Viking has started its third expedition season in Antarctica with the arrival of the Viking Octantis and her sistership, the Viking Polaris, to the Antarctic Peninsula. The two expedition cruise ships will spend the entire southern summer sailing around the white continent.
Onboard Polaris and Octantis, guests will be able to explore the most remote and pristine area on our planet in comfort and luxury. The two ships are part of a change in the expedition cruise industry, which is seeing an increased number of ultra-luxury cruise ships sailing to the Antarctic Peninsula.
New Season of Antarctic Adventures
Viking has kicked off its Antarctic cruise season with the arrival of Viking Polaris and Viking Octantis to the Antarctic Peninsula. Both ships completed their inaugural Longitudinal World Cruises, during which they sailed from North America to the Panama Canal, the Chilean Fjords, and ultimately south across the Drake Passage.
The expedition vessels, which both have space for some 378 guests, have been specifically designed for expedition cruising, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Antarctica in relative luxury. It is already the third season of cruising in the white continent for Viking Octantis, and the second for Viking Polaris.
Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, expressed his enthusiasm for the new season: “As we welcome guests back for a third season in Antarctica, we are pleased to introduce even more opportunities for the curious traveler to experience this phenomenal region in Viking comfort.”
“By creating expeditions for The Thinking Person, our guests are able to explore some of the most pristine destinations on Earth in the most responsible way possible, while also participating in meaningful scientific discoveries.”
All cruises are accompanied by the Viking Expedition Team, in collaboration with institutions like the Scott Polar Research Institute and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which brings onboard leading researchers and educators.
Onboard, guests can enjoy educational lectures and excursions but also contribute to important scientific research, with the recent publication of a scientific paper on the giant phantom jellyfish, which was studied by the submersibles onboard the Viking expedition ships, as a result.
After their time in the Antarctic in the southern summer of 2023-2024, which ends in mid-March 2024, both Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will head back to North America to continue their voyages across the Great Lakes.
Viking Octantis will sail cruises from Milwaukee, Toronto, and Duluth, while Viking Polaris will sail cruises from Toronto, New York, Milwaukee, and Duluth.
A Voyage from the Arctic to Antarctica
Viking is seeing an incredible increase in demand for Antarctic voyages, which has prompted the cruise line to announce the opening of bookings for the 2025-2026 season.
This includes an extraordinary 87-day Longitudinal World Cruise expedition departing in September 2025 titled ‘From the Arctic to Antarctica.’ The cruise starts from Nuuk, Greenland, high above the Arctic Circle. Guests will sail thousands of miles south to Ushuaia, Argentina, commonly known as the last city in the world and just short of the Antarctic Circle.
Besides Greenland, the cruise will sail to the Canadian High Arctic before sailing to ports in the Caribbean, Peru, and exploring the Chilean glaciers before continuing to Antarctica.
Cruises to Antarctica have been steadily becoming more and more popular with the general public. While there has been a significant increase in ultra-luxury offerings from cruise lines such as Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn, and Viking, there are a multitude of cruise lines that offer cruises to the southern continent.
This includes operators such as Quark Expeditions, which offers helicopter tours and in-depth explorations onboard Ultramarine, Dutch operator Oceanwide Expeditions, one of the oldest operators in the industry, and French Giant Ponant, which operates several ships in the region, including the state-of-the-art ice breaker Le Commandant Charcot.