Viking Octantis
An Amazing Expedition Ship

Our April 2022 Cruise On
A Completely Different Kind Of Cruise Ship

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This was our fourth cruise with Viking...  and three of those were at Viking's expense!  The way that happened is that I made several very positive YouTube videos about our first cruise with Viking, and it caught the attention of their public relations department...  and ever since then, they've invited us back three different times (at their expense) to sail on different ships and make new videos about the experience.

Our latest cruise with Viking was especially interesting because it was on their brand new expedition ship, Viking Octantis.  Designed for cruising in Antarctica and other far-flung parts of the world, Vikng Octantis is a very special cruise ship with a lot going for it.  In fact, if given a choice between sailing on one of the other Viking Ocean cruise ships and this new expedition ship, Viking Octantis, I think I'd pick the expedition ship.

Aerial photo of Viking Octantis

I'm a licensed commercial drone pilot (FAA part 107) so Viking allowed me to fly my drone from the top of the ship.
I was able to get a lot of really good aerial shots of the ship!

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Aerial photo of Viking Octantis in St Kitts
Viking Octantis off the coast of St Kitts

 

Aerial photo of Viking Octantis in St Lucia
Viking Octantis just offshore of the island of St Lucia

 

One of the most interesting aspects of our cruise on Viking Octantis is that I got to meet the founder, chairman, and CEO of Viking, Torstein Hagen.  He's a really interesting guy, and I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to hear him speak several times during the cruise...  and I even got to have about a ten minute one-on-one conversation with him.  Here's a video I made about that:


To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player

 

 

One of the coolest things about Viking Octantis is all the toys that are onboard!  There are kayaks, zodiac boats, special operations boats, and even two submarines!  There is no extra charge to use any of them. 

Torstein Hagen & Karine Hagen on Viking Octantis
That's Viking's Chairman, Torstein Hagen, and his daughter, Karine, watching the launch of the special operations boat out the back of Viking Octantis.
The photo was supplied by Viking, and I presume it was shot in Norway.

 

The Hangar on Viking Octantis
"The Hangar" where are the Zodiacs are stored, and where you board the special operations boat prior to launch down the slipway

 

Here's a video I made about a ride I took to the floor of the Caribbean on one of the submarines:


 

 

Because Viking Octantis is so much smaller than most cruise ships, she isn't restricted to only visiting the big port cities that have giant docks.  In fact, more often than not, an expedition ship like this doesn't use a dock at all...  it just "parks" offshore of wherever it wants to visit, and stays in place using a dynamic positioning system.  The ship has anchors, but almost never uses them because it's a lot better to just use the dynamic positioning system to keep the ship in one place.

Here's a shot I took (using my drone) of Viking Octantis just off the coast of the island of St Lucia

Viking Octantis at the island of St Lucia

 

The Pitons in St Lucia
From roughly the same place I took that last shot, I swiveled the drone to the right
to get this shot of St Lucia's most iconic feature, The Pitons

 

There are a lot of special features on Viking Octantis which were designed specifically for times when the ship is cruising in the polar regions of the world.  For example, here's a protected area at the bow of the ship:

The bow area of Viking Octantis
 

There's also a unique viewing area inside the bow of the ship, with very thick windows that look out each side of the ship.  From a comfortable lounge inside the bow, you can look out these windows and see the waves splashing up along the side of the ship when the ship is in motion.  It's especially dramatic when the ship is sailing in rough seas.  In this next picture, the arrow points to the starboard side windows that I'm referring to.

Windows of The Hide on Viking Octantis

The lounge inside the bow of the ship, with windows looking out both the port and starboard sides of the bow, is somewhat hidden...  deep within the bow of the ship, and a little tricky to find.  This lounge is known as "The Hide"...  and I don't know if that's because it's a bit hidden, or if it's because it's a great place to hide out.  Maybe a little bit of both.  This is where I stumbled upon Viking's Chairman, Torstein Hagen, and ended up having a really interesting ten minute chat with him.

Here's an interior view of a portion of The Hide...

The Hide on Viking Octantis
On the right, you can see the windows on the starboard side of the bow.
That black tube on the left side of the picture houses the chains for the ship's anchor.

