The spectacular Viking Octantis voyaging to some of the world's most amazing destinations Credit: Viking

Far and away with Viking Octantis

Author: Karen Burns-Booth

Published on:

Updated on:

Discover why brilliant new Polar Class expedition ship Viking Octantis is making a name for herself around the world.

You’d probably expect Viking’s gleaming new expedition ship to be sailing around the Antarctic. And it’s true, Viking Octantis is purpose-built to handle the world’s most inhospitable waters. But you can also experience this dazzling debutante in balmier climes, as I recently discovered on a fabulous ‘Caribbean Connections’ cruise.

Related news item

Wherever you sail, you can expect the highest levels of comfort. But unlike other luxury cruise ships, this one can take you right up close to some of the world’s most amazing destinations – from the tiniest tropical islets to bleak but beautiful Antarctic shores, populated only by penguins.

The scenery on board is pretty good, too, and fans of Viking’s larger ocean ships will immediately recognise the Scandi-chic decor, as well as onboard favourites such as Mamsen’s deli, the Explorers’ Lounge, the Living Room, Nordic Spa, Manfredi’s Italian and the World Café.

But this 378-guest expedition ship is also packed with new and unique spaces that are sure to surprise and Viking Octantis with her RIB fleet in Antarctica delight.

From the Aula – a panoramic auditorium with floor-to-ceiling windows – to the three plunge pools and the Finse Terrace with its lava rock ‘firepits’, Viking Octantis has been beautifully designed to offer a luxurious holiday while encouraging guests to explore and learn about the amazing destinations they’ll be visiting.

Central to this mission is the onboard science lab – developed in partnership with Cambridge University – which not only allows the resident scientists to conduct meaningful research, but also actively encourages guest participation.

-READ MORE: Exciting and entertaining Viking Ocean cruises -

Viking Octantis can show you the unbelievable beauty of Antarctica. Credit: Shutterstock

Find your ideal cruise

Search for the ultimate cruises with Viking Ocean Cruises

On my cruise I attended a micro-plastics lab session, led by Dr Brandi Revels, where we all counted and recorded data relating to plastic in samples collected from Antarctica and the surrounding regions.

My sample came from the Falkland Islands and I was shocked when I counted no fewer than 37 alien plastic fibres.

Another unique area of the ship is the Hangar, a giant in-ship marina on the lower decks, where you’ll find some seriously impressive hardware stashed away. The first facility of its kind on any expedition cruise ship, the Hangar has an 85ft slipway for launching Zodiacs and special operations boats.

Viking Octantis' RIB boats can take you close to wildlife such as Adélie penguins. Credit: Shutterstock

Also berthed here are two U-Boat Worx submarines – painted yellow, of course, and affectionately known as John and Paul – as well as several Hobie Kayaks.

Along with the science lab, this impressive set-up testifies to the ship’s serious scientific credentials, and it’s no surprise to hear that she is involved in several important research programmes, run in collaboration with top-drawer partners such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Cambridge University and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

Vital though all this research may prove in years to come, Viking knows it must also show its commitment to conservation today, especially while sailing in some of the most pristine environments on earth.

To that end, Octantis leads the way with her fuel-efficient power-plant and hull design, zero emissions waste-treatment incinerator and ‘dynamic positioning system’, which avoids the damage that a heavy anchor can cause when it drags through the delicate ecosystem of the ocean floor.

-READ MORE: Discovering Antarctica through cruises-

Viking Octantis travels through the depths of the Antarctic showing you idyllic views. Credit: Shutterstock

When you’ve spent the day exploring, learning or simply marvelling at the beauty of your destination, you’ll be ready for some luxurious me-time – and the staterooms aboard Viking Octantis offer exactly that.

I loved the new Nordic balcony concept – a floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free picture window that allows you to take in the views while keeping the elements out. And should you wish to feel even closer to nature, the top section of glass drops down to transform your stateroom into a sheltered al fresco lookout.

Elsewhere on board, the enrichment programmes are as stimulating as you’ll find on any ocean ship, with lectures and talks by the resident experts and scientists. There is also the chance to watch movies in the Aula, though my favourite event was ‘storytelling’ by some of the expedition leaders in the Hide – a cosy and relaxing area with something of the secret speakeasy about it.

-READ MORE: Why choose Viking Octantis?-

Viking Octantis not only offers you wonders off the ship but also opportunities on the ship. Credit: Viking

Following my excellent Caribbean voyage (see Viking’s special supplement in the magazine), I left Viking Octantis in New York as she sailed on to explore the Great Lakes of North America.

The ship will return to the Caribbean this October, before making the long voyage south to Antarctica in December. I only wish I could be on board when she does.

Get on board:
A 12-night ‘Antarctic Explorer’ cruise, from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia via Drake Passage, Antarctica and Cape Horn, departs various dates in November 2022. From £12,995 per person including flights from selected UK airports.

Most recent articles