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:
In this article:
- Viking Ocean and Expedition Ships
- 1. Larger than competitors
- 2. Viking’s signature design
- 3. Cozy conversations
- 4. Similar staterooms
- 5. Octantis‘ hidden bar
- 6. Garage for water toys
- 7. Non-traditional expedition “theater”
- 8. Similar, but smaller spa
- 9. Familiar dining options
- 10. Lack of American outlets on Octantis
- 11. Expeditions = Science & Research
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.