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Viking Expedition Cruises - The Complete Guide

Viking Expeditions,Viking River Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Expeditions | Photo Credit: Viking Expeditions

For those of you who know Viking, you know that learning is a huge part of the brand. So it's no wonder that Viking has created a new product all about education, science, and discovery: Viking Expeditions. Their two Expedition ships, Octantis and Polaris, have unique and adventurous itineraries to far away places, where you will find yourself immersed in incredible natural wonders, and surrounded by some of the most vast and untouched landscapes on the planet.

These ships were designed to explore corners of the earth that most people have never seen, including Antarctica, the Arctic, Canada, the Great Lakes, Patagonia, Greenland, and so many more beautiful destinations around the globe. The mission of these expedition cruises is to allow you to explore the world in comfort, and this is on full display with the incredible scandinavian design, delicious food, and luxurious accommodations that you will find onboard.

Viking Expedition cruises are highly inclusive. Something Viking has always been known for is "value"; they know their customers inside and out, and the same inclusions and perks that we have seen on their river and ocean vessels, they have brought to their expedition fleet; giving you the very best experiences on the sea. You will be able to enjoy beer and wine with lunch and dinner every day. Sodas, still and sparkling water, and specialty coffees are included with your fare. You will also have complimentary excursion options at every port stop, including some expedition excursions depending on where in the world you are incredible perk! The Thermal Suite is open to all guests, featuring a sauna, hot tubs, stone loungers, steam room, and more.

The Polaris and Octantis have the same beautiful design, weigh in at 30,000 gross registered tons, and hold only 400 passengers, making these ships feel a lot more spacious and quiet than other similar sized vessels in the industry. They are also rated as category 6 polar ice ships, meaning they can visit antarctica in the summer and fall, and are also able to travel all the way up to the arctic circle as well!

Explorers Lounge, Viking Expeditions, Viking River Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises
Explorer's Lounge | Photo Credit: Viking Expeditions

Now that we are acquainted with the goals of the expeditions cruises, and their array of itineraries, let's take a closer look at the ships themselves. Here are all the decks on the Octantis and Polaris, and each of the beautiful venues you will find onboard.


SCIENCE LAB AREA - Viking Expeditions is all about science, research, and learning. Both the Octantis and Polaris are not only comfortable cruise ships, but also scientific research vessels. There are scientists actively working onboard, where they can take advantage of all the far flung destinations the ships travel to. Once there, they can gather information that will help all of us, bring it back home, and share their findings and discoveries with passengers onboard, making Viking Expeditions the ultimate place for learning.

THE RESTAURANT - This Viking Ocean classic has been brought to Expeditions. It is a specialty restaurant, and while it is included with your fare, you will need to pre-reserve your table, something you can do before your cruise begins. Here a wide variety of à la carte options are served, and there are also regional and seasonal menu options to choose from as well, so you can really dig deep into the area and cultures in the world that you are visiting.

MANFREDI'S - Another Viking classic, this Italian food restaurant is sure to impress. It was inspired by a Hagen family friend, who is also in the cruise industry, one of the many small nods throughout the ships to the Hagen family history. This is a particularly popular restaurant, so as always, reservations are recommended when the bookings become available.

PRIVATE DINING ROOM - Set just in between The Restaurant and Manfredi's is the private dining room onboard the ship. You can reserve this space for your group or family to dine together, throw a small party, and the best part is that the guests eating in the private dining room can order off of the menus from either The Restaurant, or Manfredi's!

GUEST SERVICES - The team at guests services is equipped to help answer any and all of your questions during your cruise.

THE HIDE - This relaxing space as full of cozy nooks, and hosts special public events such as whiskey or chocolate tastings. There is a small curated library and faux fireplace, making this space the perfect spot to relax and listen to one of the guest lecturers onboard.


FINSE TERRACE - Located at the very aft of the ship, this prime location allows you to take in all the beautiful ocean scenery. There are different seating options available, including a sunken fire pit area with couches, and lounging areas. This space is also utilized for astronomy viewing for continued education onboard.

THE AULA - This auditorium was inspired by the beautiful University of Oslo auditorium where they used to preset the Nobel Peace Prize. This space is all about learning. There is stadium style seating, and floor to ceiling windows with a massive screen that can drop down for education slideshows and documentaries. Viking invites world class lecturers onboard that will use The Aula to teach about astronomy, different styles of culture, give nature talks; all of which are included with the price of your cruise. They also use this venue to play first run movies, and it can also be used out for parties and events as well!

