I them them to explore strange new places, seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where no man has gone before. This one takes place on Earth where they have to stop a dangerous new enemy that threats to destroy the... Ect Ect.
I'm well known for my negative views on Abrams, but I don't believe in putting Prime Trek on a pedestal, unless I'm doing one of my anti-Abrams rants in the Trek XI forum.
Not very much of Star Trek is about exploring, despite the catchphrase "to boldly go where no man/one has gone before." TOS and TNG had the Enterprise and crew going on Starfleet assigned missions, DS9 was a space station dealing with internal issues, Voyager was about getting home. Enterprise was about pure exploration, until its viewers disappeared than they went on a mission of combat and finally the show became continuity masturbation until the plug was pulled.
None of the ten Prime movies were about exploration at all. In fact, only the last two were even about aliens who never appeared on the TV shows. Although dialogue indicates that these aliens were already known to the Federation despite being new to the audiences.
Now, I don't think Abrams is taking Trek in the right direction, but not because there's a lack of exploration, because XI just isn't a good movie. It's a lazy and meaningless popcorn flick. Into Darkness looks better, but it would be nice if some information was made available instead of this silly shroud of secrecy Abrams insists on doing everything in.