Viking Cruises has officially floated out Viking Octantis, its first expedition vessel.
The ship, which is set to debut in January 2022, has now touched the water for the first time – marking a key construction milestone in its development. It will now move to a nearby outfitting dock for further construction and interior build out.
The 378-guest ship is being built at the Fincantieri Vard shipyard in Norway.
Viking Octantis will spend its maiden season in Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. Viking Polaris, a second expedition ship, will launch in summer 2022.
Viking has also developed a series of short videos about the new expedition voyages, ship design and prestigious scientific partnerships, which can be found on its website here.
“Working with Fincantieri over the last eight years, we have built the world’s most beautiful ocean ships. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Fincantieri’s VARD and celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our first expedition vessel,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America. Viking Octantis and her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will allow our guests to explore further – to the ends of the earth as well as closer to home. I would like to thank our partners at VARD and everyone working at the yard for the hard work and dedication on the building of Viking Octantis; we look forward to welcoming her to our fleet in early 2022.”
Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, two renowned explorers, will be honoured as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Arnesen, a Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles. Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow.