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

Inside new Viking Octantis cruise ship sailing to the far reaches of the earth

Author: Vicky Mayer

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Viking has launched an amazing new expedition ship with another to come as it celebrates 25 years in business. This is what to expect on new cruise ship Viking Octantis.

Viking Octantis: New purpose-built cruise ship Viking Octantis started its first Antarctic season. Credit: Viking

Viking has celebrated the launch of its hotly-anticipated expeditions as the new purpose-built cruise ship Viking Octantis started its first Antarctic season.

The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, and as part of the celebrations, it will be launching a new division – Viking Expeditions – with two ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, sailing to the far reaches of the earth and the heart of North America.

The new Polar Class 6 ships will each host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Built specifically for expedition cruising, the ships are small enough to navigate remote polar regions and North America’s St Lawrence River, yet large enough to provide stability in the roughest seas.

The ships’ public spaces will be familiar to Viking’s ocean cruise guests, with similar modern Scandi design as well as new areas created specifically for expeditions.

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Straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilisers will allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey, while ice-strengthened hulls will provide the safest way to explore the polar regions.

"We invented the concept of modern river cruising when we launched in 1997, then we reinvented ocean cruises and became the 'World’s Best Ocean Cruise Line' in our first year of operation, as well as every year since then," says Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking.

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"We know our guests are curious explorers and they want to travel further with us, so we are proud to be perfecting polar expedition cruising as well as ushering in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America."

In January, Viking Octantis made her maiden voyage from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. She then cruised to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.

Her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will make her debut in August 2022 when she sails to Antarctica and the Arctic.

Viking cruises: This month, Viking Octantis will make her maiden voyage from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Credit: Viking

Viking expedition experiences

Viking takes pride in connecting its guests to the destinations they visit, via a rich programme of immersive experiences.

That’s why the line has built partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, whose researchers and educators will be on board each expedition ship.

In total there will be more than 25 experts sailing with each ship, including biologists, botanists, glaciologists, oceanographers, ornithologists and polar experts.

Guests will have the benefit of daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destinations, and they will get the opportunity to engage with working scientists from renowned academic institutions in The Laboratory or to assist in scientific fieldwork during landings.

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A professional photographer is also on board to advise on how best to capture scenic landscapes.

“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,” said Torstein Hagen.

“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.”

Viking Octantis: The Finse Terrace is an outdoor lounge area with comfortable couches. Credit: Viking

What’s onboard Viking Octantis?

The Aula & Finse Terrace

On both ships, guests will find The Aula, a dynamic 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 with comfortable couches and warming lava-rock ‘firepits’, making it the perfect spot to enjoy panoramic views of the dramatic surroundings.

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Aquavit Terrace & pools

Located at the stern of the ship and featuring a retractable glass dome, this indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary will allow guests to enjoy the scenery as they swim and lounge in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an ‘inside-outside’ swimming experience.

The Nordic Spa & Fitness Center

The Nordic Spa features a thermal suite equipped with a sauna and Snow Grotto, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and hot tub. A state-of-the-art Fitness Center provides the latest equipment and workout gear.

Viking Octantis: The Nordic Spa features a thermal suite as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and hot tub. Credit: Viking

The Hangar

This innovative in-ship marina includes an 85ft slipway that allows guests to board inflatable excursion craft inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves. The RIB boats then launch via multiple shell doors in the stern.

The Laboratory

Developed in consultation with Cambridge University and Viking’s other academic partners, the 430sq ft laboratory is designed to support a broad range of research activities.

Guests will have supervised access to The Laboratory, which is located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn from and assist scientists as they undertake primary research – an experience that is unique to Viking.

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Expedition equipment

Onboard both ships, guests will find complimentary expedition equipment including a fleet of military pro Zodiacs, a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks and two 12-seater convertible RIBs. Each ship will also feature two six-guest yellow submarines with revolving seats and spherical windows offering a 270-degree view.

Guests will also be provided with boots, binoculars and waterproof trousers, as well as having the complimentary use of Viking Excursion Gear, which includes trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.

Viking Octantis will also feature two six-guest yellow submarines with revolving seats. Credit: Viking

Viking Octantis accommodation


Guests can choose from six stateroom categories – Nordic Balcony, Deluxe Nordic Balcony, Nordic Penthouse, Nordic Junior Suite, Explorer Suite and Owner’s Suite. While these range in size from 222 to 1,223sq ft, all staterooms feature a Nordic Balcony – a sunroom that converts into an alfresco viewing platform – plus a king-size bed and large bathroom.

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.

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Nordic Junior Suites (322sq ft) and Explorer Suites (580sq ft) feature additional storage and seating, an expanded bathroom, welcome champagne, a fully stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry, priority restaurant reservations and more.

Explorer Suites feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda. Each ship also features one 1,223sq ft Owner’s Suite, comprising two separate rooms – a living room with six-seat dining table and a bedroom – as well as a 792sq ft private garden and hot tub.

Viking Octantis: Nordic Balconies offer an uninterrupted view. Credit: Viking

Bars and restaurants

Explorers’ Lounge

Guests can enjoy a drink with their fellow passengers at the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge. Situated at the bow of the ship, it offers jaw-dropping views through its double-height windows.

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Viking’s expedition ships will offer familiar dining options including The Restaurant for fine dining, the more casual World Café, Scandinavian-inspired Mamsen’s, Italian Manfredi’s and 24-hour room service.

Viking Octantis: Guests can enjoy a drink with their fellow passengers at the two-deck Explorers’ Lounge. Credit: Viking

What’s included on Viking?

Just as on their ocean and river cruises, Viking offers generous inclusions aboard the new expedition ships.

Fares include the following: A Nordic Balcony stateroom or suite, virtually all shore excursions, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Also included are complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner, premium dining reservations, lectures, wi-fi, self-service laundry, access to The Nordic Spa and 24-hour room service.

In addition, Viking provides complimentary charter flights for access to hard-to-reach locations, and complimentary use of Viking Expedition Gear on land and sea excursions.

On polar itineraries, guests also receive their own Viking Expedition Kit, which includes everything needed for the cold terrain, plus a Viking Expeditions jacket to keep.

- READ MORE: Viking's expedition cruises to Americas for summer 2023 -

Viking Octantis reviews

The first guests on Viking’s Antarctic Explorer itinerary have provided outstanding ratings and enthusiastic feedback.

  • “The ship is amazing, inside and out. It has just been exceptional.” - Karen C.
  • “Having been on Viking, I knew this would be first-class, first-rate…it has just been phenomenal; I have learned a lot.” - Patrick F.
  • “It was nice to feel so confident and secure. The things we have been able to see up close and to step onto the real ‘White Continent’…being in the snow, being where you can hear the penguins and the birds…it is very special.” - Edna K.
  • "Viking has done everything possible to make it safe for me to come on this remarkable, remarkable journey. What I have had with this ship has been an exceptional experience." - Ramona F.
  • “The Viking experience and the Viking people make this one of the best experiences of my life.” - Ken K.

Get on board

12-night ‘Antarctic Explorer’ cruise from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia: This adventure cruise will take you into the heart of the Antarctic peninsula, where you will see penguins and seals; hike on the Antarctic ice with your expedition leader and watch whales breach and glaciers calve into the sea from the comfort of your ship.

There are multiple sailing dates in January, February, November and December 2022, plus January and February 2023. Prices start at £12,995.

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About Vicky Mayer

Vicky began her career working on young women’s magazines before moving on to TV and entertainment titles. Her passion, though, has always been travel, so as Editor of World of Cruising, she combines her love of magazines with the chance to shout about cruise holidays around the world.