11 Amazing Experiences Aboard Viking’s New Expedition Ship – TravelAwaits | Gmx Pharm

I recently had the opportunity to set sail aboard the Viking Octantisthe first of two new expedition ships the luxury cruise line is adding to its fleet this year. Octantis and its sister ship, Polariswere specifically designed to combine leisure travel and scientific activities in both the Great Lakes region and Antarctica.

What I found was a wondrous blend of the superb onboard experience that the line has become known for over the past quarter century and state-of-the-art spaces focused on data collection, analysis and scientific support for the onboard researchers. It’s a winning combo – with some incredible itineraries – destined to delight almost any adventurer.

Here are 11 amazing shipboard experiences to experience during your adventure aboard Viking’s new expedition ships.

The onboard fleet of scientific vessels includes submarines, special operations boats and Zodiacs, which passengers can schedule time for during their cruise.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

1. Channel your inner scientific type (or gal!)

That Octantis was built specifically with science in mind, and that fact becomes apparent once you start exploring the ship’s lower decks. Here you’ll find a fully operational laboratory where researchers on board the ship analyze water samples for microplastics, document bird migration patterns, and help organize weather balloon launches in partnership with NOAA. Octantis Guests are encouraged to participate in lab demonstrations that engage them in the community and further connect them to the research taking place onboard. There is an Explorer Suite where guests can learn more about specimens – flora, fauna and minerals – found in and around the route’s sailing route. And I especially loved the lifelike, life-size felt models of migratory birds that we would likely see during our cruise.

Then there’s the matter of all the toys. Octantis is equipped with two small submarines, special boats and a fleet of inflatable Zodiac watercraft, all designed to put scientists in the middle of the action. All of this incredible equipment is stored in the ship’s expansive hold, and guests can also come aboard these ships for special cruises.

If you’ve always had an interest in science, our environment and protecting the environment through data collection, you’ll want to take full advantage of all the science on board!

2. Attend a lecture

If you’re overbooked on field trips and unable to attend an in-house lab or submarine, but still want to work in a dose of science, no worries! On board most evenings Octantis resident scientists delivered a series of lectures in the Aula, the ship’s beautiful auditorium. With its fully retractable casement windows adorned with famous works by Edvard Munch, the auditorium is the perfect place for fascinating presentations Octantis Scientists who explain their work, research and results in an accessible and understandable way. While educational, these talks are also very entertaining and a great way to learn more about what is being learned on board Octantis now and over time.

Note in the book from the library of the Vikings Octantis.

OctantisThe library of is vast, and you might even find a note or message from a former passenger hidden in a book.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

3. Settle into a great read

If you’re ready for some relaxation after all that adventure, fear not. That Octantis has a large, lovingly curated library that all guests can literally visit. Many of the books focus on adventure, exploration, and wilderness, which makes them particularly timely given the fact Octantis Sailing and scientific focus. I took a few of these with me during my week-long stay, and they were the perfect addition to my cabin’s bedside table.

Another bonus: many guests put newspaper clippings or small sticky notes in the ship’s books. I was lucky enough to find one and that made my read all the more special!

4. Take an art tour

I’m a bit of a culture freak when I go on vacation. I think the more museums the better. And I’m always happy about the art that a city has to offer.

While OctantisAs the ports of call on my voyage featured more outdoor activities than those focused on culture or history, I was pleased to see that the ship’s attention to detail extended to the onboard art collection. Various works in different media could be seen in almost all hallways, open spaces and corridors. Most are by Norwegian artists and all pay homage to the Great Lakes and Antarctic regions Octantis was built for exploration. Additionally, you’ll find small listening devices in each cabin, similar to the ones you would use on a self-guided museum tour, and that’s exactly how you use them on the ship. Each work of art has a corresponding number, and you’ll learn much more about each work of art during a tour that you can customize to suit your time and interest.

5. Get Snowy at the spa

The Nordic Spa on the second level of the ship offers a whole range of treatment rooms, which are available to all guests at any time free of charge. There’s a small pool overlooking the water, heated loungers, a sauna, steam room, bucket shower filled with — shall we say lively? — Water and then the Piece de Resistance, the snow grotto. After warming up, step into the snow and drop the flakes. It’s an experience designed to rejuvenate tired muscles and boost energy and I had a blast trying it out.

