All Images Courtesy of Viking
In January 2020, Viking recently announced the expansion of its destination-focused travel experiences with the launch of new expedition voyages. Viking Expeditions will begin sailing in January 2022 with its first vessel, Viking Octantis, embarking on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.
A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. Viking’s arrival to the Great Lakes will bring the newest vessels to explore this region of North America and will mark a major commitment to local tourism and economic development for Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.
“We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we launched in 1997; now, in creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, as well as usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
Viking Expedition Ship, Forward View
To develop the new expedition voyages, Viking has partnered with the world’s most prestigious scientific institutions. The lead partner is the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. This relationship is associated with a major Viking endowment for scientific research into the polar regions. As part of this endowment, the Institute’s scientists will undertake fieldwork onboard Viking’s expedition vessels and join these voyages to share their expertise with guests. Viking has also partnered with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a globally recognized bird research facility, whose ornithologists will regularly be on board the expedition ships. Additionally, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose scientists will join expeditions in the Great Lakes to conduct research focused on changes in the region’s weather, climate, and ecosystems. NOAA scientists may also offer lectures about the Great Lakes’ unique environment to Viking guests during these voyages.
Details of these plans were unveiled by Chairman Hagen, where he also announced that famed adventurers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honored as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles. Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001.
The Viking Expedition Ships, the Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms; both ships are currently under construction and will be delivered in Norway by Fincantieri’s VARD. Viking’s expedition ships will feature modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. They will also include:
Viking Expedition Ship- The Hangar
The Hangar: An industry first. It is an enclosed, in-ship marina that permits the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s multiple shell doors. The Hangar’s most innovative feature is 5 ft. slipway that allows guests to embark on RIBs from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves. There is also a FerryBox, a set of instruments continuously collecting and displaying data on water quality, oxygen content, plankton composition and more.
Viking Expedition Ship Convertible RIB Excursion
The Laboratory: The Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, while hosting guests, will also be working research vessels with an onboard team of Viking resident scientists working on a variety of studies. Developed in consultation with Cambridge University and Viking’s other academic partners, The Laboratory is designed to support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments. Guests will have supervised access to The Laboratory, located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn from and participate with scientists undertaking primary research, an experience unique to Viking.
Expedition Equipment: Viking will offer a variety of ways for guests to experience their destination, according to their interests and activity level, at no extra charge. Guests on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will include a fleet of military pro zodiacs designed for professional use in the harshest of environments; a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible RIBs. Each ship will also feature two six-guest submarines that feature revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an incomparable undersea experience.
Viking Expedition Ship — The Aula
The Aula & Finse Terrace: Viking has created the world’s most advanced venue for learning at sea with The Aula, a stunning panoramic auditorium at the stern. Inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula will offer a dynamic venue for lectures and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views.
Nordic Balcony: A first for polar expedition cruise vessels, all staterooms on board Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform. Harnessing the Norwegian reverence for light and to create the optimal wildlife observatory at sea, the Nordic Balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass at the very edge of the ship lets guests take the views in, while keeping the elements out.
Aquavit Terrace & Pools: Located at the stern and featuring a retractable glass dome, this indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary will allow guests to be surrounded by their destination as they swim and lounge in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an “inside-out” swimming experience.
The Nordic Spa & Fitness Center: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind – with a thermal suite that features a Sauna, Snow Grotto and chaise lounges, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and badestamp (hot tub), surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A state-of-the-art Fitness Center will also provide the latest equipment and workout gear.
Viking Expedition Ship– Exploring Antarctica
Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating “the thinking person’s expedition.”. The onboard expedition program is designed to prepare guests for their onshore experiences, with more than 25 experts accompanying each journey – the Viking Expedition Team (expedition leader and staff, photographer and submarine pilots) and Viking Resident Scientists (biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, ornithologists, polar experts and researchers). Onboard, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination – and engage with working scientists from renowned academic institutions in The Laboratory or participate directly in citizen science programs. Onshore, guests can assist in fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings – such as monitoring birds to help identify migratory patterns; accompanying scientists to collect samples; or taking their cameras ashore alongside a professional photographer to learn how best to capture scenic landscapes.
Sustainable Features: Compliant to all guidelines and regulatory requirements from AECO, IAATO, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Governor of Svalbard, Viking’s expedition ships minimize environmental impact and meet the most stringent emissions and biosecurity standards. Additionally, the straight bow reduces fuel consumption, and a dynamic positioning system enables the ship to hover over the seabed without anchoring, allowing access to pristine environments without damage.
The 2022-2023 Viking Expedition Inaugural Voyages List:
Antarctic Explorer (13 days; Buenos Aires to Ushuaia) Multiple sailing dates in January, February, November and December 2022; January and February 2023. Inaugural pricing starts at $14,995 per person, with discounted airfare from $999 per person.
Antarctic & South America Discovery (19 days; Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro) – Multiple sailing dates in March, October and November 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at $19,995 per person, with discounted airfare from $999 per person.
Arctic Adventure (13 days; Roundtrip Tromsø) – Multiple sailing dates in August and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at $13,395 per person, with discounted airfare from $999 per person.
From the Arctic to the Antarctic (44 days; Tromsø to Ushuaia) – Sailing date: September 21, 2022. Introductory pricing starts at $33,995 per person, with discounted airfare from $999 per person.
Undiscovered Great Lakes (8 days; Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee) –Inaugural pricing starts at $6,695 per person, with free airfare within North America.
Great Lakes Explorer (8 days; Milwaukee to Thunder Bay, Ontario) – Multiple sailing dates between May and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at $6,495 per person, with free airfare within North America.
Niagara & The Great Lakes (8 days; Toronto to Milwaukee) – Multiple sailing dates in April, May, June, July and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at $5,995 per person, with free airfare within North America.
Canadian Discovery (13 days; New York to Toronto) – Sailing dates in April and October 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at $8,995 per person, with free airfare within North America.
Owers Suite with Private Garden