We waited over a year and a half for this cruise. And our first Viking cruise lived up to all our expectations. Octantis is a wonderful cruise ship and a scientific research ship very comfortably rolled into one small vessel.
The ship is decorated in human-scale items. Not lots of glitz, just solid, comfortable furniture arranged in ways to encourage interaction among the guests. Public spaces on board range from the steeply-raked seating of the Aula (which offers panoramic views of the surrounding environment) to a small nook on one level where 3-4 people can quietly visit while watching the world pass by. The art onboard is eclectic, including photos, sculpture, historic and scientific references and books stacked here and there throughout the ship, often in front of simulated fireplaces, to encourage you to stop and contemplate something new for a while. We stayed in a deluxe veranda cabin (D2) and although smaller than most cruise ship cabins on newer ships it is designed to take advantage of every inch. We did request that a bench beside the bed be removed for our sailing, and we moved the coffee table to one side so we could both enjoy the views from our Nordic Balcony window. The closet space is not huge, but it was more than adequate for our needs. The drying closet is useful to dry swimsuits and shoes that get wet during rainy weather, although it will certainly be more used in the Antarctic. The lighting is multi-level (reading lamp, small bedside lamp, and cabin-wide overhead and indirect up-lighting) and easy to control from the door or either side of the bed. There are power outlets (US and Euro connections) on both bedside tables at the desk and in the bathroom, and there are USB-a and USB-c outlets, as well as a contact charging station on each bedside table. My only negative comment about the cabin is there is only one towel rack in the bathroom, across the room from the shower, so you have to step out of the shower to pick up your towel, and towel hanging space is too limited. There are two drawers in the bath and racks for storing toiletries, etc. The shower is not huge, but it is perfectly adequate for most people to take a comfortable shower.
The food is excellent. Lunches and dinners in the buffet are varied - there was crab, lobster, filet mignon and many other types of steaks (prepared as you ordered) and sushi available every dinner, and the meals in both specialty restaurants are very good. The bread is the best I’ve had at sea, the desserts are very good, and the pea soup at Mamsen’s is the best I’ve ever had (including my own at home). Breakfast doesn’t change a great deal daily, but there is a wide variety of options available, so it doesn’t get boring.