Viking Expedition Cruises receives delivery of the first of two new expedition ships



Photos courtesy of Viking Cruises

Beginning in January 2022, the new Viking Octantis will explore Antarctica and the Great Lakes, as Viking announced that it has received the Viking Octantis®, the first of the company’s two new expedition ships. The handover ceremony took place on a recent morning in December 2021 at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway.

Viking Octantis will host 378 guests and will immediately sail to South America, to welcome guests in January 2022 for Viking’s first trips to Antarctica.

Viking Octantis will be officially named in April 2022 in New York City by her ceremonial godmother, Liv Arnesen, a famous explorer and educator. The boat then heads to the Great Lakes, for a series of trips during the spring and summer. A second identical sister ship, the Viking Polaris®, joins the fleet in August 2022 for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic.

RIB Viking ship, exploring Antarctica

The new Viking expedition ships were designed by Richard Riviere, founding director of the acclaimed interior design firm Rottet Studio in Los Angeles, who also designed the award-winning Viking Longships and Ocean Ships. SMC Design of London contributed with its experience in the maritime sector. Together, the two companies recently received the “Design Studio of the Year” award at the 2021 Inland Cruise Ship Awards for their work on Viking expedition ships. The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris accommodate 378 guests in 189 cabins.

The new ships feature the company’s distinctive Scandinavian design, with public areas preferred to Viking’s ocean-going ships, as well as new spaces created specifically for expeditions. Highlights include:

The Hangar: The Hangar is a novelty in the industry, it is a marina closed inside the boat that brings comfort to expedition trips with a new innovative way of embarking and disembarking excursion boats. The most innovative feature of the Hangar is an 85-foot ramp that allows guests to embark and disembark excursion boats from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, protected from wind and waves.

The Science Laboratory: Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are the first expedition ships with substantial laboratories on board. Developed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, the 380-square-foot The Science Lab is designed to support a wide range of research activities and is equipped with dry and wet laboratory facilities. , a sample processing area, fumes. cabinet, freezer and fresh storage, full microscope optics and ample bench space for specific analysis instruments. Guests have supervised access to The Science Lab, located on a glass mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn and engage with scientists conducting primary research, a unique experience for Viking.

Antarctic Rib and Zodiac Boats exploring away from the Viking ship

Expedition team: Viking will offer a variety of ways for guests to experience their destination, depending on their interests and level of activity, at no extra cost. With a solid program of free experiences, the expedition equipment available to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris guests includes a fleet of professional military zodiacs designed for professional use; a fleet of two-seater kayaks tested in the Arctic; and two 12-seater convertible special operations vessels. Each boat also includes two six-guest submarines with swivel seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an unparalleled underwater experience. Everything guests need will be provided: a Viking expedition kit contains items such as boots, binoculars and raincoats, and all guests will receive free use of Viking Excursion Gear, which includes special items such as trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.

The Aula & Finse Terrace: The world’s most advanced place to learn at sea, The Aula, is a panoramic auditorium at the stern of the ship. Inspired by the famous University of Oslo ceremony hall where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula is a venue for conferences and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Next to the Classroom is the Finse Terrace, an outdoor seating area just above sea level with built-in sofas and hot lava rock “bonfires”, perfect for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Nordic balcony: A novelty for polar expedition ships, all cabins aboard Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have a Nordic balcony, a solarium that becomes an outdoor observation deck. The undistorted glass of the floor-to-ceiling Nordic balcony allows guests to contemplate the views without leaving out the elements. Each cabin is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying cabinet that circulates hot air to dry and store clothes and shipping material.

The Nordic Spa & Fitness Center: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa on board is designed to take into account Scandinavia’s holistic wellness philosophy, with a thermal suite that includes a sauna, a snow grotto and sun loungers, as well as a Warm hydrotherapy pool and a traditional swimming pool. Norwegian badestamp (wooden-faced hot tub), surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A state-of-the-art gym also offers the latest equipment and training equipment.

Explorers Hall: Similar to Viking Ocean Vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have a two-deck scout lounge at the bow of the ship to contemplate the stunning scenery through double-height windows.

Viking expedition ship

Enrichment on board and on land: Viking has created the world’s leading enrichment environment in an expedition environment. Exclusive collaborations with the Polar Scott Research Institute at Cambridge University, the Cornell Ornithology Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as other prestigious scientific institutions, will coincide with leading researchers. and educators with each expedition.

Thirty-six experts will accompany each trip as part of the Viking expedition team, including an expedition leader and support staff, photographer, field research scientists, general naturalists, mountain guides, kayak guides, submarine pilots and specialists (ornithology, geology, biology and history of higher predators). On board, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures on their destination, and interact with scientists working from renowned academic institutions at The Science Lab or participate directly in citizen science programs. On land, guests can help with fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings, such as tracking birds to help identify migratory patterns; accompanying scientists to collect samples; or bring your cameras to the ground with a professional photographer to learn how to best capture scenic landscapes.

Respect for the environment: Viking Expeditionary Vessels Set New Standard for Responsible Travel with Energy Efficiency Design Exceeding Energy Efficiency Design Index * (EEDI) requirements by almost 36%, more than any other expedition ship. In addition to an integrated bow, the engines with heat recovery systems and Azipod® Electric Propulsion, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have received one of the first SILENT-E ratings in the industry: the highest level certification for the silent propulsion of ships, minimizing underwater noise pollution.

Finally, Viking Health and Safety Program it is important. Viking is the first and only cruise line with large-scale PCR laboratories installed aboard its ocean-going and expedition ships. Using PCR labs on board Viking ocean and expedition ships, and a strong network of dedicated coastal labs for Viking river boats in Europe, all guests and crew frequently receive non-invasive saliva PCR tests. quick and easy. Easy access to robust PCR testing also simplifies guests’ travel experience with a final on-board COVID-19 test that meets pre-flight testing requirements prior to arrival in the US

“Today is a day of pride for the entire Viking family as we welcome our first expedition ship into the fleet and usher in a new era of exploration.” said Torstein Hagen, president of Viking. “We are now perfecting expedition travel and offering curious travelers the opportunity to visit the most pristine destinations in the world in the most responsible way possible.”

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