Viking's new expedition Polar-class ships Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are set to wow adventure-seekers with their innovative features, sleek design and package of wonderful and luxurious inclusions when they debut in 2022.
The exciting new 378-passenger ships bring more spectacular options for travelers who increasingly are craving expedition voyages in special destinations around the world. They will sail their inaugural seasons in the Artic, Antarctica and the Great Lakes.
These voyages are selling fast, but Viking has released a new slate of expedition journeys for 2023 that cruisers can get excited about.
For the summer 2023 season, Viking's expedition voyages include a two-week itinerary in the Great Lakes -- as well as additional offerings in North and South America. Debuting in June 2023, the new 15-day Great Lakes Collection itinerary sails between Toronto and Duluth, Minnesota, offering a complete view of the region and all five Great Lakes.
Viking has also announced 2023 sailing dates for four existing Great Lakes expedition voyages: the 8-day Niagara & the Great Lakes, Great Lakes Explorer and Undiscovered Great Lakes itineraries, as well as the 13-day Canadian Discovery itinerary.
Three additional expedition voyages in North and South America will also debut in summer 2023. A 16-day Canada & the Atlantic Coastline itinerary navigates the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic coastline, featuring destinations like Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres, Norfolk, Charleston and others. A really exotic sailing lets you discover the natural beauty of Patagonia while sailing from Santiago to Ushuaia on the new 14-day Patagonian Shores & Chilean Fjords itinerary.
And if you're looking to explore destinations in North America, Central America and South America, you might like the 18-day itinerary called Panama & Scenic South America.
"We are offering curious travelers the opportunity to visit some of the most pristine destinations on earth in the most responsible way possible," said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. "As we prepare to welcome our first guests on board for voyages to Antarctica this coming winter, we are also pleased to unveil even more new journeys closer to home for summer 2023."
Highlights of Viking's new 2023 itineraries include:
Great Lakes Collection: On this 15-day itinerary, you sail the historic waterways of all five Great Lakes. Sailing between Toronto, Canada and Duluth, Minnesota, cruisers are set to experience culture-rich urban centers and admire the natural power of Niagara Falls. Along the journey, you can also explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. On Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, study the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes and venture into the dense boreal forests that line the shores.
Canada & the Atlantic Coastline: A 16-day itinerary during which you sail along the legendary St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic coast of the United States on a memorable voyage that combines scenic landscapes and storied cities between Toronto and Ft. Lauderdale. Led by a team of experts, you will explore the unspoiled wilderness near Trois-Rivieres, Louisbourg and Lunenburg by land and water. Experience bustling New York City, and immerse yourself in the rich histories of Quebec City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.
Patagonian Shores & Chilean Fjords: This 14-day itinerary discovers the rugged and untamed natural beauty of Patagonia while sailing from Santiago to Ushuaia. Admire soaring peaks and towering ice shelves while navigating the iceberg-crowded channels of the Chilean Fjords. Follow your team of onboard experts for an up-close encounter with the blue-tinged glaciers that dominate the landscape and gain insight into Patagonian life during stops in the towns of Tortel and Castro on this unforgettable voyage through the wild and remarkable region.
Panama & Scenic South America: On this 18-day itinerary, you get to explore some of the most fascinating cultures and intriguing landscapes of the Americas. On the journey between Santiago, Chile and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you discover the secrets of ancient civilizations of the Yucatan Peninsula and transit between two oceans through the famous Panama Canal. Immerse yourself in lively Lima and enjoy the charms of Iquique, nested between the Atacama Desert and the Pacific.
The Viking Expedition Ships
The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will hold up to 378 passengers in 189 staterooms. Designed by the same nautical architects and engineers who designed Viking's award-winning ocean ships, the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are optimally sized and built for expeditions -- small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas.
The ships offer public spaces that are familiar to Viking's ocean cruisers but that have been reimagined for expeditions. They feature public spaces created specifically for expeditions. Straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilizers will allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey; ice-strengthened Polar Class hulls will provide the safest way to explore; and U-tank stabilizers will significantly decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary. Viking's expedition ships will feature modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail.
