Explore The Natural Treasures of The Russian Far East Onboard Orion II

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MV Orion II

Accommodation onboard Orion II comprises of 50 Suites.

Every room offers you ocean views and is appointed with a sitting area or separate living room, twin or queen-size beds and marble bathrooms. All rooms offer conveniences such as ample storage space, complementary 24-hour room service, a flat screen TV, DVD/CD player, internet connectivity, air conditioning, a personal safe, hairdryer and a mini-refrigerator continuously stocked with complimentary bottled water.

Penthouse Suite
Orion II’s four spacious Penthouse Suites are the only suites located on Deck 6. These 260sq ft suites have private balconies, window and sitting area.

Balcony Suite
The twelve luxurious Balcony Suites are on Deck 5 with sitting area and a private balcony allowing you to take in the sea breeze.

Deluxe Suite
The two Deluxe Suites occupy up to 285 sq ft* in area on Deck 5. Forward windows and a sitting area lets you relax and enjoy the beautiful ocean view after a day of exploration.

Junior Suite
On deck 4 there are ten Junior Suites. These 235sq ft suites have a window and sitting area.

AA Ocean Suite
These nicely appointed Ocean Suites are situated on deck 3. The average room size is 225 sq ft*, all with windows and a comfortable sitting area.

A Ocean Suite
The A Ocean Suites are located on Deck 3 with portholes and a generous average area of 275sq ft*.

B Ocean Suite
The B Ocean Suites are located on Deck 4 windows and sitting area. The average area is 215sq ft*.                 

* Average area of room size.

  • 11874
  • Ocean
  • 01 Jan 00
  • Asia, Europe
  • 01 Jan 70
  • 11Jan70
  • 10 nights
  • Orion
  • Cruise Only

Important Terms

  • * Rates quoted are in Australian dollars.
  • Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes unless otherwise stated.
  • Advertised price includes any bonus nights, special offers or discounts listed in the inclusions.
  • Surcharges may apply due to demand, Christmas & New Year's Eve, school or public holidays, trade shows, special events & other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Prices may be based on Dynamic Rates and as such, may fluctuate at anytime without notice, due to matters outside our control, such as adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases, or at the property's discretion.
Day Location
1 Otaru, Hokkaido (Overnight onboard)
2 Korsakov, Sakhalin
3 At sea
4 Chirpoy Island, Kuril Islands and Urup Island, Kuril Islands (Urup Island not on reverse)
5 Yankicha Island, Kuril Islands and Matua Island, Kuril Islands
6 Skaly Lavushky, Kuril Islands
7 Atlasova Island, Kuril Islands and Shumshu Island, Kuril Islands
8 Vestnik Bay, Kamchatka
9 Zhupanova River, Kamchatka
10 Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka
11 Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka

Reverse itinerary starts in Petropavlovsk and goes to Otaru, all inclusions and stopovers (excluding stopover in Urup Island) are the same but in reverse order.

Destinations & Shoreside Expeditions

Otaru, Hokkaido – Embark/Disembark
Latitude: 43°12′N
Longitude: 141°0′E

Embarkation and disembarkation will take place in Sapporo where Orion will be offering a complimentary transfer to/from Otaru. Please note all embarking guests will need to make their own way to Sapporo for check-in. Further details on the check-in procedure will be provided in your pre-cruise documentation.

Otaru is one of Hokkaido’s key ports, primarily servicing the nearby city of Sapporo. Otaru is famous, amongst other things, for its Sushi, although it is noted as being some of the most expensive Sushi in Japan!

The city is centred around a picturesque canal which was once a central part of the city’s busy harbor in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels offshore would unload their cargo onto smaller boats, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.

Modern port facilities which allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels rendered the canal obsolete. A local “citizens’ movement” were successful in lobbying for a part of the canal to be beautifully restored in the 1980s instead of simply being used as landfill. The warehouses lining the canal were transformed into shops, cafes, museums and restaurants to add to the restoration of the canal area. Local artists present their works to people strolling past along the banks of the canal.

Otaru, Hokkaido (overnight onboard) – Dry landing
Latitude: 43°12′N
Longitude: 141°0′E

You will have an afternoon to explore the quaint township of Otaru, with an overnight aboard before disembarking the following day with complimentary transfers to the main city on Hokkaido, Sapporo.

