June 6, 2023

I’m going to share one thing with you that I most likely shouldn’t admit. After years of exploring the far corners of the world and dealing with varied firms, I’ve a couple of favourite journey firms. I suppose very like mother and father – a journey author isn’t presupposed to have their favorites, however I do – cuz I’m human.

If I had a ‘stamp of approval’ – I’d give Heritage Expeditions the ‘Ottsworld Approval’ in a heartbeat. I really like this family-owned expedition firm; their journey philosophy of getting off the crushed monitor is in alignment with mine.

Heritage Expeditions are inclined to problem individuals’s views of the world with their distinctive itineraries. I too imagine that journey is about taking over challenges – in the best way you suppose, act, and reside. It actually has been that means for me through the years, and it’s what retains me persevering with to journey to new locations and cultures.

The Great thing about Being Completely different

As I become older, I’m much less and fewer eager about following the gang; I don’t need to be dwelling the identical life as everybody else – nor do I need to journey to locations that everybody else goes to. That is additionally a core worth of Heritage Expeditions; they try to be completely different, distinctive, and never like each different cruise operator on the market (and there are lots of).

Interacting with locals in Melanesia expedition cruise
Interacting with locals in Melanesia

Heritage differentiates itself by its distinctive itineraries, ardour for exploration, taking you to locations few individuals go to, unimaginable data of expedition cruising, and talent to pivot shortly to new plans (which is usually crucial for expedition journey).

Heritage Expeditions Journey to the Ross Sea and Sub-Antarctic Islands – a spot the place few individuals go.

It’s no shock then that they ask their passengers to be ‘rigidly versatile’. Each time I hear that, it makes me smile as a result of it resonates with me a lot.

A New Expedition Ship

heritage adventurer new ship

Heritage’s expedition cruise choices modified drastically within the final yr – I used to be curious to see in the event that they had been the identical nice firm that I remembered from my earlier journeys to Antarctica’s Ross Sea and Russia’s Wrangle Island pre-pandemic with them.

As everyone knows, the pandemic hit the journey business laborious. The cruise business was most likely hit the toughest. Heritage stopped operations the primary yr after which may actually solely provide cruises to native New Zealanders the second yr. Lastly, when cruises began again up internationally, Heritage had yet another further curve ball that different firms didn’t should deal with; Russia invaded Ukraine.

Certainly one of Heritage’s differentiators was their itineraries within the Russian Far East. Now, these may now not run. And to prime it off – their present ship, the Spirit of Enderby, was leased from Russia and will now not be utilized as a result of sanctions.

Heritage needed to pivot shortly, they returned their Russian leased ship and invested in a totally new vessel – the Heritage Adventurer.

I lately traveled with Heritage for the third time on a distant and unique expedition cruise through Melanesia (South Pacific Islands). It was the inaugural cruise of their new expedition vessel the Heritage Adventurer. That they had made an thrilling change in the course of the pandemic, and now I obtained to see what this implies to the corporate and its fashion of expedition cruising.

Expertise an epic journey via Melanesia – one of the crucial culturally fascinating areas on this planet. Be taught extra about my journey and the 2023 dates for the Secrets and techniques of Melanesia Itinerary.

Expedition Journey Outlined

Nowadays you’ll get numerous completely different definitions of expedition journey, and it’s laborious to say which one is right. However what I do know is that an increasing number of firms are beginning to use the time period – and with that has come confusion.

remote expedition travel
Distant expedition journey in Melanesia

I have a tendency to think about expedition journey as journey to hard-to-get-to distant locations to be able to uncover and expertise the area on a deeper stage. In response to Nationwide Geographic, “An expedition is a journey that requires planning and objective, and is normally undertaken by a gaggle of individuals, for a particular objective, equivalent to to discover a distant place or to do analysis.”

As an increasing number of firms begin to use the time period in advertising and label their choices as expedition journey, I discover that it has turn out to be barely watered down. I really feel as if the time period has been stolen and compelled extra mainstream.

Heritage Staying True to Their Expedition Cruising Roots

As we bounced round behind a lorry truck whereas making an attempt to sit down on a picket plank, I used to be overjoyed with the genuine (albeit uncomfortable) expertise that we had been having within the Solomon Islands. We had been headed to a distant village through the one transportation on the island…native transportation. Different expedition cruise firms don’t try this, they most likely wouldn’t think about placing you in such an uncomfortable scenario for an hour’s journey to the center of a distant island.

Heritage Expeditions melanesia cruise

Nonetheless, Heritage provides you the chance to push your self into new experiences. You push your self into areas that you just may not be snug with as a result of these develop into probably the most talked about and finest experiences of your journey sometimes.

Heritage does as a lot as it might presumably facilitate, but it surely’s as much as the passengers to tackle what they need. As Nathan, one of many house owners, says, “You all the time provide the expertise, facilitate it, and folks could make their very own choice. If it means waking up at 4 AM to supply you the expertise, then I’ll – even when solely 5 individuals go.”

