Viking Octantis recently completed an impressive milestone of its inaugural season in the Great Lakes, and continues to be warmly welcomed as it visits quaint ports of call throughout the region.
The ship has now sailed through the Welland Canal, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and is the largest passenger vessel ever to have made that transit.
Viking Octantis Measures Up to the Welland Canal
The Welland Canal is a 27-mile-long stretch between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, featuring eight separate locks to connect the two impressive bodies of water, which are separated by 326 feet of elevation.
The canal is a key section of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes Waterway, and is the largest of four canals that allow ships to bypass Niagara Falls. It takes vessels roughly 11 hours to transit the canal’s entire length.
The Welland Canal can accommodate vessels up to 740 feet long and 78 feet wide.
Viking Octantis measures just under 673 feet long and one inch over 77 feet wide – giving the ship a clearance of just 11 inches of width through the canal, and impressive engineering feat that offers guests a thrilling experience not to be found elsewhere.
Viking Sailing in the Great Lakes
Transiting the Welland Canal is part of Viking Octantis‘ Great Lakes itineraries, which are being well-received not only by passengers enjoying the new vessel, but also by local communities eager to welcome cruise tourism.
“This region has been historically underserved by cruise lines, and we are delighted by the warm and enthusiastic reception we have received from the local communities,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
Depending on the itinerary, Viking Octantis is visiting such charming northern destinations as Mackinac Island, Alpena, Sault Sainte Marie, Point Pelee, Silver Islet, Houghton, and Thunder Bay. Along the way, the vessel also stops at more metropolitan ports such as Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Toronto, and Duluth.
“With our first season now underway, we are pleased with the strong demand among our guests and look forward to introducing even more curious travelers to these fantastic destinations in 2023,” said Hagen.
During this inaugural Great Lakes season – the ship was just delivered to Viking Cruises in December 2021, and spent its first winter sailing Antarctica – Viking Octantis is offering a variety of 8-15 night sailings, each of which visits distinctive regions and offers guests intimate ways to explore, including kayaking tours, hikes, vintage train rides, bike excursions, and more.
Discovering Viking Octantis
No matter where they are sailing, guests will also want to explore this new expedition ship, the first vessel of its kind for Viking Cruises.
A smaller ship at just 30,150 gross tons, the Polar-class Viking Octantis offers an intimate experience for the 378 passengers it can accommodate, but it does not skimp on the luxurious details Viking Cruises is known for.
The ship features more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than other expedition vessels, such as the stunning Aula, a panoramic auditorium with floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree views, as well as laser-projected screens to support guest lectures and other presentations.
The Finse Terrance is an outdoor lounge area with lava rock firepits just above sea level, or for a different view, guests can visit The Bow for forward-facing vistas.
Guests will also appreciate the ship’s many luxury touches, such as a curated library, convertible sunroom balconies on all staterooms, regionally-inspired dining, and state-of-the-art expedition details, including 3-D printed maps of destinations, wet and dry laboratory facilities, and The Hangar, an in-ship marina for comfortable and convenient embarking and debarking specialty craft.
Viking Octantis will be joined later this year by her sister ship, Viking Polaris, which will also offer impressive luxury and amazing exploration options in remote and distinctive destinations.