Cruise ship operator Viking has this week informed that its first expedition ship – the 378-guest Viking Octantis – was floated, marking a major construction milestone and the first time that the new ship touches water.

The float out is important because it denotes a ship moving into its final stage of construction. 

The float-out ceremony of Viking Octantis took place on December 22. The ship was then moved to a nearby outfitting dock for further construction and interior build-out. After final outfitting, Viking Octantis will be delivered at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway.

Scheduled to debut in early 2022, Viking Octantis will spend its maiden season sailing voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. 

A second, identical expedition ship, Viking Polaris, is set to debut in summer 2022 and will sail journeys to Antarctica and the Arctic. 

“Working with Fincantieri over the last eight years, we have built the world’s most beautiful ocean ships. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Fincantieri’s VARD and celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our first expedition vessel,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. 

“In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition,’ we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America. Viking Octantis and her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will allow our guests to explore further – to the ends of the earth as well as closer to home. I would like to thank our partners at VARD and everyone working at the yard for the hard work and dedication on the building of Viking Octantis; we look forward to welcoming her to our fleet in early 2022.”

Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will be honored as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, respectively. 

Arnesen, a native Norwegian, became 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. T 

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