Like the Kuril Islands You have just visited, Otaru was originally inhabited by the Ainu people, and the name Otaru is believed to be a derivation of the Ainu name for the area, loosely translated as “a river running through a sandy beach”….apparently. The town is regularly noted as one of the most picturesque in Japan, it has a central canal lined with Victorian style lamps and the town is famous for its glasswork, with several showrooms of glass products produced in the area. It’s also known to have some of the freshest sushi in Japan. Another famous product from Otaru is cheesecakes! The local double cheesecakes are known all around Japan for their quality.

The town has one of the worlds few working steam clocks, which uses steam to play its chimes on the hour every hour, arguably worth waiting for.

Korsakov, Sakhalin – Dry landing
Latitude: 46°37′N
Longitude: 142°46′E
Korsakov is the main port for the Russian island of Sakhalin and serves as the official entry or exit port when coming and going from the Russian Far East. Just beyond the port is the town of Yuzhno – Sakhalinsk, with a population of 180,000 it is where the majority of people on Sakhalin live. Today Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a modern city with a well developed economy and with a high level of social, political and cultural life although the city does reflect the Soviet era still, with rows of drab shops, so typical of that time period.

Included Expeditions
A tour of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and the surrounding area are included in todays visit to Sakhalin. You will visit several highlights of the town including the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Ressurrection and Sakhalin’s regional museum. The museum will allow us an insight to the history, natural history and even the geology of the area. After lunch you will visit the local market which is known for its lacquered boxes and matryoshki, the nesting dolls often associated with Russia. Before returning to the ship you will also visit a Sturgeon and Salmon farm and the lake where they release the Salmon.

Chirpoy Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 46°31’N
Longitude: 150°52’E
Chirpoy (meaning small bird) is the collective name usually given to the twin volcanic islands of Chirpoy and Brat Chirpoev (Russian for Chirpoy’s Brother). Here volcanic activity will sharpen your senses. Chirpoy Island is still developing. Witness a new volcano forming in the centre of the island. Orion II will try to access the large bay near the newer volcano. At Brat Chirpoev, under the supervision of a Russian Fish and Wildlife ranger, they plan a Zodiac cruise just offshore to view a Steller sea lion rookery. Steller sea lions are the worlds largest sea lions, growing as large as 5.5m long and weigh as much as 1000kg. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
Today you will explore the volcanic coastlines by Zodiac and observe the breeding haul out of Steller’s sea lions. Weather and conditions permitting you may be able to make an expedition landing today to explore the black sand beaches and green lava strewn plateaus of Chirpoy.

Urup Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 45°54’N
Longitude: 149°58′E

Urup was originally inhabited by Ainu, the native peoples of the Kurils, Sakhalin and Hokkaidō. The first recorded visit by Europeans was in 1643, when a ship of the Dutch East India Company landed here, seeking furs. You head to a large bay on the northwest coast of Urup. Like many of the islands in this region, “ownership” has repeatedly and often controversially passed between Russia and Japan. Again like the other Kuril Islands, it is a chain of old volcanoes, Urup being made up of a group of four extinct or dormant stratovolcanos. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expedition
You will search to make a Zodiac landing on one of the beaches of Urup and explore this island. Remnants of ancient Ainu settlements can still be found on the island, as can cabins once used by Russian fur traders. Zodiac cruises are also possible today.
Yankicha Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 47°30’N
Longitude: 152°48’E
Yankicha (also Yankitcha) and it’s nearby neighbour Ryponkicha, are the emergent tips of an extinct volcano known as Ushishir. The steep-walled caldera is broken to the south and is flooded by the sea, forming a tranquil lagoon where harlequins and sea otters show their stuff, and Crested and Whiskered Auklets nest. Near the lip of the lagoon is a gap in the beach which fills with thermal waters – a beckoning setting for a hot spring bath. Yankicha is considered by many to be one of the most visually scenic islands in the Kurils. The ancient Ainu people used the thermal area of Yankicha for initiation rites that lasted three days and three nights, in which young men in ceremonial furs were bound together by ropes on wooden platforms over the boiling springs. Arctic foxes, harbour seals and abundant bird life inhabitat the area. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
You will use their zodiacs to enter the lagoon where you can land to investigate the hydrothermal field with steaming fumaroles, sulfur crystals, hot springs and boiling puddles, where the scent of hydrogen sulfate fills the air. The more physically motivated can climb the caldera wall for a stunning view back down over the lagoon. The landscape here is regularly described as straight out of “Lord of the Rings” or “Jurassic Park”. Note the ultimate goal is to land inside the caldera’s lagoon, however as with all of the Russian Far East weather and conditions on the day will dictate the actual activities. There are seal colonies nearby and Zodiac cruising can possibly be undertaken as alternatives if need be.

