Heritage Adventurer Activities

The outdoor jacuzzi onboard Heritage Adventurer
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Fiona Harper

Expedition Activities on Heritage Adventurer

As comfortable as the amenities are onboard Heritage Adventurer (and there’s plenty to love about this purpose-built expedition ship), expedition voyages are all about what happens beyond the ship. Heritage Adventurer excels at off-ship activities and shore excursions with a focus on responsible travel and giving back to the communities visited.

It’s worth mentioning that with up to 140 passengers embarking onto Zodiacs for shore excursions at the same time, expect to wait in a queue before disembarking.

Each voyage has between 12 and 14 expedition crew, many of whom are specialist guides or lecturers with expertise in the destinations visited. Lectures are scheduled on most days often with multiple lectures or presentations on sea days.

Expedition Gear on Heritage Adventurer

Passengers on Subantarctic and Antarctic voyages are issued with (on loan and complimentary) waterproof Muck Boots for the duration of their voyage while Antarctic voyagers are issued with a polar jacket whilst in Antarctica.

Passengers voyaging in tropical waters where snorkeling opportunities abound are issued with on loan and complimentary) mask, snorkel, fins and a mesh bag for the duration of the voyage. 

Each suite is allocated a storage locker in one of two Mud Rooms for the storage of wet expedition gear or shoes as well as ship-issued inflatable life jackets (PFDs).

Zodiacs and Kayaks on Heritage Adventurer

Heritage Adventurer carries a fleet of 14 inflatable Zodiac boats, rugged stalwarts of expedition cruises where passengers are seated inward facing on top of inflatable that make up the boats’ sides. There’s also a handful of single and double sea kayaks available for those signed up for the sea kayak program.

Zodiacs are used for all shore excursions along with cruises through sheltered waters when conditions allow or if there is a particularly interesting shoreline, like for example mangrove forests, stilted villages or amongst floating ice in polar regions. Boarding Zodiacs is via a pretty stable gangway stairs to a platform at sea level where passengers are helped into Zodiacs by crew. Zodiacs carry up to ten passengers plus a driver from the expedition team who also acts as a guide. Inflatable life jackets (PFDs) are mandatory for all passengers boarding Zodiacs. Boarding becomes a little more complicated when there’s a high swell running but there’s always plenty of crew to help less mobile passengers get on and off the Zodiacs.

Sea kayaking programs are offered on all voyages at an additional cost, with a dedicated kayak guide accompanying all kayak expeditions. Some kayak expeditions encompass a few hours while others may take up a whole day. On full-day excursions kayakers are equipped with a packed lunch and drinks to enjoy a picnic onshore. During our Indonesian Explorer voyage kayakers had the rare opportunity to view little-seen rock art petroglyphs in the marine sanctuary of Raja Ampat, getting an up-close view that Zodiac cruisers missed.

TIP: Passengers on the kayak program have the option to do as little or as much paddling as they like but should be aware they may miss other activities such as snorkeling which take place at the same time.

Lectures and Enrichment on Heritage Adventurer

Lectures and presentations are a highlight of any expedition on Heritage Adventurer with specialist guides and lectures conducted by members of the 12 – 14-strong expedition team. Topics relate to the expedition’s destination, and in particular natural or human history along with flora and fauna of note in the region. Lectures place a strong emphasis on conservation and protection of nature-based environments and aim to provide awareness and education of relevant issues facing destinations visited.

On our Indonesian Explorer voyage Prof Tim Flannery, a world-acclaimed scientist who has made many remarkable discoveries in paleontology, mammalogy and environmental science,  was a guest lecturer who shared insights into rare mammal species of the region. Other lectures from the expedition team focused on birdwatching opportunities, marine mammals and the underwater world, WWII history and responsible tourism issues.

The ship’s photographer gives presentations with tips on making the most of wildlife and scenery photographic opportunities as well as presenting a slide show of favourite images captured on the voyage.

Daily Things to Do on Heritage Adventurer

Shore excursion are definitely a daily highlight with morning and afternoon activities offered most days during our Indonesian Explorer voyage. Daily programs are posted on the TVs in each cabin as well as on a large screen outside the Main Lounge where there’s also a slideshow of photographs updated daily.

Shore excursions would generally involve a cultural activity such as a village visit where there would be an opportunity to interact with locals, purchase handicrafts, perhaps visit a school or witness a traditional dance performance. Additional excursions would include snorkeling, beach or island visits or Zodiac cruises to get up close to mangrove forests, for example.

On Antarctic and Subantarctic voyages shore excursions may take up most of the day with wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities, sometimes with packed lunches taken ashore to make the most of landing on remote islands.

