Photos courtesy of Viking Cruises
In January 2022, the new Viking Octantis will begin exploration of Antarctica and the Great Lakes, with Viking announcing that it has received Viking Octantis®, the company’s first two new purpose-built vessels. The handover ceremony took place on a recent December morning, 2021, at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway.
The Viking Octantis will host 378 guests and immediately sail toward South America, welcoming guests in January 2022 on the Vikings’ first voyages to Antarctica.
The Viking Octantis will be officially named in April 2022 in New York City by her ceremonial godmother, Leif Arnesen, a famous explorer and educator. The ship then makes its way to the Great Lakes, on a series of voyages during the spring and summer. A second identical sister ship, the Viking Polaris, will join the fleet in August 2022 on trips to the North Pole and Antarctica.
RIB Boat Viking, Exploring Antarctica
The new Vikings expedition cruise ships were designed by Richard Riviere, founding president of the internationally acclaimed interior design firm Rottet Studio in Los Angeles, which also designed award-winning Longships and ocean liners. SMC Design of London has contributed its expertise to the maritime sector. Together, the two companies were recently awarded “Studio Design Team of the Year” at the 2021 Cruise Ship Interior Awards for their work on Viking expedition cruise ships. The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris host 378 guests in 189 luxurious rooms.
The new ships feature the company’s distinctive Scandinavian design, with common areas preferred on Viking’s ocean ships, as well as new spaces created specifically for expedition cruises. Highlights include:
•BarnThe Hangar is an industry first, an enclosed dock within ships that provides convenience for excursions with a new and innovative way to embark and disembark from the craft of voyages. The hangar’s most innovative feature is an 85-foot-high slippery walkway that allows guests to get on and off the cruise ship from a flat, stable deck inside the ship, protected from winds and waves.
•Science LabViking Octantis and Viking Polaris were the first expedition ships to have large laboratories on board. Developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Neva, the science lab covers 380 square feet and is designed to support a wide range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities, a sample and fume handling area, a cabinet, freezer and cold storage, comprehensive microscopic optics and ample space for instruments for analysis. Guests presided over access to the Science Lab, located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn from and engage with the scientists conducting primary research, an experience unique to Vikings.
Rib Antarctica and Zodiac Boats Exploring Away from the Viking Ship
•Expedition Equipment: Viking will offer a variety of ways for guests to experience their destination, according to their interests and level of activity, at no additional charge. With a robust program of free trials, excursion equipment is available to guests on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, which includes a fleet of professional military turrets designed for professional use; a fleet of two-seater kayaks tested in the Arctic; and two 12-seater convertible Special Operations boats. Each ship also has two submarines that seat six guests each with swivel seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an unparalleled undersea experience. Everything Guests Need Will Be Provided: A Viking Expedition Kit includes items like boots, binoculars, and waterproof pants — and all guests will get free use of a Viking Excursion Gear, which includes special items like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.
•Aula & Finse balcony: The world’s most advanced place for learning at sea, The Aula, is a panoramic hall at the stern of the ship. Inspired by the famous Ceremonial Hall at the University of Oslo where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula is a venue for lectures and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Adjacent to The Aula is Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area just above sea level with comfortable sofas and warm lava rocks – perfect for panoramic views of the surroundings.
•Nordic balcony: A first for polar expedition ships, all luxury rooms on board the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature a Nordic Terrace, a sunroom that transforms into an outdoor viewing platform. Nordic Balcony’s floor-to-ceiling distortion-free glass allows guests to enjoy the views while keeping the elements out. Each luxury room is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying cabinet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothes and excursion gear.
•The Nordic Spa & Fitness CenterIn keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa onboard was designed with Scandinavia’s holistic wellness philosophy in mind – with a thermal suite featuring saunas, snow caves and relaxation lounges, plus a heated hydrotherapy pool and Norwegian-themed hammam (wood-side hot tub) It is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. The state-of-the-art fitness center also offers the latest equipment and exercise equipment.
•Explorers’ LoungeSimilar to Viking’s Ocean ships, the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have a two-deck lounge at the front of the ship for stunning views through double-height windows.
Viking Expedition ship
•Enrichment on board and on shore: The Vikings have created the world’s leading enrichment environment in the Expeditionary Expedition. Exclusive partnerships with the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – as well as other prestigious scientific institutions – will match leading researchers and educators to every expedition.
•thirty-six experts Each excursion will be accompanied as part of a Vikings expedition team, including an expedition leader and support staff, photographer, field research scientists, naturalists, mountain guides, kayak guides, submarine pilots and specialists (ornithology, geology, top predator biology and history). Onboard, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination – interact with working scientists from renowned academic institutions in the science lab or participate directly in citizen science programs. On the beach, guests can assist with fieldwork or interact with experiential activities during landings – such as birdwatching to help identify migration patterns; accompanying scientists to collect samples; Or take their cameras to the beach with a professional photographer to learn how best to capture stunning landscapes.
•environmentally friendly: Viking expedition cruise ships have set a new standard for responsible travel with an energy-efficient design that exceeds the Energy Efficiency Design Index* (EEDI) requirement* by about 36% — more than any other expedition ship. In addition to the integrated bow, engines with heat recovery systems, Azipod® Electric Propulsion, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris received one of the first symbols of SILENT-E in the industry – the highest certification for the quiet propulsion of ships, reducing underwater noise pollution.
finally, Viking health and safety program It is important. Viking is the first and only cruise line to have large scale PCR laboratories installed on the ocean deck and expedition ships. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratories on Viking Ocean and expedition ships — and a robust network of dedicated onshore laboratories for Viking River ships in Europe — all guests and crew members receive PCR tests frequently, fast and easy. Ease of access to robust PCR testing also simplifies the guest travel experience with the final in-flight COVID-19 testing that meets the requirements for pre-flight testing prior to arriving in the US
“Today is a proud day for all members of the Viking family as we welcome the fleet’s first expedition ship and usher in a new era of exploration.” said Torstein Hagen, president of Viking. “Now we are perfecting excursions and offering curious travelers the opportunity to visit the world’s most pristine destinations in the most responsible way possible.”