Viking Cruises Ships by Size, Age and Class (2022)

Viking Octantis
Viking Octantis

Viking Cruises has an active fleet of eight ships currently with ten further ships on order (Viking Polaris, Viking Neptune and Viking Mars due in 2022, Viking Saturn due in 2023 and six further Ocean-class ships which are unnamed at present).

In this guide, we will cover all the different ships in the Viking Cruises fleet and how they compare to each other.

Introduction to Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises is actually one of the subsidiaries of the recently (2020) renamed Viking corporation. The company consists of Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking River Cruises and Viking Expedition Cruises.

Viking Cruises was founded in 1997 by Torstein Hagen (a Norwegian billionaire) in St. Petersburg, Russia with the launch of four Russian river cruise ships offering luxury river cruises in Russia. They are now headquartered in Basel, Switzerland (for operations) but have a marketing team and offices in North America.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the company launched Ocean-going cruise ships and today they have a fleet of six ocean-going ships and two expedition ships (as well as the largest fleet of river ships in the world, totalling 76 ships).

The first ocean-going Viking ship was Viking Star which took its maiden voyage in 2015.

Each of the Viking Ocean Cruises ships is identical in size, capacity and design. Viking Ocean ships have a distinct feature over many other cruise ships – they have no inside cabins, each one instead has a private balcony!

One notable exception to the fleet is Viking Sun, which has actually been renamed Zhao Shang Yi Dun and sails under a Chinese flag exclusively for the Chinese market under a joint partnership between Viking Cruises and China Merchants Shekou Cruises.

Viking Cruises Ships Frequently Asked Questions

Viking Octantis is the latest Viking Expedition ship and Viking Venus is the latest Viking Ocean ship.

All of the Viking Ocean ships are the same size. But they are all bigger than the Viking Expedition ships.

All of the Viking Ocean ships are the same size. However, the Viking Expedition ships are smaller at 30,150 GRT and carry only 378 passengers each.

Viking Star is the oldest ship in the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet. Her maiden voyage was in 2015.

Viking Cruises is a privately owned company founded by the Norwegian Billionaire, Torstein Hagen.

All of the Ocean-class ships are identical. The two Expedition-class ships are also identical to each other.

Yes. In 2020 Viking Cruises was renamed to just ‘Viking’ and now have Viking Ocean Cruises, Viking River Cruises and Viking Expedition Cruises as their three main brands.

All Viking Ocean cruise ships have a maximum capacity of 930 passengers.

No. In March 2019 Viking Sky became stranded off the coast of Norway. 460 of the passengers were rescued by helicopter, with the rest of the passengers staying on board until the ship reached Molde safely. No one was injured and the ship was repaired.

The ship’s engines suffered an automatic shut down due to the loss of oil pressure. Due to the bad weather, the ship rolled quite significantly (though well within operational limits) and various fixtures and fittings were broken. As a safety precaution, just under half the passengers were evacuated before the ship managed to restart one engine and sail under its own power to the Port of Molde, Norway.

Viking Sun was renamed Zhao Shang Yi Dun and sails exclusively in the Chinese market via a joint partnership with China Merchants Shekou Cruises.

Viking Cruises Ships by Size (from largest to smallest)

Ship NameTonnage (GRT)Passengers (Max)Length (Metres)Decks
Viking Star47,84293022714
Viking Sea47,84293022714
Viking Sky47,84293022714
Viking Sun47,84293022714
Viking Orion47,84293022714
Viking Jupiter47,84293022714
Viking Venus47,84293022714
Viking Octantis30,1503782036

What does ‘Tonnage (GRT)’ mean?

GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) is a term used to calculate the volume inside a ship. It is a measure of cubic capacity and is calculated by the total volume from inside the hull and decks of the ship. 1 GRT = 100 cubic feet of space. In essence, the bigger the GRT – the more ‘space’ the ship has for passengers, cargo, etc.

How are ‘Passengers (Max)’ calculated?

You’ll see multiple numbers for passengers on ships – this is because many ships include extra beds in cabins (such as the sofa/couch can convert to a pull-out bed) – but the majority of cabins usually have 2 people in them. the ‘Max’ number is if every cabin used their additional pull-out bed, etc. This number is unlikely to be reached very frequently.

Viking Cruises Ships by Age (from newest to oldest)

Ship NameBuilt
Viking SaturnDue 2023
Viking MarsDue 2022
Viking NeptuneDue 2022
Viking PolarisDue 2022
Viking Octantis2022
Viking Venus2021
Viking Jupiter2019
Viking Orion2018
Viking Sky2017
Viking Sun2017
Viking Sea2016
Viking Star2015

Are all of Viking Cruises ships new builds?

Yes. All of the Viking Ocean Cruise ships are purpose-built for Viking. The current and future ships are all built by Fincantieri in Maghera, Italy.

Viking Cruises Ships by Class (from newest to oldest)

Ship NameClass
Viking SaturnOcean-class
Viking NeptuneOcean-class
Viking MarsOcean-class
Viking VenusOcean-class
Viking JupiterOcean-class
Viking OrionOcean-class
Viking SunOcean-class
Viking SkyOcean-class
Viking SeaOcean-class
Viking StarOcean-class
Viking PolarisExpedition-class
Viking OctantisExpedition-class

What is the difference between the Ocean-class ships?

There is no physical difference between the Ocean-class ships, they are all the same size, design and capacity. They do differ in various artwork through each ship.

Each of the Viking Ocean ships is rated Ice Class 1C which is the lowest rating for ships – this is about 0.4m of ice in the Baltic regions.

What is the difference between the Ocean-class and the Expedition-class ships?

The Viking Expedition ships are purpose-built expedition ships to sail in Antarctica and the Great Lakes where the ship not only carries fare-paying passengers but also conducts scientific research throughout the voyage too.

The two ships (Viking Octantis now sailing and Viking Polaris due in late 2022) are both rated Polar Class 6 which allows them to operate through ice in Summer/Autumn and medium first-year ice.

Both ships have a passenger capacity of just 378 passengers and carry numerous extra technical pieces of equipment, including two submarines, a first for a cruise ship.

Final Thoughts

Viking has come a long way since it was founded back in 1997. From redefining River Cruises, they swiftly moved on to redefine Ocean Cruising with their matching ships and child-free policies and now are moving into the smaller, but fast-growing market of expedition cruising.

Whichever ocean ship you choose, you will feel at home with Viking’s nod to all things Norwegian and exploring – you’ll enjoy the same facilities and layout on each ship too, which makes cruising with them a dream – just pick your region and enjoy your voyage!

If you enjoyed this article you may like our other articles that compare MSC CruisesRoyal CaribbeanHolland America Line and Celebrity Cruises ships.

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