San Francisco Bay Area
Viking Octantis: Viking's sleek expedition ship sets sail in early 2022
Viking Octantis is the first expedition cruise ship to be introduced by Viking Cruises under the banner of its new Viking Expeditions brand. Given Viking's stellar fleet of midsize ocean ships, this new entry into the cruise market promises a new way for adventure travelers to explore the world.
The 378-passenger ship, which debuts in January 2022, will mostly feature trips to Antarctica, the Arctic and the Great Lakes of North America, instantly making the 665-foot-long Octantis the largest cruise ship to ply the Great Lakes' waters.
Some of the most popular amenities of Viking's ocean ships carry over to Viking Octantis, including the forward-facing Explorers’ Lounge, the Aquavit Bar, the inviting Living Room theme throughout ship's lobby and interior atrium, the library and (my favorite) the spa with a Thermal Suite, sauna, Snow Grotto, chaise lounges, hydrotherapy pool and fitness center.
Octantis was designed by the same team as its award-winning ocean ships, like Viking Star — one of my all-time favorites. Those 47,800-gross-ton ships never feel crowded with 930 passengers and 465 crew members. Octantis, a more svelte 30,150 gross tons, has an even lower passenger capacity, carrying just 378 guests with a crew of 260. That means the ship has a passenger-to-crew ratio of 1.66 and a generous passenger-to-space ratio of 79.76, putting Octantis in a class with high-end luxury ships.
Like its ocean-going forebears, Octantis will have a modern Scandinavian design with light woods, tasteful furnishings and cheery, open public spaces. Also like the other Viking ocean ships, passengers must be age 18 or older.
Where Viking Octantis sails
Viking Octantis will begin with a sailing to Antarctica from Ushuaia, Argentina, in January 2022, allowing the guests to encounter penguins, seals, whales and other wildlife. The ship will also sail several Great Lakes itineraries, with eight-day cruises between Milwaukee, Thunder Bay and Ontario as well as between Milwaukee and Toronto. It will also offer a 13-day St. Lawrence River sailing between New York and Toronto.
Eventually, Octantis will offer sailings through Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, along the coast of Brazil, and island hopping around the Caribbean. Contact a Cruiseable travel consultant for information about specific itineraries.
Features of the ‘ice-class’ ship
Octantis sports a Polar Class 6 hull to ensure a safe voyage through polar regions and U-tank stabilizers that decrease rolling by up to 50% when the ship encouters icy waves. Its straight bows and long hulls will reduce fuel consumption while the dynamic positioning system on board will enable the ship to hover over the seabed without anchoring.
One innovative feature debuting on Octantis will be the Hangar, an industry-first enclosed marina that enables the launch of small excursion craft through the ship's multiple shell doors. Its 85-foot slipway lets guests embark expedition boats from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves.
Expeditions & experiences
Expedition ships always carry lecturers and field experts, and Viking's 25 person-strong Expedition Team will join every voyage. These experts, includng biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists and photographers, will host daily lectures and briefings.
On top of that, Viking Octantis takes things to a whole new level with the Laboratory, a space where guests can interact with resident scientists and can even take part in field research projects on shore, which might mean tracking migratory patterns of penguins or accompanying scientists as they collect samples of flora and fauna.
In addition, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose scientists will join expeditions in the Great Lakes to conduct research focused on changes in the region’s weather, climate and ecosystems.
Inclusions in the base fare
Fares on Octantis follow the Viking tradition of including the following in the base fare:
- shore excursions — including rides in one of the ship's six-person submarines
- beer and wine at lunch and dinner
- self-service laundry
- 24-hour room service
Some Viking Expeditions guests will also receive charter flights for hard-to-reach places included in the fare.
Dining & lounges
- The Restaurant, offering regional cuisine specialties and classic dishes with a rotating menu. All dishes feature locally sourced ingredients.
- The World Cafe, a market-style buffet restaurant with an open kitchen offering international food choices, bakery, grill stations and seafood bar with premium sushi
- Manfredi's Italian Restaurant with upscale Italian cuisine
- Mamsen's Restaurant, a great breakfast choice offering a mix of pastries and homey Scandinavian dishes
- Room service that's complimentary and available 24 hours
The ship will offer six stateroom categories: Nordic Balcony, Deluxe Nordic Balcony, Nordic Penthouse, Nordic Junior Suite, Explorer Suite and Owner’s Suite. All 189 cabins aboard Viking Octantis offer ocean views and what Viking terms a “Nordic balcony,” similar in some ways to a French balcony. It's a large window that can partially drop down and turn part of the room into an open-air space with the push of a button. Nordic Balcony and Deluxe Nordic Balcony cabins have a comfortable 222 square feet of living space and make up the majority of the staterooms on the ship. Other cabins range from 269 to 1,223 square feet.
Rooms come with a king-size bed and a bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floors and anti-fog mirrors. There will also be a floor-to-ceiling "drying closet" where circulating warm air dries clothes and expedition gear.
Octantis will be followed by a nearly identical second ship, Viking Polaris, in August 2022. Both vessels will be small enough to shimmy through narrow waterways like the St. Lawrence River in Canada but large enough to handle long ocean voyages. Both ships are designed to have a minimal environmental impact and to meet biosecurity standards and stringent emission norms.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
For pricing, itinerary information and to reserve your spot on Viking Octantis, contact a Cruiseable travel consultant by email or call 1-877-322-3773.