Heritage Adventurer is a purpose-built expedition ship with Finnish ship building pedigree designed for Polar exploration. While Heritage Adventurer the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super), the ship is equally well-suited to tropical waters. For an expedition vessel it is unusually spacious, though the ship’s overall compact size makes it easy to move around between decks.
Bright and modern public areas and private staterooms are bathed in natural light thanks to large panoramic windows. The ambience onboard is convivial and relaxed with ample public areas to socialise in small groups or relax in quiet spaces, while an open bridge policy during day light hours encourages guest/crew interaction.
Twin guest elevators and adjacent staircases provide easy access to all levels. Shore excursions disembark from gangways on either side, close to mud rooms where wet gear may be stored. Daily briefings and guest lecturer presentations take place in the Lounge and Bar which is a popular place for socialising. Tea and coffee stations are available 24 hours a day in the Bistro, Library and Lounge.
Heritage Expeditions is focused on responsible travel, supporting the communities visited and conservation advocacy by providing funds and logistical support for research and management. The company makes annual contributions to the NZ Dept of Conservation, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife and the Antarctic Heritage Trust and provides scholarships to your people through True Young Explorer.
At 407-feet long, Heritage Adventurer is a compact ship that’s easy to navigate. Spacious external spaces include an open-topped Observation Deck with sun lounges and 180-degree views (Deck 8). The pool deck (Deck 7) has sun lounges and a glass-enclosed jacuzzi, plus two additional outside spaces at the aft (Decks 5 and 6) with sitting areas, with one set aside for smokers.
Indoors on Deck 7 is a large forward-facing Observation Lounge with an extensive library, board games and a tea and coffee station. Aft of the Lounge is a wellness centre which has a spa salon, good-sized gym with treadmill, stepper, spin bikes, rowing machine and free weights, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.
TIP: Exercise junkies will love that the air-conditioned gym is open early morning to late each night and is fitted out with modern equipment and free weights.
Dining options include a casual indoor/outdoor Bistro aft (Deck 6) and a roomy light-filled indoor dining room (Deck 4) rimmed on three sides with picture windows. Deck 5 is the central hub of the ship where the Pursers office is located along with a Lounge and bar where presentations and daily briefings take place. There’s a small gift shop which opens sporadically on Deck 4 and a medical clinic and small presentation theatre on Deck 2. Suites on decks 4 – 6 have large windows giving them a feeling of spaciousness while deck 3 single and triple suites have twin or single portholes.
Disembarkation takes place either side of the ship on Deck 3 via gangways with a landing platform for ease of stepping in and out of zodiacs. Mud rooms adjacent to each gangway have lockers for storage of wet weather gear, boots, shoes and snorkeling equipment.
Heritage Adventurer’s cabins are well-sized with all but Deck 3 rooms fitted with large picture windows. Triple and single cabins on Deck 3 have one or two portholes which means less natural light, making them feel less spacious than say the triple cabins on Deck 5.
Eight Single suites -- the same size as twin suites -- are reserved for solo occupancy.
Deck 6 is reserved for the highest category of suites, including the are 144-square-foot Heritage Suites, featuring twin panoramic windows in a spacious room with a living area with sofa, coffee table, work desk, king bed and complimentary minibar which is replenished daily. A marble bathroom has twin basins, a separate bathtub and shower. Complimentary in-room dining, laundry service and a USD spa credit are added niceties. Worsley Suites are half the size at 72 square feet with their main benefit being elevated Deck 6 positioning, complimentary in-room dining and minibar replenished daily.
TIP: Luxury travellers with a fondness for bathtubs should book a Heritage Suite for maximum room to spread out.
Other suites are similarly sized at roughly 72 square feet and come with either twin, king or triple bed configurations. In triples, a bunk folds down from the wall that’s suitable for small adults. Each has a sofa, coffee table, work desk and minibar that can be stocked by cabin stewards at additional cost. The main difference in pricing relates to positioning on the ship with the lower levels less expensive.
All suites benefit from ample storage space with floor to ceiling cabinetry, programable safes and an entrance ‘wet area’ where shoes and jackets may be left to air. Bathrooms are compact, though are well lit with an abundance of mirrors to reflect lighting which makes them feel larger than they actually are.
Solo travelers may choose either sole occupancy or to share a twin or triple with other (same sex) solo travelers.
Dining is a highlight on Heritage Adventurer, particularly if you prefer to dine outdoors in relaxed style. The Bistro has indoor and outdoor seating (breakfast and lunch) while the Dining Room is indoor in air-conditioned comfort (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
A continental ‘early risers’ breakfast is served at the Bistro and is great for those who like to see the sun rise over coffee or a light breakfast whether you sit indoors or out. There’s a selection of fresh fruits, fresh-baked pastries, cereals and juice. Tea and coffee (espresso coffee machine) is available 24 hours a day from stations in the Bistro, Lounge and Observation Lounge/Library.
For lunch choose from a somewhat limited Bistro menu with options such as fish and chips, burgers and salads. There’s also the occasional special lunch cooked by Chefs on the Bistro deck reflecting the vessels’ current cruising grounds.
The Dining Room benefits from large windows which bathe tables draped in white linen with oodles of natural light. Snappy, friendly service from staff who make an effort to memorise guest names and drink choices make dining friendly and informal. Table configurations range from intimate tables for two to circular tables of ten and everything in between. Open seating allows guests to choose when, where and with whom they dine. There’s a buffet selection along with a la carte choices for breakfast and lunch while dinner is a three course a la carte menu which changes daily.
TIP: House beer, wine and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner service. Additional drinks are available for purchase from the Lounge Bar or Pool Bar (when open).
Heritage Expeditions with its family-owned New Zealand heritage attracts a loyal following among Australians and New Zealanders, many of whom have done multiple voyages or sign up for back-to-back expeditions.
But the passenger mix is truly international, leaning towards a middle-aged to older demographic from USA, Canada and Europe. Most are well-travelled, well-heeled and interested in the type of cultural and nature-based activities which were a focus of our 18-day Indonesian Explorer voyage.
We saw three families with teen-aged children on our Indonesian voyage who had taken their children out of school for ‘hands on learning they would never get in a classroom’ according to one New Zealand mother. Twice daily activities in tropical regions meant there was plenty of opportunity to swim, snorkel and walk ashore in villages or national parks. Polar voyages may be less suitable for families with children with typically more sea days and less time ashore.