11 Things We Love About Viking Ocean & Expedition Ships

Viking expanded into the expedition cruising arena following success in the river and ocean cruise sectors. The line follows a model that maintains consistency across its fleet. In fact, all ships in the same class are nearly carbon copies of the previous ships.

Here’s a look at the similarities and differences between the Viking Ocean and Viking Expedition:

viking ocean ships and octantis
Aerial view of Viking Ocean ships (Photo courtesy of Viking)

Viking Ocean and Expedition Ships

1. Larger than competitors

The most apparent difference between Viking Ocean and Expedition ships is their design and size. Viking Ocean can accommodate 930 guests, while Viking Expedition can accommodate 378 guests.

Additionally, the Viking Expedition is Polar Class 6, allowing every ship to navigate various conditions and geographic areas. Cruising narrower canals and locks requires the smaller beam of the expedition ships.

2. Viking’s signature design

The Scandinavian design remains apparent throughout the Viking Ocean and Expedition fleets. Many comfortable areas for relaxation and conversation are found within the living room areas on both ships. Everything is a bit more compact on the Expedition ship, but it never feels crowded, even on smaller ships.

The Living Room on Viking Octantis
The Living Room on Viking Octantis (Photo courtesy of Viking)

3. Cozy conversations

Viking Expedition ships have no Winter Garden, a spot on the ocean ships for a lovely tea. The good this is they have specialty coffees offered at the living rooms’ small bars.

On ocean ships, on the other hand, the Living Room (atrium) extends over several decks.

A wintergarden area on Viking Cruises
A winter garden area on Viking Cruises (Photo courtesy of Viking)

4. Similar staterooms

Both ships have excellent stateroom amenities. The Expedition ships, for example, have a drying closet for gear. They also have bathrooms with heated floors and towel racks — perfect after a fantastic day of adventure.

A bathroom on Viking Sky
A bathroom on Viking Sky

MORE: 5 Things I Love About Viking Sky

5. Octantis hidden bar

Hidden on Deck One, The Hide is a bar that offers neat drinks. Its location makes it ideal for meeting with a small group of friends.

Don’t expect to get a mixed drink here, though, but if you need a nightcap of pure spirit, this dark spot might suit your need to escape from other guests.

6. Garage for water toys

A unique feature of the Expedition ship is The Hangar. Here, you can find kayaks, special operation boats, two submarines, zodiacs, and other equipment.

Watch the Viking Daily for opportunities to use some of this equipment. Note, however, that restrictions and regulations depend on which countries the expedition ships sail to.

View of The Hangar in Viking Atlantis
View of The Hangar in Viking Atlantis (Photo courtesy of Viking)

7. Non-traditional expedition “theater”

While the Ocean ships have a theater, the Expedition ships have a theater-like space called The Aula, inspired by the space at the University of Oslo’s hall, where Nobel Peace Prize winners receive their awards. The full-glass windows allow a 270-degree view of the area.

Aula Theater on Viking Octantis
Aula Theater on Viking Octantis (Photo courtesy of Viking)

8. Similar, but smaller spa

Both Ocean and Expedition cruises offer Nordic Spa and spa services with a Nordic flair. Despite its smaller size, the Expedition ships efficiently maintain experiences on a smaller scale. Though smaller in size, the Expedition ships have a fitness center.

In addition to the pool in the spa area on the Expedition ships, there are small swim-through pools in the Aquavit Terrace. On Ocean ships, the infinity pool occupies the Aquavit Terrace area.

Nordic Spa on Octantis
Nordic Spa on Octantis (Photo courtesy of Viking)

MORE: 9 Cruise Concepts That Didn’t Quite Catch On

9. Familiar dining options

Viking Octantis accommodates diners in three larger dining areas–The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, and World Café–which provide sustenance on both ships. These restaurants are included in the fare.

Mamsen’s is much smaller on Octantis than on the Ocean ships. In fact, it’s a totally different experience. One of the high points for me on Viking Orion was the setting of Mamsen’s.

The comfortable space had tables for enjoying selections from Mamsen’s and a place to sit, relax, or read.

Explorers' Lounge on Viking Octantis
Explorers’ Lounge on Viking Octantis (Photo courtesy of Viking)

10. Lack of American outlets on Octantis

10. One thing that I appreciated was the U.S. outlets in the living room area. My fruitless search for outlets on Octantis resulted in finding just a few European-style outlets in public areas.

Within the staterooms, there are plenty of USB and U.S. outlet options. Speaking of electronics, a few computer stations are on the Ocean vessels. I found none on Octantis.

11. Expeditions = Science & Research

Science and research comprise some of the missions of the Expedition ships. It’s important to note, however, that on Ocean ships, environmental concerns in building ships have best practices. In fact, Viking Octantis has a lab equipped with a variety of microscopes and testing equipment.

The latest technology analyzes the collected samples from the waters sailed by Viking Octantis. Guests may reserve spots in the lab to contribute to the ongoing research. Expert scientists guide the process and are part of the staff. Many of the experts spend time with guests in Exploration Central.

The Science Lab on Viking Octantis
The Science Lab (Photo courtesy of Viking)

One fascinating research project that Viking Octantis participates in is the release of weather balloons in partnership with NOAA. Once inflated by the staff, the balloons drift above the ship.

Both Viking Ocean and Expedition ships welcome adults only, which is a real draw for many. Whether sailing on the more traditional Ocean or the newer Expedition ships, you will still feel the Viking vibe.

READ NEXT: Review: Viking Octantis Expedition Cruise Ship

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