Viking Octantis, purpose-built for Expedition Cruising, has set sail for Antarctica where she will spend her first season before journeying from the White Continent to North America. Arriving in New York City in April 2022, she will be officially named by her ceremonial godmother, world-renowned Norwegian explorer and educator, Liv Arnesen. Following her naming ceremony, she will depart for her summer destination, the Great Lakes. There she will embark on a series of Spring and Summer voyages taking in its great cities and natural wonders. Shared between Canada and the US, the Great Lakes span more than 750 miles (1200 kilometers from west to east.
VIKING OCTANTIS MARKS A BANNER YEAR FOR VIKING
For the past 25 years, Viking has astonished the cruise world with its ever-expanding fleet and its ever more extensive itineraries. By year’s end, Viking will have welcomed a second expedition ship, identical to the first, Viking Polaris. New Longships will be added to Viking River Cruises in Europe and purpose-built vessels will be launched serving the Nile, Mekong and Mississippi Rivers. Torstein Hagen, Viking’s indefatigable Chairman, describes the line’s expansion. “When we started Viking 25 years ago we wanted to do things differently—and since then, our mission has resonated with curious travellers. This week alone our guests are enjoying voyages north of the Arctic Circle and south to the Antarctic Peninsula—as well as to many great destinations in between,” said Hagen. “Antarctica has always inspired the most intrepid explorers; for many, visiting the ‘White Continent’ is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With the arrival of the Viking Octantis, we are offering our guests the opportunity to explore this unique part of the world in comfort and in the most responsible way possible.”
ALL THINGS CRUISE TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT’S ON OFFER ON VIKING EXPEDITION SHIPS
Hosting 378 guests in 189 staterooms, Viking Octantis and her sister ship Viking Polaris are Polar Class vessels in the Viking Cruises mode. They were purpose-built for world-wide expeditions, the perfect size for safety and great comfort however remote their destinations. Past passengers will recognize familiar Viking Ocean features. The Explorer’s Lounge, The Living Room, Mamsen’s, Manfredi’s, the World Café, The Restaurant and The Nordic Spa are all on board. New to both veteran Viking cruisers and newbies, are more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than virtually every other expedition vessel. Inside, guests will discover more Viking-only features.
The Aula, named for the venue of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, this stunning auditorium is home to lectures, daily briefings and films, the 4k laser-projected screen retracts to expose floor-to-ceiling windows with 270 degree views.
The Finse Terrace, named for Viking’s mascot and for the Finse Plateau in Norway, training ground for polar explorers Nansen and Amundsen, is an outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed, heated couches and lava rock “firepits.” It was designed to allow guests the comforts of the ship al fresco while enjoying the dramatic scenery.
The Hangar is the in-ship marina providing ease of embarkation and disembarkation of Special Operations Boats and other equipment while sheltered from the elements.
The Science Lab was developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva. At 380 sq. ft., it supports a broad range of genuine research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities. Guests have supervised access to The Science Lab to learn from and participate with scientists undertaking meaningful research.
The Bow is a forward-viewing platform paired with The Shelter, a comfortable partially enclosed space used in the case of inclement weather. Here guests can warm up with a hot drink before going back out into the elements.
Expedition Central is the hub for the expedition team to consult with guests on their expedition activities and share knowledge about the destinations on a one-on-one basis, with the aid of 3D printed maps, digital screens, and a state-of-the-art spatial data visualization chart table.
The Pools are a spectacular sanctuary of three different temperature pools (caldarium, tepidarium, frigidarium), including an “inside-outside” pass-through pool experience from which guests can admire the surrounding scenery of vast wilderness—from polar ice fields to coniferous forests.
Introducing The Nordic Balcony. In keeping with Viking’s all balcony Ocean vessels, every stateroom feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft. to 1,223 sq. ft.—all with a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear. The suites add additional amenities with expanded bathrooms, welcome champagne, a fully-stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry, priority restaurant reservations and more. The 1223 sq.ft. Owner’s Suite is a three room configuration with a living room, a board/dining room and a bedroom—as well as a 792 sq. ft. private deck with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) open to the invigorating outdoors.
VIKING’S COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT IS UNPARALLED.
Viking’s expedition ships have set a new standard for responsible travel with an energy-efficient design that exceeds the Energy Efficiency Design Index* (EEDI) requirements by nearly 36%. In addition to an integrated bow that creates a longer waterline for the ships, engines with heat recovery systems and Azipod® Electric Propulsion, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have received one of the industry’s first SILENT-E notations—the highest-level certification for quiet ship propulsion, minimizing underwater noise pollution.
AS ON EVERY VIKING SHIP, VIKING HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM IS BUILT INTO VIKING OCTANTIS AND POLARIS.
Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Program was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Viking requires all guests and crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Furthermore, Viking is the first and only cruise line with full-scale PCR laboratories installed on board its ocean and expedition ships. Utilizing these onboard PCR laboratories—and a strong network of dedicated shoreside labs for Viking river ships in Europe—all guests and crew receive up to daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. All Viking ships have always featured independent air handling units for each stateroom; new air purification technology has also been installed. Additional health checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures provide further protection for Viking guests and crew.
Photos Courtesy Viking