Viking Cruises recently announced its first foray in expedition cruising. The Scandinavian company has ordered 2 adventure-ready ships - Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris. They will both begin sailing itineraries in the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Great Lakes in 2022.
Viking Cruises' ocean liners made the company world's largest "small ship cruise" brand with a dominant share on the luxury travel market (23,9 % by the year 2020). In 2019, the parent company also created the brand "Viking Expeditions" with a newbuild fleet of two small-sized expedition vessels - Viking Octantis (2021) and Viking Polaris (2022), plus an option for 2 more same-designed units.
Viking Expeditions (as a travel brand) was officially launched on January 15, 2020, with cruising operations starting in January 2022. Viking Expeditions ships are Norway-flagged (registered in Longyearbyen Spitsbergen), smaller-sized (GT 30150 tons, LOA length 203 m, beam/width 24 m) and with reduced passenger capacity (378 each, plus 260 crew/staff) in comparison to Viking Ocean's liners (930 passengers plus 465 crew/staff each). The boats are constructed by the Norwegian shipbuilder VARD (a subsidiary of Fincantieri Italy). Vessel's hull and superstructure are assembled at the shipyard in Tulcea Romania, then towed to VARD Soviknes Shipyard (Alesund Norway) for outfitting.
In the following video, Louisa Maynard, The Cruise Line's Voyage Consultant, looks at what passengers can expect onboard.