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Vard delivers Viking's first expedition ship, Octantis

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The 378-passenger, polar-class Viking Octantis
Vard's shipyard in Søviknes, Norway, today delivered Viking Octantis, the first of two expedition vessels for Viking.

The 378-passenger ship is scheduled to set sail Thursday, bound for South America to begin Viking’s first Antarctica voyages in January.

April naming in New York then on to the Great Lakes

Viking Octantis will be officially named in April in New York City by explorer and educator Liv Arnesen serving as godmother.

The ship then makes its way to the Great Lakes for a series of spring and summer voyages. 

Sister Viking Polaris is planned to join the fleet in August 2022 for journeys to the Arctic and Antarctica.

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Torstein Hagen arrives at Vard Søviknes to take delivery of Viking Octantis

Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen called it a proud day.

'Our guests have asked us to build on our award-winning river and ocean voyages to take them further, and that is just what we have done,' he said. 'Leveraging our long history of destination-focused travel, enrichment and innovative ship design, we are now perfecting expedition voyages and offering curious travelers the opportunity to visit the world's most pristine destinations in the most responsible way possible.'

Ninth cruise ship delivered by Fincantieri yards in 2021

The delivery from Vard marks the ninth cruise ship handed over in 2021 by Fincantieri's domestic and international yards. The builder's relationship with Viking began in 2012 and is stretching to a record series of 20 ships, including options.

The Hangar, submarines, expedition gear

The polar-class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have U-tank stabilizers to decrease rolling by up to 50% when stationary.

Other features include The Hangar, an enclosed marina with a slipway for launching excursion craft. Passengers embark and disembark from a flat, stable surface inside the ship.

Among the expedition equipment: a fleet of Zodiacs designed for military use, two-seat Arctic-tested kayaks and two 12-seat convertible Special Operations Boats. Each ship also carries two six-passenger submarines with revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows.

A Viking Expedition Kit will be provided, containing items like boots, binoculars and waterproof trousers, while gear like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis will also be available at no charge.

The Science Lab, developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, will support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry facilities, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments.

Interiors by Rottet Studio with SMC Design

The interiors of both expedition ships feature Viking's signature Scandinavian design. They were created by Richard Riviere, founding principal of Los Angeles-based Rottet Studio, who also designed Viking’s Longships and ocean vessels. SMC Design of London contributed expertise in the maritime sector.

The Aula is a panoramic auditorium for lectures and entertainment with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Outside, at the stern, the Finse Terrace provides recessed couches and warming lava rock 'firepits.'

Other public spaces include an Aquavit Terrace and pools, also located aft and covered by a retractable glass dome. This indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary allows passengers to be surrounded by their destination as they swim and lounge in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an 'inside-out' swimming experience. There's also a Nordic Spa & Fitness Center. 

A two-deck, forward-facing Explorers' Lounge will be familiar to travelers on Viking's ocean ships.

Dining choices include The Restaurant and the casual World Café with live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavors. Mamsen’s serves Scandinavian-inspired fare, while Manfredi’s offers Italian cuisine.

Nordic balcony

All staterooms feature a Nordic balcony, a sunroom that converts into an alfresco viewing platform. The Nordic balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass lets travelers take the views in, while keeping the elements out. The top of the glass lowers to transform the stateroom into a sheltered lookout, with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera.

Six stateroom categories range from 222 square feet to 1,223 square feet: Nordic balcony, deluxe Nordic balcony, Nordic penthouse, Nordic junior suite, explorer suite and owner’s suite. Besides the Nordic balcony, all accommodations have a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. A drying closet dries and stores clothing and expedition gear.

Viking EVP Karine Hagen leads a ship tour here.

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