Over the past 130 years, National Geographic has become an icon of exploration, venturing from the depths of the oceans to the highest mountain peaks and into the world’s most remote and fascinating places. Now they are sharing these incredible experiences through National Geographic Expeditions, a division of Disney Destinations. So, what does it mean to travel like the experts?

Senior vice president of Disney Destinations Sales Solutions, Javier Moreno, shared with us some of the most exciting aspects of touring with National Geographic Expeditions. Moreno is a travel industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in tourism. Having lived in Colombia, Spain and France, he is now based in Orlando, Florida, and is fluent in French, English, Italian and Spanish.

What makes National Geographic Expeditions different from other tour operators?

National Geographic Expeditions embodies the 130-year-old legacy of National Geographic’s scientists, storytellers and adventurers who have journeyed across all seven continents around the world. When you travel with us, you’ll be joined by a National Geographic Expert who will share their deep knowledge, cultural expertise and personal stories to help you deeply connect with the incredible destinations you’ll visit on your journey. Additionally, each expedition helps to fund ongoing initiatives of our explorers and researchers, so not only do our travelers receive one-of-a-kind experiences, they also support global initiatives of protection, preservation and education. That is the National Geographic difference..

What does it mean to travel alongside a dedicated expedition team? What role do they play?

One of the things that differentiates National Geographic Expeditions from other tour operators is that travelers get to share the experience with one of our National Geographic Experts — true experts in their fields with fascinating firsthand accounts and deep knowledge of the destination. Whether its exploring archeological ruins in Machu Picchu with an archaeologist, whale watching in Alaska with a conservationist or photographing the Northern Lights with a National Geographic photographer, our travelers are immersed in cultures and experiences guided by experts in their fields. With our experts along by your side, you become a true explorer yourself — enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience and connecting deeply with some of the most incredible destinations on earth.

Which itineraries are you most excited about right now?

Having grown up in Spain, and until recently living in France, I have a particular fondness for the Human History: Northern Spain and Southwest France Signature Land itinerary. This spectacular expedition currently features National Geographic Grantee Dr. Ana Cristina Pinto Llona, an archaeologist who has done incredible work in this region. Ana joins the group on an expedition through Atapuerca, where Europe’s oldest known hominin fossils were found. Other incredible destinations include the Lascaux cave, the National Museum of Prehistory and Castel Merle, a complex of prehistoric stone shelters. All of these incredible destinations are really brought to life by our experts, who share their deep knowledge and fascinating history of the human race — what we know and what we’re still learning.

I also love to talk about our Danube River Cruise: Budapest to Vilshofen. The accommodations and service onboard are top-notch, and you’ll have the chance to experience five different countries with two National Geographic Experts who are with you throughout the journey. I especially love the opportunity we offer guests to work alongside a National Geographic Photographer, who will join you at sunrise at the Wachau Valley and share tips and techniques to help you capture amazing photos. You’ll also enjoy a specially arranged tour of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, food and wine tastings, yodeling, folklore and even a waltz lesson.

Many people may not realize that you can experience National Geographic Expeditions by land, air and water. From our Signature Land trips, to our River and Expedition Cruises, to our Private Jet trips and even Private and Custom Expeditions, we have so many incredible ways to deeply immerse yourself in the most awe-inspiring places on this planet.

I know many people think about amazing wildlife when they think about the National Geographic brand. Does National Geographic Expeditions offer itineraries that allow travelers to experience wildlife in their natural habitats?

Absolutely! Many of our itineraries center around incredible wildlife sighting opportunities. Whether it’s observing orangutans in Borneo, watching humpbacks in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park or even seeing penguins in Antarctica, National Geographic Expeditions brings our travelers into the wilderness with seasoned experts to experience it all. One great example is our very popular itinerary On Safari: Tanzania’s Great Migration. You’ll meet with a conservationist from KopeLion to learn about National Geographic-funded work aimed at preventing human/lion conflict in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. While exploring multiple National Parks and conservation areas, travelers on this trip can expect to see elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, lions, leopards and more. You’ll conclude your journey at Serengeti National Park, where our travelers often have the opportunity to witness wildebeest crossing the river as part of their great annual migration.

How do you envision the future of travel?

I have never felt more optimistic about the future of our industry. The past couple of years have clearly had dramatic impacts on travel, but as we see the industry stabilizing, we are seeing an increased appetite to explore new places. Now more than ever, travelers are interested in authentic cultural experiences, trying new things and checking off those “bucket list” destinations. More importantly, people are looking for connection — connection with each other, connection with communities, connection with the world. New places and meaningful connections are at the core of our vision at National Geographic Expeditions, so I’m excited to be on the forefront of delivering these types of amazing experiences to travelers.

We believe that these distinctive encounters with wildlife — guided by conservationists, biologists and local experts — can truly change a person for the better. You develop an appreciation for the beauty of nature like never before and a deeper resolve to help protect the habitat of these incredible animals.