Viking Cruises on Tuesday, December 22, announced that its first expedition vessel - the 378-passenger ship Viking Octantis - had been “floated out” marking a construction milestone and the first time that the newbuild touches water. The boat is currently under construction at VARD's shipyard in Tulcea Romania.
Scheduled to start operations in early-2022, Viking Octantis is due to spend her maiden season sailing to North America’s Great Lakes and Antarctica. The second sistership (identical expedition cruise ship) Viking Polaris is scheduled to debut in 2022-Q2 and will sail to the Arctic and Antarctic destinations.
Torstein Hagen, Viking's Chairman, said:
“Working with Fincantieri over the last eight years, we have built the world’s most beautiful ocean ships. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Fincantieri’s VARD and celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our first expedition vessel.
“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. Viking Octantis and her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will allow our guests to explore further – to the ends of the earth as well as closer to home. I would like to thank our partners at VARD and everyone working at the yard for the hard work and dedication on the building of Viking Octantis; we look forward to welcoming her to our fleet in early 2022.”
The launch ceremony denotes a vessel moving into the final stage of construction. Viking Octantis was then moved to the nearby outfitting dock for further construction and interior build-out. Following final outfitting, the newbuild will be delivered at Fincantieri’s VARD Shipyard in Soviknes (near Alesund, Norway).
Popular explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will serve as ceremonial godmothers to Octantis and Polaris, respectively.
Arnesen is a native Norwegian and became the first woman in the world to ski unsupported and solo to the South Pole back in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to ski to both poles. In 2001, Arnesen and Bancroft became the first women to ski across Antarctica. They co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore/Access Water, aiming to engage and empower 60+ million minds in order to create a sustainable tomorrow.