It’s true. All of us sat wanting on the shore of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu as we waited to see if the waves and wind would die down sufficient in order that we may do a touchdown and expertise the rarely-seen conventional Rom dance on the island. Nonetheless, the climate wasn’t letting up. I used to be amazed at how lengthy and laborious Nathan and the expedition workforce saved making an attempt with plans B and C; making an attempt different touchdown spots, placing themselves in peril at occasions.

We waited it out so long as we presumably may as Nathan communicated the entire particulars with us – however finally, he had to surrender and transfer on to plan D for the morning. He nonetheless obtained individuals off the ship for a zodiac cruise in one other space. They don’t surrender.

Heritage Expeditions Expedition Cruising Stays within the Household

One other trait that makes Heritage stand out to me is the truth that they’re the one family-owned expedition enterprise left. Everybody else has obtained company backing.

“We imagine that expeditions like this are designed from the center – not from the boardroom. Lots of the individuals planning and advertising expedition choices as we speak don’t have an thought of what they’re actually advertising. However we reside this and have been doing so since we had been children,” mentioned Nathan.

The corporate was began in 1984 by Nathan’s mother and father. In reality, my earlier two expeditions to Russia and the Ross Sea Antarctica had been achieved with Nathan’s father, Rodney, on the helm because the expedition chief. I all the time appreciated Rodney’s fashion and journey philosophy, and I used to be completely happy to see that he did move that on to Nathan and Aaron, his sons who now run the enterprise.

Nathan Heritage Expeditions
Nathan manning a zodiac entertaining native children in Melanesia

I had the pleasure of attending to know Nathan as an expedition chief for my Secrets and techniques of Melanesia journey. I heard Rodney’s voice and noticed his mannerisms in Nathan. This was by some means comforting to me…primarily as a result of it made me consider my family and the way we’ve got the identical mannerisms as we become older. Positive – I attempt to imagine that I’m not going to prove like my mother and father…however inevitably I’ll. Each time I noticed and heard Nathan handle us for the day, I used to be reminded that this actually was a household enterprise.

Rodney had been getting ready his sons for expedition journey their complete lives. Nathan was 6 years previous when he went on his first expedition journey along with his dad. And he went to Antarctica when he was 8 years previous!

On my cruise to Melanesia, Nathan introduced alongside his family. This was the primary time his two younger boys (the identical age as he was on his first expedition) and his spouse had been all with him. He was beginning to plant the seeds of the family-owned enterprise along with his personal boys.

“With the ability to carry them into environments like Melanesia the place there may be poverty and laborious dwelling is a superb academic expertise for them. It lets them perceive the place their dad goes and why when the cellphone rings at midnight that he has to reply it. It teaches them what else is on this planet exterior of New Zealand,” Nathan defined.

“That’s why on each expedition Aron (his brother and co-owner) and I’ll plan it. Then certainly one of us will go on the primary voyage and the opposite on the second voyage after which we’ll sit down and rehash it.”

Heritage Adventurer A brand new Period for Heritage Expeditions

Initially designed to accommodate 184 friends, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes simply 140 expeditioners guaranteeing spacious voyages, whereas a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all friends are capable of maximize their expedition journey.

Heritage Expeditions was ‘constructed’ on the Spirit of Enderby, an older analysis vessel not essentially meant for passenger cruising. It was one of many coolest issues about Heritage (in my view), but it surely was additionally a little bit of a thorn too. I liked the Spirit of Enderby after I traveled with them previously. It solely held 50 passengers, however there have been completely no thrills…it was primary. Due to this fact, I used to be fairly interested in this new bigger, cruise-ier ship they had been shifting ahead with.

Although it is a very completely different ship for Heritage, Nathan expressed that it was extra essential than ever to stay true to their roots of expedition journey.

“I by no means need to hear the phrase cruise,” Nathan mentioned. “I need to ship a real experiential expedition whereas sustaining a brand new diploma of consolation. What the Adventurer provides us is the possibility to ship a rare platform to have the ability to ship true experiential expeditions whereas individuals nonetheless journey in a level of consolation and repair.”

Heritage Adventurer Highlights – What you Can Count on From the New Ship

The ship itself is way greater than the Spirit of Enderby, so it has many extra issues it might provide. That is fairly essential as Heritage runs journeys that may last as long as 28 days (to the Ross Sea)! The Secretes of Melanesia Journey I used to be on was 17 days. When you find yourself on a ship that lengthy – you positively admire further house and a few consolation.

Greater Rooms

My room was snug and had a giant window which made it really feel even bigger. Every primary room had a small seating space with a sofa and desk. All cabins have ensuite loos which had been additionally spacious and there was loads of closet house.

