Viking to launch expedition cruise line

Viking Cruises is to launch an expedition cruise line, called Viking Expeditions, which will begin sailing in January 2022.

The lines first vessel will be called Viking Octantis and will run voyages to Antarctica and America’s Great Lakes. The second vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing in Antarctica and the Arctic.

The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms; both ships are currently under construction and will be delivered in Norway by Fincantieri’s VARD.

“We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we launched in 1997; then we reinvented ocean cruises and became the ‘World’s Best Ocean Cruise Line’ in our first year of operation, as well as every year since then. Now, 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,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. 

“Our guests are curious explorers. They want to continue travelling with us to familiar and iconic destinations, but they would also like to travel further. We began as Viking River Cruises; then we evolved into Viking Cruises with the addition of ocean cruises; today we stand singularly as Viking, offering destination-focused voyages on more than 20 rivers and five oceans, visiting more than 500 ports in 100 countries and on all seven continents.”

The launch, which was announced at an event in Beverley Hills, also included news that Viking was partnering with a number of scientific institutions, including the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. The partnership is “underpinned by a major Viking endowment for scientific research research in the polar regions”, the company said in a statement. As part of the deal, polar cruises will have experts from the institute on board sharing findings from their field research.

The company has also partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a leading authority on the study of birds.

The ships will feature a number of new public spaces, based around the same Scandinavian design as its ocean and river fleet. These include the Hanger, an enclosed in-ship marina to allow guests to board zodiacs inside the ship; a Laboratory, where scientists will conduct research; expedition equipment including zodiacs, submarines, kayaks; an auditorium based based on the University of Oslo’s ceremonial hall. All staterooms will also feature a Nordic Balcony, similar to those on river vessels.

The expedition ships will also have a Nordic Spa & fitness centre, including sauna and snow grotto. Restaurants on board will similar to those on the ocean fleet, including Manfredi’s which has Cruise 20 award-winning steak.

Expedition cruises will include: virtually all shore excursions, all onboard meals, and all port charges and taxes. As with the ocean product, Viking Expeditions will include beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; lectures; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to The Nordic Spa; and 24-hour room service. Charter flights and use of Viking Expedition gear will also be included.

Sample itineraries include:

·         Antarctic Explorer (13 days; Buenos Aires to Ushuaia). Multiple sailing dates in January, February, November and December 2022; January and February 2023. Inaugural pricing starts at £12995 per person

·         Antarctic & South America Discovery (19 days; Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro). Multiple sailing dates in March, October and November 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £15995 per person.

·         Arctic Adventure (13 days; Roundtrip Tromsø). Multiple sailing dates in August and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £10995 per person.

·         From the Arctic to the Antarctic (44 days; Tromsø to Ushuaia). Sailing date: 21 September 2022. Introductory pricing starts at £27995 per person.

·         Undiscovered Great Lakes (8 days; Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee). Multiple sailing dates between May and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £5995 per person.

·         Great Lakes Explorer (8 days; Milwaukee to Thunder Bay, Ontario). Multiple sailing dates between May and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £5795 per person.

·         Niagara & The Great Lakes (8 days; Toronto to Milwaukee). Multiple sailing dates in April, May, June, July and September 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £6295 per person.

·         Canadian Discovery (13 days; New York to Toronto). Sailing dates in April and October 2022. Inaugural pricing starts at £12495 per person.

Sam Ballard

Sam Ballard is the publisher of CRUISE ADVISER and has been writing about the cruise industry for a number of years. His CV includes the likes of shipping magazine International Cruise & Ferry Review and the digital publication Cruise News. He can be contacted on:sam@cruise-adviser.com.

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