Viking Reveals Expedition Cruise Program

Viking Expedition Ship
Viking Expedition Ship

Viking today announced the expansion into expedition voyages. Viking Expeditions will begin sailing in January 2022 with its first vessel, the Viking Octantis, embarking on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.

A second expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic. Viking’s arrival to the Great Lakes will bring the newest and most modern vessels ever to explore this region of North America, the company said.

The ships will be built by VARD with a capacity of 378 guests each.

“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. Now, in creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Our guests are curious explorers. They want to continue travelling with us to familiar and iconic destinations, but they would also like to travel further. We began as Viking River Cruises; then we evolved into Viking Cruises with the addition of ocean cruises; today we stand singularly as Viking, offering destination-focused voyages on more than 20 rivers, five oceans and five Great Lakes, visiting 403 ports in 95 countries and on all seven continents.”

The Hangar
The Hangar

To develop the new expedition voyages, Viking has partnered with some of the world’s most prestigious scientific institutions. The lead partner is the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute. This relationship is underpinned by a major Viking endowment for scientific research into the polar regions, The Viking Chair of Polar Marine Geoscience, a Cambridge University full professorship based at the Scott Polar Research Institute, as well as a sponsorship fund supporting the Institute’s graduate students. As part of this endowment, the Institute’s scientists will undertake fieldwork onboard Viking’s expedition vessels and join voyages to share their expertise with guests.

Viking has also partnered with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a globally recognized bird research facility, whose ornithologists will regularly be on board the expedition ships, providing guest advice and interaction. Additionally, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose scientists will join expeditions in the Great Lakes to conduct research focused on changes in the region’s weather, climate and ecosystems. NOAA scientists may also offer lectures about the Great Lakes’ unique environment to Viking guests during these voyages.

Hagen also announced that adventurers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honoured as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles. Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow. Arnesen will also periodically serve as a member of the Viking Expedition Team.

Viking Expeditions Set to Launch with Pair of 378-Guest Ships

Viking Polaris

Viking Cruises has rolled out its expedition offering in Viking Expedition Cruises, which currently has select itineraries available only to past guests before general sales open in early 2020.

Viking will build a pair of expedition ships at VARD, the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris. Each Polaris-class ship will carry 378 guests and offer Polar Class 6 hull specifications.

The expedition offering will mix in with the company’s dominant river cruise brand and luxury cruise offering as Torstein Hagen continues expanding his Viking Cruises empire.

The ships will have six cabin categories with the smallest starting at 218 square feet. Cruise Industry News previously reported the ships will feature submarines and carry a large 20-person expedition team.

Similar to the company’s ocean program, the brand will offer the “thinking person’s” cruise product.

Onboard, guests can look forward to trademark Viking features such as Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant.

Among the options available for early booking, the company’s Antarctic Explorer program sails from Ushuaia in early 2022, with each cruise at 13 nights for the inaugural season. Early bird offers start at $15,393 per person. Embarkation starts in Buenos Aires, where guests will spend a night before a charter flight to Ushuaia.

An Arctic Adventure program is also available for past guests for early booking, sailing roundtrip 13-day cruises from Tromso in August and September 2022.

Viking Eyes Guinness Record with 245-Day World Cruise

Viking Sun

Viking guests will embark on the new Ultimate World Cruise itinerary, a 245-day journey including six continents, 51 countries and 111 ports.

Sailing from London on the Viking Sun, the longest-ever continuous cruise will fully circumnavigate the globe before returning to London in May 2020.

In beginning this journey, Viking will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the “longest continuous passenger cruise,” according to a press release.

Upon the return of Viking Sun to London next year, an official Adjudicator will confirm the successful attempt with a certificate presentation.

“For more than 20 years we have been committed to connecting travellers to culturally immersive experiences that allow them to explore the world in comfort,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Our Ultimate World Cruise is the most extensive itinerary available in the industry, nearly double the length of our previous world cruise itineraries. I am pleased to offer such a unique experience for our guests.”

The cruise includes overnight stays in 23 cities.