THE SPA - This is an area that Viking does very well, and the best part about this scandinavian style spa is that the Thermal Suite is open to all guests! Here you can relax in the dry sauna or steam room, lay out on the hot stone loungers, enjoy the hot tubs and cold bucket showers, or play in the snow in the unique snow grotto. You can upgrade your experience by booking a massage or treatment at an additional charge; and Viking offers options from hot stone massage, to facials, wraps, and more!

EXPEDITION CENTRAL - Expedition Central is the shore excursions desk where they can answer any and all of your questions regarding the excursion you just enjoyed, or a future expedition adventure. They can dig deep into the areas that you will be visiting, and the onboard scientists are available to answer your questions regarding wildlife, plant life, geography, and more! There is also a hot drink station here, so you can grab a coffee or hot chocolate and sit and talk to the scientists about the incredible planet.

STATEROOMS - Deck Two is the first stateroom deck, featuring Nordic Balcony rooms.



STATEROOMS - The Deluxe Nordic Balcony staterooms begin on Deck Three.

NORDIC SHOP - This is your one stop shop for those great Viking logo wear souvenirs, the perfect purchase to remember your time onboard.

TRAVEL CONSULTANT'S OFFICE - While you enjoy your time onboard, it only makes sense that you will be dreaming of your next cruise...that is where the Travel Consultant's Office comes in. Here the travel consultant will help you book your next cruise, or purchase travel certificates that will give you a discount on a future cruise. You can bring those certificates home with you, and then talk to your Harr Travel advisor, and they will help book your discounted cruise, and give you the classic Harr Travel experience every step of the way.

THE SHELTER / BOW - At the very front of the ship is the incredible bow, a large open space where you can watch the world go by and feel the wind in your face. If the wind gets a little chilly, you can duck into The Shelter, a covered space that offers seating so you can enjoy the fresh air in a much warmer setting.


STATEROOMS - Deck Four is where you will find more Deluxe Nordic Balcony staterooms, as well as Nordic Penthouse, and Nordic Junior Suites.

EXPLORER'S LOUNGE - One of our favorite venues onboard the Viking Expedition ships is the Explorer's Lounge. Comfort is a huge part of the Viking experience, and it is on full display in this beautiful lounge space. There is seating all around, from comfy chairs to sofas, and the giant 2 story high windows allow for incredible forward facing views. There are cozy nooks with faux fireplaces, and this is also the location of Pap's, the bar named after the Hagen family patriarch. The Explorer's lounge is where you can grab a delicious cocktail and watch the world go by in comfort and style.


AQUAVIT TERRACE - This beautiful space offers indoor and outdoor seating. Inside you will find a bar and specialty coffee, and the large wraparound windows bring in beautiful natural light.

POOL AREA - The Aquavit Terrace melds into the pool area, where you will be able to enjoy a quick dip, or simply relax with a good book. There are comfy loungers all around, and the pool is partially inside and outside, so you can take advantage of the warm water without stepping into the cold air as you sail through the arctic. Outside are two additional pools, one warm, and one cold, so you can immerse yourself in a true nordic circuit experience for the ultimate relaxation!

THE WORLD CAFE - The main dining option onboard, the World Cafe is your traditional cruise buffet, but elevated. There are bread options fresh baked every day, brick oven pizzas, a meat carving station, hot entree station, chocolate fountain, gelato, cakes, and so much more! Here you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. There is ample space to spread out, with tables seating 2, 4, or 6 throughout the venue. There is also a sushi buffet and steakhouse attached to the World Cafe for additional options.

MAMSEN'S - This grab and go restaurant is all about mom's home cooking. Named after the Hagen family matriarch, this casual dining option features delicious food and snacks, some inspired by Hagen family recipes. And don't forget about the waffles, one of the fan favorite options onboard, and a true scandinavian tradition.

LIVING ROOM - This cozy space is all about relaxing and education. There is a large flat screen tv where they will play movies, and this space as also utilized to expand on the onboard lectures, designed to teach passengers about the places they are visiting. There is a card room and puzzle area, a large curated library, and a coffee bar as well.



OPEN DECK - At the top of the ship is the beautiful open air sundeck. Here you can find loungers and tables for 2 and 4 people. This is the ultimate space to relax with a good book and gaze out at the incredible nature surrounding you.

STATEROOMS - Here is where you will find the Explorer Suites, as well as the Owner's Suite.

EXPLORER SUITES GARDEN - Right next to the suites is a private garden with loungers and hot tub reserved for all the guests in the Explorer Suites to share.

OWNER'S SUITE GARDEN - This is the private terrace and garden, solely reserved for the guests staying in the Owner's Suite. Here there are loungers and a hot tub to enjoy throughout your cruise.


