exactly what it turned out to be.
The boarding process was super informal. Tracy Greiner, hotel manager, greeted us at the gangway and welcomed us on board. At the Reception desk on Deck 3, Jill took our photos and handed us our room keys and ID cards. Within two minutes, literally, we were in our suite. We're on Deck 5 and we've got a small balcony to enjoy when the mood strikes us. Luggage was delivered a few moments later and then we headed back down to the Main Lounge on Deck 3 to enjoy some champagne and light snacks (sandwiches, tarts, and brownies). Orion II's musician, Emilio Madrona, played piano throughout the welcome party.
The rest of the day went by in a flash... from the Sail Away Celebration on Deck 5 Aft to the mandatory life boat drill to an introduction to the crew and expedition team... it was time for dinner before we had much of a chance to explore Orion II.
Dinner is served during one sitting in the Restaurant on Deck 2 (and, occasionally, when weather permitting outdoors on Deck 5 Aft). Friday night's dinner was indoors and the menu consisted of beef carpaccio, seafood risotto, lamb shank (and a select of alternative main courses if you didn't go for the recommended degustation menu), and lemon panacotta for dessert.
Leonard and I still haven't acclimated to the time difference so we were very ready for bed after dinner!
Our first impressions of Orion II are good ones... lovely ship that really makes you feel like you're on a boat and not in some faceless resort at sea. The crew is friendly and knowledgeable and everyone truly seems enthusiastic about these new itineraries to Borneo. The passenger complement ranges from one family with children to several couples in their 40s/50s and the rest are retirees. So far we've met guests from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.
We've got great expectations for this adventure! Saturday is a sea day during which we'll hear more from our expedition team and guest lecturer Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas.
—Andrea M. Rotondo for Luxury Cruise Bible