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WORLD-FIRST: Submarine adventures on new Viking Expeditions ships

As Viking gets set to launch two new cruise ships in 2022 as part of Viking Expeditions, the innovative line reveals what sets their fleet apart, including their world-first, free submarine rides.

Alongside undersea adventures, Viking Cruises new state-of-the-art ships will offer guests the chance to learn about local wildlife from onboard research experts while cruising through the Arctic, North America and Antarctica.

But even when visiting some of the world’s most remote locations, there’s no need to forgo luxury. The two new cruise ships are decked out with luxurious furnishing, world-class facilities and incredible dining experiences.

Outdoor areas on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris
Outdoor areas on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris © Rottet Studio

Introducing Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris

With a motto that states “If you can’t do it excellently, don’t do it at all”, it’s no wonder that Viking’s new cruise ships are setting the bar for Polar cruises in 2022.

The latest additions to the fleet – the Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris – will make their maiden voyages this year, as part of a new suite of itineraries known as Viking Expeditions.

Each expedition vessel comes with plenty of luxe trimmings, like Nordic-inspired dining or fine Italian fare at Manfredi’s. Meanwhile, guests can relax at the end of a busy day of exploring in the Nordic Spa, where a snow grotto is complemented by a sauna, hydrotherapy pool and hot tub.

If you can tear yourself away from the wellness cocoon, the 189 staterooms feature innovations like a private drying closet (another industry first for Viking) that circulates warm air. There’s also as a ‘Nordic Balcony’ sunroom that converts into an alfresco viewing platform.

Meanwhile, you can find an indoor-outdoor experience at the Aquavit Terrace, replete with a retractable glass dome and three different temperature-controlled pools. Sip mulled wine or ship-matured aquavit while soaking up the spectacular scenery.

Hydrotherapy pool at the Nordic Spa
Hydrotherapy pool at the Nordic Spa © Rottet Studio

Become an underwater explorer with Viking Expeditions

One of the most unique elements of a cruise onboard Viking Octantis or Viking Polaris is, of course, Viking’s two submarines. Explorations in these six-seater yellow pods, replete with 270-degree spherical windows, will be included in your cruise package.

With rotating seats and uninterrupted views, your pilot will take you on a tour of an entirely different world while you learn about local sea animals and life under the waves.

In keeping with Viking’s innovative cruise offerings, you won’t find this offered on any other luxury liner – these free submarine tours are the first of their kind.

Minimising footprints in fragile destinations

Both ice-strengthened, Polar Class 6 ships come with clever design features to ensure a smoother ride, as well as protect the environment. State-of-the-art fin stabilisers decrease rolling by up to 50% when stationary and a straight bow to reduce fuel consumption. Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are also able to ‘hover’ over the seabed without anchoring, thanks to their dynamic positioning system.

This is just one way the company aims to minimise its impact on the fragile destinations it cruises around, which includes some exciting new additions this year.

Viking Expeditions
Viking Expeditions © Rottet Studio

Cruise to new destinations with Viking Expeditions

Alongside current cruise destinations like the Arctic and Canada, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will also offer passengers the chance to experience Antarctica. Currently the only continent Viking does not voyage to, the new ships will rectify this next year with several new Antarctica itineraries.

And, in quite the coup, Viking Octantis will also journey along North America’s Great Lakes – the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet. Passengers will be able to take in the scenery along some of the country’s most beautiful stretches of water, from Lake Superior to Lake Michigan.

Luxury stateroom on Viking Expeditions
On of the Viking Expeditions 189 staterooms© Rottet Studio

Get hands-on with Polar research

While passengers certainly won’t be ‘roughing it’, they will have the chance to get hands-on with some research. With a little assistance from Viking’s research partners – the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – passengers can help monitor bird migratory patterns and collate results in the onboard lab.

You’ll also gain insights from Viking’s permanent science and expedition team, which includes; photographers, biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers and polar experts.

Jump into a RIB (one of Viking’s rigid inflatable boats) from The Hangar – the industry-first, in-ship marina which is shielded from wind and waves – to mingle with the experts onshore. Or, if Mother Nature means shore visits are postponed, meet the experts at The Aula – an auditorium with floor-to-ceiling windows where you can gaze at glaciers passing by and spot whales outside.

Doors at The Aula open out onto the exceptional Finse Terrace. This outdoor lounge area, warmed by lava rock firepits, is the ideal place to relax after a busy day of Polar research and exploration.

Viking Expeditions Cruises 2022

Like other Viking ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are only for passengers over the age of 18 and are all-inclusive. You can find out more about the new Viking Expeditions ships by visiting vikingcruises.com.au.

This article originally appeared in volume 40 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.

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