The delivery ceremony took place Dec. 22 at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway. Viking Octantis will depart Dec. 23 toward South America to welcome guests in January 2022 for Viking’s first voyages to Antarctica.
Viking Octantis will be officially named in April 2022 in New York City by her ceremonial godmother, Liv Arnesen, the famed explorer and educator. The ship then heads to the Great Lakes for a series of spring and summer voyages. An identical sister ship, Viking Polaris, is expected to join the fleet in August 2022 for journeys to the Arctic and Antarctica.
“Today is a proud day for the entire Viking family as we welcome our first expedition ship to the fleet and usher in a new era of exploration. Our guests have asked us to build on our award-winning river and ocean voyages to take them further, and that is just what we have done,” Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said. “Leveraging our long history of destination-focused travel, enrichment and innovative ship design, we are now perfecting expedition voyages and offering curious travelers the opportunity to visit the world’s most pristine destinations in the most responsible way possible. With the arrival of Viking Octantis, Viking is now exploring all seven continents, and we look forward to welcoming her first guests on board in the coming weeks.”
The ship has an integrated bow that creates a longer waterline for the ships, as well as fin stabilizers, ice-strengthened Polar Class hulls, and U-tank stabilizers designed to decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary.
The new ships feature the company’s signature Scandinavian design, with public areas that are favorites on Viking’s ocean ships, as well as new spaces created specifically for expeditions.
The Hangar is an enclosed, in-ship marina that can be used to embark and disembark excursion craft.
The expedition ships also have onboard laboratories. Developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, The Science Lab, at 380 square feet, is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments.
Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris includes a fleet of military pro Zodiacs, a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible Special Operations Boats. Each ship also features two six-guest submarines with revolving seats.
Viking provides boots, binoculars and waterproof pants, and guests will receive complimentary use of gear like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.
The Aula is a panoramic auditorium at the stern of the ship. Inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula is a venue for lectures and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Adjacent to The Aula is the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed couches and warming lava rock “firepits.”
All staterooms feature a “Nordic Balcony,” a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform. The top of the panoramic glass lowers and has an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera.
Six stateroom categories range in size from 222 to 1,223 square feet. All staterooms feature a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.
Located at the stern and featuring a retractable glass dome, the indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary called Aquavit Terrace & The Pools lets guests swim and lounge in three temperature-controlled pools.
The Nordic Spa is designed with a thermal suite that features a sauna, snow grotto and chaise lounges, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and a traditional Norwegian wood-sided hot tub.
The Restaurant offers fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Café offers live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as international flavors; Mamsen’s, named for the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; Manfredi’s offers the best of Italian cuisine; and 24-hour room service is complimentary.
Viking has partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More than 23 experts will accompany each journey and provide daily briefings and lectures about the destinations.