THE HANGER - This space was specifically designed for this class of vessel. Here they have the special operation boats, kayaks, zodiacs, and two submarines, so you can explore some of the amazing places of the world, both above and below the water! These watercrafts are what Viking Expedition cruises are all about, as they allow you to discover the world, and get up close and personal with nature and some of the most untouched parts of our planet.

Viking Expeditions, Viking River Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises
Nordic Junior Suite | Photo Credit: Viking Expeditions

While all of the staterooms on board come with an incredible amount of perks including complimentary excursions, lectures, and dining options, you will notice that your access to these inclusions will be different based on the level of room or suite you book. Let's take a look at all of the staterooms onboard, and when you will get access to reservations based on your accommodation.

NORDIC BALCONY - These entry level rooms feature a beautiful design that includes a king size bed, sitting area, a drying closet (perfect for expedition days!), and bathroom with those Viking signature heated floors. These rooms feature a "nordic balcony" a design of floor to ceiling windows right up to the ship's edge. Here you can have a cozy inside view, or lower the top window for a sheltered, al fresco viewing space.

When you book a Nordic Balcony you have access to booking shore excursions 60 days prior to your cruise. You will also have access to you room at 3pm on embarkation day.

DELUXE NORDIC BALCONY - These rooms are identical to the Nordic Balcony, but offer a few upgrades. When you book a Deluxe Nordic Balcony, you will get access to reserving shore excursions 67 days out, and will have 1 guaranteed specialty restaurant reservation you can book 60 days out. You will also be able to book any spa treatments you like 60 days out from your trip as well. In addition, you will have access to your room at 2pm on embarkation day.

NORDIC PENTHOUSE - The Penthouse is larger than the entry level Nordic Balcony. It features a king size bed, nordic balcony, sitting area, drying closet, and heated floors in the bathroom.

When you book the Penthouse you are able to book your shore excursions 77 days out, spa treatments 70 days out, and have 2 guaranteed specialty restaurant reservations that you can make 70 days out as well. In addition you are able to access your room at 1pm on embarkation day, and will have complimentary pressing, shoe-shining, and a bottle of welcome champagne.

NORDIC JUNIOR SUITE - At 100 square feet larger than the entry level rooms, the Nordic Junior Suite gives you plenty of space to spread out. These suites feature a king size bed, drying closet, sitting area, bathroom with heated floors, and a nordic balcony.

Once you book the Nordic Junior Suite, you will have access to book shore excursions 87 days out from the start of your cruise. You will be able to reserve spa treatments and your 2 complimentary specialty dining reservations 80 days out as well. Your room also comes with a stocked mini bar that includes alcoholic beverages, sodas, and more. You will have complimentary laundry, shoe-shining, and pressing throughout the cruise, and there will be a bottle of welcome champagne waiting for you at 11am upon arrival at your room.

EXPLORER SUITE - There are only 4 of theses suites per ship, making them an exclusive luxury accommodation. At 588 square feet, the Explorer Suite is a tremendous size for an expedition vessel. This is a two room suite with a sitting area, king size bed, and also features a step out veranda, ample storage, and access to the Explorer Suite Garden, a private space shared by the Explorer Suite guests.

Perks of this suite include access to shore excursion reservations at 97 days out. You will also have 3 guaranteed specialty dining reservations that can be made 90 days out. Spa treatments can also be booked 90 days out as well. Inside the suite will be a welcome bottle of champagne when you get access to your room at 11am on embarkation day. The room also features a mini bar with alcoholic beverages, and you will be treated to complimentary shoe-shining, pressing, and laundry throughout your stay. As a guest in the Explorer Suite, you will also be upgraded to the Silver Seas Spirit package, so you can have complimentary drinks during your cruise.

OWNER'S SUITE - At over 1200 square feet, this massive suite was beautifully designed by chairmen Torstein Hagen himself. The amenities include a floor to ceiling drying closet, a 700 square foot private garden lounge space, a private library, large master bathroom, separate living and dining areas, and a dinner and guided tour with the ships officers (subject to availability).

Perks include 4 specialty restaurant reservations that can be made 100 days out, guaranteeing you can eat at the restaurants of your choice while onboard. Spa treatments can also be booked 100 days out. You will also have first priority booking of expedition activities and shore excursions at 107 days out. You will be upgraded to the Silver Seas Package, and a welcome bottle of champagne will greet you in your room upon arrival at 11am on embarkation day. There are wine and music collections available to you that were curated perfectly by Torstein Hagen. This suite is an all-inclusive experience, and gives you access to everything the ship and her expeditions have to offer!


Now that you are ready to book your Viking Expedition cruise, be sure to reach out to your Harr Travel advisor. We know the ships inside and out, and have an incredible relationship with the cruise line, and we know that we can book you the cruise vacation of a lifetime and give you the Harr Travel experience every step of the way!

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