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Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I've been to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic peninsula 3 times. Now, I want to go to the Ross Sea side but find only 2 ships that go there, the Orion and the Enderby. The Orion seems a bit stuffy, yet the Enderby seems a bit slow, old and spartan. Anyone been on both?

I prefer an in-depth voyage. Orion's is 20 days and cruises at 15 knots per/hr. The Enderby's is 30 days, but cruises at only 10 knots per hour. Any advice?

22 replies to this topic
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,372
reviews: 27
1. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I know two people who have been on both and many others who have been on the orion.

All reports re the Orion are super positive. Those that sailed on enderby said never ever again - re the ship and re the team. They lodged complaints re poor safety practices and food that was worse than road kill. They had massive issues with the expedition leaders.

If I can find the links I will post them. There were quite a few news articles about their trips.

kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
2. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Wow. Thanks for the info. That is amazing. Two lovely folks from Sydney were on the Enderby in 2010 and loved it. They were on the Ortelius with me two months ago and said food on Enderby was far superior. They loved everything about the Enderby, but I am also aware that location can over-ride negatives, as can attitude and expectations. I have heard wacky stories about Enderby's expedition leaders, but stories grow wildly. I am curious about Orion's expedition team and landings. Are they serious about getting passengers ashore even when conditions are not ideal? Are they serious about asking passengers to "dress" for dinner? (I worry Thurston Howell III and Lovie will populate the ship.) It would be great to hear from people who have been on both. Thank you ever so much for your response. I will keep checking TripAdvisor to see if new info pops up.

Edited: 1:45 pm, March 21, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,372
reviews: 27
3. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

We had a mix of Thurstons and Lovies on my trip - but far many more t shirts and sweats !!

No ship or company is going to force me to "dress" for dinner on an expedition.

It does look like some of the newer ships are trying to move away from true expedition and move into posher furnishings and dressing. To be honest - my suitcase is packed enough without trying to cram in posh clothes !!!!

Re the landings. I have two trips under my belt and you have a few already too so I am sure you would agree that no expedition leader worth his salt (nor any captain) is going to get people ashore "no matter what the conditions". It's just too dangerous. And having personally been in a situation where our EL had to make a decision about half of us having to stay on an island overnight - possibly longer if the storm continued - and deciding to get us back to the ship in conditions that his whole team deemed the scariest in 20 years !! Well I for one understand why those ever changing conditions can mean a couple of missed shore landings !!

I can look back now and think of it as amazing - but I was one of many curled up in a terrified huddled ball in the bottom of the zodiac for 30min as 6foot waves crashed over us.

Of course when telling the story I sound "much" braver hehe !!!

I can't find that article - it must have been in my favourites on my previous computer. If you do a google news search it was either an Aussie or NZ newspaper. Titled something imaginative like trip to hell !!

Several people on my most recent trip were veterans of 20 or more trips down there and enderby was on their no go list. It definitely put me off.

Ps are you also posting the query on cruise critic ? I am sure I have seen posters there who have been on the Orion.

Edited: 8:43 am, March 22, 2012
kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
4. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I have not posted on Cruise Critic, but will. Thanks for your suggestion. I understand perfectly regarding safety issues. And I agree. Nothing is worth your life. Pardon me, but I am confused. Did you sail on the Orion? Thanks! SpottyPotamous

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,372
reviews: 27
5. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

No I have had two months on the Khlebnikov. But quite a few coworkers and friends have been on the Orion over the past 3 years and all have returned with nothing but positives. Actually I would have to say its one of the rare ones that I have never heard a bad report about. If I wasn't so in lust with icebreakers it would be next on my list.

kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
6. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Thank you. I wish I had discovered Antarctica earlier than I did, and I, too, would be a Klebnikov devotee.

Are you going to give the Ortelius a whirl?

S.P.

Queenstown
posts: 92
reviews: 1
7. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

It pains me to read 'reviews' from people who haven't been on a vessel themselves. Let's stick with what we know rather than hearsay.

Anyway - interesting to note the Orion has been bought by Linblad Expeditions - watch this space to see what happens with its destination list! Exciting times!

kanab, utah
posts: 32
reviews: 6
8. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Hi, PerfectlyPerth, So, I chose the Orion and it was a terrible, expensive mistake. The EL was "past his expiration date" as quipped by one Kiwi who was also disappointed in our voyage. The ship is gorgeous, food divine, ship-staff, superb. The EL was a lazy loser, sad to say. The voyage was 21 days. We spent three hours at Macquarie Island, then headed for the Ross Sea, where we were allowed 15 minutes inside Scott's hut. Then, we spent ELEVEN days in a row without getting off the ship, finally stopping at Campbell Island on the last day. In all we made only 3, that is correct, three, landings in 21 days. Orion's management dismissed my complaints, perhaps because the sale to Lindblad is a done-deal. The EL likely didn't put forth much effort because he knew this gig was soon over. They all cut-bait and disappeared. My cabin, (cheapest one) cost $22,400 for each person, and I got a fancy dinner cruise-ship. Lame. Next season, I will go on the Ortelius, where the food is bad, but the EL is a rock-star. My friend plans to stick with Linblad, where she has had many excellent journeys. I say shame on Orion. They just don't care. Good thing they are getting out of the business.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,372
reviews: 27
9. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

Shame to hear that Spotty.

Friend just returned from her 4th trip on Orion (she was on the one right before the one that got diverted to rescue the french sailor) and was once again thrilled to bits with the entire trip and the ship and is already making plans for the 5th trip next year. I also know a friend I met on my last trip was on the rescue trip.

Re the "15 minutes in Scotts hut" - perhaps you are not aware that is normal. All the expeditions have to set a time frame for their time ashore and divide that by passengers.

From memory for Mawsons Hut we had 5 persons at a time for 6 minutes. This allowed everyone time inside with a small group who could stay out of each others way.

Landings: Some people have been on trips that have resulted in no landings whatsoever. Sad but unavoidable when the weather is the king.

Not sure if you had the same EL as my friend did (I dont know if Orion has one or a few ?). She had the same man who had performed the rescue. She spoke highly of him and the group that returned after the big rescue trip have all praised his performance.

Nice to hear you say "next season" tho - as the bug has bitten you and you will indeed find many other ways to return and enjoy the great white continent.

I will be curiously watching reviews after the takeover as I had them on my list for a Ross Sea trip but it sounds like this wont be on new itineraries which is sad.

Auckland Region...
posts: 1
10. Re: Which Ross Sea ship, the Orion or Spirit of Enderby?

I have not long returned from the Ross Sea on "Spirit"

Food was better than expected.

EL made every effort to get us ashore at every opportunity without being reckless.

There is always an element of risk at high latitudes on a small ship in a big scape.

Will be back on board heading south before the year is out.

Very good for what is after all an expedition

Edited: 8:39 pm, April 26, 2013
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