Viking’s expedition ships return to the Great Lakes

Viking has started 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.

Viking offers a variety of itineraries that operate between Toronto and Duluth and explore all five Great Lakes.

The 378-guest expeditions 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.

Two new itineraries for 2026

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 voyage 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 voyage sails between Toronto and Milwaukee and also includes Niagara Falls, Canada’s Point Pelee National Park and a transit of the Welland Canal.

“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. 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,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking. “We would like to thank our local partners for the warm welcome once again, and we look forward to introducing more curious travellers to the Great Lakes this season and in future years.” 

Highlighted 2024-2026 Great Lakes voyages

  • NEW Great Lakes Treasures (10 days; roundtrip Milwaukee) – Visit the “Windy City” of Chicago and its wealth of world-class museums, including the Art Institute. Explore the picturesque islands of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and admire their bucolic landscapes. Venture out to Flowerpot Island in the Fathom Five National Marine Park and marvel at the stunning pink granite isles of the Benjamins Islands. Participate in lab studies as you explore coastal wetlands and delve into the Native cultures of the Great Lakes.
  • NEW Niagara & Great Lakes Treasures (17 days; between Toronto – Milwaukee) – Discover the mighty waterfalls of Niagara and immerse yourself in nature amid the freshwater marshes of Point Pelee’s peninsula. Witness the creativity of Detroit’s urban development as you admire the city’s postmodern and art deco skyscrapers. Behold the stunning isles of Georgian Bay from the water and marvel at their verdant landscapes during this extended voyage.
  • Great Lakes Collection (15 days; between Toronto – Duluth) – Join Viking for a unique voyage across the historic waterways of all five of the majestic Great Lakes. Experience culture-rich urban centers and admire the awesome power of thundering Niagara Falls. Explore the granite islands and sheltered inlets of Georgian Bay and traverse the famous Soo Locks. Study the aquatic ecosystems of the lakes as you journey and venture into the dense boreal forests that line the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
  • Niagara & the Great Lakes (8 days; between Toronto – Milwaukee) – From urban skylines to uninhabited islands, discover North America’s wilderness alongside renowned cultural attractions while cruising the striking waterways of the Great Lakes. Immerse yourself in the lakes’ compelling shipping history, experience the power of the thundering Niagara Falls and keep watch for scores of migratory birds at Point Pelee. Led by a team of experts, explore sheltered bays and woodlands to uncover complex ecosystems and hidden treasures.
  • Undiscovered Great Lakes (8 days; Thunder Bay – Milwaukee) – Cross the width of Lake Superior between Duluth and the Soo Locks, exploring the lake’s North Shore Inside Passage as you sail. Hike along clifftop trails for sweeping views of the lake. Gain insight into the unique features and ecosystems of remote wilderness islands, and admire Kakabeka Falls, the “Niagara of the North.” Follow in the footsteps of fur traders in Duluth and step back in time as you stroll the quaint, car-free streets of Mackinac Island.
  • Canada & East Coast Explorer (15 days; between Toronto – Fort Lauderdale) – Sail the US’s Atlantic coastline and visit storied cities. Enjoy Charleston’s southern charm and colonial homes. Visit Norfolk, home to the world’s largest naval base. Trace Nova Scotia’s shores to explore its rugged landscapes and visit Quebec’s national parks. Traverse one of North America’s scenic waterways, the St. Lawrence River, and marvel at the locks and canals that comprise the St. Lawrence Seaway on an enriching journey to historic ports.

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 #1 summer travel destination in the U.S. by USA Today 10Best.

For more information, visit