Viking has announced the summer 2023 season of its expedition voyages, including a new two-week itinerary in the Great Lakes—as well as additional offerings in North and South America. Debuting in June 2023, the new 15-day Great Lakes Collection itinerary will sail between Toronto and Duluth, providing guests with a complete view of the region and ports of call in all five Great Lakes. As a result of strong demand, Viking has also announced 2023 sailing dates for four existing Great Lakes expedition voyages: the 8-day Niagara & the Great Lakes, Great Lakes Explorer, and Undiscovered Great Lakes itineraries, as well as the 13-day Canadian Discovery itinerary.
Three additional expedition voyages in North and South America will also debut in summer 2023. The new, 16-day Canada & the Atlantic Coastline itinerary will expand offerings along the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic coastline, featuring destinations that include Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Norfolk, Charleston, Norfolk and more. Guests can discover the natural beauty of Patagonia while sailing from Santiago to Ushuaia on the new 14-day Patagonian Shores & Chilean Fjords itinerary, while guests looking to explore destinations in North, Central and South America, can choose the new 18-day itinerary Panama & Scenic South America.
“In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are offering curious travellers the opportunity to visit some of the most pristine destinations on earth in the most responsible way possible,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “As we prepare to welcome our first guests on board for voyages to Antarctica this coming winter, we are also pleased to unveil even more new journeys for summer 2023.”
New Viking Expeditions Summer 2023 Itineraries:
Highlights of the new itineraries include:
- Great Lakes Collection (NEW) – On this 15-day itinerary, guests sail the historic waterways of all five Great Lakes. Sailing between Toronto, Canada and Duluth, Minnesota, guests will experience culture-rich urban centres and admire the thundering power of Niagara Falls. Along the journey, guests can also explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. On Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, study the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes and venture into the dense boreal forests that line the shores.
- Canada & the Atlantic Coastline (NEW) – On this 16-day itinerary, guests sail along the legendary St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic coast of the United States on a memorable voyage that combines scenic landscapes and storied cities between Toronto and Ft. Lauderdale. Led by a team of experts, explore the unspoiled wilderness near Trois-Rivières, Louisbourg and Lunenburg by land and water. Experience the bustling metropolis of New York City and immerse yourself in the rich histories of Quebec City, Norfolk and Charleston.
- Patagonian Shores & Chilean Fjords (NEW) – This 14-day itinerary discovers the rugged and untamed natural beauty of Patagonia while sailing from Santiago to Ushuaia. Guests can admire soaring peaks and towering ice shelves while navigating the iceberg-crowded channels of the Chilean Fjords. Follow your team of onboard experts for an up-close encounter with the blue-tinged glaciers that dominate the landscape and gain insight into Patagonian life during stops in the charming towns of Tortel and Castro on this unforgettable voyage through the wild and remarkable region.
- Panama & Scenic South America (NEW) – On this 18-day itinerary, guests will explore cultures and intriguing landscapes of North, Central and South America. On the journey between Santiago, Chile and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, guests will discover the secrets of ancient civilisations of the Yucatán Peninsula and transit between two oceans through the famous Panama Canal. Immerse yourself in lively Lima and enjoy the charms of Iquique, nested between the Atacama Desert and the Pacific.
Viking Expedition Ships
The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Designed by the same experienced nautical architects and engineers that designed Viking ocean ships, the ships are optimally sized and built for expeditions—small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, while large enough to provide superior handling and stability in the roughest seas. The ships will feature public spaces that are familiar to Viking’s ocean voyage guests but that have been reimagined for expeditions, as well as new public spaces created specifically for expeditions. Straight bows, longer hulls and state-of-the-art fin stabilisers will allow the ships to glide over the waves for the calmest possible journey; ice-strengthened Polar Class hulls will provide the safest way to explore; and U-tank stabilisers will significantly decrease rolling by up to 50 percent when the ships are stationary. Viking’s expedition ships will feature modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:
- The Hangar: An industry first, The Hangar brings true comfort to expedition voyages. This enclosed, in-ship marina permits the launch of small excursion craft through the ship’s multiple shell doors. The Hangar’s most innovative feature is an 85 ft. slipway that allows guests to embark on excursion craft from a flat, stable surface inside the ship, shielded from wind and waves. There is also a FerryBox, a set of instruments continuously collecting and displaying data on water quality, oxygen content, plankton composition and more.
- The Science Lab: Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, while hosting guests, will also be working research vessels with an onboard team of scientists working on a variety of studies. Developed in consultation with Cambridge University and Viking’s other academic partners, 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, a sample processing area, fume cupboard, freezer and cool storage, comprehensive microscope optics and extensive bench space for analysis-specific instruments. Guests will have supervised access to The Science Lab, which is located in a glass-enclosed mezzanine above The Hangar, to learn from and participate with scientists undertaking primary research, an experience unique to Viking.
