Cruise boss rues Orion II failings

Cruise boss rues Orion II failings
By admin

The founder and managing director of Orion Expedition Cruises, Sarina Bratton, has labelled the performance of the Orion II as “very disappointing” as she explained the reasons behind its decision to ditch the vessel.

Orion will return the 100-passenger ship to its US-based owners, Travel Dynamics International, in November after only one 18-month charter term, as reported in yesterday’s Travel Today.

Bratton said the vessel was “not as fuel efficient as we were led to believe” and said discussions will take place with the owners.

She declined to elaborate on the nature of the talks and stopped short of saying Orion was seeking financial compensation. But she admitted she was disappointed with the outcome.

“It is the same company we leased the Orion from in 2005 and we had no problem then. So there was a level of expectation and cooperation that unfortunately hasn’t been there this time,” Bratton said. “We put an enormous amount of effort into bringing the vessel into operation and developing the program. It is very disappointing.”

In addition to the fuel inefficiency, Bratton said the main engines were swallowing 600 litres of oil per day — six times the amount they should use.

Among the knock on effects of the problems were higher operating costs and increased carbon emissions which did not sit with Orion’s environmental standing, she said.

Bratton said checks had been done before Orion took delivery but until a ship is fully operational it is sometimes hard to tell how it will perform.

“We took $2 million more in revenue on Orion II than in the Orion’s first year and from a passenger perspective it was excellent,” she added. “The problems have all been operational and we had to draw a line in the sand.”

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