Jewel of the Russian Far East aboard Heritage Adventurer

Jewel of the Russian Far East aboard Heritage Adventurer

From USD $13,950


The eastern seaboard of Russia dominates the North Pacific and yet very few people know anything about it, let alone have experienced it. This isolation has protected its most valuable assets – its wilderness and wildlife.

The area was considered an important ‘frontier zone’ during the Cold War, so it was off-limits to foreigners. Even Russians had to get special permission to travel here. These limitations were changed in 1991/92 with Perestroika but that didn’t make it more accessible. If anything it is probably less accessible now than it was, as there are fewer people living in the region. This makes it the perfect destination for Expedition Cruising.

In the winter much of the shoreline is choked by ice, however during spring and summer the region is a hive of activity. In September the thousands of birds that migrated here to take advantage of the phenomenal abundance of food will be preparing to leave.

The reindeer and mountain sheep will be feeding in preparation for the harsh winter, while fat Kamchatka Brown Bears, which have fed extensively on berries in the early summer, then feasted on salmon in the rivers and creeks, will be enjoying the late summer sunshine.

Late summer and early autumn is a beautiful time to discover this wilderness. The onset of autumn paints vibrant colours on the tundra-cloaked hillsides creating the perfect postcard landscape.

On this journey from Nome, United States to Otaru, Japan we will make numerous landings along these remote coastlines. We will select sites that few people visit such as river mouths, fiords, bays and islands that, in our experience, offer natural history enthusiasts, photographers, historians and travellers the most unique of opportunities.

Voyage with us and discover the unrestrained beauty and jewel that is the Russian Far East, with the option to join an exclusive tour of the world’s second largest geyser field – Valley of Geysers – via

