Viking Octantis Review and Specifications
Specifications of Viking Octantis
|Year built||2021 new ship|
|Builder||VARD shipyards (Tulcea Romania and Soviknes-Alesund Norway)|
|Class||ice-strengthened expedition ship (VARD-6)|
|Building cost||EUR 230 million (USD 255 million)|
|Operator||Viking Ocean via Viking Expeditions|
|Speed||18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph|
|Length (LOA)||205 m / 673 ft|
|Beam (width)||21 m / 69 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||30150 gt|
Review of Viking Octantis
Viking Octantis cruise ship is a newbuild vessel part of Viking Ocean's fleet. Octantis and the sistership Viking Polaris are scheduled for inauguration in 2021-Q2 (Octantis) and 2022-Q2 (Polaris). As the "Viking Ocean" brand specializes in all-inclusive seagoing cruises, the two new ships will be grouped in a separate fleet under the new luxury travel brand "Viking Expeditions".
Viking's new expedition ships are Norway-flagged, smaller-sized (GT 30150 tons) and with reduced passenger capacity (378 each, plus 260 crew/staff) in comparison to Viking Ocean's liners, each carrying 930 passengers (plus 465 crew/staff). Both vessels are constructed by the Norwegian shipbuilder VARD (subsidiary of the Italian company Fincantieri). Vessel's hull and superstructure are assembled t the shipyard in Tulcea Romania, then towed to VARD Soviknes Shipyard (Alesund Norway) for outfitting.
Fincantieri's VARD shipbuilding company specializes in marine engineering, design and construction of small-capacity (200-400 pax) luxury passenger ships delivered to premium brands like Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd. More details on Viking's newbuilds as to their design (VARD-6 series), deck plans, staterooms, facilities, amenities and services will be officially announced on January 16, 2020, when Viking Expeditions cruises officially go on sale.
Traditionally for an expedition cruise ship, Viking Octantis has its own fleet of inflatable Zodiacs (speedboats used for passenger tendering and shoreside cruising), rigid-hulled inflatable boats (large-capacity unsinkable boat with a rigid bottom) and sea-kayaks. The ship design features several spacious open-deck areas, including Promenade Deck and bow-located Observation Deck (forward on Lounge Deck).
The inaugural cruise itineraries of both expedition vessels are 13-day polar voyages - one in Antarctica, the other in the European Arctic. Viking's Arctic cruises (to Svalbard Islands and Arctic Russia) are roundtrips from homeport Tromso Norway and priced from USD 14,000 per person (double-occupancy balcony cabin). Viking's Antarctic roundtrips are from homeport Ushuaia Argentina, with prices starting from USD 15,000 pp (fly-cruise packages from Buenos Aires with included overnight hotel stay prior departure and return flights to Europe-USA-Canada-Australia).
Exclusive promo deals for past customers and travel agents were opened for bookings made in the period October 10 - December 31, 2019.
According to the currently available (unofficial) information, all staterooms are with private step-out balconies. Cabin sizes vary between 270 ft2 (25 m2 - Veranda) and 1450 ft2 (135 m2 - Owner Suite).
Viking Expeditions Viking Octantis staterooms offer the following complimentary amenities and services:
- King-size bed ("Viking Explorer", deluxe mattresses and linens, Cashmere blankets), optional twin beds configuration.
- En-suite bathroom (with heated floor and heated mirror), glass door shower, hairdryer, premium bath products and toiletries (by Freyja), deluxe bathrobes, slippers, towel warmers, plenty of storage space.
- Seating area with sofa, low table, vanity desk with chair, wardrobe, full-length mirror with mini lights (doubles as night light with bedside on/off button).
- Satellite phone (direct-dial), LCD HDTV (3D, Infotainment system / Internet access, room service ordering, movies-on-demand, live webcams views, Viking Cruises channel for news, enrichment lectures, port talks), in-room binoculars, electronic safe box (in the closet), individual climate control, 220V / 110V power outlets (European and US standard plugs). Cabin's key-card must be inserted into a slot (by the entry door) to power the room's electrical outlets and lights.
- Coffee machine, mini-bar (replenished daily with bottled water, soft drinks, snacks).
- All cabin categories receive complimentary movies on demand and 24-hour room service. All Suite-categories receive free laundry, pressing, shoeshine (also Deluxe cabins). Welcome Champagne bottle is delivered to all Suites and Deluxe rooms.
- Priority cabin access: Explorer and Junior Suites (upon embarkation- 11am), Penthouse Veranda (1pm), Deluxe Veranda (2pm), Standard Veranda (3pm).
- Priority dining room reservations (in brackets- days prior to departure): Explorer Suite (90), Junior Suite (80), Penthouse Veranda (70), Deluxe Veranda (60), Standard Veranda (none).
