The Viking Octantis maneuvers itself backwards into Port Milwaukee. (photo by Lacey Pfalz)
Viking Cruises’ newest expedition ship, the Viking Octantis, completed its maiden voyage in the Great Lakes on May 6, porting for the first time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which will welcome the region’s largest cruise ship as one of its embarkation and disembarkation ports through September 2022.
The ship is the largest cruise ship to sail in the Great Lakes to date. Welcoming 378 guests and 256 crew members on each itinerary, the Polar Class 6 vessel is larger than Viking’s river cruise ships yet smaller than its ocean liners. Before its Great Lakes season, it sailed in the Antarctic.
Viking Octantis is the first of Viking’s expedition line to debut and the first of its fleet to begin its Great Lakes itineraries, of which there are several; it is the sister ship to the future Viking Polaris, which will debut later this year.
Part of World Cafe onboard the Viking Octantis, Viking Cruises’ new expedition ship. (photo by Lacey Pfalz)
Designed with minimalist Scandinavian design and an expedition focus that includes science-based lectures, excursions, its very own science lab and two submarines, Viking Octantis will primarily sail the Great Lakes, South America and Antarctica.
Milwaukee’s mayor, Cavalier Johnson, along with representatives in both local government and local tourism, welcomed the momentous occasion for Milwaukee. Cruising is expected to bring in about $2.8 to $4 million in economic impact from the city’s estimated 10,000 cruise passengers this year.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson formally welcomes the Viking Octantis to Milwaukee, surrounded by government and tourism officials, as well as the ship’s captain, Anders Steen. (photo by Lacey Pfalz)
In 2018, the Great Lakes region combined welcomed only 1,000 passengers. This large growth is expected to continue a period of revitalization for the city, and Viking’s new Great Lakes itineraries are a large part of this growth.
“We all know that Milwaukee is a great destination…it’s a city filled with attractions as well as hospitality. That’s what cruise passengers are finding now and the ones in the future will find when they depart their ships and engage with our city. People around the globe are clearly taking notice of our city,” said Mayor Johnson.