 

Viking Octantis is specifically designed for cruising in Antarctica and other remote parts of the world.  The ship had spent two months cruising in Antarctica during the Southern Hemisphere summer, and then spent April repositioning to the Northern Hemisphere for summer there.  We boarded the ship in Barbados, spend six days cruising in the Caribbean, and then three days sailing north to New York City.  Here's a picture I snapped with my Canon DSLR camera as we sailed past the Statue Of Liberty on our way to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal at the completion of our journey...

The Statue Of Liberty in New York

 

Even though we didn't sail in Antarctica, I thought I should include a couple of photos (supplied by Viking) of Viking Octantis during her inaugural season at the bottom of the world...

Viking Octantis in Antarctica
 

A penguin in Antarctica with Viking Octantis in the background

I doubt that Viking will ever offer me a free cruise in Antarctica, because those cruises are very much in demand.  But I sure would like to do one someday, and maybe at some point I'll decide it's worth spending my own money to do it! 


Internet Access

The quality of Internet access during our cruise on Viking Octantis was particularly bad...  among the worst connections to the Internet that I've had on a cruise ship in the last 20 years or so.  If we had been sailing in Antarctica, that wouldn't have surprised me...  but sailing in the Caribbean and sharing the connection with only about 325 other passengers, I expected much better.

Here are the results of a speed test on our last sea day in the Atlantic, a day before arriving in New York.  While there were times during the cruise where it was a little better than this, these results were fairly representative of what I experienced during most of the cruise.

Internet speed test on Viking Octantis

I'm sure that someday, perhaps when Elon Musk's network of satellites is fully operational, we'll shake our head and laugh at the Internet speeds on cruise ships back in "the old days".


Need A Travel Agent?

Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before.  There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making.

If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line...  please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher.  She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising.  Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel.  Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.

Caitlin Gallagher business card Ambren Travel


The Cruise Ships We've Been On

If you've enjoyed this page, you would probably also enjoy reading my web pages about:

January 2022 Carnival Panorama
A Cruise Up The Mississippi River on American Melody
American Harmony... our first river cruise!
A cruise to Iceland... our first cruise after the pandemic
Our first time on Carnival Panorama, January 2020
December 2019 cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Joy
May 2019 Carnival Horizon cruise
April 2019 Norwegian Breakaway cruise
January 2019 Caribbean cruise on the Viking Sea
December 2018 country music cruise on the Norwegian Getaway
May 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Bliss
January 2018 cruise on MSC Seaside in a suite with a private Jacuzzi
September 2017 Carnival Vista cruise in a Havana Suite
October 2017 Norwegian Sky cruise in the owner's suite
The $1600 per night owners suite:  January 2017 Norwegian Pearl
An Un-crowded Small Ship Experience:  Viking Star
One Of The Best Waterslides At Sea:  Liberty Of The Seas
Quite Possibly The Best Cruise Ship In The World:  Anthem Of The Seas
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
One of the best cruise ships we've ever experienced: The Norwegian Escape
2015 Carnival Breeze back-to-back cruises
Back-to-back cruises on Independence Of The Seas
World's largest cruise ship: Allure Of The Seas
2015 Carnival Freedom repositioning cruise
Our first VIP cruise in The Haven: The Norwegian Getaway
Our June 2014 Alaska cruisetour with Princess
Our first cruise with Princess!  January 2014 Sapphire Princess
2014 back-to-back eastern/western Caribbean cruises on the Carnival Glory
The completely refurbished Carnival Sunshine
One of Carnival's best ships, the Carnival Breeze
A sister ship to the Breeze, the Carnival Magic
Our 2013 cruise on the Carnival Conquest
One of the oldest ships in the fleet, the Carnival Inspiration
Our first Caribbean cruise:  the Carnival Glory
Our many cruises on the Carnival Spirit
Our February 2010 cruise on the Carnival Splendor
Our January 2008 cruise on the Carnival Elation
Our April 2008 cruise on the Norwegian Star
Our first cruise!  1996 on Carnival Cruise Line's MS Holiday

Click here to see the complete chronology of all the cruises we've ever taken.


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