ABOARD THE VIKING SKY – Today we are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and because we have been here a couple of times we opted to sign on for an afternoon tour to the scenic Peggy’s Cove. This gave me the opportunity to slot in a massage this morning.
And much to my surprise, my masseur was Joe from Sweden who was my therapist on the Viking Star last year. Familiar crew members are now commonplace on this cruise.
There are many features on the Viking ocean ships that are distinctive but one of the first to catch my attention was the LiV Nordic spa. The spa area luxurious, well-designed and open to everyone. It is also very large for this size of ship.
The ladies and men’s locker rooms are separate, each with its own dry sauna and a cold plunge pool. In each locker you will find a robe, slippers, spa underwear (use is optional), a towel and a box for valuables. You lock this unit with your room key card.
In between the locker rooms is a common area with a good-sized thermal pool (96 degrees), with another smaller hot tub adjoining (100 degrees). The larger pool has aeration jets for those who want to do some resistance swimming.
There is also a large steam room and the “snow grotto”…a chamber where snow actually falls from the ceiling and accumulates in drifts on the floor. If the snow is too much of a shock to your system after your heat soak, there is a shower where you can just dump a bucket of cold water over your head…literally.
I first experienced this Scandinavian tradition of alternating heat and cold in Finland some years ago but I bet a lot of Americans will give it a first try here. According to the spa literature, “alternating hot and cold baths detoxes the body, relaxes tired muscles and boosts circulation.” Simply, the Nordic bathing ritual involves:
Relax in the sauna
Dip in the cold plunge
Heat up in the sauna (or steam room) again
Step into the snow grotto
Repeat as many times as you like
Trust me, it certainly wakes you up!
In addition, there is a full fitness center, small workout/yoga room and a hair and nail salon. The key for me here is that you do not have to be having a treatment to use these facilities. They are available to everyone at no additional charge
The décor all over the ship is distinctively Scandinavian. Spare, minimal, light colors. You will not find lush green plants around the pool, but rather stark arrangements of tree limbs. Table decorations are of moss, lichen and ferns rather than florals. The “atrium” spans three levels in the middle of the ship, giving it an airy feel.
People obviously are liking the Viking look, as nearly 750 of the 900 passengers on board are previous Viking customers. Of course, many first came to Viking through it river ships but it is obvious from everyone we talk to that they are loving this new Viking experience.
Viking has brought three ships online in three years and just this week added a fourth ship, the Viking Sun. It has already ordered four more, with the next one coming online next spring.