LOS ANGELES — Viking Octantis, Viking’s new purpose-built vessel, has kicked off its inaugural season in the Great Lakes.
Designed specifically for this region, the Viking Octantis is fresh off a roundtrip voyage through the Welland Canal, a key section of the St. Lawrence Seaway that connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, making it the largest passenger vessel ever to transit the canal. The ship will remain in the Great Lakes until early October 2022, sailing a variety of itineraries between Toronto and Duluth.
A second expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris, will debut later this year and will join the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes for the 2023 season.
“Our expedition ships were designed with the Great Lakes in mind. 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. “With our first season now underway, we are pleased with the strong demand among our guests and look forward to introducing even more curious travellers to these fantastic destinations in 2023.”
Viking will be operating four new itineraries in the Great Lakes for the 2022-2023 season:
- Undiscovered Great Lakes (8 days): This itinerary sails from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee, allowing guests to explore the Apostle Islands and Keweenaw Peninsula, kayak through sea caves, visit Kakabeka Falls, and stroll the car-free streets of Mackinac Island.
- Great Lakes Explorer (8 days): Sailing from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay, highlights include the boreal forests of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Mackinac Island, and coastal wetlands replete with birdlife.
- Niagara & The Great Lakes (8 days): This voyage from Toronto to Milwaukee provides a close look at the lakes’ shipping history. Guests will marvel over Niagara Falls, keep watch for migratory birds at Point Pelee and explore sheltered bays and woodlands with a team of experts.
- Canadian Discovery (13 days): Sailing from New York to Toronto, this voyage highlights the region’s colonial past while cruising along the St. Lawrence River. Guests will view the dramatic cliffs and wildlife of the Saguenay River Valley and take part in shore excursions in each port.
In 2023, Viking will also be adding a new 15-day voyage, ‘Great Lakes Collection,’ that sails from Toronto to Duluth and includes such highlights as Niagara Falls, the famous Soo Locks and the dense boreal forests that line the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
The new Polar-class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. The vessels are purpose-built for expeditions and feature more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than other expedition vessels. Highlights onboard include The Aula, a panoramic auditorium for lectures and daily briefings, the outdoor Finse Terrace featuring heated seating and lava rock ‘firepits,’ an industry-first in-ship marina for embarkation and disembarkation, and the Science Lab, developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva. There’s also a spa, numerous dining choices and the Nordic Balcony, a first for polar expedition vessels that is featured in all staterooms.
From now through May 31, 2022, Viking is offering special fares and reduced airfare on Great Lakes voyages. For more information call 1-855-8-VIKING (1-855-884-5464).