Viking Cruises launching expedition ships in 2022

 Viking Cruises launching expedition ships in 2022

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Viking Cruises has opened the books on a new product line: Viking Expeditions, an expedition cruise line that will set sail in 2022.

The line in its first year of operation will have two, 378-passenger ships. The Viking Octantis, scheduled to debut in January 2022, will sail Antarctica and the U.S. Great Lakes. The Viking Polaris, due in August 2022, will cruise in Antarctica and the Svalbard region in the Arctic.

Vard, a Fincantieri subsidiary, will build the ice-strengthened ships.

Viking's expedition ships will feature the Finse Terrace.
Viking’s expedition ships will feature the Finse Terrace.

It had been anticipated that Viking was planning an expedition line ever since it placed an order with Vard, which also was constructing expedition ships for Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd.

Viking made the plan’s official during an event for trade and media at the Hilton Beverly Hills Hotel, which featured a naming of Viking Jupiter cruise ship by soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo and a brief performance. (The naming was conducted remotely, as the Jupiter is currently sailing near Ushuaia, Argentina.)

In remarks from the stage, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said that he had “long had the ambition to do something in Antarctica.” the company had been making plans for an expedition ship as early as 2013.

And there was applause when Hagen revealed plans for the Great Lakes cruises that take in ports such as Thunder Bay, Ontario; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Mackinac Island, Michigan, saying that “guests also like to cruise near home.” The ships are being built specifically to fit that water system’s locks.

Viking has also activated the URL viking.com, which include links to all three product lines.

At a Q&A session with the press, Hagen said: “We have one brand, so everybody really knows what they’re getting when they’re getting a Viking product. I think that’s comfortable. From the get-go we said we’re about exploring the world in comfort. So ‘exploring’ has been part of our tagline. It’s a logical step at this time in our career.”

The Octantis and Polaris will do double duty as cruise ships and research vessels. Viking said it will host researchers and scientists via partnerships with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, among others. Another partnership is with the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, where Viking has created an endowment, the Viking Chair of Polar Marine Geoscience, that supports the institute’s graduate students.

As part of the endowment, scientists will conduct fieldwork on the ships and interact with passengers.

A 430-square-foot space called the Laboratory will be “designed to support a broad range of research activities,” Viking said. Guests will have supervised access to the area.


Another view of the Finse Terrace outdoor lounge.
Another view of the Finse Terrace outdoor lounge.

The Laboratory will overlook the Hangar, which Viking said will be an industry first: an in-ship marina enabling the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s multiple shell doors, including an 85-foot slipway that enables guests to embark rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) from a stable, interior surface. The ships will carry Zodiac craft, kayaks and two six-passenger submersibles.

In the rendering Hagen showed to guests at the Hilton, he pointed out with a smile the colour of the submersibles. “We have a yellow submarine.”

Viking said the ships would meet guidelines and requirements from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators and others. The ships’ straight bows are expected to reduce fuel consumption. A dynamic positioning system will enable the ships to hover over the seabed without anchoring.

Each passenger will be provided with a Viking Expedition Kit with boots, binoculars and waterproof pants. They will have access to satellite phones, VHF radios and excursion gear like trekking poles and snowshoes.

The expedition ships will feature the Scandinavian design ethos seen on its river and ocean ships. Guests who have sailed Viking will recognize some of the public spaces on Octantis and Polaris. But there will be touches unique to the ships.

For example, the cabins will have what Viking called a Nordic Balcony: a sunroom where the top of the glass can be lowered to the open air. “You don’t need an outdoor balcony — it’s cold,” Hagen said. “We’ve taken that space and brought it inside.” He also showed off an image of the drying closet that will be in each cabin, for airing and drying items like wet expedition jackets and gear.

The cabins start at 222 square feet, but the top accommodation is the 1,223-square-foot Owners Suite with a living room, six-seat dining table, 800-square-foot private garden and traditional Norwegian wood-sided hot tub.


