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Viking begins inaugural Great Lakes season with new expedition ship

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Viking Octantis is the largest passenger ship ever to transit the Welland Canal
Viking's first expedition ship, Viking Octantis, recently became the largest passenger vessel ever to transit the Welland Canal as part of its inaugural Great Lakes cruise.

The Welland Canal is a section of the St. Lawrence Seaway connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

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Viking Octantis was designed to fit through the locks

'Our expedition ships were designed with the Great Lakes in mind. This region has been historically underserved by cruise lines, and we are delighted by the warm and enthusiastic reception we have received from the local communities,' Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said. 'With our first season now underway, we are pleased with the strong demand among our guests and look forward to introducing even more curious travelers to these fantastic destinations in 2023.'

The 378-passenger Viking Octantis will remain in the Great Lakes until early October, sailing a variety of itineraries between Toronto and Duluth.

Viking Polaris to join in 2023

Sister ship Viking Polaris is scheduled to debut later this year and will join Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes for the 2023 season.

This is a significant commitment to local tourism and economic development for the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio (beginning in 2023) and the Canadian province of Ontario.

NOAA partnership for research

To help develop the scientific enrichment program for its Great Lakes voyages, Viking partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, which conducts research on the dynamic environments and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and coastal regions. This helps inform resource use and management decisions that lead to safe and sustainable ecosystems, ecosystem services and communities.

Viking’s expedition ships have also been designated official NOAA/USNational Weather Service weather balloon stations.

Four routes with a fifth to come next year

This inaugural season offers four itineraries: Thunder Bay to Milwaukee, Milwaukee to Thunder Bay and Toronto to Milwaukee, all eight days, and New York-Toronto, 13 days.

In 2023, Viking will add a 15-day Toronto-Duluth voyage across the give Great Lakes.

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