Viking has marked the launch of its expedition cruise venture with Viking Octantis starting its first Antarctic season.
The 378-guest ship – which was delivered to the line in December 2021 – departed for its inaugural Antarctic Explorer itinerary.
It will be named in April 2022 in New York City by its ceremonial godmother, Liv Arnesen, the Norwegian explorer and educator.
Following this, Viking Octantis will sail to the Great Lakes region of North America, for a series of voyages throughout the spring and summer.
A second, identical sister ship, Viking Polaris, will join the fleet later in 2022.
Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said: “When we started Viking 25 years ago, we wanted to do things differently, and since then, our mission has resonated with curious travellers.
“This week alone our guests are enjoying voyages north of the Arctic Circle and south to the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as to many great destinations in between.
“Antarctica has always inspired the most intrepid explorers. For many, visiting the White Continent is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“With the arrival of the Viking Octantis, we are offering our guests the opportunity to explore this unique part of the world in comfort and in the most responsible way possible.”
What’s on board Viking’s expedition ships?
Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris – purpose built for expedition cruising – have been designed by the same team behind the line’s Longships and ocean ships.
On board, they feature a panoramic auditorium, inspired by the University of Oslo’s ceremonial hall, and the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area just above sea level.
Both ships will feature the Hangar – labelled “an industry first” – an enclosed, in-ship marina for the launch of small excursion craft through the ships’ multiple shell doors.
In addition, the Science Lab has been designed to support a range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities.