Orion Expedition Cruises, Australia's only international-standard, five-star expedition cruise line, is calling all experiential travelers to come onboard and explore the amazing land and seascapes of New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including world-famous Marlborough Sounds and the historic Akaroa, a landmark French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Orion’s only ship, the MV Orion, will depart February 3, 2010 on this 10-night “New Zealand Highlights” expedition sailing from Bluff, New Zealand, and voyage the natural and cultural wonders of the region before concluding in Auckland’s volcanic White Island.

Guests onboard Orion will experience the overwhelming grandeur of magnificent World Heritage-listed fjords, with spectacular glacial hanging valleys and plunging waterfalls, as the ship explores deep into Fjordland. From abundant wildlife on New Zealand’s southern island to extraordinary lush tropical rainforests, travelers will discover the natural beauty of Milford Sound and the spectacular Dusky and Doubtful Sounds.

This visually spectacular sailing will also visit Hawke’s Bay, famous for its wineries, orchards and artisan food producers, and elegant Napier features some of the most outstanding 1930s Art Deco architecture to be seen anywhere in the world. Guests will also enjoy the charm of Dunedin, settled by Maoris more than four centuries ago, and a visit to the world's most southern capital, Wellington, the only capital in the "Roaring Forties" latitudes.

Overall, Orion Expedition Cruises’ “New Zealand Highlights” features beautiful bays, remnant and active volcanoes, exquisite wine country, calm harbors, wildlife and the scenic grandeur of exquisite National Parks and fjords all wrapped up in the five-star comfort and service of the Orion and her intimate crew of 75. The exclusive expedition cruise line offers the best that these much sought-after destinations have to offer.

“New Zealand Highlights” fares begin from AUD $8,175 per person (approx. US $7,089) for an ocean view category B stateroom; Junior Suites from AUD $11,280 per person (approx. US $9,795) and spacious Owners’ Suites with French balcony are AUD $17,125 per person (approx. US $14,876).