Across the Top of The World aboard Heritage Adventurer

Across the Top of The World aboard Heritage Adventurer

From USD $11,450


This unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which, then and now, lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world.

The voyage journeys through the narrow Bering Strait, which separates Russia from the United States of America, and then travels west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island. There we will spend four to five days under the guidance of local rangers on the nature reserve. Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age, this island is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of Polar Bears that breed here. We hope to catch many glimpses of this beautiful animal. The island also boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific Walrus and lies near major feeding grounds for the Gray Whales that migrate thousands of kilometres north from their breeding grounds in Baja, Mexico. Reindeer, Musk Oxen and Snow Geese can normally be seen further inland. A visit to massive bird cliffs on nearby Herald Island is also planned. The ‘mammoth steppe’ vegetation complex, a rich and diverse relic from the Pleistocene epoch nurtures over 400 plant species and never fails to astound visitors with its sublime beauty. The number and type of endemic plant species, the diversity within plant communities, the presence of relatively recent mammoth tusks and skulls, a range of terrain types and geological formations in the small geographical space are all visible evidence of Wrangel’s rich natural history and its unique evolutionary status within the Arctic.

The human history of Wrangel Island is fascinating on its own. Highlights include a 3,400 year old Paleo Eskimo camp in Krassin Bay, controversy over discovery and ownership of the island, the amazing story of the survivors of the Karluk, Ada Blackjack the heroine of the island, the Soviet occupation and militarisation and, more recently, the establishment of this world class nature reserve. A host of similarly enthralling stories hail from several optional landings along the northern coasts of Chukotka. Our expert expedition team will take you on guided walks, Zodiac cruises and provide lectures to help you better understand and appreciate this unique High Arctic landscape.