Matua Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 48°4’N
Longitude: 155°13’E

On Matua (also Matya or Matsuwa in Japanese), a different story, an abandoned Russian air base – bunkers, half-tracks, an anti-aircraft gun, rotting bacteriological-and-chemical-warfare suits, the occasional helmet, and a mound of “cooked” ammunition lay abandoned and rotting away. With a central volcano reminiscent of Japan’s Mount Fuji and black volcanic sand beaches provide a contrasting setting for the abandoned airbase and it rusting piles of metal and general scatterings of decaying equipment. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expedition
After a wet landing on a black sand beach, you will make your way inland to explore the abandoned Soviet airbase. The airbase, abandoned since the collapse of the Soviet Union, was previously a significant Japanese Military base during World War II. Join the expert team as you explore, or feel free to explore independently. Zodiac cruises to observe the significant bird life, harbour seals and the geological formations are also possible.
Skaly Lavushky, Kuril Islands – Scenic Zodiac Cruising
Latitude: 48°32’N
Longitude: 153°50E
Skaly Lavushky is a small gathering of rocky islets home to many northern fur seals and Stellar sea lions. Red-necked phalaropes, fulmars, puffins, and cormorants are also common in this mini-archipelago. A cacophonous rant of seabirds, seals and sea lions will be the sound track to their Zodiac cruising today. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
Join the Zodiac fleet to observe the northern fur seals and Steller’s sea lions around the islets of Skaly Lovushky. Usually as the Zodiacs depart the ship the fur seals join the boats and swim side by side. Hundreds of seals and sea lions can be observed in this area with several haul out areas close by as well.
Atlasova Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 50°50′N
Longitude: 153°50′E
As they approach Atlasov (also spelt Atlaasova or in Japanese Araido), from over the horizon you will be greeted by the 2,339 metre peak of the volcano Alaid, claimed to be more exquisitely shaped than Mount Fuji, it is the highest peak in the Kuril chain. Viewed from satellite photography, its shape is perfectly sculptured. Abandoned soviet era buildings including a women’s prison can be found behind the dunes, near lakes which are heaving with green-snapper, surrounded by scrubland and hills of volcanic ash. Keep an eye out for Asian Rosy-Finches, peregrines and Slatey-backed Gulls. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
Today you will explore the remains of the one time Soviet occupation of Atlasov. The island had previously been used as a fox farm and a women’s prison and a large concrete light house still stands on the island today. Various walks on the island will be offered.

Shumshu Island, Kuril Islands – Wet landing
Latitude: 50°46’N
Longitude: 156°14’E

Shumshu is the northernmost of the Kuril Islands. The Japanese and the Russians were still fighting each other on Shumshu as late as October 1945, three months after the official end of hostilities. There are some WWII pillboxes remaining today along the shoreline, but the main reason for a visit is the wildlife. Hundreds of sea-otters, in the kelp beds just offshore make fabulous viewing from the Zodiacs, which will get you close to the otters as they go about their daily business. As an interesting side note, the beaches of Shumshu are littered with glass fishing floats, used by the Japanese to float their fishing nets in the days before plastic floats became the norm. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expedition
Zodiac cruises to observe the rafts of sea otters will be on offer as well as landings to explore the coast and wetlands of the island itself.

Vestnik Bay, Kamchatka – Scenic Zodiac Cruising
Latitude: 51°17’N
Longitude: 157°22’E
Vestnik Bay is a true wilderness area in this remote land of the Russian Far East. The bay sits within the Yuzhno-Kamchatsky nature reserve on the Kamchatka peninsula, south-east of Petropavlovsk. The plan is to explore the magnificent bay and its surroundings. The scenery is very spectacular and you will have a unique chance to see various mammals and birds, including the Stellar sea eagle, arctic fox and even possibly bears. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
You will take to the zodiacs to look at the abundant water fowl in the water and observe their nests high up on the cliffs. The number and variety of birds here is impressive. Some of those You can see include tufted puffins, spectacled guillemots, and red necked phalaropes. The Utashud Islands in Vestnik Bay have some interesting sea caves ideal for Zodiac cruising. Sea otters and harbour seals will also most likely be seen.

Zhupanova River, Kamchatka – Wet landing
Latitude: 53°20’N
Longitude: 159°59’E
To the north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the Zhupanova River watershed boasts one of the most productive trout rivers in the world. The Kamchatka south-eastern peninsula and river are home to the richest rainbow trout habitat. The Zhupanova drains an area of 404,685 hectares, extending into the central Kamchatka Range of volcanic mountains and is Kamchatka’s second largest river. The river contains exceptionally large trout, some reaching 9 kg, five species of Pacific salmon, and two species of anadromous char (Salmo alpinus L). The Zhupanova is a resting place for migratory birds. The Russian Far East has more brown bears than Alaska, and the Zhupanova, before or during the annual salmon run, is a good place to see them. The eye stopper here is the huge Steller sea eagle, the heaviest eagle in the world. As with all destinations in the Russian Far East the actual weather and conditions on the day will dictate the exact location visited and the activities undertaken.

