Viking Doubles Capacity for Second Season in the Great Lakes

Viking is celebrating the start of its second season in the Great Lakes, as the new purpose-built Viking Polaris arrived in Toronto for its first port of call in the region. The Viking Polaris joins the identical sister ship, the Viking Octantis, which began sailing in the Great Lakes for the 2022 season and returned to the region in April 2023. With two 378-guest expedition vessels now in the region, Viking has doubled its capacity in the Great Lakes for 2023. The ships will remain in the Great Lakes through September 2023, sailing all five lakes and a variety of itineraries that operate between Toronto and Duluth.

Designed specifically to reach the Great Lakes, Viking’s expedition fleet brings the newest and most modern vessels ever to explore this region of North America, as well as a significant commitment to local tourism and economic development for the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario. Beginning this season, Viking will also call on the new port of Cleveland, Ohio, during the new 15-day itinerary, "Great Lakes Collection."

To further develop the scientific enrichment program for its Great Lakes voyages, Viking has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), which conducts innovative research on the dynamic environments and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and coastal regions to provide information for resource use and management decisions that lead to safe and sustainable ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human communities. Viking’s expedition ships have also been designated official NOAA / U.S. National Weather Service weather balloon stations, from which regular launches are undertaken.

2023-2024 Great Lakes Voyages

During Viking’s second season, the company is operating six key itineraries in the Great Lakes, including two new voyages. Highlights include: 

  • Great Lakes Collection (15 days; between Toronto and Duluth): This new itinerary is a unique expedition across the historic waterways of all five of the majestic Great Lakes. Guests will experience culture-rich urban centers and the Niagara Falls. They will also explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. Other highlights include studying the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes and venturing into the dense boreal forests that line the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
  • Canada & the Atlantic Coastline (16 days; between Toronto and Ft. Lauderdale): Guests will sail along the legendary St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic coast of the U.S. on a memorable voyage that combines scenic landscapes and storied cities. Led by a team of experts, the cruise will give guests a chance to explore the wilderness near Trois-Rivières, Louisbourg and Lunenburg by land and water. Some other highlights include experiencing New York City’s expansive Central Park and the rich histories of Quebec City, Norfolk and Charleston.
  • Undiscovered Great Lakes (eight days; Thunder Bay to Milwaukee): The cruise will cross the width of Lake Superior between Duluth and the Soo Locks, exploring the Apostle Islands and Keweenaw Peninsula along the way. Guests can hike along clifftop trails for sweeping views of the lake. They will gain insight into the unique features and ecosystems of remote wilderness islands, and admire Kakabeka Falls, the “Niagara of the North.” Guest will also discover sea caves by kayak and step back in time as they stroll the quaint, car-free streets of Mackinac Island.
  • Great Lakes Explorer (eight days; Milwaukee to Thunder Bay): Guests will get an opportunity to discover the maze of granite islands that comprise Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve while hiking and kayaking. They will also  experience Victorian charm on Mackinac Island and venture into the boreal forests of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on Lake Superior’s northern shore. Some other highlights include exploring coastal wetlands replete with birdlife, comb pristine beaches and getting acquainted with native cultures of the northern Great Lakes.
  • Niagara & The Great Lakes (eight days; between Toronto and Milwaukee): From urban skylines to uninhabited islands, one can discover North America’s wilderness alongside renowned cultural attractions while cruising the striking waterways of the Great Lakes. Guests can also immerse themselves in the lakes’ compelling shipping history, experience the Niagara Falls and keep watch for scores of migratory birds at Point Pelee. Guests will also get a chance to explore sheltered bays and woodlands to uncover complex ecosystems and hidden treasures.
  • Canadian Discovery (13 days; between New York and Toronto): This itinerary will give guests an opportunity to discover this region’s rich colonial past amid stunning natural settings. They will also be able to admire the rugged coast of the Canadian Maritimes, cruise along the wide expanse of the St. Lawrence River and marvel at the dramatic cliffs and wildlife of the Saguenay River Valley. Engaging shore excursions in each port will allow one to better enjoy all this region has to offer.

Viking is also sailing grand voyages between the Great Lakes and “the end of the world,” including the "Viking Longitudinal World Cruise I," which will complete its inaugural 65-day journey from Antarctica to Milwaukee on May 5, 2023. In September 2023, the Viking Polaris will embark on the "Longitudinal World Cruise II" from Duluth to Ushuaia and the Viking Octantis will also begin its journey from Milwaukee to Ushuaia on the "Longitudinal World Cruise III"—offering guests several travel milestones in a single journey from the heart of North America through engineering wonders like the Welland and Panama Canals, into the Chilean fjords and finally to Antarctica. Following Viking’s upcoming third season in the Great Lakes, the Viking Polaris will also sail the "Longitudinal World Cruise IV" from Milwaukee to Ushuaia in October 2024.

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