Courtesy of Viking Expeditions
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Courtesy of Viking Expeditions
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Courtesy of Viking Expeditions
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Courtesy of Viking Expeditions
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Courtesy of Viking Expeditions
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Viking Polaris

Our Ship Review
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Viking Polaris debuted in 2022 as the Viking's second expedition ship and with an inaugural season in Antarctica. The 378-guest, 189-stateroom vessel is designed to meet Polar Class 6 standards for traveling to such rugged regions but still embodies Viking’s modern Scandinavian luxury experience. Staterooms offer plenty of storage, heated bathroom floors, and the signature Nordic balcony. 

Other onboard highlights are the luxe lounging spaces, including the two-level Explorer's Lounge at the bow, along with dining like Manfredi’s and the World Cafe (with excellent fresh sushi). The live entertainment each evening is a treat after a day of exploring Antarctica. 

What We Love

Soothing Suites: Stay on the Polaris feels more like a floating luxury boutique hotel. All rooms on this cruise ship feature a king-sized bed with high-end bedding and Norwegian Marius-weave blankets. The ocean-view rooms (also called Nordic Balcony staterooms) all have what’s called a Nordic balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass that can be lowered with the push of a button. It’s too cold for an open-air balcony — and in its place, you’ll find a cozy and spacious seating area with a sofa, a coffee table, and a blanket. The bathrooms are equipped with a large walk-in shower, robes and slippers, Freyja® toiletries (no need to bring SPF, hand cream, or shower products), and a heated floor. Best of all, the staterooms have loads of storage (including under-bed storage for suitcases), along with a drying closet designed to air out expedition gear. Room service is available 24 hours a day and includes twice-daily housekeeping.

The Spa: The Nordic Spa is a very luxurious place to wile away time during the two-day crossing. Naturally, you’ll find treatment rooms for massages or facials. There’s a generously sized heated indoor pool set against picture windows that look out to the water. The pool is flanked by lounge chairs and a sauna, steam room, cold-water dunk bucket room, a snow room, and a badenstap, which is essentially a wooden hot tub (also overlooking the water). It's worth noting that these additional spa amenities are complimentary for guests to use at any time. There's also a separate fitness center with the latest equipment, along with yoga and pilates offerings. 

Best Known For

A Focus on Education: Viking’s commitment to science and learning is at the forefront, and the crew was on-hand to happily answer questions or discuss wildlife and onboard science. There's an onboard science lab with resident scientists, and passengers are welcome to visit and even assist with research. The Aula lecture hall (modeled on the University of Oslo’s venue used for presentations of the Nobel Prize) is where you can listen to educational lectures from the expert staff or watch a wildlife documentary. The cruise ship also has a wildlife sighting whiteboard that’s continuously updated with birds, pinnipeds, cetaceans, and more. 

All-Inclusive Fares (and No Sales Pitch): Viking’s cruise fares are full of inclusions, such as excursions, complimentary beverages, spa use, and even complimentary gear that you can take home. 

Who It's Best For

Adventurous Adults: There’s an understated elegance to Viking ships that caters to the well-traveled, mostly retired crowd. Those aboard the Polaris tend to seek out adventure; traveling and exploring Antarctica is no easy feat. Here, some excursions require you to pass agility tests (like getting in and out of the skifts), and the weather conditions can often be harsh. That said, there’s plenty of downtime to relax and rejuvenate. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

No Children Allowed: All guests onboard the Viking Polaris must be 18 years old on or before the day they are scheduled to embark on their cruise; the line does not maintain facilities or services on board for younger individuals.