A rendering of the expedition ships' pool deck.
A rendering of the expedition ships’ pool deck.


Viking is designing the aft decks of the ships as a combination lecture hall and outdoor lounge. The Aula auditorium is inspired by the University of Oslo’s hall where Nobel Peace Prizes were awarded, and its backdrop will be floor-to-ceiling windows with 270-degree views.

Adjacent to the Aula will be the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge with couches and warming lava rock “firepits.” Viking said the two spaces can be combined for “an unmatched alfresco experience for guests to be immersed in nature.”

This report was updated to include remarks by Viking chairman Torstein Hagen.

Extended MSC Seashore to be the longest ship in MSC Cruises fleet

Extended MSC Seashore to be longest ship in MSC Cruises fleet

More than 40% of new ship MSC Seashore has been redesigned and enhanced as a “significant evolution and improvement” over its two sister ships.

The differences to MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview include 200 extra cabins, a larger ‘ship within a ship’ MSC Yacht Club and an additional double-deck lounge at the rear.

The latest MSC Cruises’ vessel, due to enter service in June 2021, will have 10,000 square metres of additional deck space with a 16-metre extension to 339 metres, making it the longest vessel in the fleet.

Features include 28 more terraced suites and two suites with private whirlpools.

The expanded MSC Yacht Club will include two new cabin categories – 41 deluxe grand suites and two owner’s suites with whirlpools.

A ‘cluster cabin’ concept for families – where two or three adjoining cabins can be linked to accommodate between six and ten people – will be introduced, while 75 larger cabins for disabled passengers are added.

Image result for MSC seaside restaurant

Two new restaurants are planned alongside a new location for five speciality dining outlets to allow for al fresco waterfront seating on the ship’s boardwalk.

The interior has been redesigned with two central meeting points positioned at the middle and forward part of the ship, as well as specific measures to improve passenger flows.

MSC Seashore will have a bigger casino and 20 speciality bars.

The ship will feature a new design of its aft swimming pool, an enlarged indoor pool and a new waterpark. Clubs for young children and teenagers have been separated from a larger kids’ zone.

A range of environmental protection measures is to be installed including a selective catalytic reduction system designed to help cut nitrogen oxide by 90% through advanced active emissions control technology.

Wastewater will go through a purification and filtration process that transforms it to “near tap-water” quality.

The new-build will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power connections while in port to reduce emissions.

The details emerged at a keel-laying ceremony for the ship at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today’s ceremony marks another key milestone in the construction of one of our most innovative all-around ships yet.

“Most importantly, MSC Seashore – which will feature the latest and most advanced environmental technology currently available – represents another proof of our long-standing commitment to preserving the environment in our ongoing journey to minimise and continuously reduce the impact of our operations.”

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono added: “The beginning of drydock works of MSC Seashore, the largest ship so far built in Italy, is for us a source of great satisfaction.

“It is a real challenge in terms of structural and managerial aspects, which powers the impressive workload for the shipyard and the local area.”

Silver Moon Launched at Fincantieri

Silver Moon

The launching ceremony of the Silver Moon took place today at the Ancona yard.

The vessel will enter the ship owner’s fleet in 2020 and is a sister to the Silver Muse, a third 596-guest ship, the Silver Dawn, follows for the luxury brand in 2021.

From the launch of the Silver Moon

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Chairman of Silversea, while Fincantieri was represented by Giovanni Stecconi, Ancona Shipyard Director.

The godmother of the ceremony was Roberta Bonisiol, an employee of the shipbuilding group.

The new build will be the ninth ship in Silversea’s fleet.

Among the notations of the ship, the “Green star 3 Design” stands out, according to a statement. It is assigned to vessels that are designed, built and equipped in order to prevent air and water pollution. Furthermore, the “COMF-NOISE A PAX” and “COMF-NOISE B CREW” are assigned on the basis of the noise levels measured on the ship.