Extra House for Enjoyable

Although I liked the Spirit of Enderby, it had little or no snug/lounging house which may be robust on longer journeys. Nonetheless, the Heritage Adventurer has a number of selections for lounging and stress-free.

Their huge bar/lounge situated behind the ship was the place we met usually for lectures, expedition updates, and cocktail hour. The chairs had been plush and comfy, and the audio-visual setup was nice. Plus – there are tons of home windows so that you gained’t miss something exterior while you’re sitting in a lecture!

Additionally they had a library lounge on the entrance of the ship above the bridge. The library was additionally crammed with snug seating areas, and it had a unbelievable view out of the entrance of the ship! Throughout my time on board – the library was barely used! It was an excellent place to go learn or simply chill out and birdwatch.

Film Room

There’s a devoted film room with snug film seats and an excellent sound system. On a couple of of the nights, they featured documentaries concerning the areas we had been touring to which was a wonderful strategy to study extra concerning the space.

Out of doors House

I believe this was my favourite half concerning the new Heritage Adventurer. There have been so many out of doors viewing areas that it was simple to get misplaced! There was an remark deck on the prime of the ship in addition to a pool space with seating (extra on that beneath), a ‘deck’ proper in entrance of the bridge, a number of ranges of ‘decks’ alongside the perimeters of the ship after which an excellent huge again deck that was partially lined. The again deck was the proper place to take pleasure in breakfast within the mornings!

Spa and Pool

That is actually a brand new perk for Heritage. The pool is small, but it surely’s there…and a few individuals used it. For Melanesia – I most well-liked to simply swim within the sea! The recent tub is enclosed and a pleasant addition for these chilly arctic journeys. Additionally they have a health room and spa that gives massages.

Eating Room

The eating room vibe is a little more upscale on the Heritage Adventurer, however don’t get me improper – the ship continues to be very informal; there isn’t any must ‘gown up’ for dinner. Not solely is the eating room a lot bigger than the Spirit of Enderby, but it surely’s additionally crammed with home windows, AND beer and wine are included at dinner.

There may be additionally a Bistro Café on the ship which is for fast and fewer upscale meals – nice for lunches and lighter breakfasts.

Bridge Entry

In fact, the bridge is ‘open’ which means you’ll be able to go on the bridge and see the Captain and crew at work. Ask questions, and find out about their jobs and the way they navigate. It’s additionally an excellent space to observe for birds.

Heritage adventurer bridge

New Expedition Choices with Heritage Adventurer

With the brand new ship, comes new itineraries. That most likely wasn’t the unique plan, since that they had a full yr of journeys previous to the pandemic, nevertheless because the Far East Russia itineraries had been now not attainable, they needed to give you a plan B. They appeared within the neighborhood that they had been already working in and labored on growing a brand new expedition program there.


Good day Japan! Heritage Adventurer might be beginning expeditions across the distant outlying islands of Japan in 2023. This new itinerary includes Hokkaido, certainly one of Japan’s northernmost and least developed islands, it’s a world away from the nation’s extra conventional and up to date cities.

In step with their energy of going the place few firms go – Heritage might be specializing in immersion in Hokkaido. That is completely different from the opposite cruise operators in Japan who are inclined to hit the entire highlights within the greater cities of Japan. Heritage in flip will go deep into the wilderness of Hokkaido and its tradition.

Along with Japan – Heritage can also be making new stops in South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Study Heritage Expeditions’ small 18-passenger yacht experience across the Kimberleys and New Zealand.

Heritage Adventurer within the Ross Sea and SubAntarctic Islands

Since certainly one of my favourite journeys I’ve ever taken was after I went to the Ross Sea Antarctica with Heritage Expeditions on the Spirit of Enderby, naturally I questioned how the brand new Heritage Adventurer might have an effect on these traditional itineraries.

It’s an even bigger ship, which implies there might be extra expedition workforce crew. It grows from 5 to 14 expedition crew. This mainly means they may have extra specialists in a mess of fields. Certainly one of my favourite issues about an expedition cruise is the chance to find out about geology, wildlife, tradition, and historical past. Now you’re going to get much more of that on the best way to Antarctica.

For the Ross Sea journey, you spend quite a few days at sea within the Southern Ocean, due to this fact extra space, lounge space, and out of doors viewing areas solely make this already superb expedition even higher.

Heritage Adventurer

I’m so completely happy that Heritage Expeditions was capable of make it via the pandemic. They proceed to be certainly one of my favourite journey firms.

The lesson right here is that when the world offers you lemons within the type of the pandemic and struggle, Heritage made lemonade with their new Heritage Adventurer ship. It makes me love the corporate much more – this family-owned firm is a fighter. They’ve taken the entire years of true expedition expertise, the energy of household ties, and their data of distant areas, and have introduced all of it collectively in an excellent expedition package deal on board the Heritage Adventurer.