Fodor’s Expert Review
The first of two planned expedition vessels for Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking Octantis melds the Nordic style of Viking’s typical ship design with the practicality of an expedition vessel. About half the size of a Viking Ocean Cruises ship (with a third the passenger capacity), Octantis is nevertheless larger than a typical expedition ship so that it can accommodate both zodiacs for landing in wilderness areas but also creature comforts including an expansive thermal suite, several restaurants, and nicely sized cabins. It’s large enough that you won’t be uncomfortable on sea days, but small enough so that every passenger can be disembarked for every expeditionary excursion.Read More
Octantis is based half the year in Ushuaia, Argentina, sailing a variety of itineraries to Antarctica. It spends late spring and summer in the Great Lakes, and will periodically do a short season in the Arctic in late summer, though the itineraries are still in flux. During all these periods, a dedicated scientific and expedition staff remain on board to see to the needs of not only passengers but also a rotating array of scientists and lecturers, who will board throughout the year. A serious group of scientists has been involved in planning expeditionary activities, especially for Antarctica, and Viking plans for Octantis to participate in real research projects, such as gathering water and ice samples and launching weather balloons. Passengers will have an opportunity to volunteer to help with ongoing projects in a dedicated science lab onboard.
Although passengers who have sailed previously with Viking will recognize the hallmark Viking design and line flourishes, Octantis is a brand-new design for Viking, with a dedicated launch bay called “The Hangar” for its two onboard submarines, two Norwegian-designed special operations boat, sea kayaks, and dozens of Zodiacs that can bring all the passengers for a single landing when the conditions permit. The line touts the ship’s zero-emissions waste treatment system and other safety measures to prevent contamination of pristine environments.