River and ocean cruise line Viking has announced it is expanding into expedition cruising with its first voyages, to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes, taking place in January 2022 on Viking Octantis. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. The Great Lakes itinerary will see guests visitinh the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.
The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Customised to navigate the planet’s most remote environments, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will offer the same amenities as Viking’s ocean and river ships, with modern Scandinavian design throughout, with elegant touches, intimate spaces and panoramic views from any location on the ship.
Highlights of the Viking Expedition ships include The Hangar, an enclosed in-ship marina; access to expedition equipment including two six-guest submarines, a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks and Viking Expedition Kits and 270-degree views from the Aula enclosed stern terrace, with access to the outdoor lounge area – the Finse Terrace. The bow of each ship features a two-deck Explorer’s Lounge with double-height windows. Guests will also be able to visit the Laboratory under supervised access to learn more about the experiments conducted by researchers from Viking’s partner institutes. Three temperate-controlled pools will be available aboard each ship as well as a Nordic Spa and fitness centre.
Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 20.6 square metres to 113.6 square metres. All staterooms feature a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. All staterooms provide guests with exterior views through a Nordic balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass. 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.
Guests of the luxurious Nordic Junior Suites (30 square metres) and Explorer Suites (53.9 square metres) will have an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, welcome champagne, a fully-stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry and shoeshine services, priority restaurant reservations and more. The Explorer Suites will feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda.
As for the cream of the crop, each ship will feature one 113.6 square-metre Owner’s Suite with two separate rooms – a living room with six-seat dining table and a bedroom – as well as a 73.6 square foot private garden with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) and outdoor dining table.
The Restaurant will offer fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics. The casual World Café will be a “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 flavours. Mamsen’s will serve Scandinavian-inspired fare while Manfredi’s is to offer Italian cuisine. Guests will also have complimentary 24-hour room service.
The onboard expedition program is designed to prepare guests for their onshore experiences, with more than 25 experts accompanying each journey. On board, guests can enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination, engage with working scientists in The Laboratory or participate directly in citizen science programs. On shore, guests can assist in fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings.
Viking’s expedition ships minimise environmental impact through features such as the straight bow that reduces fuel consumption and a positioning system that enables the ship to hover over the seabed without anchoring.
The 2022-2023 Voyages
To develop the new expedition voyages, Viking has partnered scientific institutions such as the Scott Polar Research institute at the University of Cambridge, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Highlights of the inaugural polar voyages taking place between 2022 and 2023 include heading into the heart of the Antarctic peninsula on a 13-day Buenos Aires to Ushuaia trip, or 19-day Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro trip; exploring Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on a 13-day roundtrip from Tromsø and combining both the Artic and Antarctic regions on an 44-day itinerary from Tromsø to Ushuaia, visiting the Shetland Islands and Ireland’s shores as well as Rio de Janeiro, for a whopping AUD$47,995 per person, twin share.
In North America, voyages start from AUD$8,395 per person, twin share, and include visits to Lake Superior and Lake Huron travelling from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee over eight days; Georgian Bay’s granite islands and Thunder Bay’s cliffs on an eight-day Great Lakes Explorer voyage; Niagara Falls and cultural attractions in Detroit, Toronto and Milwaukee on a third eight-day voyage from Toronto to Milwaukee; and the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia on a 13-day New York to Toronto voyage.
Viking Cruises is offering savings of up to $2,000 per couple with Viking’s Inaugural Offer on 2022 & 2023 Viking Expedition itineraries for those who book before 31 March 2020. Conditions apply.