Viking Cruises will launch its expedition program in 2021 as the first of two newbuilds will join the company’s fleet.
The new vessel series will fall under the name Polaris class, Cruise Industry News can reveal.
The ships will feature a number of standard expedition amenities, including zodiacs, but will also have submarines aboard and carry a 20-person expedition team, which is slightly larger than the expedition staffs on other cruise vessels.
A vessel size has yet to be revealed, but steel cutting is expected to take place later this year for the first ship, which will be built by VARD.
In previous announcements the new expedition ships have been described as “special,” and are believed to be dual-fuel, capable of running on LNG.
Viking will base its expedition operation out of an Oslo office.
With over 50 percent of the European river market, Torstein Hagen’s Viking Cruises has impressively grown from a single ocean ship in 2015 to a fleet of six today with the Viking Jupiter having been delivered earlier this month from Fincantieri.
Another 10 930-guest ships are set to follow through 2027, in addition to the expedition program, and an expected entry into the Mississippi River market.