Trip Name
Jewel of the Russian Far East 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 in Nome,Alaska’s most famous goldrush town. Make your way tothe designated meeting pointfor your transfer toHeritageAdventurer(times and meetingpoint will be confirmed with yourvoyage documents) where thecaptain and expedition teamwill be waiting to welcomeyou aboard. You will have theopportunity to settle into youraccommodation and familiariseyourself on board before joiningyour fellow expeditioners on deck as we set sail across the Bering Seaand International Date Line forProvideniya, Russia.
Day 2 - Day 2: Provideniya, Russia
After clearing Russian Customsand Immigration there will bean opportunity to explore thisfascinating former Soviet militaryport and administrative centrefollowed by an expeditionafternoon.
Day 3 - Day 3: Cape Dezhnev and Lavrentiya
This morning we plan to beat Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the 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 we planto land here and give you theopportunity to explore the area.A few nautical miles south ofCape Dezhnev we visit Lavrentiyavillage, home toChukchi, Yupikand Russians. While Russiandevelopment here began in thelate 1920s, Lavrentiya had beenan indigenous settlement longbefore. Explore the town square,sample local delicacies andexperience traditional culturalperformances with the friendlylocals.
Day 4 - Day 4: Yttygran Island & Bukhta Penkingney
Yttygran Island is home to themonumental ancient aboriginalsite known as Whale BoneAlley, where whale bonesstretch along the beach fornearly half a kilometre. There are many meat pits used forstorage and other remains of abusy whaling camp that unitedseveral aboriginal villages at atime. In one location, immenseBowhead Whale jawbones andribs are placed together in astunning arch formation.Gray andHumpback Whales are frequentlyseen around the island. Thisafternoon we plan to visit BukhtaPenkingney. This long fiord, cutinto the coastline by glaciers, is apopular spot for whale watching.Exploring this scenic locationwe will be looking for wildlifeincluding brown bear.
Day 5 - Day 5: At Sea
As we sail across AnadyrBay there will be lectures,opportunities to look for whalesand walrus from the deck,relaxing in the ship’s bar andcatching up with reading ordownloading and editing photos.
Day 6 - Day 6: Bukhta Gavriila and Pika River
This coastline is rich in marinemammals and one creature wewill be looking for, in particular,is the walrus. As the animalsregularly move betweenlocations, finding them can bea matter of luck, although wehave had success here in thepast. We plan to explore BukhtaGavriila. The bukhta (or bay) wasnamed after Commander VitusBering’s ship, theSt Gabriel, fromthe First Kamchatka Expedition.Behind the expansive beachthere is a lagoon and we mayalso visit Chukotka’s oldest,and the Arctic’s southernmost,weather station which now sitsabandoned. Due to strong tidesaround Cape Navarin there is anabundance of food here andit is not uncommon to see largenumbers of seabirds and GrayWhales congregating in the area.This afternoon we plan to visit the delta of Pika River – a well-knownwalrus haul out and one of thefew places in the southern part oftheir range that sees thousandsof animals coming to rest on thebeach.
Day 7 - Day 7: Bukhta Natalii
Along the Koryak Coast there aremany beautiful fiords (bukhtasor bays) and none are morebeautiful than Bukhta Natalii.This fiord has two smaller fiordsthat drain into it from the south –Bukhta Pavla and Bukhta Petra(named after St Peter and St Paulby Commander Vitus Bering). Weplan to cruise to Bukhta Pavla andmake a landing. The magnificentmountain landscapes and tundravegetation will surround us, alongwith the possibility of sightingSnow Sheep, as they are oftenseen in the area. There is a historicwalrus haul out on BogoslovaIsland which guards the entranceto these fiords.
Day 8 - Day 8: Tintikun Lagoon
Much of the southern GovenaPeninsula was declared a statereserve. This wildlife-rich and rarelyvisited location is surrounded byjagged peaks and cliffs wherewaterfalls tumble down valleys, and is home to KamchatkaBrown Bears, Steller’s Sea Eaglesand Largha Seals. During ourZodiac cruise we expect to enjoynumerous wildlife encountersand explore one of the region’smost spectacular fiords TintikunLagoon. This fiord was blocked bya large terminal moraine duringthe last period of glaciation.A shallow river surrounded byjagged mountains, glaciers andforested slopes has breachedthe moraine, allowing accessto one of the most picturesquelocations found anywhere in theworld. We take a closer look on aZodiac safari. There is also a largepopulation of brown bears andthese should be feeding in, andaround, the river mouth that draininto the head of the lagoon.
Day 9 - Day 9: Verkhutova Island
Verkhoturova Island has somehuge seabird colonies whichwe plan to get close to byfollowing a short, but steep trailto the clifftop. We should beable to enjoy some fantasticviews of Tufted Puffins, Brunnich’sGuillemots, Pelagic Cormorantsand Black-legged Kittiwakes. Wemay also see some Steller SeaLions, as they are often hauledout on offshore rocks nearby.
Day 10 - Days 10 to 11: Commander Islands
The Commander Islands consistof two large islands (Bering andMedny) with two smaller islandsAriy Karmen and Toporkov.These islands are located at thewestern extremity of the Aleutianchain. We intend to explore the islands through a combinationof landings and Zodiac cruises.Anchoring off Bering Island,named after Commander Beringwho had the misfortune ofdiscovering this land when his shipwas wrecked here in 1741, weplan to explore Commander Bay.Walk to the graves of Bering andsome of his crew who lost theirlives during the long cold winteron this remote land and visit thesite where they sought shelter. Thereports from those that survivedled to a ‘fur rush’ and thesettlement of the islands.Our first stop will be the villageof Nikolskoye, where we will visitone of the only museums in theworld to display a skeleton of thefamed (but now extinct) Steller’sSea Cow. After the village weplan to visit the fur seal rookeryat North-West Cape and Zodiaccruise the bird colony at AriyKamen. At nearby historic andatmospheric Medney Islandwe explore this fascinatinglandscape and wildlife includingPacific Sea Otters back from thebrink of extinction after beinghunted relentlessly in the 1800’s.
Day 11 - Day 12: Olga Bay and Zhupanova River
Olga Bay is a part of the verylarge Kronotskiy Reserve, whichalso includes the world-famous Valley of the Geysers. The habitatis quite different to what we willhave been experiencing beforewith lush Kamchatka forestscoming right down to the beachline. There is a possibility we willsee brown bears and other forestfauna, as well as multiple birdspecies that live in this habitat.The seas around Olga Bay arefrequented by large numbersof Gray Whales that are usuallyquite friendly to the visiting boats,if the conditions are right we willtake a Zodiac whale-watchingcruise. The rising volcanoes inthe background here provide abeautiful setting to explore realKamchatka wilderness.This afternoon we make our wayalong the Zhupanova River byZodiac. This journey allows usto explore a river habitat whichis common in Kamchatka. TheKamchatka rivers (of which thereare over 1,800) are importantecosystems that support a widevariety of wildlife. They areespecially important for salmonspawning – one of Kamchatka’svaluable natural resources.Steller’s Sea Eagles are knownto nest in the lower reaches ofthe river and we are likely to seemany young birds as well as afew adults still hanging aroundtheir nesting sites.
