After cementing its place on the rivers, and then the oceans, Viking is set to cruise into the expedition space, with the brand-new Viking Expeditions voyages.
Just as Erik the Red sailed the seas of the world, Viking Cruises, with its strong connection to Norway, its history and Scandinavia, is sailing into new territory with the addition of Viking Expeditions. Two incredible expedition ships will launch in 2022, the Viking Octantis, and Viking Polaris.
Named after the South Star, Viking Octantis will launch in January 2022, with sibling Polaris, named after the North Star, to sail away in August of the same year. Both of these Polar Class 6 ships will carry 378 guests in 189 staterooms, with many innovative features setting the ships apart. All staterooms on the ships will feature a Nordic balcony – a first for polar expedition cruise vessels. These clever sunrooms convert into al fresco viewing platforms, designed to bring guests closer to the wildlife and beautiful places the ship will take you.
Another innovation is The Hangar – an enclosed in-ship marina. An industry first, it consists of a 25-metre long slipway that provides a flat and stable surface for the small excursion craft to come in, making it easy for passengers to get on and off. This will be a game changer for passengers heading off on excursions on the two – yes two submarines – a fleet of zodiacs, two-seater kayaks and two RIBs.
The ships will also function as working research vessels with the onboard Laboratory home to a team of resident scientists carrying out a variety of studies. In another first, guests will be able to visit The Laboratory to learn from and participate in some of the research.
Oh, the places you will go
The first of the Viking Expedition ships, Viking Octantis, will shine with voyages to the Antarctic and to North America’s Great Lakes, while Viking Polaris will explore Antarctica and the Arctic. Octantis will be the most modern vessel ever to cruise the Great Lakes, visiting the US states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as Ontario in Canada. Bookings are open now for a number of eight to 13-day itineraries.
In the Antarctic, choose the 13-day Antarctic Explorer from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, into the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula, or the 19-day journey from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro that will take you to the Falkland Islands as well as the Peninsula. In the Arctic, the 13-day round trip exploration from Tromsø centres on the incredibly spectacular Svalbard archipelago, with the ultimate trip being the 44-day double polar adventure from Tromsø in the Arctic to Ushuaia.
No matter where you go, the experience will be enjoyable with both ships designed with straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilisers that allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey. The ice-strengthened Polar Class 6 hulls are amazingly strong, and the U-tank stabilisers decrease the rolling motion when stationary, by up to 50 per cent.
Life on board
Stepping onto a Viking ship is like walking into the welcoming lobby of a gorgeous five-star boutique hotel. The styling is superb with that elegant Scandinavian flair and Norwegian heritage throughout and the onboard facilities are first class. There are six stateroom categories to choose from, from the Nordic Balcony to the Explorer Suites, with all featuring heated bathroom floors, a floor-to-ceiling drying closet and king-size bed.
In true Viking Cruises style guests will be able to relax in the Explorer’s Lounge, with its two decks on the bow, the Aquavit Terrace and pools on the stern and the Nordic Spa & Fitness Center with its legendary Snow Grotto, hot tub, sauna, hydrotherapy pool and fully-kitted out gym.
New to Viking is The Aula, an impressive auditorium for lectures and entertainment, while the Finse Terrace, which sits adjacent, is an outdoor lounge area complete with lava rock ‘firepits’.
Erik the Red would surely approve.