Included Expeditions
Zodiac exploration of the extensive river will be undertaken today, in particular they will be looking for nesting areas of the Steller sea eagle. Walks of varying degrees of difficulty can also be undertaken today in search of more wildlife. Bears are not uncommon and their tracks are often seen along the banks of the river.

Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka – Dry landing
Latitude: 53°1′N
Longitude: 158°36′E

Good weather will unveil spectacular views of the four active volcanoes, a massive harbour, and one of the oldest towns in the Russian Far East. The explorer, Vitus Bering, laid the first foundation stone there in 1740, and later, Captain Charles Clerke, Captain Cook’s successor, was buried there. This is the crossroads of the continents and it was the jumping off point for both of Bering’s expeditions. Petropavlovsk is still home to a Russian submarine base. Weather permitting, an optional helicopter flight can be purchased to target the Valley of the Geysers, the second biggest collection of geothermal features after Yellowstone. For those who can, it is worth it.

Included Expedition
After entry procedures into Russia you will receive a traditional welcome ceremony with bread and salt with two “official welcoming” locals in traditional Russian costumes: a girl in a beautifully decorated traditional dress with bread and salt welcoming the guests and a boy in traditional Russian clothes playing the Russian folk musical instrument known as a bayan. You will then set out to explore this intriguing city on Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

You will travel by coach to the Siberian Dog Sled Kennel and Lodge, here you will be introduced to Siberian, Kamchatka and Alaskan Huskies, learn about the local Dog Sled Foundation and take a walk through the woods surrounding the lodge. A traditional Russian lunch will be served and a traditional Koryak dance will be performed.

After lunch visit such sites as the local market, perfect for your caviar purchases, the museum, for some local history and the Russian Orthodox Church which is open 24 hours a day and welcomes foreign visitors.

This full day experience will introduce you to the best of Petropavlovsk.

Optional Tour
Orion offers you a unique chance to visit the Valley of the Geysers nature reserve by helicopter. This unforgettable experience begins with an hour and a half helicopter ride where you swoop through the Kamchatka landscape for an eagle-eyed view of the snow-covered tundra, and the steep-sided canyons. The view of Karymsky Volcano is a showstopper.

Upon landing, You stroll on boardwalks through a landscape of geysers as they roar skyward with billowing plumes of superheated water and sizzling steam. You will have the time to explore the Geysers extensively, or just by doing a slow walk along the boardwalk.

Each of the geysers is exceptional and unique. Each of them has its own name and character. Velican erupts thirty tons of water per one minute up to nine-storey house height, while Troinoi (Triple) pulsates from three holes simultaneously; The submerged Bolshoi creates a unique water cascade from a huge gryphon-like cavity, while Pervenets (Firstborn) throws a boiling jet from under a stone block directly into the river. Sakharny (Sugar) pulsates upwards with a crown sparkling in the sunshine, and Fontan (Fountain) creates a narrow “milky” jet. Leshiy (Sylvan) groans in semi-underwater condition, Khrustalny (Crystal) glitters.

Most often you are able to watch eruptions of the spring Malakhitovy Grot (Malachite Grotto), the spring Averi, Geyser Novy Fontan (New Fountain), Geyser Fontan (Fountain), Geyser Nepostoyanny (Unsteady), Geyser Dvoinoy (Double). There is an opportunity to watch eruptions of such Geysers as Shchel (Slot), Velikan (Giant), Zhemchuzhny (Pearly) though the cycle of these geysers is longer and eruptions happen less frequently – Shchel (every 30 min.), Giant (every 4-10 hours), Pearly (every 4-5 hours) while Grot (Grotto) keeps silent for years in order to once cave tens of thousands of turbid water from the slope to the river.

The spectacle of fountain geysers is supplemented by more than two hundred pulsating hot and steaming springs, steam and gas jets, bowls with red boiling clay, steaming cavities whooping like owls, hot and warm lakes and brooks with waterfalls. Lunch will be served on board the helicopter or in the Valley depending on the weather conditions and safety precautions. The Valley of the Geysers has some steep stairways, but also has several easy accessible boardwalks and observation posts.

