The main function of expedition ships – historically speaking — was to get you to the world’s most fascinating and far-flung destinations. As long as they took you there and back safely, they had served the basic purpose for travel to visit remote and adventurous places.
These were ships built for adventure activities, with the onboard experience offering varying levels of comfort and style (traditionally, basic at best).
In the past decade, though, expedition cruise lines have been increasingly putting an emphasis on style, elegance and as many cool features as they can fit onto their expedition vessels.
The idea is to bring you to exotic and awe-inspiring locations while filling your senses while you’re on the ship, as well as when you are off enjoying the natural surroundings, activities and creatures in the wild.
Viking Octantis, the first expedition ship for Viking Cruises, hits the sweet spot for luxury and expedition cruises. During its first season, Octantis delivered cruisers to the highly sought-after destinations of Antarctica and Great Lakes in style.
I sailed on the ship during its first Caribbean Connections voyage. Viking Octantis sailed a fun-in-the-sun repositioning cruise from Barbados to New York City, and I was able to experience the full gamut of the onboard experiences that make this Octantis an especially delightful ship for expedition adventures.
The World Café, Manfredi’s, The Restaurant and Mamsen’s offer all the incredible food Viking cruisers have come to love on the river and ocean vessels. These dining options, alongside the excellent service and familiar relaxing spaces like The Living Room, Explorers’ Lounge and Aquavit Terrace, make Viking Octantis feel special enough.
However, it’s the LivNordic Spa and Fitness Center that truly sets the ship apart from most of its fellow expedition cruise lines.
Let’s have a look at the spa and gym and why cruisers will love these amenities while cruising on Viking Octantis.
This large facility holds the main swimming pool. It’s a heated pool that stretches the entire length of the large thermal suite that is open all day long and included in your cruise fare.
This pool is long enough for swimmers to enjoy their morning laps, but most cruisers will love that you can slip into the warm waters and enjoy the views through the wall of windows. You can also sit on the loungers along the pool that place you in perfect view of the passing scenery and sunsets.
Around the room, the complex has a series of experiences that make this a full-service spa. The badestamp room has a deep and large warm tub with inset seating and an open window that lets in fresh air. You also can try the sauna, steam room, experience shower, snow grotto (yes, snowflakes fall on you in this chilled room) and the cold bucket dump room.
LivNordic spa features changing rooms for men and women, and these have showers, bathrobes and slippers available for your use. The facility also has a small refreshment area with waters.
A small, quiet spot offers heated lounge seats, and the adjacent treatment rooms and relaxation room is where cruisers get their massages and other treatments. There is also a hair salon located next to the spa reception desk.
The Fitness Center
The gym space is ample on Viking Octantis. It offers a large studio for classes and a room that is filled with cardio equipment and weight-training machines, as well as a couple benches with light dumbbells.
There are three treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals and a rowing machine.
In the studio area, instructors lead classes on stretching, yoga, Pilates and other routines. You also can use the big screen TV for self-guided classes. The spa staff has a tablet with a variety of classes available to be loaded and displayed for you to follow along on your own schedule. We saw several people training alongside their friends during the afternoons.
For the active traveler and cruisers who like to stick to their workout routines — even while visiting the most remote places on the planet – Viking Octantis shows how it’s leading the way for outstanding amenities among the new breed of hybrid luxury-expedition ships.