LOS ANGELES - Viking marked the company's 25th anniversary with a historic celebration in Amsterdam. To commemorate the milestone, for the first time ever, three classes of Viking ships -a river ship, an ocean ship and the company's newest expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris - met in Amsterdam and sailed in a special convoy to IJmuiden, Netherlands. Participating in the convoy with the Viking Polaris were the Viking Longship, the Viking Mani, and the ocean vessel, the Viking Mars.
During the Amsterdam event, Viking also named the Viking Polaris and her identical sister ship, the Viking Octantis®, which is currently sailing her inaugural season in the Great Lakes. Both ships will spend the Austral summer in Antarctica, before traveling north to the Great Lakes for a series of voyages during spring and summer.
"Today is historic for Viking - to celebrate our 25th anniversary, to have all classes of our ships sailing together for the first time, and to name our phenomenal new expedition vessels. We are very grateful to their godmothers, Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, for honoring us. As renowned explorers who became the first women to ski across Antarctica, they are the perfect choice for ships that are designed for expeditions," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "I am very proud of what we have accomplished in our first 25 years. And in our view, we are just getting started. Where do we go next? Onwards."
Renowned explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, the respective ceremonial godmothers of the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, were in attendance in Amsterdam and offered a blessing of good fortune and safe sailing for the new ships - with Arnesen offering her blessing remotely via video to the Viking Octantis in the Great Lakes. In keeping with the naming tradition, Arnesen and Bancroft assisted in breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on each of the ship's hull. During the ceremony, guests enjoyed performances from Sissel Kyrkjebø, one of the world's leading crossover sopranos and godmother of the Viking Jupiter®, and violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Guests on all three Viking ships in Amsterdam were able to join in the naming ceremony, as well as witness the historic convoy, from their ships' respective outdoor viewing areas.
Viking's 25th anniversary celebration in Amsterdam is the most recent event during a milestone year in which the company has also welcomed to its fleet eight new Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe and new purpose-built vessels on the Mekong, Nile and Mississippi rivers. By the end of 2022, two new, identical ocean ships will have also joined Viking's fleet. Earlier this year, Viking was named the #1 Ocean Line and #1 River Line in Travel + Leisure's 2022 "World's Best" Awards, in which the company became the first cruise line ever to top both categories in the same year. Viking is also rated #1 for both rivers and oceans by Condé Nast Traveler, making it the first cruise line to ever simultaneously earn #1 in its categories from both publications. Additionally, Viking has published a new video about the company's history and some of the key partners who have contributed to its success, which was shared on board all Viking ships today as part of the 25th anniversary celebration.
Liv Arnesen, Godmother of the Viking Octantis
Liv Arnesen is a native Norwegian, educator, cross-country skier, explorer and lecturer. Arnesen led the first unsupported women's crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992. The Viking Octantis is named after Sigma Octantis, the south star; Arnesen was chosen as godmother specifically because of her accomplishment as the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole. As the godmother of the Viking Octantis, Arnesen will periodically serve as a member of the Viking Expedition Team when sailing in Antarctica and beyond.
"It is an honor to be the godmother of the new Viking Octantis. I have spent significant time in Antarctica and recently had the privilege to return on one of the ship's first voyages. The region is a special destination for scientists and adventurers, and sailing with Viking is the perfect way to get there," said Liv.
Ann Bancroft, Godmother of the Viking Polaris
Ann Bancroft, an American polar explorer, educator and author from Minnesota, became the first woman to successfully ski to both poles in 1993. Bancroft also led the first American women's east to west crossing of Greenland and dogsled 1,000 miles from the Northwest Territories in Canada to the North Pole. The Viking Polaris is named after Polaris, the north star; Bancroft was chosen as godmother specifically because of her accomplishment as the first woman to reach the North Pole by sled and foot. In addition to being the godmother of the Viking Polaris, she is the founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation to inspire girls and build confidence.
"Growing up in the Minnesota region, the Great Lakes are where I spent my early years becoming an explorer. I am proud to be the godmother of an expedition vessel like the Viking Polaris that will allow guests to visit, not only the Great Lakes, but also Antarctica, two regions that played a pivotal role in my life," said Ann.
Liv Arnesen & Ann Bancroft Partnership
For more than 20 years, Arnesen and Bancroft have worked together and in 2001, they became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Together they co-founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore / Access Water, an initiative that aims to engage and empower more than 60 million minds to create a sustainable tomorrow.
Viking Expedition Ships
The new Polar Class Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris host 378 guests in 189 staterooms. The vessels are purpose-built for expeditions, at an ideal size for safety and comfort in remote destinations. With more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than other expedition vessels, guests are as close as possible to the most magnificent scenery on earth. Highlights include:
- The Aula: A stunning panoramic auditorium inspired by the University of Oslo's famed ceremonial hall, the former venue for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Used for lectures, daily briefings, documentaries and films, this spectacular venue features a 4k laser-projected screen that retracts to expose floor-to-ceiling windows and 270° views.
