Iâm going to share something with you that I probably shouldnât admit. After years of exploring the far corners of the world and working with various companies, I have a few favorite travel companies. I suppose much like parents â a travel writer is not supposed to have their favorites, but I do â cuz Iâm human.
If I had a âstamp of approvalâ â I would requite Heritage Expeditions the âOttsworld Approvalâ in a heartbeat. I love this family-owned trek company; their travel philosophy of getting off the tamed track is in structuring with mine.
Heritage Expeditions tend to rencontre peopleâs views of the world with their unique itineraries. I too believe that travel is well-nigh taking on challenges â in the way you think, act, and live. It certainly has been that way for me over the years, and it is what keeps me standing to travel to new destinations and cultures.
The Beauty of Being Different
As I get older, I am less and less interested in pursuit the crowd; I donât want to be living the same life as everyone else â nor do I want to travel to destinations that everyone else goes to. This is moreover a cadre value of Heritage Expeditions; they strive to be different, unique, and not like every other trip operator out there (and there are many).
Heritage differentiates itself by its unique itineraries, passion for exploration, taking you to destinations few people visit, incredible knowledge of trek cruising, and worthiness to pivot quickly to new plans (which is often necessary for trek travel).
Heritage Expeditions Travel to the Ross Sea and Sub-Antarctic Islands â a place where few people go.
Itâs no surprise then that they ask their passengers to be ârigidly flexibleâ. Every time I hear that, it makes me smile considering it resonates with me so much.
A New Trek Ship
Heritageâs trek trip offerings reverted drastically in the last year â I was curious to see if they were the same unconfined visitor that I remembered from my previous trips to Antarcticaâs Ross Sea and Russiaâs Wrangle Island pre-pandemic with them.
As we all know, the pandemic hit the travel industry hard. The trip industry was probably hit the hardest. Heritage stopped operations the first year and then could really only offer cruises to local New Zealanders the second year. Finally, when cruises started when up internationally, Heritage had one increasingly spare lines wittiness that other companies didnât have to contend with; Russia invaded Ukraine.
One of Heritageâs differentiators was their itineraries in the Russian Far East. Now, these could no longer run. And to top it off â their current ship, the Spirit of Enderby, was leased from Russia and could no longer be utilized due to sanctions.
Heritage had to pivot quickly, they returned their Russian leased ship and invested in a completely new vessel â the Heritage Adventurer.
I recently traveled with Heritage for the 3rd time on a remote and unique trek trip through Melanesia (South Pacific Islands). It was the inaugural trip of their new trek vessel the Heritage Adventurer. They had made an heady transpiration during the pandemic, and now I got to see what this ways to the visitor and its style of trek cruising.
Experience an epic journey through Melanesia – one of the most culturally fascinating regions in the world. Learn increasingly well-nigh my trip and the 2023 dates for the Secrets of Melanesia Itinerary.
Expedition Travel Defined
These days youâll get a lot of variegated definitions of trek travel, and itâs nonflexible to say which one is correct. But what I do know is that increasingly and increasingly companies are starting to use the term â and with that has come confusion.
I tend to consider trek travel as travel to hard-to-get-to remote destinations in order to discover and wits the region on a deeper level. According to National Geographic, âAn trek is a journey that requires planning and purpose, and is usually undertaken by a group of people, for a specific purpose, such as to explore a afar place or to do research.â
As increasingly and increasingly companies start to use the term in marketing and label their offerings as trek travel, I find that it has wilt slightly watered down. I finger as if the term has been stolen and forced increasingly mainstream.
Heritage Staying True to Their Trek Cruising Roots
As we bounced virtually in the when of a lorry truck while trying to sit on a wooden plank, I was overjoyed with the pure (albeit uncomfortable) wits that we were having in the Solomon Islands. We were headed to a remote village via the only transportation on the islandâŠlocal transportation. Other trek trip companies donât do that, they probably wouldnât consider putting you in such an uncomfortable situation for an hour’s ride to the middle of a remote island.
However, Heritage gives you the opportunity to push yourself into new experiences. You push yourself into areas that you might not be well-appointed with considering those turn out to be the most talked well-nigh and weightier experiences of your trip typically.
