Early Reviews Are In: Viking Expeditions Are Setting A New Standard

The new Viking Octantis pictured in Antarctica during its inaugural season.

Viking® is celebrating new milestones in the launch of its expedition voyages, as the new purpose-built Viking Octantis® continues its first Antarctic season. Recently, Viking guests explored at both ends of the earth, when the Viking Octantis crossed the Antarctic Circle at 66°33′ S, marking the southernmost journey in the company’s 25-year history; just a few hours later, the Viking Venus® crossed the Arctic Circle at 66°33′ N under the spectacular northern lights.

The Viking Octantis and her sister ship, the Viking Polaris, have been designed for discovery—to enable our guests to explore the world’s most pristine destinations in comfort and in the most responsible way possible. With our first Antarctic season underway, we are very pleased with the enthusiastic initial response from our guests, as well as from esteemed design experts.

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking

Today, Viking has released new architectural photos that detail the award-winning interior design of Viking Octantis—as well as a new 360-degree Ship Tour that provides a deck-by-deck virtual onboard experience. Additionally, Viking has also published a new video showcasing testimonials from guests who have recently experienced Viking’s Antarctic Explorer expedition and praised it as one of their best-ever travel experiences. 

The new Viking Octantis during her first season in Antarctica pictured with some of the ship’s expedition equipment, which includes a fleet of military pro zodiacs designed for professional use; a fleet of two-seater polar-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible Special Operations Boats.

Viking’s new expedition ships were designed by the same team behind the award-winning Viking Longships® and ocean ships, including Richard Riviere, Founding Principal of internationally acclaimed interior design firm Rottet Studio of Los Angeles. SMC Design of London contributed with their expertise in the maritime sector. Together, the two firms were awarded ‘Design Studio Team of the Year‘ in the 2021 Cruise Ship Interior Awards for their work on Viking’s expedition ships.

We hope our guests will feel at home on board these elegant vessels, with spaces that are familiar from our ocean ships – such as the Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s – as well as innovative new spaces like The Aula and The Hangar that are first of their kind in the travel industry. As always, our Norwegian heritage and thoughtful attention to detail are infused throughout. With sheltered outdoor observation areas from bow to stern, and a state-of-the-art stabilizing system that makes for very smooth sailing, our new expedition ships optimize exploring the remotest parts of the world in comfort, the Viking way.

Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking

The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. The vessels are purpose-built for expeditions, at an ideal size for safety and comfort in remote destinations. With more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than other expedition vessels, guests are as close as possible to the most magnificent scenery on earth. The architectural photos released today showcase many of the onboard public spaces, such as:

The Aula

The Aula on board the Viking Octantis

The Aula, a stunning panoramic auditorium inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall, the former venue for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Used for lectures, daily briefings, documentaries and films, this spectacular venue features a 4k laser-projected screen that retracts to expose floor-to-ceiling windows and 270° views.

Finse Terrace

The Finse Terrace on board the Viking Octantis

The Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed, heated seating and lava rock ‘firepits’, the Finse Terrace was designed to allow guests the comforts of the ship al fresco while enjoying the dramatic scenery. Named after the Finse Plateau in Norway, where some of the greatest polar explorers, including Nansen and Amundsen, did their expedition training in preparation for their North and South Pole expeditions.

The Bow & The Shelter

The Shelter on board the Viking Octantis

The Bow, is an important forward-viewing platform. But in the case of inclement weather, The Shelter is a comfortable, partially enclosed space for guests to warm up with a hot drink before going back out into the elements.

Explorers’ Lounge

The Explorer’s Lounge on board the Viking Octantis

Familiar to guests who have sailed on Viking’s ocean voyages, The Explorer’s Lounge on board the Viking Octantis, pictured here, is located high on the ship with floor-to-ceiling windows, providing guests an ideal space to take in the magnificent scenery, share discoveries with fellow travelers or to enjoy a drink

The Living Room

The Living Room on board the Viking Octantis

Familiar to guests who have sailed on Viking’s ocean voyages, The Living Room. On the ‘Viking Octantis’ and the ‘Viking Polaris’, The Living Room is located to maximize views of the surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows and a library that informs even the best-read explorers. 

The Library

The Library on board the Viking Octantis

The Library on board the Viking Octantis, pictured here, is curated by acclaimed London bookshop Heywood Hill, as on all Viking vessels, as well as Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.

Dining Choices

The Restaurant

Familiar to guests who have sailed on Viking’s ocean voyages, The Restaurant, pictured above, is one of the dining options on board the Viking Octantis and offers fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics.


The casual World Café offers an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavors; Mamsen’s, named for the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare;


Familiar to guests who have sailed on Viking’s ocean voyages, Manfredi’s, pictured above, is one of the dining options on board the Viking Octantis and offers the best of Italian cuisine.

The Nordic Spa

The Nordic Spa

The Nordic Spa on board Viking’s expedition ships offers guests opportunities to experience the ultimate healthy Nordic traditions, with an indoor heated pool set against expansive windows, pictured here, and a ‘badestamp’ (wood-sided hot tub) that is open to the outside.

The Hangar

The Hangar on board the Viking Octantis.

The Hangar: A state-of-the-art, industry-first in-ship marina providing ease of embarkation and disembarkation of Special Operations Boats and other equipment while sheltered from the elements. 

The Science Lab

The Science Lab on board the Viking Octantis

The Science Lab: Developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, The Science Lab, at 380 sq. ft., is designed to support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities. Guests have supervised access to The Science Lab to learn from and participate with scientists in undertaking meaningful research.

Expedition Central

The Expedition Central on board the Viking Octantis

Expedition Central: The hub for the expedition team to consult with guests on their expedition activities and share knowledge about the destinations on a one-on-one basis, with the aid of 3D printed maps, digital screens, and a state-of-the-art spatial data visualization chart table.

Your Suites

Nordic Balcony

Nordic Balcony

A first for polar expedition vessels, all staterooms on board Viking’s expedition ships feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft. to 1,223 sq. ft. – all with a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.

Expedition Ship Suites

Nordic Junior Suites on board the Viking Octantis,

Expedition Ship Suites: Nordic Junior Suites (322 sq. ft.) and Explorer Suites (580 sq. ft.) on ‘Viking Octantis’ and ‘Viking Polaris’ are similar to those on Viking’s fleet of ocean ships, with wood detailing and amenities that include additional storage and seating, an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, welcome champagne, a fully-stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry, priority restaurant reservations and more.

Explorer Suites on board the Viking Octantis

Explorer Suites feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda. Additionally, each ship features one Owner’s Suite (1,223 sq. ft.) that has three rooms –a living room, a board/dining room and a bedroom – as well as a 792 sq. ft. private deck with a traditional Norwegian ‘badestamp’ open to the invigorating outdoors.

About Viking

Viking was founded in 1997 and provides destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests The Thinking Person’s Cruise® in contrast to mainstream cruises. With more than 250 awards to its name, Viking has been rated the #1 River Cruise Line and #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. Viking has also been consistently rated the #1 ocean cruise line and one of the best river cruise lines in Travel + Leisure’s ‘World’s Best’ Awards.

For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit the beautiful world of Viking.