Orion Expedition Cruises announced its 2013 deployment for just one ship, its 100-passenger Orion, notably absent is the Orion II, which the company is returning to its owners at the end of 2012 despite what they once said was a “long-term charter.”

Absent from the 2013 sailings are itineraries for Orion II, which will be returned to its owners mid November 2012 and will no longer be used by the company for expeditions beyond that date.

Sarina Bratton, Founder & Managing Director commented “we have not been satisfied with some performance aspects such as the fuel efficiency of the vessel and therefore have decided to return the ship at the completion of the first charter term.

“Small things make the difference and set Orion apart. I’m pleased to say that our hotel services, crew, food and expedition experiences have been rated exceptionally highly by our guests.

“Looking forward, I hope to make an announcement regarding another vessel soon. We have managed to accumulate a great deal of local knowledge and pioneered some remarkable remote destinations across Asia through investments in resource, time and money. This knowledge will see us return as soon as possible.

“In the meantime it is very much business as usual. We will continue with our scheduled 2012 Orion II voyages to Borneo, the Russian Far East, Inland Sea of Japan, Vietnam and China, but do not anticipate having a replacement vessel in Asia during 2013, so if planning to visit these destinations then 2012 is the year to do this”. Orion II voyages for the balance of 2012 include expeditions to the Yangtze Delta (Kobe to Shanghai) and Shanghai to Tawau (Yangtze, Taiwan, Philippines), Java and the temples of Borobudur,” she added.

Coincidentally, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also launched voyages in the Russian Far East in 2012 on its expedition ship Hanseatic.