Viking, one of the world’s leading ocean and river cruise lines, is venturing into expedition waters with the launch of two new dedicated vessels that will sail to Antarctica, the Arctic and the Great Lakes.

The company’s second expedition ship, the Viking Polaris completed a construction milestone this week when the ship was floated out of dry dock and moved to the final stage of construction – the interior build.

Viking Polaris’ maiden season will see her sail to the Arctic and Antarctica. Her identical sister ship, Viking Octantis, was floated out last December and is set to debut in early 2022 for journeys to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes.

The new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris will each host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. Curated by the same experienced nautical architects and engineers that designed the Viking ocean ships, these new vessels are built for expedition, small enough to navigate remote polar regions and the St. Lawrence River, but large enough to handle the roughest seas.

All cabins will feature a Nordic Balcony that is perfect for taking in the views while cruising to some of the most remote places on earth. Staterooms will range from 222 sq. ft. to the 1,223 sq. ft. for the Owner’s Suite. Each stateroom will also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.

The ships will feature public spaces that are familiar to Viking’s ocean cruise guests but have been redesigned for expeditions, as well as new public spaces created specifically for expeditions.

The ships will have a fleet of military pro zodiacs, kayaks, RIBs, and two submarines that can hold six guests at a time.  The submarines will feature revolving seats and 270 degree views. Explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honoured as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. Ms Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in 1994.

And Ms Bancroft is the first woman to successfully ski to both poles. They both also became the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore/Access Water, an initiative that aims to bring together 60 million people to create a sustainable tomorrow.