Marking a new milestone for Viking, which has big plans for U.S. domestic sailing, Viking Octantis kicked off the line’s inaugural sailing in the Great Lakes region with the completion of a roundtrip sailing through the Welland Canal, which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Designed specifically to be able to reach the Great Lakes, the 378-passenger Viking Octantis is the largest passenger vessel to ever transit the canal.
“Our expedition ships were designed with the Great Lakes in mind,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. “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. With our first season now underway, we are pleased with the strong demand among our guests and look forward to introducing even more curious travelers to these fantastic destinations in 2023.”
Viking Octantis will remain in the Great Lakes until early October, sailing a variety of itineraries between Toronto and Duluth. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut later this year and join Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes in 2023.
To help develop the scientific enrichment program for its Great Lakes Voyages, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), which conducts research into the ecosystems of the Great Lakes regions. Viking Octantis has been designated an official NOAA /U.S. National Weather Service weather balloon station, and regular launches are undertaken from its deck.
Viking will achiever another milestone when its first U.S. river-based river ship, the Viking Mississippi, launches on the Mississippi River this summer.