- Expedition Equipment: Viking will offer a variety of ways for guests to experience their destination, according to their interests and activity level, at no extra charge. With a robust programme of complimentary experiences, expedition equipment available for guests on Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will include a fleet of military pro zodiacs designed for professional use in the harshest of environments; a fleet of two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks; and two 12-seater convertible Special Operations Boats. Each ship will also feature two six-guest submarines that feature revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for an incomparable undersea experience. Everything guests need will be provided: a Viking Expedition Kit will contain items like boots, binoculars and waterproof pants; each excursion will carry a full range of Safety Equipment, such as satellite phones, VHF radios, ropes, life jackets and a comprehensive shore survival kit; and all guests will receive complimentary use of Viking Excursion Gear, which includes specialty items like trekking poles, snowshoes and skis.
- The Aula & Finse Terrace: Viking has created the world’s most advanced venue for learning at sea with The Aula, a stunning panoramic auditorium at the stern. Inspired by the University of Oslo’s famed ceremonial hall where the Nobel Peace Prize was historically awarded, The Aula will offer a dynamic venue for lectures and entertainment, with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views. Adjacent to The Aula through sliding glass walls is the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge area at sea level with comfortable sofas and warming lava rock “firepits” – perfect for panoramic views of the surroundings. Together the two spaces can be combined to create an unmatched indoor-outdoor al fresco experience for guests to be immersed in nature.
- Nordic Balcony: A first for polar expedition cruise vessels, all staterooms on board Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform. Harnessing the Norwegian reverence for light and to create the optimal wildlife observatory at sea, the Nordic Balcony’s floor-to-ceiling, distortion-free glass at the very edge of the ship lets guests take the views in, while keeping the elements out. Should guests wish to feel even closer to nature, the top of the panoramic glass lowers to transform the stateroom into a sheltered lookout, with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilise binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft to 1,223 sq. ft: Nordic Balcony, Deluxe Nordic Balcony, Nordic Penthouse, Nordic Junior Suite, Explorer Suite and Owner’s Suite. All staterooms feature 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 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris rival those on Viking’s fleet of ocean ships, with abundant 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 and shoeshine services, 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, which at 1,223 sq. ft, is twice the size of the Explorer Suites. With the most exclusive accommodations and amenities on board, it features two separate rooms – a living room with six-seat dining table and a bedroom – as well as a 792 sq. ft. private garden with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) and outdoor dining table.
- Aquavit Terrace & Pools: Located at the stern and featuring a retractable glass dome, this indoor-outdoor heated sanctuary will allow guests to be surrounded by their destination as they swim and lounge in three different temperature-controlled pools, including an “inside-out” swimming experience.
- The Nordic Spa & Fitness Centre: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Nordic Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind – with a thermal suite that features a Sauna, Snow Grotto and chaise lounges, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool and badestamp (hot tub), surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. A state-of-the-art Fitness Centre will also provide the latest equipment and workout gear.
- Explorers’ Lounge: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have a two-deck Explorers’ Lounge at the bow of the ship, offering the perfect spot for taking in stunning scenery through double-height windows over a mug of mulled wine or glass of Norwegian aquavit.
- Dining Choices: Viking’s expedition ships will offer an array of dining options that build on the successful venues from Viking’s ocean ships, but which have been redesigned for expeditions. The Restaurant will offer fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Café will be a new “market” concept that offers live cooking, an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavours; Mamsen’s, named for “Mamsen,” the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; Manfredi’s offers the best of Italian cuisine; and 24-hour room service will be complimentary for all guests.
- Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating “the thinking person’s expedition.” As part of that commitment to destination-focused learning, Viking’s exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will match leading researchers and educators with each expedition. The onboard expedition programme is designed to prepare guests for their onshore experiences, with more than 25 experts accompanying each journey – the Viking Expedition Team (expedition leader and staff, photographer and submarine pilots) and Viking Resident Scientists (biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, ornithologists, polar experts and researchers). On board, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination – and engage with working scientists from renowned academic institutions in The Laboratory or participate directly in citizen science programmes. On shore, guests 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.
- Sustainable Features: Compliant to all guidelines and regulatory requirements from AECO, IAATO, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Governor of Svalbard, Viking’s expedition ships minimise environmental impact and meet the most stringent emissions and biosecurity standards. Additionally, the straight bow reduces fuel consumption, and a dynamic positioning system enables the ship to hover over the seabed without anchoring, allowing access to pristine environments without damage.