Heritage does as much as it can possibly facilitate, but itâs up to the passengers to take on what they want. As Nathan, one of the owners, says, âYou unchangingly offer the experience, facilitate it, and people can make their own decision. If it ways waking up at 4 AM to provide you the experience, then I will â plane if only 5 people go.â
Itâs true. We all sat looking at the shore of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu as we waited to see if the waves and wind would die lanugo unbearable so that we could do a landing and wits the rarely-seen traditional Rom flit on the island. However, the weather wasnât letting up. I was amazed at how long and nonflexible Nathan and the trek team kept trying with plans B and C; trying other landing spots, putting themselves in peril at times.
We waited it out as long as we possibly could as Nathan communicated all of the details with us – but eventually, he had to requite up and move on to plan D for the morning. He still got people off the ship for a zodiac trip in flipside area. They donât requite up.
Heritage Expeditions Trek Cruising Stays in the Family
Another trait that makes Heritage stand out to me is the fact that they are the only family-owned trek merchantry left. Everyone else has got corporate backing.
The visitor was started in 1984 by Nathanâs parents. In fact, my previous two expeditions to Russia and the Ross Sea Antarctica were washed-up with Nathanâs father, Rodney, at the helm as the trek leader. I unchangingly liked Rodneyâs style and travel philosophy, and I was happy to see that he did pass that on to Nathan and Aaron, his sons who now run the business.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Nathan as an trek leader for my Secrets of Melanesia trip. I heard Rodneyâs voice and saw his mannerisms in Nathan. This was somehow comforting to meâŠmainly considering it made me think of my own family and how we have the same mannerisms as we get older. Sure â I try to believe that Iâm not going to turn out like my parentsâŠbut inevitably I will. Every time I saw and heard Nathan write us for the day, I was reminded that this really was a family business.
Rodney had been preparing his sons for trek travel their whole lives. Nathan was 6 years old when he went on his first trek trip with his dad. And he went to Antarctica when he was 8 years old!
On my trip to Melanesia, Nathan brought withal his own family. This was the first time his two young boys (the same age as he was on his first expedition) and his wife were all with him. He was starting to plant the seeds of the family-owned merchantry with his own boys.
âBeing worldly-wise to bring them into environments like Melanesia where there is poverty and nonflexible living is a unconfined educational wits for them. It lets them understand where their dad goes and why when the phone rings at midnight that he has to wordplay it. It teaches them what else is in the world outside of New Zealand,â Nathan explained.
âThatâs why on every trek Aron (his brother and co-owner) and I will plan it. Then one of us will go on the first voyage and the other on the second voyage and then weâll sit lanugo and rehash it.â
Heritage Wanderer A new Era for Heritage Expeditions
Originally designed to unbend 184 guests, Heritage Wanderer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious voyages, while a squadron of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are worldly-wise to maximize their trek adventure.
Heritage Expeditions was âbuiltâ on the Spirit of Enderby, an older research vessel not necessarily meant for passenger cruising. It was one of the coolest things well-nigh Heritage (in my opinion), but it was moreover a bit of a thorn too. I loved the Spirit of Enderby when I traveled with them in the past. It only held 50 passengers, but there were veritably no thrillsâŠit was basic. Therefore, I was pretty curious well-nigh this new larger, cruise-ier ship they were moving forward with.
Even though this is a very variegated ship for Heritage, Nathan expressed that it was increasingly important than overly to remain true to their roots of trek travel.
âI never want to hear the word cruise,â Nathan said. âI want to unhook a true experiential trek while maintaining a new stratum of comfort. What the Wanderer gives us is the endangerment to unhook an no-go platform to be worldly-wise to unhook true experiential expeditions while people still travel in a stratum of repletion and service.â
Heritage Wanderer Highlights â What you Can Expect From the New Ship
The ship itself is much worthier than the Spirit of Enderby, so it has many increasingly things it can offer. This is pretty important as Heritage runs trips that can last up to 28 days (to the Ross Sea)! The Secretes of Melanesia Trip I was on was 17 days. When you are on a ship that long â you definitely fathom uneaten space and some comfort.
My room was well-appointed and had a big window which made it finger plane larger. Each vital room had a small seating zone with a hovel and table. All cabins have ensuite bathrooms which were moreover spacious and there was plenty of closet space.
