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Crown Cruise Vacations | June 23, 2024

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Viking returns to Great Lakes for third season

Viking returns to Great Lakes for third season
Jackie Sheckler Finch

Viking is celebrating the start of its third season in the Great Lakes with both of its identical expedition ships, the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, now deployed in the region.

“The Great Lakes region is a phenomenal place that is close to home for many of our guests, but one that few have yet to fully discover,” Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking, said in a news release.

“With more than 10,000 miles of coastline, world-class cities and remote wilderness areas, it is truly a destination that is best explored by ship,” Hagen said. “We would like to thank our local partners for the warm welcome once again, and we look forward to introducing more curious travelers to the Great Lakes this season and in future years.”

Viking Polaris at Mackinac Island

The 378-guest expedition vessels, which were designed specifically to transit the historic Welland Canal, will remain in the lakes until early October before returning to Antarctica for the austral summer.

Viking has also announced that two new itineraries in the Great Lakes for 2026 are now open for booking. The 10-day Great Lakes Treasures voyages will sail roundtrip from Milwaukee and will allow guests to explore new ports of call for Viking, including Chicago, as well as Canada’s Fathom Five National Marine Park and Benjamin Islands.

The longer, 17-day Niagara & Great Lakes Treasures voyages sail between Toronto and Milwaukee and also includes Niagara Falls, Canada’s Point Pelee National Park and a transit of the Welland Canal.

Thunder Bay

The return of Viking’s expedition ships to the Great Lakes coincides with the recent announcement of the company’s latest scientific advancement – for the first time ever, phytoplankton is being genetically sequenced at sea.

With scientific support from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and J. Craig Venter Institute, real-time environmental DNA sequencing of phytoplankton is being conducted in the PCF lab on board the Viking Octantis.

Visiting scientists contributing to the Genomics at Sea Program are able to monitor the environmental impact on phytoplankton with the need to transport samples to a distant shoreside facility. Viking will regularly host Scripps scientists on board the ship this season in the Great Lakes.

Viking has also partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 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.

Toronto skyline from Viking Polaris

Additionally, Viking’s expedition ships have been designated official NOAA/U.S. National Weather Service weather balloon stations, from which regular launches are undertaken.

Viking is also offering a variety of Longitudinal World Cruises between the Great Lakes and Antarctica, offering guests the opportunity of a lifetime to sail from the world’s largest freshwater system to “the end of the world” or the reverse.

Additionally, all of Viking’s great Lakes voyages feature Mackinac Island, which was recently rated the No. 1 summer travel destination in the U.S. by USA Today 10Best.

Photos courtesy of Viking

Ed. Note: Please contact us for more information and to book a cruise Crown Cruise Vacations | Cruise Getaways You Can Afford!

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