Sarina Bratton founded Orion Expedition Cruises in 2004 and serves as Managing Director of the company. The high point of a career that has taken her from nationally ranked sportswoman to the first female founder of a shipping line, Sarina has succeeded in creating Australia’s only world class, five-star expedition cruise line that is rated as a world leader in maritime environmental sustainability.
Sarina is a hands-on business owner with a strong environmental conscience. The exacting standards of Orion’s technical capability and management practices places the ship and the company in the highest regard internationally for sustainable tourism development. Sarina is also proud of the high level of cultural interaction developed with tribal chiefs and elders in remote destinations, ensuring that a visit by Orion’s guests does not hinder the ancient and primitive cultures that remain intact. Orion and its guests access many places where few have had the privilege to visit before.
Orion’s innovative itineraries, which showcase pristine wilderness regions of Australasia have generated significant economic benefit for Australia, and in particular remote and regional areas of Australia.
Orion is Sarina’s second start-up in the cruise industry. She founded her first, Norwegian Capricorn Line, in 1997, in a joint venture between Australian interests and Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line. The company was acquired by Star Cruises in 2000.
Sarina’s cruise experience also includes 14 years with Cunard Line ultimately as Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific. She was responsible for growing the business from a small-revenue sales agency to a major operation with 33 staff.
Sarina’s business acumen has led to several senior board positions within Australian state and federal governments. These included the State Transit Authority (NSW), Australian Maritime Safety Authority (deputy chair), Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (Prime Minister’s nominee) and the Australian Trade Commission. She also has served as a director of Australia’s former premium eco-accommodation provider, Voyages Hotels and Resorts and was the Founding Chair of the International Cruise Council Australia.
In 2008, Sarina was the recipient of the NSW Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Services category of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In 2006, she was honoured with the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year Award for her entrepreneurship and vision. Also in 2006 she was recognised in the inaugural Australian Travel Innovators Award for “enhancing the way Australians, and the world, travel”. She was awarded the Commonwealth Government’s Centenary Medal in 2003 for her business leadership contributions.
A native of Sydney, Sarina turned her focus to tourism after an injury ended her promising sports career. At the age of seventeen, she held national sporting titles in gymnastics, diving and trampoline. Today, she lives on the northern beaches of Sydney with her husband and daughter.