Of course, the spa staff also offers a full range of additional treatments, including facials, massages, and other body treatments for an additional fee. I’ve had the chance to try a few and would highly recommend them too!

Poached lobster with scallops in a lemon cream burre blanc sauce served on the Viking Octantis.

Suffice it to say that no one on board goes hungry. Here, poached lobster is served with scallops in a lemon and cream beurre blanc sauce.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

6. Taste world cuisine

I can’t say enough about the food options on board Octantis! There are two specialty venues: Manfredi’s with delicious Italian cuisine and The Restaurant with fusion haute cuisine offerings. The World Cafe – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – offers a wide variety of self-service and made-to-order meals. The sushi here was great! And if you’re craving a snack or sweet treat in the middle of the day, Mamsen’s has you covered. This small café focuses on Nordic specialties such as tea, cakes and of course waffles with berries and cream.

Trust me, on board the Octantis, fuel up quite well for all your adventures while sailing. My palate was very satisfied!

Sunset view from Viking's Octantis.

Take the time to enjoy the magnificent view from your cabin’s Nordic balcony. This is Lake Michigan at sunset.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

7. Capture the scenery from your Nordic balcony

Sometimes the most beautiful moments on vacation are the quietest, most peaceful and still. Every morning after training, I opted for room service breakfast so I could enjoy and sip my coffee in the seating area of ​​my cabin. I would roll down the floor to ceiling window (or what Viking calls a “Nordic balcony”) overlooking the water, listen to the waves and just enjoy the scenery. Take the time to do this at least once while on board. You will not regret it.

Infinity pool at Viking Octantis Nordic Spa.

The Nordic Spa’s infinity pool is both picturesque and serene.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

8. Polar immersion in the paddling pools

Octantis celebrates its Norwegian roots by embracing the hot-cold experience described in the Nordic Spa section above. You can also incorporate this exercise into an infinity pool jump to the stern of the ship. Here you will find separate spray zones – cold, medium and hot. Again, guests are encouraged to alternate between the three to get the full body benefit. Be sure to bring a robe so you can sit on the pretty Acquvit Terrace nearby afterwards!

Cozy reading place on the Viking Octantis.

There’s certainly no shortage of cozy nooks on board – places to curl up, enjoy a cocktail and perhaps a good book after a day of adventure.

Copyright: Erika Ebsworth-Goold

9. Find a cozy corner

Sometimes, after a long day of exploring, adventure, hiking, and kayaking, you just want to relax and unwind in a cozy, tranquil setting…but maybe you’re not ready to return to your cabin just yet. There are many corners just waiting to be explored in the main shared areas of the ship.

Octantis The color scheme is sleek and neutral, with luxe touches including comfy blankets slung over armchairs, plush couches, “chimneys” that give off a beautiful glow thanks to water vapor instead of flames, and of course those floor-to-ceiling windows who reveal jaws – drop water views. Many of these areas include table service, or you can just grab a drink and meander your way there. These areas have a relaxed, tranquil vibe and I loved discovering them during my time on board.

10. Have a sip at the Hide

Octantis’ late-night speakeasy is called The Hide for a reason. You don’t need to know the secret knock per se, but you do need to know how to get there. (It’s a bit mysterious, and you may have to ask for help!) This hidden corner offers fine liquor and ports, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a great place to meet up after dinner, with more than a touch of mystery. I loved having a nightcap every night before going to bed.

11. Find new friends

Last but not least, it was wonderfully easy for me to get into conversation with the other guests on board and to make new friends Octantis. There’s no assigned seating for meals or any “forced fun” activities, but you’ll find ample opportunities to get to know your fellow travelers. Viking attracts a certain type of traveler: I’ve found that everyone on board is curious about the science that takes place on the ship and appreciates the natural beauty in every port of call and excursion. By the end of the trip, I had made lasting connections, not to mention lasting memories.

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