The 378-passenger Viking Polaris is the second of Viking's first-ever expedition ships. It
will launch in August 2022, after sister ship Viking Octantis. While the new Viking Expeditions brand will borrow many features from the line's ocean and river vessels, Viking Polaris will be specifically geared for adventure cruises in polar destinations and a standout feature will be a pair of submersibles (aka submarines).
The ship will have public spaces that are familiar to Viking's ocean cruise passengers which have been "reimagined" for expeditions, as well as new public spaces created specifically for expeditions. Constructed at Fincantieri's Vard shipyard in Alesund, Norway, Viking Polaris is an ice-strengthened Polar Class 6 vessel with a longer hull, straight bow and state-of-the-art fin stabilizers to provide the calmest possible journeys in remote regions.
Slightly smaller than Viking's existing oceangoing ships, which are 745 feet long and carry 930 passengers, Viking Polaris will have an overall length of 672 feet and capacity for only 378 passengers and offer superior spaciousness. The ship's high passenger-to-space ratio of 79.76 is on par with many ultra-luxury cruise lines.
Viking will also bring over some other popular features from its mainstream ocean ships such as the forward-facing Explorers' Lounge, the Aquavit Bar, the Living Room and a dedicated library. Viking Polaris will also have swimming pools, a spa and fitness center, outdoor deck spaces and a bow viewing area.
The four dining venues will also mirror the line's other ships with the casual World Cafe buffet; The Restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner; the specialty Italian-themed Manfredi's; and Mamsen's, featuring Nordic and Scandinavian dishes from the cookbook of Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen's mother. Similarly, complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks will be served with lunch and dinner, and there will be no additional fees to dine in Manfredi's. Room service will be complimentary and available 24 hours.
All 189 cabins will offer ocean views and instead of walk-out balconies they will have a "Nordic balcony" -- a sunroom with a large window that can be opened to create an open-air space with the push of a button. Useful for expeditions in snowy and icy regions, rooms will have a drying closet with circulating warm air that dries your wet clothes. All cabins and suites also feature a king-sized bed, a mini-bar, binoculars to use throughout the voyage and a bathroom with spacious shower and heated floor.
Suites have extra perks such as alcoholic drinks in the mini-bar, replenished daily, a welcome bottle of Champagne, pressing and shoeshine services, coffee machine, and priority booking of activities and spa treatments.
Nordic Junior Suites have more storage and seating; a larger bathroom with extended shower and two sinks; and additional perks such as complimentary laundry and dry cleaning, and priority restaurant reservations. Explorer Suites have two separate rooms and an outdoor veranda, as well as the Nordic Balcony.
Most of the accommodation will be Nordic Balcony and Deluxe Nordic Balcony cabins, each with 222 square feet of living space. There will be 20 Nordic Penthouse Suites measuring 269 square feet, 26 Nordic Junior Suites measuring 322 square feet and four two-room Explorer Suites, measuring 580 square feet. Passengers in the Explorer Suites will have exclusive access to the a shared garden on the top deck and other benefits include a Silver Spirits beverage package. The 1,223-square-foot Owner's Suite also features a separate bedroom and living rooms, plus a 792-square-foot private garden private garden with a traditional Norwegian badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) and outdoor dining table.
Reimagined public areas include The Aquavit Terrace, with a retractable glass dome, which will have the three temperature-controlled pools, including one where you can swim between indoors and outdoors. The Finse Terrace, named after Viking's Executive Vice President Karine Hagen's dog, Finse, will have couches around warming lava rock faux "firepits" -- without real fire for safety reasons -- where passengers can view the passing scenery.
One of the most attractive aspects of Viking Polaris is the range of expedition equipment available for guests at no extra charge, including two yellow submarines with six revolving seats and 270-degree spherical windows for unparalleled viewing underwater; a fleet of military pro zodiacs; two 12-seater convertible RIBs; and several two-seater Arctic-tested kayaks. In particular, the inclusion of submarine rides in the fare gives Viking an impressive point of difference compared to other cruise lines which charge extra fees for this activity.
In common with all Viking cruises, there will be a big accent on carefully curated cultural enrichment linked to the destinations visited. Viking Polaris will feature daily onboard lectures and expedition briefings conducted by more than 25 experts on each journey, including biologists, botanists, geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, ornithologists, polar experts and researchers. The enrichment program will be developed with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
Viking Polaris will also have a large working space called The Laboratory, equipped with high-tech wet and dry lab facilities, a sample processing area, microscope optics, a fume cupboard, freezer, cold storage and bench space for instruments. Passengers will have supervised access to The Laboratory and can also help the scientists with primary research, from collecting samples on excursions to monitoring birds spotted on voyages.
The main lecture hall, The Aula, will be a panoramic room at the back of the ship that can seat half of the ship's passengers at once, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering 270-degree views.
Viking Polaris sets sail on August 16, 2022 on its maiden voyage, the 12-night Arctic Adventure round-trip Tromso itinerary that visits Svalbard and the Arctic.
Viking Polaris will spend its maiden season sailing to the Arctic and Antarctica before embarking on four all-new itineraries in 2023. These are the 14-night Great Lakes Collection voyage between Toronto and Duluth, with ports of call in all five Great Lakes, and the 13-night Patagonian Shores & Chilean Fjords cruise between Santiago to Ushuaia. The ship will also sail the new Canada & Atlantic Coastline and Panama & Scenic South America itineraries.
Viking Polaris is 30,150 gross tons and carry 378 passengers at double occupancy, with 256 crew.
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