Viking Cruises

Viking Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Amsterdam

This past Friday marked Viking River Cruises’ 25th anniversary in business as a “world-leading river cruise line.”. Viking celebrated the milestone anniversary with a momentous celebration in Amsterdam. For the very first time, all of Viking’s three classes of ships met in Amsterdam and set sail to IJmuiden in the Netherlands, including an ocean ship, a river ship, and the company’s brand-new ship, Viking Polaris. Alongside Viking Polaris, Viking Longship, Viking Mani, and Viking Mars, were all a part of the momentous celebration and the expedition to the Netherlands.

The company revealed the name of Viking Polaris and her identical sister ship, Viking Octantis at the celebration. Viking Octantis is currently sailing her inaugural season in the Great Lakes. Both Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris are scheduled for a series of expeditions in the Great Lakes during the spring and summer months of 2023.

“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.”

Distinguished travelers and prominent educators, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen were in attendance, fulfilling their duties as ceremonial godmothers to Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris. Arnesen, the godmother of Viking Octantis, offered her blessing via video to the ship currently docked in The Great Lakes. Both Arnesen and Bancroft kept with traditions by breaking a bottle of Norwegian aquavit on each of the ship’s hulls. Guests aboard all three of the ships got to enjoy performances from acclaimed soprano & violinist and godmother of Viking Jupiter, Sissel Kyrkjebø. Passengers were also able to get a glimpse of the extraordinary convoy and naming ceremony from their designated outdoor viewing areas.

Ann Bancroft, Godmother of Viking Polaris, is an American explorer, author, and educator from Minnesota. She became the first woman to ever ski to both the North and the South Pole in 1993. She also led the very 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. Bancroft was selected to be the godmother of Viking Polaris, named after the North Star, because of her achievements as the first woman to reach the North Pole by foot and by sled. She is also the founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation, an organization centered on inspiring young women and building women’s confidence.

Talking about her experience, Bancroft said “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.”

The Godmother of Viking Octantis, Liv Arnesen, is a Norwegian-born educator, avid traveler, lecturer, and cross-country skier. She led the first unsupported women’s crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992. Arnesen was chosen as the godmother of the ship due to her accomplishment as the first woman to ever ski solo and unassisted to the South Pole. As godmother, Arnesen will recurrently serve on the Viking Expedition Team when sailing to 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 Arnesen. 

Live Arnesen and Ann Bancroft’s partnership has been in full effect for more than 20 years. In 2001, the pair became the first women to ski together across Antarctica. The pair confounded Bancroft Arnesen Explore/Access Water, an initiative hoping to create a more sustainable future and empower more than 60 million people to find solutions for a greener future.

Besides the 25th anniversary celebrations, 2022 has been a massive year for Viking. During the milestone years, the company welcomed new 8 new Viking Longships on the rivers of Europe to its fleet and brand-new vessels in the Nile, Mississippi, and Mekong rivers. The company also plans to add two more identical ocean ships to its fleet by the end of 2022. Viking has been named the #1 Ocean Line and #1 River Line in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 “World’s Best” Awards, becoming the first cruise line to ever top both categories in the same year. Viking was also named #1 for both rivers and oceans by Condé Nast Traveler, adding to its already impressive resume for 2022. Viking showed their guests a video of the company’s extensive history and how they ended up where they are today, including key partners who helped them along their journey.

Viking Expedition Ships:

New Polar Class ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, can host up to 378 passengers in their 189 staterooms. The ships have been built for expeditions, specifically focusing on safety and comfort for guests while exploring remote destinations. The ship contains more indoor and outdoor viewing areas than the company’s other vessels, allowing passengers the best views of the beautiful landscapes the ship sails through.

Viking Octantis & Viking Polaris highlights include:

  • Finse Terrace: Designed to grant guests easy access to the magnificent views, this outdoor lounge area is just above sea level. The terrace includes heating seating and lava rock fire pits.
  • The Aula: This panoramic auditorium is used for lectures, documentary and film showings, and daily briefings. The venue features a 4k laser-projected screen that retracts to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows with 270° views. The theatre was inspired by the former venue for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony at the University of Oslo.
  • The Hangar: A brand new, first in the industry, in-ship marina providing easy access for Special Operations Boats and providing shelter from the natural elements while at sea.
  • The Science Lab: This 380-square-foot lab was designed for all things research and equipped with both dry and wet laboratory facilities. Guests can be granted supervised access to the lab to learn from and even participate in research with prominent scientists.
  • The Bow: While aboard, The Bow acts as a designated space for guests to warm up with a hot drink before heading back out into the unpredictable elements while at sea.
  • Expedition Central: This area was designed for the expedition team to consult with guests on their expedition activities and share information. The space includes a state-of-the-art spatial data visualization chart table and 3D-printed maps to make it easy for guests to visualize information.
  • The Living Room: A library with floor-to-ceiling windows, guests are invited to dive into the 100s of books available in The Living Room. The library was curated by the popular London bookshop, Heywood Hill, along with Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.
  • Nordic Balcony: All rooms on board all of Viking’s expedition vessels feature a Nordic Balcony, a sunroom that easily converts into an al fresco viewing platform with an observation shelf to stabilize binoculars or cameras. Guests can choose from 6 types of staterooms, ranging from 222- 1,223 square feet. All rooms include a Nordic Balcony, a king-size bed, and a large bathroom, featuring glass-enclosed showers, heated bathroom floors, and anti-fog mirrors. Each stateroom also includes floor-to-ceiling drying closets, allowing warm air to circulate to dry and store guests’ clothing and expedition gear.

Both Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris want guests to relax at The Nordic Spa, offering guests an indoor heated pool and a wood-sided hot tub to relax in after a long day of exploring. The vessels also feature Expedition Ship Suites, giving guests the option to choose between the 322-square-foot Nordic Junior Suite or the 580-square-foot Explorer Suite. The suites feature wood detailing, additional storage, a larger bathroom, welcome champagne, a fully stocked mini-bar, complimentary laundry, and much more.  Each ship also features one Owner’s Suite, a 1,223 square-foot luxury stateroom with a living room, a dining room, and a bedroom. The Owner’s Suite also features a 792-square-foot private deck.


Viking takes pride in creating the leading scientific enrichment environment while aboard the two new vessels. Partnering with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 36 experts accompany each expedition as part of the Viking Expedition Team. Guests aboard the ships will enjoy lectures and daily briefings about each destination. Passengers can also assist the team in fieldwork and participate in experiential activities, like watching birds and assisting with pinpointing migration trends, collecting samples, and learning from professional photographers how to best capture the beauty of each destination.

Pledging to be as environmentally efficient as possible, Viking has implemented new standards to travel in energy-efficient ways. The company has created an eco-friendly design that exceeds the Energy Efficient Design index requirements by almost 38%. In addition, the engines now include Azipod Electric Propulsion heat recovery systems, Both Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris have received the industry’s first SILENT-E notations, the highest recognition for minimizing underwater pollution.

25 years ago, Viking was founded in 1997 and continues to provide its guests with destination-focused expeditions on various oceans, rivers, and lakes across the globe.