Viking's first expedition cruise ship is well underway

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The hull of the Viking Octantis. The ship was floated out at Fincantieri's Vard shipyard in Norway.
The hull of the Viking Octantis. The ship was floated out at Fincantieri's Vard shipyard in Norway.

Viking's first expedition ship, the 378-passenger Viking Octantis, was floated out on Dec. 22, a construction milestone when the ship first touches water.

Scheduled to debut in early 2022, the Octantis will spend its maiden season in Antarctica and North America's Great Lakes. A sister ship, the Viking Polaris, is slated to debut in summer 2022 and will sail to Antarctica and the Arctic.

The Octantis, under construction at Fincantieri's Vard shipyard in Norway, will now move into its final stage of construction and its interior build-out.

Viking launched its expedition cruise arm, Viking Expeditions, last January.

The ships will debut the Hangar, which Viking calls an industry first: an in-ship marina facilitating the launch of small excursion craft through the ships' multiple shell doors, including an 85-foot slipway that enables guests to embark rigid inflatable boats from a stable, interior surface. All cabins will have what Viking calls a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom where the top of the glass can be lowered to the open air.

Explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be godmothers to the Octantis and Polaris, respectively, when they debut. Arnesen, a native Norwegian, was the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994. Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles. Arnesen and Bancroft also became the first women to ski across Antarctica, in 2001.

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