Earlier this week, Viking announced the float out of its first expedition ship, the 378-passenger Viking Octantis. An important milestone in shipbuilding, the float out is the first time that a new ship actually touches water.
Viking Octantis Float Out Event
The float out is also an important event because from there, the next step is the transition into the final construction phase. Following the float out, Viking Octantis was moved to a nearby outfitting dock where further construction and interior build-out will take place. When completed, Viking Octantis will be delivered at the shipyard in Norway in 2021.
Ceremonial godmothers at the Viking Octantis float out were respected explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft. Both women will act as godmothers to Viking’s second expedition ship, Viking Polaris, scheduled for delivery in summer 2022.
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.
About Viking Expedition Ships
The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis as well as the exact duplicate, Viking Polaris, will be able to accommodate 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Designed by the same experienced nautical team that designed Viking ocean ships, the two smaller adventure ships are built for expeditions.
Viking Ocean passengers will notice scaled-down similarities from the ocean ships to the expedition ships. Designed for maneuverability into smaller coves or rough seas, the straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilizers keep the ship on an even keel. Ice-strengthened Polar Class 6 hulls will provide the safest way to explore while U-tank stabilizers will significantly decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary.
Viking expedition ships interiors
On board, you’ll find modern Scandinavian design with a touch of elegance. Highlights include:
- The Hangar: An industry first, The Hangar is an enclosed, in-ship marina that will permit the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s shell doors. The Hangar’s most innovative feature is an 85 ft. slipway that allows guests to embark on RIBs from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves.
- The Laboratory: Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will also be working research vessels with an onboard team of Viking Resident Scientists working on a variety of studies, in consultation with Cambridge University and other academic partners. Guests will have supervised access to The Laboratory to learn from and participate with scientists on their research.
- Expedition Equipment: For no additional fee, guests will be able to experience the military pro zodiacs, two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks and two 12-seater convertible RIBs. Both expedition ships will have two six-guest submarines with revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for their undersea experience.
- Expedition Clothing: Viking will provide all that guests will need while on board. This includes a Viking Expedition Kit, complete with boots, binoculars and waterproof pants. Every excursion will be outfitted with proper safety equipment, like satellite phones, VHF radios, ropes, life jackets and a comprehensive shore survival kit. Guests can also use Viking’s with trekking poles, snowshoes and skis..
- Nordic Balcony: All staterooms will have a Nordic Balcony. This is a sunroom that converts into an outdoor viewing platform. The Nordic Balcony features floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass with a top window that lowers to let in fresh air. A clever feature includes a shelf just where the window lowers to help stabilize your camera or binoculars.
- Enrichment On Board and On Shore: As part of Viking’s commitment to destination-focused learning, the cruise line has formed exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Leading experts in these fields will be on board each sailing to provide enrichment briefings and lectures. Also on board will be the Viking Expedition Team comprised of the expedition leader and staff, photographer and submarine pilots. Viking Resident Scientists made up of biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, ornithologists, polar experts and researchers will also accompany each voyage.
- Sustainable Features: Viking’s expedition ships are built to lessen environmental impact and meet stringent emissions and biosecurity standards. In design, the straight bow reduces fuel consumption while the dynamic positioning system enables the ship remain in one place without the need to drop anchor and disturb the pristine seabed.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.