Orion Expedition Cruises to end charter of second ship

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Orion Expedition Cruises will again operate as a one-ship company starting next November, when it plans to return the 100-passenger Orion II to its owners.

The cruise line, which also operates the 106-passenger Orion, is based in Sydney.

Orion began chartering the Orion II last June, after the ship received a $19 million renovation. The ship operates in Asia, including the Russian Far East, Inland Sea of Japan, Vietnam and China.

“We have not been satisfied with some performance aspects [of Orion II], such as the fuel efficiency of the vessel, and therefore have decided to return the ship at the completion of the first charter term,” said Sarina Bratton, founder and managing director of Orion Expedition Cruises.

The Orion II formerly operated as the Clelia II with Great Lakes Cruising of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Bratton said the Orion II will continue to operate its scheduled voyages until November.

“We do not anticipate having a replacement vessel in Asia during 2013,” she added.

The company’s remaining ship, Orion, will sail a series of Antarctic cruises in 2013, along with sailings throughout the South Pacific, including to Papua New Guinea and Borneo.

For cruise news and updates, follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.

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