Trip Name
Across the Top of The World aboard Heritage Adventurer
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Nome, Alaska, USA
Our expedition begins and endsin Nome, Alaska’s most famousgold rush town. Make your wayto the designated meeting pointfor your transfer toHeritageAdventurer(times and meetingpoint will be confirmed with yourvoyage documents) where thecaptain and expedition teamwill be waiting to welcome youaboard.You will have the opportunity tosettle into your accommodationand familiarise yourself onboard before joining your fellowexpeditioners on deck as weset sail across the Bering Straitand International Date Line forProvideniya, Russia.
Day 2 - Day 2: Provideniya, Russia
After clearing Russian Customsand Immigration there maybe an opportunity to explorethis fascinating former Sovietmilitary port and administrativecentre followed by an afternoonexpedition.
Day 3 - Day 3: Yttygran Island and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
Yttygran Island is home to themonumental ancient aboriginalsite known as Whale Bone Alley,where whale bones stretchalong the beach for nearly halfa kilometre. There are manymeat pits used for storage andother remains of a busy whalingcamp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. Inone location, immense BowheadWhale jawbones and ribs areplaced together in a stunningarch formation. Gray Whalesare frequently seen around theisland. After landing at WhaleBone Alley we will take theZodiacs on a whale-watchingexcursion. This afternoon weintend to make a landing at theGil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are ashort walk from the coastline, butwell worth the effort. There will bea chance to explore the tundrafor birds, plants and animals aswe walk to and fro. After a soakin the springs we will re-join theship for a relaxing evening.
Day 4 - Day 4: Bukhta Pultin and Cape Dezhnev
This morning there may bean opportunity to enjoy aZodiac safari of Bukhta Pultin.Beyond its narrow entrance thissheltered and rarely-visited bayopens revealing a new world.Explore the coastline, fields ofwildflowers, look for wildlife orhike up the ridgeline and take inthe impressive helicopter view.This afternoon we plan tobe at Cape Dezhnev, thenorth-eastern most point ofthe Eurasian continent. Thiscape commemorates theaccomplishment of the CossackSemyon Dezhnev who was thefirst European to sail through thisstrait in 1648 (80 years beforeBering did). On the cape is alighthouse, a monument andthe remains of a Border Guardbase. If the weather and seaconditions are suitable weplan to land here and give youthe opportunity to explore thearea. A short distance southof the cape is the former Inuitsettlement of Naukan. TheSoviet government relocatedthese people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it wasthought they posed a securityrisk, supposedly because of theclose proximity of Alaska. It is stillpossible to sense the melancholyin the air because the peoplenever wanted to leave. As therelocation was fairly recent,there is a wealth of historic dataand photographs that makes thisvisit even more poignant.
Day 5 - Day 5: Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inlet
Today is an expedition daywhere we plan to visit KolyuchinIsland and Inlet. Once thelocation of an important RussianPolar Research Station, thissmall island has since beenabandoned following thecollapse of the USSR. Whilethe buildings are now derelict,the abundant wildlife the menstudied is still there. Near the oldstation at the north-western endof the island are some of themost amazing bird cliffs in theArctic, where puffins, guillemots,gulls and cormorants can beobserved and photographed justmetres away. A prominent walrushaul out often congregates atthe south-eastern end and, ifthe animals are present, youcan expect some excellentphotographic opportunities fromthe Zodiacs.We also plan to visit Belaka Spitnear the mouth of the KolyuchinInlet. So huge that it is visiblefrom satellite photos, it containsvast numbers of waterfowl andmigratory waders. This wild anddesolate landscape is alsoa strangely beautiful birdinghotspot. Joined by BeringiaNational Park rangers, we planto search the dunes and tidalareas for Emperor Geese. If weare lucky, the Gray Whales whichfrequent the area will be feedingjust metres offshore.
Day 6 - Days 6 to 10: Wrangel and Herald Islands
Ice and weather conditionspermitting, we plan to spend thenext few days exploring WrangelIsland and, if possible, we alsoplan to include a visit to nearbyHerald Island.Wrangel Island is one of thoseislands that you have to visit toappreciate. The earliest humanoccupation is dated 3200 yearsBC, and it has been establishedthat they were seasonal huntersfrom Siberia. The island’spresence was speculatedabout and marked on mapsby early Russian explorers, butit wasn’t until 1849 that it was‘rediscovered’ by the British. ACanadian expedition attemptedto establish a permanentsettlement and claim the islandfor Canada, however they wereevicted by the Russians who tookownership of the island.Today it is a Russian FederalNature Reserve of internationalimportance. A lot of itssignificance lies in the fact thatit is a major Polar Bear denningarea. In fact it is sometimesreferred to as ‘the world’sPolar Bear maternity ward’ onaccount of the large numbersof cubs born there. It is also thelast landfall for migratory speciesflying north. Each summer thousands of birds migrate hereto breed including Snow Geese,Snowy Owl, skua and Arctic Tern.There are many landings thatwe can make to search outwildlife, wild flowers and Arcticlandscapes. Polar Bears will behigh on our list of animals tosee and with a little patiencewe should be rewarded witha number of encounters.Musk Oxen and reindeer wereintroduced to the island in 1975and 1948 respectively, thoughreindeer numbers are low. Wealso have a chance to visit DragiHarbour where the survivors oftheKarluk, which was crushedby ice in 1914, scrambled ashoreand lived until they were rescued.If ice conditions permit, we will explore Herald Island to the eastof Wrangel Island.