PLEASE NOTE: Since the tour is very weather dependent, the decision to fly can only be made once the weather forecast has been received from the Petropavlovsk air traffic control. No option is suggested in case of tour cancellation due to weather conditions. The last possibility to fly on this excursion is at 12:00. A weatherproof jacket, sturdy shoes, a hat and sunglasses are absolutely necessary.

Price: $1000




Founded in early 2004, Orion Expedition Cruises has developed voyages to encourage guests to become a part of the region they are discovering.

Orion is a purpose built vessel designed to access the inaccessible, all in 5-star luxury. The ship combines the best and the latest in design with maritime and environmental technology, comfort and casual elegance. From the ice-strengthened hull to the chilled champagne and superb cuisine, this is expedition cruising at its finest.

Described as the latest in the quest to build the perfect expedition vessel *, all Orion’s staterooms feature ocean views and offer internet access, flat-screen TV, DVD/CD, a choice of twin and queen sized beds, a sitting area and marble bathrooms. Other on board amenities include a health spa with gymnasium, sauna, sun deck Jacuzzi and a stern marina platform.

Orion offers a range of included and optional Shoreside Expeditions designed to enhance the destination exploration for their guests. From Camel Safaris in Broome to snorkelling over pristine coral formations, there are many unique opportunities for guests to visit areas of Australia that even most Australians don’t get to see. As part of their commitment to offering guests an enriching experience, on board speakers have been selected for their knowledge and expertise on the regions they visit. Guests are invited to attend presentations in the 90 seat Lecture Theatre.

Their innovative expeditions are year-round and vary with the seasons:

  • Summer (December to February) Antarctica and New Zealand and sub-Antarctic Islands.
  • Autumn (March, April) in remote and unspoilt parts of the Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.
  • Winter (April to September) in the Kimberley
  • Spring (October, November) in the wild jungles of Borneo

They would be delighted to have you join them on a voyage to some of the most wonderful but rarely seen places on earth.


Founded: 2003


2012/13 Fleet

  • Orion: 106 pax



  • Spirit of adventure
  • Travellers rather than tourists
  • May not necessarily classify themselves as ‘cruisers’
  • Well travelled and are looking for something different
  • Enjoy their creature comforts
  • Recognise the value in unique and intimate itineraries


Language & Onboard Currency

  • Language: English
  • Currency: AU$



  • The Kimberley, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Antarctica, New Zealand, Sub-Antarctic Islands



  • All 50 suites and staterooms with ocean views and room to relax during the day
  • Choice of either queen- or twin-bed sleeping arrangements
  • Well appointed marble bathrooms
  • Conveniences such as ample storage space, complimentary 24-hour room service, a flat-screen TV, DVD/CD player, internet connectivity, a personal safe, hair dryer and a mini-refrigerator


Dining & Beverages

  • Dining at any time is an unhurried experience with a single sitting free of fixed table assignments
  • Option to enjoy dinner in the restaurant or to dine alfresco, under the stars
  • Buffet breakfast or lunch at Outdoor Café
  • Selection of Australian, New Zealand and European wines: vintages from exceptional lesser-known wineries complement a range of familiar labels



  • A range of light entertainment
  • Musical duo in the lounge after dinner playing a selection of music ideally suited to conversation over a cognac or dancing


Ship Facilities

  • Library, spa, hair and beauty salon, boutique, gymnasium, outdoor café, restaurant, lounge
  • 10 passenger Zodiacs and marina platform
  • Dedicated lecture theatre and sauna


Cruise Price Inclusions

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Entertainment
  • Educational programs
  • Port taxes
  • Gratuities
  • 24-hour room service
  • Use of ship’s sporting equipment and facilities


Guest Loyalty Program

  • Past guests receive an additional 5% savings


Recent Awards

Orion are proud to have been named Best Responsible Cruise Operator at the internationally acclaimed 2010 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards which took place as part of World Travel Market in London on Wednesday 10th November (World Responsible Tourism Day).

Thousands of tourism organisations and travel experiences were nominated by the public in just 13 categories with the central tenet being that all types of tourism – from niche to mainstream – can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people. These prestigious awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

Past Awards

Recognised for Leadership
in Responsible Tourism

Best Cruise/Sailing

Best Adventure
Tourism 2009

Best Cruise Line 2009

Best Small Ship
2005 – 2009

Best Adventure Tourism
2005 – 2009

Best Cuisine
2006, 2007 & 2009

Best Cruise Line



Call a Luxury Cruise Specialist on 1300 308 081 and Quote #11874

(During Business Hours)