Viking’s two new upcoming purpose-built Polar Class 6 vessels are setting out to bring the adventurous minded to the furthest reaches of the globe with an unprecedented eye for design and comfort. Recently revealed in Beverly Hills, California by Viking chairman Torstein Hagen, the two ships are to set sail in 2022 with an array of technologies intended to deliver passengers to the Arctic, Antarctica, and North America’s Great Lakes complemented by a degree of sedate and sophisticated design not typically associated with polar destination getaways.
Viking Expeditions plans to distinguish itself from their existing ocean and river route options – like our recent trip aboard the Viking Jupiter, an ocean liner that took us along the Baltic Sea – by emphasizing exploration and the natural sciences as integral to the experience. Hagen’s announcement also doubles down on the company’s commitment to catering to a specific demographic seeking “the thinking person’s expedition”, and Viking Expeditions two new luxury 378-passenger expedition cruise ships (Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris) is a strategy to take passengers to the shores of the “Last Continent” of Antarctica, to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle, and the Earth’s largest body of fresh water, the Great Lakes with the same luxurious amenities enjoyed on calmer water routes – no small feat, considering Arctic and Antarctic waters can be notoriously rough.
Interior spaces, both public and private, are to be decorated with an eye for tastefully contemporary details, materials, and surface treatments. Floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass wraps around the entire ship, giving passengers clear views from the warmth and safety of their cabin rooms.
Those with a proclivity for the natural sciences will hail Viking’s partnerships with world-renowned academic institutions, like the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Each ship will include a cadre of scientists aboard to educate and inform passengers during their time aboard, in essence turning a cruise experience into a learning laboratory.
Polar expedition cruising are notorious for rough rides, but Viking emphasized their ships are also to be equipped with interior counterweights resulting in a much smoother ride when the seas become choppy. Both expedition ships, the Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis, and Viking Polaris, will launch from January 2022, with trip packages ranging from eight to 13 days, starting around $6,600.