More Space for Relaxing
Even though I loved the Spirit of Enderby, it had very little comfortable/lounging space which can be tough on longer journeys. However, the Heritage Wanderer has multiple choices for lounging and relaxing.
Their big bar/lounge located in the when of the ship was where we met regularly for lectures, trek updates, and cocktail hour. The chairs were plush and comfortable, and the audio-visual setup was great. Plus â there are tons of windows so you wonât miss anything outside while you are sitting in a lecture!
They moreover had a library lounge at the front of the ship whilom the bridge. The library was moreover filled with well-appointed seating areas, and it had a fantastic view out of the front of the ship! During my time on workbench â the library was barely used! It was a unconfined place to go read or just relax and birdwatch.
There is a defended movie room with well-appointed movie seats and a unconfined sound system. On a few of the nights, they featured documentaries well-nigh the areas we were traveling to which was a mythological way to learn increasingly well-nigh the area.
I think this was my favorite part well-nigh the new Heritage Adventurer. There were so many outdoor viewing areas that it was easy to get lost! There was an observation deck at the top of the ship as well as a pool zone with seating (more on that below), a âdeckâ right in front of the bridge, multiple levels of âdecksâ withal the sides of the ship and then a unconfined big when deck that was partially covered. The when deck was the perfect place to enjoy breakfast in the mornings!
Spa and Pool
This is certainly a new perk for Heritage. The pool is small, but itâs thereâŠand some people used it. For Melanesia â I preferred to just swim in the sea! The hot tub is enclosed and a nice wing for those unprepossessed tundra trips. They moreover have a fitness room and spa that offers massages.
The dining room vibe is a bit increasingly upscale on the Heritage Adventurer, but donât get me wrong â the ship is still very casual; there is no need to âdress upâ for dinner. Not only is the dining room much larger than the Spirit of Enderby, but it’s moreover filled with windows, AND beer and wine are included at dinner.
There is moreover a Bistro CafĂ© on the ship which is for quick and less upscale meals â unconfined for lunches and lighter breakfasts.
Of course, the underpass is âopenâ meaning you can go on the underpass and see the Captain and hairdo at work. Ask questions, and learn well-nigh their jobs and how they navigate. Itâs moreover a super zone to watch for birds.
New Trek Offerings with Heritage Adventurer
With the new ship, comes new itineraries. That probably wasnât the original plan, since they had a full year of trips prior to the pandemic, however since the Far East Russia itineraries were no longer possible, they had to come up with a plan B. They looked in the vicinity that they were once operating in and worked on developing a new trek program there.
Hello Japan! Heritage Wanderer will be starting expeditions virtually the remote outlying islands of Japan in 2023. This new itinerary includes Hokkaido, one of Japanâs northernmost and least ripened islands, itâs a world yonder from the countryâs increasingly traditional and trendy cities.
In keeping with their strength of going where few companies go â Heritage will be focusing on immersion in Hokkaido. This is variegated from the other trip operators in Japan who tend to hit all of the highlights in the worthier cities of Japan. Heritage in turn will go deep into the wilderness of Hokkaido and its culture.
In wing to Japan â Heritage is moreover making new stops in South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Learn well-nigh Heritage Expeditions’ small 18-passenger yacht experience virtually the Kimberleys and New Zealand.
Heritage Wanderer in the Ross Sea and SubAntarctic Islands
Since one of my favorite trips Iâve overly taken was when I went to the Ross Sea Antarctica with Heritage Expeditions on the Spirit of Enderby, naturally I wondered how the new Heritage Wanderer may stupefy those archetype itineraries.
Itâs a worthier ship, which ways there will be increasingly trek team crew. It grows from 5 to 14 trek crew. This basically ways they will have increasingly specialists in a multitude of fields. One of my favorite things well-nigh an trek trip is the opportunity to learn well-nigh geology, wildlife, culture, and history. Now you will get plane increasingly of that on the way to Antarctica.
For the Ross Sea trip, you spend a number of days at sea in the Southern Ocean, therefore increasingly space, lounge area, and outdoor viewing areas only make this once wondrous trek plane better.
I’m so happy that Heritage Expeditions was worldly-wise to make it through the pandemic. They protract to be one of my favorite travel companies.