Orient Lines has been flooded with calls since its 2009 Europe schedule and new vessel Marco Polo II were announced last week by Wayne Heller, the line’s president and CEO. Cruise Web sites and blogs have also been buzzing with chatter.

“It is very gratifying that there is so much excitement for our 2009 Europe itineraries,” said Heller. “Our loyal past guests, former employees and travel agents and tour operators from around the world have contacted us anxious to learn more aboard our new Marco Polo II.”

Orient Lines will officially begin accepting reservations on Monday, Sept. 8. The line started taking bookings today – a soft opening – to ensure all computer and phone systems are functioning properly. The line’s Web site www.orientlines.com is also up and running, effective today.

Exciting Europe itineraries from 11 to 37 days are priced from just $2,399 per person, double occupancy. New for 2009 is free air from 20 North American gateway cities, two-for-one fares and a free shore excursion in selected ports – a first for the cruise line.

Itinerary highlights for 2009 include Baltic cruise-tours that include a hotel stay in Berlin, plus visits to such lesser-known destinations as Villagarcia and Bilbao, Spain; Bordeaux and Hornfleur, France; Murmansk, Russia; Sarande, Albania; and Barrow-in-Furness, England.

Orient Lines reservations office is open seven days a week. Travel agents can call toll-free 800-333-7300 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.