Day 12 - Day 13: Bukhta Russkaya, Kamchatka
If the weather is fine, fantasticviews of the many snow-coveredvolcanoes that dominate thesouthern part of the peninsulawill greet us as we sail up BukhtaRusskaya. Near the entrance ofthis isolated fiord, roughly 150miles north of the southern tip ofKamchatka, there have beensightings of both the Long-billedMurrelet and the endangeredKittlitz’s Murrelet. There is alsoan excellent chance of seeingSea Otters, Largha Seals, StellerSea Lions and Orcas. We planto make a landing at the headof the fiord where brown bearsare not uncommon. During thenight our vessel will enter AvachaBay, one of the greatest naturalharbours in the world.
Day 13 - Day 14: Petropavlovsk- Kamchatskiy
Today we plan to spend theday exploring Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital andadministrative centre of theKamchatka Region. The townwas founded in the 1700sby Commander Vitus Beringduring the Second KamchatkaExpedition. All through the ColdWar it was home to a significant part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet whichincluded a large submarine base.The city and region was ‘closed’to all foreign visitors until 1992.There is the option to join ourinclusive tour, or upgrade to join atour to the Valley of Geysers – thesecond largest geyser field in theworld – via helicopter.
Day 14 - Day 15: Ptich’i Rocks and Atlasova Island
Early this morning we will arriveat the wildlife rich Ptich’i or BirdRocks. The plan is to Zodiac cruisethese fascinating formationswhere an abundance of birds,seals and Sea Otters reside. SeaOtters were hunted to almostextinction in Russia, but nownumber back to almost two-thirdsof their historical range. Harbourand Largha Seals are oftenseen here as well as a healthypopulation of Tufted Puffins.We then plan to sail throughthe Second Kuril Strait betweenShumshu and Paramushir Islandson route to Altasova Island whereAlaid, the tallest volcano in thearchipelago with an elevation of2,340 metres, can be found.
Day 15 - Day 16: Onekotan Island
Today we plan to make alanding at Onekotan Island, anuninhabited island comprisingtwo stratovolcanos connected bya flat stretch of land and part of the Kuril Islands chain. Exploringthe island you will find extensiveevidence of fortifications built bythe Japanese during World War II.
Day 16 - Day 17: Simushir and Yankicha Islands
After an early breakfast we planto board the Zodiacs and cruiseinto a vast flooded caldera at thenorthern end of Simushir Island.Only a quarter of a century agothis was the location of a topsecret Soviet submarine stationwhere hundreds of mariners werebased. This haunting reminderof the Cold War has now beencompletely abandoned andwe can wander around whatremains of the base, which issteadily being reclaimed bynature. Within the stunning settingof this huge caldera, we canexpect to find a good rangeof species with one of the mostcommon birds likely to be thespectacular Siberian Rubythroatwhich can often be seen singingfrom the tops of scrubby bushes.Over lunch we plan to cruise toYankicha Island, the summit of asubmerged volcano. Invariablythis is one of the highpoints ofthe entire voyage as the numberof alcids breeding here is trulyincredible. Subject to weatherand sea conditions, we will usethe Zodiacs to circumnavigatepart of the coastline and then enter the flooded caldera.The concentrations of Crestedand Whiskered Auklets here aresimply spectacular and we canalso expect to get great viewsof Brunnich’s and CommonGuillemots and both Tufted andHorned Puffins. We also stand anexcellent chance of seeing ArcticFoxes that can be pretty inquisitiveas they patrol the auk colonieslooking for their next meal. Aswe return to the ship in the lateevening many of the alcids will bereturning to their colonies. Beingsurrounded by clouds of birdsdarkening the sky is an experienceyou will never forget.
Day 17 - Day 18: Chirpoy and Urup Islands
This morning we plan to anchoroff Chirpoy Island where there aresome dramatic headlands coveredin breeding seabirds. Black-legged Kittiwakes and Brunnich’sGuillemots are among the morenumerous species that we are likelyto find here. As we continue southtowards Urup there is an excellentchance of observing Sperm Whaleand Orca from the ship. LaysanAlbatross, Ancient and Long-billedMurrelets, Brunnich’s Guillemot,Crested and Rhinoceros Aukletsand Tufted Puffins are often seenin good numbers on this crossing. On an extended walk on UrupIsland we will explore the scrubbywoodland. Beachcombing andwalking can be very rewardinghere as there is the possibility ofseeing both Largha and HarbourSeals, as well as Pacific Sea Otters.
Day 18 - Day 19: Iturup Island
This morning we make our wayto the community of Kurilsk.where local buses will take usinto the volcanic highlands ofIturup. Passing through somespectacular scenery as westeadily climb up towardsthe Baranskiy volcano, theremay be an opportunity tosoak in the thermal pools. Thehigher altitude and differentvegetation provides a greatcontrast to recent days. On ourreturn to Kurilsk there should bean opportunity to explore the village on a nature walk with ourexpedition guides or do somefurther birding.
Day 19 - Day 20: Sakhalin Island
We arrive at the Port of Korsakovon Sakhalin Island where wewill clear Russian Customs andImmigration before setting sail forOtaru, Japan. This evening enjoya farewell dinner and recap ofour adventure.
Day 20 - Day 21: Otaru, Japan
This morning we arrive in Otaru,a port city in Hokkaido knownfor glassworks, music boxes, sakedistilleries and picturesque OtaruCanal flanked with shops andcafes built within repurposed1920s warehouses. After breakfastand clearing Japan Customsand Immigration, there will bea complimentary coach to acentral hotel or to the airport. Toallow time for disembarkationprocedures and travel fromOtaru, we do not recommendbooking flights departing before13:00hrs.
Day 21 - 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
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $13,950MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $14,485SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $18,475SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $18,975SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $20,975MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $22,275SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $23,475WORSLEY SUITES
04-09-202225-09-2022USD $32,450HERITAGE SUITES


    • Visit Provideniya, Cape Dezhnev and Lavrentiya
    • Discover Yttygran Island & Bukhta Penkingne
    • Enjoy Bukhta Natalii, Tintikun Lagoon & Verkhutova Island
    • Explore Commander Islands, Ptich’i Rocks and Atlasova Island