Viking® (www.viking.com) is celebrating the start of its third expedition season in Antarctica, as the Viking Octantis® and her identical sister ship, the Viking Polaris® have arrived again in the region. Both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica before returning to North America’s Great Lakes for voyages throughout the spring, summer and early fall.
To meet strong demand for Antarctica voyages, Viking has also announced that the 2025-2026 season is now open for booking, including a new 87-day expedition From the Arctic to Antarctica, sailing from Nuuk, Greenland, to Ushuaia, Argentina. Departing in September 2025, this epic journey will allow guests to explore the natural beauty and historic waterways of the Canadian High Arctic before travelling down the east coast of North and South America, calling on ports in the Caribbean, Peru, and exploring the Chilean glaciers before continuing to Antarctica.
“As we welcome guests back for a third season in Antarctica, we are pleased to introduce even more opportunities for the curious traveller to experience this phenomenal region in Viking comfort,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “By creating expeditions for The Thinking Person, our guests are able to explore some of the most pristine destinations on Earth in the most responsible way possible while also participating in meaningful scientific discoveries. On my own trip to Antarctica, I witnessed firsthand the incredible scenery and wildlife this fascinating continent has to offer. In my view, everyone should experience Antarctica at least once in their life.”
Hagen recently sat down with award-winning British photographer Alastair Miller for an exclusive conversation about his journey to the “White Continent” on board the Viking Polaris. They also discuss how Hagen’s lifelong passion for travel and interest in far-flung destinations began during his childhood when he sent a letter to Ushuaia from his home in Norway. The full 30-minute interview can be seen on the Viking website here.
Longitudinal World Cruises
The arrival of Viking’s expedition ships in Antarctica also marks the completion of two inaugural Longitudinal World Cruises—the 71-day Longitudinal World Cruise II, from Duluth to Ushuaia, and the 70-day Longitudinal World Cruise III, from Milwaukee to Ushuaia. These highly-rated Grand Journeys offer guests a variety of travel milestones in a single itinerary, sailing from the heart of North America through the engineering wonders like the Welland and Panama Canals, into the Chilean fjords and finally Antarctica. Following Viking’s upcoming third season in the Great Lakes, the Viking Polaris will sail the Longitudinal World Cruise IV from Milwaukee to Ushuaia in October 2024 and the Viking Octantis will embark on another sailing of the Longitudinal World Cruise II.
Viking Expedition Team & Scientific Partners
Viking has created the world’s leading scientific enrichment environment in an expedition setting with the help of prestigious academic institutions. Exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as other esteemed scientific organizations, match leading researchers and educators with each expedition. Visiting researchers from partner institutions are part of the 36-person Viking Expedition Team—a diverse group of experts that leads guests through meaningful scientific work, provides guiding and interpretation during shore excursions and delivers world-class lectures on board. In early 2023, the Viking Expedition Team published the company’s first scientific paper, following observations of the rarely encountered scyphozoan Stygiomedusa gigantea, commonly known as the giant phantom jellyfish. The encounters took place during submersible dives in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in early 2022. Authored by two of Viking’s Chief Scientists, the paper was published in Polar Research, the scientific journal of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Viking Expedition Ships
The Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. The vessels are built specifically for expeditions at an ideal size for safety and comfort in remote destinations. With more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than other expedition vessels, guests are as close as possible to the most magnificent scenery on earth. Highlights include:
- The Aula: A stunning panoramic auditorium inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall, the former venue for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Used for lectures, daily briefings, documentaries and films, this spectacular venue features a 4k laser-projected screen that retracts to expose floor-to-ceiling windows and 270° views.
- Finse Terrace: An outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed seating, the Finse Terrace was designed to allow guests the comforts of the ship al fresco while enjoying the dramatic scenery. Named after the Finse Plateau in Norway, where some of the greatest polar explorers, including Nansen and Amundsen, did their expedition training in preparation for their North and South Pole expeditions.
- The Hangar: A state-of-the-art, industry-first in-ship marina providing ease of embarkation and disembarkation of Special Operations Boats and other equipment while sheltered from the elements.
- The Bow: An important forward-viewing platform. And in the case of inclement weather, The Shelter is a comfortable, partially enclosed space for guests to warm up with a hot drink before going back out into the elements.
- The Science Lab: Developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, The Science Lab, at 380 sq. ft., is designed to support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities. Guests have supervised access to The Science Lab to learn from and participate with scientists in undertaking meaningful research.
- Expedition Central: The hub for the expedition team to consult with guests on their expedition activities and share knowledge about the destinations on a one-on-one basis, with the aid of 3D printed maps, digital screens, and a state-of-the-art spatial data visualisation chart table.
- Dining Choices: The Restaurant offers fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Café offers an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavours; Mamsen’s, named for the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; and Manfredi’s offers the best of Italian cuisine.
- The Nordic Spa: Following a day of exploration, The Nordic Spa offers guests opportunities to experience the ultimate healthy Nordic traditions, with an indoor heated pool set against expansive windows and a badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) that is open to the outside.
- Explorers’ Lounge: Located high on the ship with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Explorers’ Lounge provides guests an ideal space to take in the magnificent scenery, share discoveries with fellow travellers or to enjoy a drink.
- The Living Room: On the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, The Living Room is located to maximise views of the surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows and a library that informs even the best-read explorers. The Library is curated by acclaimed London bookshop Heywood Hill, as on all Viking vessels, as well as Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.
- Nordic Balcony: A first for polar expedition vessels, all staterooms on board Viking’s expedition ships feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft. to 1,223 sq. ft.—all with a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious 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.
- Expedition Ship Suites: Nordic Junior Suites (322 sq. ft.) and Explorer Suites (580 sq. ft.) on the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris are similar to those on Viking’s fleet of ocean ships, with wood detailing and amenities that include additional storage and seating, an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, 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. Additionally, each ship features one Owner’s Suite (1,223 sq. ft.) that has three rooms –a living room, a board/dining room and a bedroom—as well as a 792 sq. ft. private deck with a traditional Norwegian badestamp open to the invigorating outdoors.
- Environmentally Considerate: Viking’s expedition ships have set a new standard for responsible travel with an energy-efficient design that exceeds the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements by nearly 38%. In addition to an integrated bow that creates a longer waterline for the ships, engines with heat recovery systems and Azipod® Electric Propulsion, the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris have received one of the industry’s first SILENT-E notations—the highest-level certification for quiet ship propulsion, minimizing underwater noise pollution.
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