Pioneering New Zealand expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions has added the 18-guest expedition yacht Heritage Explorer to its fleet.
The return of the New Zealand-flagged vessel, formerly known as the Suwannee River and Kalibobo Spirit, to Aotearoa waters marks both the return to the boutique Kiwi adventures the company was founded on and a domestic expansion of its expedition repertoire.
“Operating a Kiwis only summer season has shown us that New Zealanders are as passionate as ever about exploring our amazing backyard and Heritage Explorer will offer a more accessible and intimate variation of our traditional voyages,” says Heritage Expeditions Director and Expedition Leader Aaron Russ. “We are really excited to bring a new style of voyage to destinations we know intimately, and offer more in-depth exploration experiences of New Zealand.”
While the company’s latest addition was being prepared for her maiden Heritage Expeditions voyage, new itineraries and destinations were being finalised. Upcoming journeys will include the Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Islands, Marlborough Sounds, Stewart Island and Fiordland. Heritage Explorer will also be available for private charter.
Heritage Explorer boasts a considered design that’s both ahead of its time and showcases a clever balance of privacy, comfort, spaciousness and agility, allowing her to explore the furthest reaches of New Zealand’s backyard while introducing new levels of bespoke comfort.
Tastefully decorated, Heritage Explorer’s contemporary wood-finished interior features well-appointed cabins including a Master Suite, double, twin and single options, all of which feature private ensuites, windows or portholes, air conditioning, PABX satellite telephones, and flat-screen televisions with access to the ships GPS plotter, allowing guests to follow their voyage.
Elsewhere onboard, guests will find a multitasking dining room with 180-degree views and theatre capabilities; a lounge and cocktail bar featuring a flight of inclusive New Zealand regional wines, beers and spirits; a well-stocked region-specific library, and plenty of covered deck space including a flybridge perfect for wildlife spotting, sunrises and sunsets. As with all Heritage Expeditions vessels, Heritage Explorer will have an open bridge policy and a full commercial kitchen helmed by a talented chef who will focus on highlighting local produce and any guest catches of the day. There will also be an enthusiastic and passionate expedition team while the vessel will be helmed by a New Zealand captain and crew.
Guests will have full use of kayaks and fishing equipment along with the option for diving charters in the future, while two tenders allow for deeper exploration and the unforgettable wildlife encounters synonymous with all Heritage Expeditions adventures.
Heritage Explorer was built by renowned New Zealand wooden boatbuilding family Carey’s Boatyard Picton in 2004 and refitted in Cairns in late 2007. The yacht joins Heritage Expeditions’ other vessels Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov) and Akademik Shokalskiy. Robust yet refined, Heritage Explorer features high-performance dual Scania 653 horsepower engines capable of 10 knots, bow thruster, stabilisers, full air-conditioning, sound attenuated twin generators and a hydraulic aft ramp, while a comprehensive safety-focused electronics package ensures the ultimate Kiwi adventure awaits.
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