Viking launching Great Lakes cruises

MILWAUKEE (WOOD) — Viking cruises is setting its sights on the Great Lakes.

The company announced plans this week for Great Lakes routes through Lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior, Erie and Ontario. The three expeditions aboard the new Polar Class 6 Viking Octantis will take travelers from Toronto to Milwaukee; Thunder Bay, Ontario to Milwaukee and Milwaukee to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The cruises, dubbed Undiscovered Great Lakes, Great Lakes Explorer and Niagara & The Great Lakes, are all eight days long. Prices start at $5,995 per person, including airfare within North America.

On its website, Viking says its Great Lakes debut “will bring the newest and most modern vessels ever to explore this region of North America and will mark a major commitment to local tourism and economic development for the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.”

Viking says its partnerships will bring polar and bird researchers on board to interact with guests, as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studying changes in the Great Lakes region’s weather, climate and ecosystems.

The Viking Octantis is under construction, according to the company. When finished, the ship will have a 378-guest capacity with 189 staterooms in a “modern Scandinavian design.” The Viking Octantis will also feature an in-ship marina, scientific laboratory, expedition equipment for guests, a panoramic auditorium, an outdoor lounge area with lava rock “firepits,” panoramic sunrooms with retractable glass, drying closets and heated bathroom floors in every stateroom, heated pools, a spa and fitness center, lounge and restaurant.

While the first Great Lakes cruise won’t sail until April 2022, Viking is already booking trips. Those interested can call 1.800.284.5464 or on Viking’s website at www.viking.com.