The Viking Octantis has recently completed its first year in service. Introducing Viking Cruises’ to the expedition market, the purpose-built exploration vessel welcomed its first guests in January 2022.
After being delivered in late 2021, the vessel spent its inaugural season sailing Viking’s first ever program in Antarctica. Extending through March 2022, the schedule included a series of “Antarctic Explorer” expeditions.
Sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina, the 13-night itinerary featured visits to several parts of the Frozen Continent, including Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Whalers Bay and the Lemaire Channel.
Following its inaugural season, the Viking Octantis sailed Nnrth, offering repositioning cruises in the Caribbean and Central America before debuting in the Great Lakes in May.
During a five-month summer program, the vessel sailed in the region, turning in Milwaukee and Thunder Bay and cruising in Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Ports of call included Mackinac Island, Houghton, Apostle Islands, Duluth and more.
Designed to meet Polar Class 6 standards, the Viking Octantis was built by the VARD shipyard in Norway.
Custom-built for sailing in remote and polar regions, the 30,000-ton vessel hosts 378 guests in 189 staterooms.
The ship was also projected by the same nautical architects and engineers that designed Viking’s oceangoing ships, offering a similar modern Scandinavian design to its fleet mates, in addition to public spaces that are familiar to Viking’s ocean cruise guests.
According to the company, the ship is “optimally sized” as well, being small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence Seaway, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas.
In 2022, the Viking expedition fleet gained a second vessel with the Viking Polaris. A sister to the Octantis, the 378-guest ship entered service last September ahead of a inaugural season in Antarctica.