- Finse Terrace: An outdoor lounge area just above sea level with recessed, heated seating and lava rock "firepits," the Finse Terrace was designed to allow guests the comforts of the ship al fresco while enjoying the dramatic scenery. Named after the Finse Plateau in Norway, where some of the greatest polar explorers, including Nansen and Amundsen, did their expedition training in preparation for their North and South Pole expeditions.
- The Hangar: A state-of-the-art, industry-first in-ship marina providing ease of embarkation and disembarkation of Special Operations Boats and other equipment while sheltered from the elements.
- The Bow: An important forward-viewing platform. And in the case of inclement weather, The Shelter is a comfortable, partially enclosed space for guests to warm up with a hot drink before going back out into the elements.
- The Science Lab: Developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Akvaplan-Niva, The Science Lab, at 380 sq. ft., is designed to support a broad range of research activities and is equipped with wet and dry laboratory facilities. Guests have supervised access to The Science Lab to learn from and participate in undertaking meaningful research with scientists.
- Expedition Central: The hub for the expedition team to consult with guests on their expedition activities and share knowledge about the destinations on a one-on-one basis, with the aid of 3D printed maps, digital screens, and a state-of-the-art spatial data visualization chart table.
- Dining Choices: The Restaurant offers fine dining featuring regional cuisine and always-available classics; the casual World Café offers an open kitchen, bakery, grill and premium seafood and sushi choices, as well as a wide range of international flavors; Mamsen's, named for the Hagen family matriarch, serves Scandinavian-inspired fare; and Manfredi's offers the best of Italian cuisine.
- The Nordic Spa: Following a day of exploration, The Nordic Spa offers guests opportunities to experience the ultimate healthy Nordic traditions, with an indoor heated pool set against expansive windows and a badestamp (wood-sided hot tub) that is open to the outside.
- Explorers' Lounge: Located high on the ship with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Explorers' Lounge provides guests an ideal space to take in the magnificent scenery, share discoveries with fellow travelers or to enjoy a drink.
- The Living Room: On the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, The Living Room is located to maximize views of the surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows and a library that informs even the best-read explorers. The Library is curated by acclaimed London bookshop Heywood Hill, as on all Viking vessels, as well as Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute.
- Nordic Balcony: A first for polar expedition vessels, all staterooms on board Viking's expedition ships feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that converts into an al fresco viewing platform with an observation shelf at elbow level to stabilize binoculars or a camera. Guests can choose from six stateroom categories that range from 222 sq. ft. to 1,223 sq. ft.- all with a Nordic Balcony, as well as a king-size bed and large bathroom with spacious glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and anti-fog mirror. Every stateroom is also equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling drying closet that circulates warm air to dry and store clothing and expedition gear.
- Expedition Ship Suites: Nordic Junior Suites (322 sq. ft.) and Explorer Suites (580 sq. ft.) on the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris are similar to those on Viking's fleet of ocean ships, with wood detailing and amenities that include additional storage and seating, an expanded bathroom with extended shower and double sinks, welcome champagne, a fully-stocked mini-bar replenished daily, complimentary laundry, priority restaurant reservations and more. Explorer Suites feature two separate rooms, a Nordic Balcony and a full outdoor veranda. Additionally, each ship features one Owner's Suite (1,223 sq. ft.) that has three rooms – a living room, a board/dining room and a bedroom - as well as a 792 sq. ft. private deck with a traditional Norwegian badestamp open to the invigorating outdoors.
- Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Viking has created the world's leading scientific enrichment environment in an expedition setting. Exclusive partnerships with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - as well as other prestigious scientific institutions match leading researchers and educators with each expedition. Thirty-six experts accompany each journey as part of the Viking Expedition Team, including an Expedition Leader and support staff, photographer, field research scientists, general naturalists, mountain guides, kayak guides, submarine pilots and specialists (ornithology, geology, higher predator biology and history). On board, guests will enjoy daily briefings and world-class lectures about their destination. On shore, they can assist in fieldwork or interact through experiential activities during landings - such as monitoring birds to help identify migratory patterns; accompanying scientists to collect samples; or taking their cameras ashore alongside a professional photographer to learn how best to capture scenic landscapes.
- Environmentally Considerate: Viking's expedition ships have set a new standard for responsible travel with an energy-efficient design that exceeds the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements by nearly 38%. In addition to an integrated bow that creates a longer waterline for the ships, engines with heat recovery systems and Azipod Electric Propulsion, the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris have received one of the industry's first SILENT-E notations - the highest-level certification for quiet ship propulsion, minimizing underwater noise pollution.