During sea days, there are lectures and presentations scheduled. Many passengers take the opportunity to read or play board games in the Observation Lounge, workout in the gym, relax in the jacuzzi, European steam room or dry-heat Finnish sauna or book a massage treatment in the Spa Salon.

Sea days are also an opportune time to relax in between sometimes-exhausting activity-filled days and it’s not unusual for passengers to retreat to their suites mid-afternoon for a catch-up nap.

Nightlife on Heritage Adventurer

As expeditions on Heritage Adventurer are destination-focused, there isn’t any nighttime entertainment. With early morning starts -- bird watchers won’t be surprised to learn that some days on our Indonesian Explorer voyage started with 3:30 a.m. wakeup calls in order to visit a hide in the jungle to view rare Birds of Paradise – and activity-filled days, most passengers find themselves in a state of semi-exhaustion by evening and retire shortly after dinner.

Heritage Adventurer Cruise Ship Bars and Lounges

The forward -facing Observation Lounge with its 180-degree views and plethora of lounge chairs is a quiet space where the extensive library and board games are the main attraction. It’s a great place to read or while away hours over quiet conversation or a game of chess.

The Main Bar in The Lounge on Deck 5 opens late each afternoon prior to lectures and the daily expedition recap and briefing. The half hour or so before each evening’s recap is one of the most sociable times onboard where everybody comes together convivially to share stories of the days adventures.

The Pool Bar on Deck 7 opens for an hour or so in the afternoon during sea days or when there are no afternoon shore excursions scheduled. Each voyage includes house wine, beer and soft drinks during service for lunch and dinner and drinks may be purchased at other times when bars are open.

TIP: All Suites are equipped with minibars which can be stocked by cabin stewards at additional cost (except for Heritage and Worsley Suite guests when minibars are replenished daily free of charge).

Our Bar Pick on Heritage Adventurer

The Pool Bar offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a poolside drink and a shady sun lounge was our favourite place to unwind with a cold beer on steamy tropical days.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Heritage Adventure

Deck 7 is devoted to fitness, wellness and outdoor relaxation. Here you’ll find a (unheated) small saltwater swimming pool surrounded by padded sun lounges shaded by market umbrellas with glass sides to buffer any wind. A jacuzzi tub is enclosed with glass and would be a boon during Antarctic and Subantarctic voyages but was a little too warm to spend much time in during our tropical Indonesian Explorer voyage.


A Pool Bar opens up sporadically, for example on sea days or when there are no afternoon shore excursions scheduled. Passengers can purchase a drink from the Main Bar at other times and take it to the pool deck.

Outdoor Decks and Viewing Space on Heritage Adventurer

Spacious external spaces include an open-topped Observation Deck with sun lounges and 180-degree views on Deck 8. One level down is the pool deck where sun lounges are shaded by market umbrellas and pool towels are rolled up ready for use. There’s a glass-enclosed jacuzzi which would be popular during Antarctic and Subantarctic voyages but was a little too hot during our tropical Indonesian Explorer voyage.

There’s a large aft deck outside the Bistro on Deck 6 with enough tables and chairs to seat up to 140 passengers and a much smaller space aft on Deck 5 where smokers are permitted to smoke.

Services and Wi-Fi on Heritage Adventurer

Wi-Fi packages are available to purchase, though satellite Wi-Fi is achingly slow and is expensive (USD30 for 500mb or USD50 1GB). It’s useful if you need to access emails and for limited web browsing whilst on voyage but is cost prohibitive for heavy web users.

TIP: Pre-purchased E-sims are available in many parts of the world and are a cost-effective means of staying online whilst travelling

Spa on Heritage Adventurer

The Salon Spa is located on Deck 7 adjacent to the gym, steam room and sauna, and is open for treatments by prior appointment. Treatments available include massage and facials utilising Antipodes Nature products from New Zealand.

True to the ship’s Nordic origins, there’s a glass-enclosed jacuzzi, dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room with adjacent shower and changing room with towels and robes.

Fitness and Gym on Heritage Adventurer

A well-equipped air-conditioned gym on Deck 7 has a treadmill, stepping machine, rowing machine, two spin bikes, free weights and yoga mats. It’s open from early morning to late each evening though users are asked to not use the treadmill at certain times due to the noise it creates for Suites on the next level down.

Is Heritage Adventurer Family Friendly?

There are no limitations on the age of travelers onboard Heritage Adventurer and families with children are certainly welcome.

Some voyages are more suitable than others for families.

For example, on our 18-day-long Indonesian Explorer voyage there was a focus on beach days, island visits and snorkeling activities which were ideal for the three families onboard with teen-aged children. Other voyages with more sea days and less shore excursions may be less suitable.

There are no children-specific activities or amenities like child-minding or kids club.

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