Viking has taken delivery of the Viking Polaris, the company’s second purpose-built expedition ship.
The delivery ceremony took place Tuesday (Sept. 27) at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway, where Viking’s first expedition ship, the Viking Octantis, was delivered in December 2021.
The Viking Polaris immediately set sail toward Amsterdam, where she will be named on September 30 by her ceremonial godmother, Ann Bancroft, one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers.
Currently sailing in the Great Lakes, the Viking Octantis will also be named on September 30 by her ceremonial godmother, Liv Arnesen, the world-renowned Norwegian explorer, lecturer, author and educator.
From Amsterdam, the Viking Polaris will make her way to South America, and both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica, before traveling north to the Great Lakes for a series of voyages during spring and summer.
“Today is a proud day for the Viking family as we welcome the Viking Polaris to our fleet. These are phenomenal ships, and we are very pleased with the positive reception from guests during the first season of our new expeditions,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “The great explorer, Ann Bancroft, has honoured us by serving as godmother to the Viking Polaris, and we look forward to welcoming her first guests on board later this week.”
Viking expedition ships
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. Highlights include:
- 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: An outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed 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 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 Bow: An important forward-viewing platform. And 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.
- 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 in undertaking meaningful research with scientists.
- 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.
- Dining Choices: The Restaurant 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; and Manfredi’s offers the best of Italian cuisine.
- The Nordic Spa: Following a day of exploration, The Nordic Spa offers guests opportunities to experience the ultimate healthy Nordic traditions, with an indoor heated pool set against expansive windows and a badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) that is open to the outside.
- Explorers’ Lounge: Located high on the ship with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Explorers’ Lounge provides guests an ideal space to take in the magnificent scenery, share discoveries with fellow travelers or to enjoy a drink.
- 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 is curated by acclaimed London bookshop Heywood Hill, as on all Viking vessels, as well as Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.
- 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 (322 sq. ft.) and Explorer Suites (580 sq. ft.) on the Viking Octantis and the 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 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.
Enrichment On Board & On Shore
Viking has created the world’s leading scientific enrichment environment in an expedition setting.
Thirty-six experts accompany each journey as part of the Viking Expedition Team, including an Expedition Leader and support staff, photographer, field research scientists, general naturalists, mountain guides, kayak guides, submarine pilots and specialists (ornithology, geology, higher predator biology and history).
On board, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination.
On shore, they can assist in fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings—such as monitoring birds to help identify migratory patterns; accompanying scientists to collect samples; or taking their cameras ashore alongside a professional photographer to learn how best to capture scenic landscapes.
Viking’s expedition ships also have set a new standard for responsible travel with an energy-efficient design that exceeds the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements by nearly 38%.
In addition to an integrated bow that creates a longer waterline for the ships, engines with heat recovery systems and Azipod Electric Propulsion, the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris have received one of the industry’s first SILENT-E notations—the highest-level certification for quiet ship propulsion, minimizing underwater noise pollution.