Onboard Spaces and Amenities
The Hangar: An industry first, The Hangar brings true comfort to expedition voyages. This enclosed, in-ship marina permits the launch of small excursion craft through the ship's multiple shell doors. The Hangar's most innovative feature is an 85-foot slipway that allows passengers to embark on excursion craft 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.
The Science Lab: Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will also be working research vessels with an onboard team of scientists working on a variety of studies during these voyages. Developed in consultation with Cambridge University and Viking's other academic partners, The Science Lab, at 380 square feet, 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.
You can have supervised access to The Science Lab, which is 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: These cruises offer a number of ways to experience the destinations, according to your particular interests and craving for activity, at no extra charge. With a robust program of complimentary experiences, expedition equipment available on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will include a fleet of skiff boats designed for professional use in the harshest of environments; a fleet of two-seater sea kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible Special Operations Boats.
Each ship will also feature two six-passenger submarines that feature revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an incomparable undersea experience. A Viking Expedition Kit is provided and contains items like boots, binoculars and waterproof pants; and all cruisers will receive complimentary use of excursion gear, which includes specialty items like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.
The Aula and 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.
Adjacent to The Aula is the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area at sea level with comfortable couches and warming lava rock "firepits" -- perfect for panoramic views of the surroundings. Together, the two spaces can be combined to create an unmatched indoor-outdoor al fresco experience.
Nordic Balcony: A first for polar expedition cruise vessels, all staterooms on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform. This creates your own in-stateroom wildlife observatory at sea. The Nordic Balcony's floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass at the very edge of the ship allows you to savor the views while keeping the elements out. The top of the panoramic glass lowers to transform the stateroom into a sheltered lookout, with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera.
Six stateroom categories range from 222 square feet to 1,223 square feet. All staterooms also feature a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. They also offer a floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.
Expedition Ship Suites: Nordic Junior Suites (322 square feet) and Explorer Suites (580 square feet) on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature wood detailing and amenities that include additional storage and seating, an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, welcome Champagne, a stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry and shoeshine services, priority restaurant reservations and more. Explorer Suites feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda. Additionally, each ship features one Owner's Suite, which at 1,223 square feet, is twice the size of the Explorer Suites. With the most exclusive accommodations and amenities onboard, it features two separate rooms -- a living room with a six-seat dining table and a bedroom -- as well as a 792 square-foot private garden with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) and outdoor dining table.
Aquavit Terrace and Pools: Located at the stern and featuring a retractable glass dome, this indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary allows you to be surrounded by your destinations while swimming and lounging in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an "inside-out" swimming experience.
The Nordic Spa and Fitness Center: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind -- with a thermal suite that features a sauna, snow grotto and lounges, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and hot tub, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A state-of-the-art fitness center provides the latest equipment and workout gear.
Explorers' Lounge: The two-deck Explorers' Lounge at the bow of the ship offers the perfect spot for taking in stunning scenery. You can gaze through double-height windows while sipping a mug of mulled wine or glass of Norwegian aquavit.
Dining Options: Viking's expedition ships offer an array of dining options that build on the successful venues from Viking's ocean ships but which have been redesigned for expeditions. The Restaurant will offer fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Cafe will be a new "market" concept that offers live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavors; Mamsen's, named for âMamsen,â the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; Manfredi's offers Italian cuisine; and 24-hour room service will be complimentary.
Enrichment Program: Connecting with your destinations through authentic experiences is central to an expedition voyage. Viking's exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will match leading researchers and educators with each expedition.
The expedition program is designed to prepare you for the 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, you get daily briefings and world-class lectures about the destination -- and you can engage with working scientists from renowned academic institutions in The Laboratory or participate directly in citizen science programs.
Ashore, assist in field work or interact through experiential activities during landings -- such as monitoring birds to help identify migratory patterns. You can also accompany scientists to collect samples; or explore 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.
Thanks for reading, and we'll see you onboard!