Australians will have a much greater chance to experience the Viking Ocean Cruises product from the 2018/19 summer as the European cruise giant brings one of its brand new ships – Viking Spirit – to local waters for an extended season of cruises.

As part of a significant expansion of its presence outside its European heartland and into the Asian, Alaskan, Caribbean and Australian regions, the 930-passenger ship will sail four cruises – two between Bali and Sydney and back and two voyages between Sydney and Auckland – over the period from December 2018 until February 2019.

It follows the inaugural visit of Viking Ocean Cruises to Australia which will take place later this year when sister-ship Viking Sun embarks on a massive 141-day world cruise which will see it call in six Australian ports in a voyage which will run westbound from Miami to London.

However, for a shorter and more local experience, Viking Spirit will enter Australia from Bali on the 17-day ‘Komodo and the Australian Coast’ itinerary, which will visit ports including Lombok, the Whitsundays Islands and Newcastle. This itinerary will depart from the Indonesian island hotspot on 30 November 2018 and will also operate in reverse, leaving from Sydney for the northbound journey on 10 March 2019.

In between these two voyages, the ship will sail from Sydney and Auckland in December 2018 and February 2019 respectively, visiting Melbourne, Dunedin and Mt Victoria among a number of ports on a 15-day one-way voyage.

Before it reaches Australia, travellers will be able to explore Asia on the newest Viking vessel as it cruises down from Europe. Itineraries linking Athens with Mumbai will be available, along with Mumbai to Bangkok, Hong Kong to Beijing or reverse or Bangkok to Bali. After the ship leaves Australia, cruises between Tokyo and Vancouver are available as the ship moves into Alaska in time for summer, where it will cruise regularly to Seward (Anchorage).

The Viking Ocean Cruises fleet will by the end of 2017 consist of four identical ships – Viking StarViking SkyViking Sea and Viking Sun, with Viking Spirit to come in 2018 just prior to setting off for Australian waters. The sixth and currently final sister will come a year later.

Elsewhere in the world, Viking Sky will begin cruising itineraries of different lengths in the Caribbean, Panama and Central America, departing Miami, Florida from November this year. It will then cross the Atlantic to begin 2018 in the Western Mediterranean.