- All passengers (excluding only Standard Balcony) enjoy priority reservations on each Viking Expeditions cruise excursion ashore.
- Veranda and Deluxe Veranda cabins are with lounge area (2 armchairs, coffee table), the balcony is furnished with 2 chairs plus 1 table (height suitable for outdoor dining).
- Penthouse Veranda (category PV) cabins are larger and with upgraded services. They have more storage space (extra drawers), larger bathroom, extra services - priority dining reservations (at the MDR and alternative restaurants), complimentary pressing and shoeshine.
- Penthouse Suite (aka Junior Suite / category PS) offer as bonus amenities early check-in on embarkation day (at 11 am), guaranteed dinner reservations (at specialty restaurants), complimentary laundry, dry-cleaning, pressing, shoeshine.
- "Owner's Suite (category OS) is the ship's largest accommodation (sized 1450 ft2 / 135 m2) and has living room (couch, coffee table, chairs, wet bar), separate dining area (6-seat table), walk-in closet, powder room, separate bedroom (king bed, walk-in closet), separate boardroom (with locked doors, 10-seat conference table, guest bathroom, butler pantry), master bathroom (double-sink vanity, power-shower), oceanview sauna room, large veranda (2-seat cushioned wooden loungers, table, 2 chairs). Owner Suite perks include custom-stocked minibar, early check-in, guaranteed dinner reservations, complimentary laundry, dry-cleaning, pressing, shoeshine.
Viking Expeditions cruise deals are all-inclusive, meaning they offer as complimentary (included in the fares):
- 1 complimentary excursion in each of the ports of call along the itinerary route
- complimentary drinks, including alcohol (beers and house wines at lunch and dinner). The selection of wines includes red and white, and occasionally rose,
- free Wi-Fi (shipwide coverage), free Internet (unlimited access)
- free of charge speciality restaurant dining (excepting only the lowest category Balcony cabins).
- Tipping/gratuities (recommended dailyy gratuity USD 14 pp) is automatically added to the passengers onboard accounts. Adjustments can be made at the Reception Desk (Lobby area). Alcoholic drink purchases levy a 15% gratuity (automatic).
- All beverages served at the onboard lounges and bars cost extra. Prices are around $6 (cocktail), $4 (beer), $5-6 (wine by the glass). Viking Cruises "Silver Spirits" drink package costs $420 per cabin (for two passengers) and offers unlimited cocktails ($9 limit), beers and premium wines (by the glass), plus one bottle of sparkling wine, speciality coffees, unlimited soda (soft drinks).
The complimentary 24-hour Room Service menu includes pasta (3 sauces are offered - bolognese, pesto, Pomodoro), grilled salmon, cured Norwegian salmon (gravlax/gravadlax), grilled chicken, burgers (including veggie), chef salad, cheese plates. Breakfast options include hot/cold sandwiches, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, fresh fruits.
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Viking Octantis Ltd is a Bermuda-registered company owned by Viking River Cruises (International) LLC, which directors are Torstein Hagen and Leah Talactac. The ship name "VIKING OCTANTIS" is a trademark owned by Viking River Cruises (Bermuda) Ltd and filed on April 29, 2019.
Trademark's services include passengers and goods transportation, cruise shipping and travel agency services, travel tour operations (transport of passengers for guided and sightseeing tours), cruise and travel arrangements, transportation reservations (including cruise ship and land excursions), packaging and storage of goods, provision of information and advice (related to the aforesaid services).
Vessel's ice-clas is PC6 (Polar Class 6) which allows safe navigation in multi-year sea ice conditions. The lowest ice-classes for passenger ships (PC6 and PC7) are equivalent to the highest classes of Finland (1A-Super) and Sweden (1A) that allow year-round navigation for cruiseferries in Baltic waters (first-year sea ice conditions).
- Polar-Class passenger ships are required to have ice-strengthened hulls which are longitudinally divided into 4 sections - bow, bow intermediate (ballast water tanks), midship, stern (ballast water tanks). Excepting the bow, the other 3 lower hull sections are further divided (vertically) into 3 compartments - bottom, lower, icebelt, for each of which is calculated an ice load (based on dimensions and geometry) which is used to determine the hull as steel grades to be used for the construction of shell plates and hull frames (design and number) per location.
- Polar-Class cruise ships are also designed with specific machinery and propulsion systems (thrusters, steering gear, navigation and control systems) for safe navigation in fresh-packed ice (ice-covered waters). Unlike regular boats, their ballast water should not be freezing. Cruise ship's combined propulsion power output should be enough to allow independent cruising (at a specified continuous speed) in thin-ice conditions, which actually defines the vessel as an icebreaking ship.
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