This weeks Cruise Blog is by our guest blogger Dave Warne. Dave is the Commercial Director for WEXAS, our parent company, and this was his first cruise experience. Join him onboard Orion Expedition Cruises newest ship, Orion II on his recent trip and discover the amazing ports of call
Day 10 -Arrival in Bali
We arrive at Benoa port in Bali at sunrise and opt to sit & watch the docking from the balcony. The early morning light prompts a thought that somehow the best time on a cruise ship is the moment of arrival each port, with the promise of adventure ahead. In this case we only have a short stay in Bali but I'm really looking forward to seeing what has changed in the 20 years since I last visited.
We all say our farewells at breakfast on the sun deck and then with little fanfare we all disembark. Many passengers were flying straight home, which seemed an oversight until it became apparent that they were all Australians who had visited Bali many times before.
Eight passengers are staying on for the next leg of the cruise from Bali to southern and western Borneo, heading northbound. When you consider that 16 of the passengers disembarking in Bali had also done 'back to back' cruises, a total of 24 passengers on this cruise - one third - were doing a 'back to back' cruise.
And going back to the sheer number of repeat Orion customers who were on this sailing - many of whom were already talking about which Orion Expedition cruise to do next -I can only conclude that Orion has a winning formula. With the new range of Far Eastern sailings aboard Orion II, that loyal customer base will be kept happy for years to come. And being relatively more accessible from the UK than many of Orion's popular itineraries, Orion Expedition Cruises should expect to welcome many new customers from the UK.
The experience on board Orion II was immensely satisfying. The food and service were near faultless, the lecture programme varied and interesting. All of the excursions on this cruise were included in the cruise cost, so even our final bill was surprisingly low. Even the minor problems we encountered along the way were handled in an exemplary manner by the Orion team.
But ultimately, it is the off-ship experiences that will live longest in the memory. The major excursions were outstanding and 'real' travel experiences; I doubt we would ever have been able to witness a Torajan funeral or meet Gabriella Fredrikkson travelling any other way. Indeed, getting to many of the places we visited would not be easy by other means - and certainly nothing like as comfortable. Even if the destination was the star of the show, Orion II was the unsung hero.