Day 7 - Day 11: North Siberian Coast
Although the North SiberianCoast is well-mapped andcharted, there have been veryfew expedition cruises here and,consequently, there is a lot ofscope for expedition landings.Depending on weather and seaconditions we will attempt anexpedition landing today.There are several choicesincluding Cape Vankaremwhere there is a seasonal largewalrus haul out which mayhave animals present. Anotheris the area around the Capebounded by narrow sand ridgeswith numerous coastal lagoons and inlets; while nearby there isa small Chukchi village whoseresidents still make their livinghunting walrus, seals and whales.Another option is Chukchi villageNutepelmen, situated on a spitat the entrance to PyngopikhinLagoon, west of Cape Vankarem.
Day 8 - Day 12: Unnamed Bay and Lavrentiya
Picturesque Unnamed Bay isour planned destination for thismorning where we will Zodiaccruise to shore. Welcomedby an expansive stretch ofbeach, backed by a lagoonand surrounded by rugged hills,there’s much to discover. Enjoya walk along the beach andtundra looking for wildlife, orscale one of the nearby peaksand take in the stunning vistas.Dropping anchor in beautifulLavrentiya Bay, we expect tospend the afternoon exploringits historically and culturally richvillage. A former indigenoussettlement, this Soviet-plannedcommunity was established inthe 1920s as an administrativecentre where local Chukchi andSiberian Yupik were encouragedto move to. We plan to visit theLavrentiya museum, meet localelders and enjoy an authentictaste and slice of village life inthe main square.
Day 9 - Day 13: Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island
This morning we will be launchingour Zodiacs with a plannedlanding at Bukhta Penkingney, along fiord cut into the coastlineby glaciers and popular spot forwhale watching. Here a smallbraided river, its gravel bedstudded with Willow bushes,winds its way down to thesea where we land. Exploringthis scenic location we willbe looking for Arctic GroundSquirrels and Pikas, WillowPtarmigan, Sandhill Cranes andbrown bears attracted by theberries and salmon-filled river.This afternoon we plan to cruiseover to Arakamchechen Island,just north of Cape Chaplino andseparated from the Chukotkamainland by the 8-kilometrewide Senyavina Strait. Havingwatched Gray Whales feedinghere previously, we recommendbeing out on deck as we slowlycruise through the strait. OnArakamchechen Island we aimto explore the lush tundra and,if they are present, view theprominent walrus haul out.
Day 10 - Day 14: Provideniya
After clearing Russian Customsand Immigration in Provideniyawe will set sail for Nome acrossthe Bering Strait. One of the world’s most nutrient-richstretches of water, each springthe Bering Strait is the scene ofone of the planet’s largest wildlifemigrations. Beluga, Bowheadand Gray Whales, walrus, RingedSeals and numerous seabirds areall known to frequent the strait sothere is plenty of opportunity forwildlife encounters.Join the expedition team fora recap and disembarkationbriefing before enjoying afarewell dinner to celebrate ourjourney as we sail back acrossthe International Date Line.
Day 11 - Day 15: Nome, Alaska, USA
After breakfast and clearingUS Immigration and Customsformalities it will be time tosay our farewells. There will bea complimentary transfer totake you to the airport or adesignated central location.
Day 12 - Please Note:
During our voyage,circumstances may make itnecessary or desirable to deviatefrom the proposed itinerary.This can include poor weatherand/or opportunities for makingunplanned excursions. YourExpedition Leader will keep youfully informed.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $11,450MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $11,950SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $14,475SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $15,075SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 5
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $16,975MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $17,950SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $20,950WORSLEY SUITES
24-07-202207-08-2022USD $28,950HERITAGE SUITES
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $14,475SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $15,075SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 5
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $16,975MAIN DECK SINGLE CABIN
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $17,950SUPERIOR SINGLE CABIN
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $20,950WORSLEY SUITES
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $28,950HERITAGE SUITES
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $11,450MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABIN
07-08-202221-08-2022USD $11,950SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABIN
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $11,450MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $11,950SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $14,475SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $15,075SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $16,975MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $17,950SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $20,950WORSLEY SUITES
21-08-202204-09-2022USD $28,950HERITAGE SUITES


    • Enjoy Yttygran Island and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
    • Discover Bukhta Pultin and Cape Dezhnev
    • Travel to Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inlet
    • Explorer Wrangel and Herald Islands
    • Sail along North Siberian Coast
    • Visit Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island