On Board the Viking Mars’ Incredible 15-Day Scandinavian Journey

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The Viking Sky cruise ship in Eidfjord
Viking’s sister ships, like the Sky (pictured) and the newer Mars, are identical and offer guests consistency and luxury wherever they travel.

One of the newer ships in the celebrated Viking Cruises fleet, the Viking Mars will exceed a passenger’s expectations in almost every way. Able to accommodate as many as 930 guests, Mars is a bit on the smaller side, which means it can visit some destinations that other, larger ships can’t. Best of all, there’s a greater attention to detail and luxury, as regular guests will readily admit is one of the best aspects of this brand—right up there with the phenomenal, curated itineraries.

The included excursions are well thought out, celebrating the culture and activities of each city. During the Viking Homelands cruise itinerary on the Viking Mars, the 15-day voyage begins in Stockholm and goes on to visit Aland Islands in Finland, Gdansk in Poland, Bornholm in Denmark, Berlin in Germany, Copenhagen and Aalborg in Denmark, and multiple ports in Norway (Oslo, Stavanger, Eidfjord and Bergen).

What to Expect on Board

The pool and deck on a Viking cruise ship
In between cities and adventures, guests will love kicking back and enjoying the views in style.

All journeys begin with the accommodations, and guests will have no shortage of beautiful views since every luxurious guest room has a balcony, which makes for unforgettable moments while sipping coffee in the morning or admiring the sunset after a long day of exploring. The staff is incredibly kind and helpful, always willing to bring you what you need or make your stay more relaxed. The rooms are sizable, with comfortable beds, plenty of storage for clothing, a big bathroom, and lots of space to move around.

A suite on a Viking cruise ship
The suites offer all the creature comforts cruise enthusiasts love, plus some of the best morning views.

The Mars has so many great amenities, including a hair salon, high end fitness center, shops throughout the boat, the Nordic Spa with its own private pool (in addition to an infinity pool), bars, and a rooftop pool. And then there are the premium dining options, including specialty restaurants like Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant for incredible crisp calamari, shrimp and linguine, and bone in ribeye with wine pairings and The Chef’s Table with master sommeliers and culinary experts curating a tasting menu for guests. For an educational experience, the Kitchen Table is an interactive culinary school and a wonderful way for guests to learn from the greats.

As for the Nordic Spa, there is a wide variety of treatments available, in addition to a steam room, sauna, and even a snow grotto. As you’re traveling to each port, you can enjoy the offerings of the spa, watch live singers, bands, performances, discussions, or grab an incredible espresso martini at the bar.

Into the Cities

A street in Stockholm, Sweden
Nothing beats exploring Stockholm on a beautiful day.
Jessica Kelly

In addition to the included excursions and activities that give you a taste of the city, guests generally have plenty of time to explore on their own. However, for an elevated experience, the paid excursions offer something more intimate and unique.

In Stockholm, start with the Swedish meatballs before ordering a banana, curry, and ham pizza so you’re full ahead of the Viking tour, “Old Town by Foot,” on which the group will discover highlights in Gamla Stan. During the Panoramic Mariehamn Tour in Mariehamn, Åland Islands, try the black salt licorice candies that are made in house and still warm, or enjoy a gin sample and snacks during the Tastes of Aland after walking through the Huvudfästet and Kastelholm Castle.

After sailing the Swedish coast, the boat docks in Gdańsk, Poland, where guests can discover why the city is known for amber jewelry and goods, stunning architecture, and incredible food and drinks. Guests are invited to “Discover Culinary and Precious Treasures of Gdańsk,” through which they’ll meet an Amber Specialist, make their own pierogies before sitting down as a group to taste them, explore the old town by foot, and taste Goldwasser, a liqueur made in Gdańsk that dates to 1598.

Next up, Bornholm, Denmark with a tour through Viking of the local fishing village and Nylars Church. A quick stop to explore the city and the architecture and then on to Germany.

Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s rich culture, history, and landmarks could keep a traveler exploring for days, so it helps to have a guided tour.
Jessica Kelly

The boat anchors in Warnemünde with options to explore the nearby area of Warnemünde or travel by train to Berlin (about two hours each way). You can take a tour or do “Berlin Your Way,” mapping out your route for shopping, taking in the local public art and murals, and trying local foods like currywurst at Curry 61. You’re escorted by a guide throughout the entire train process that brings you to the city center. There, you’ll board a bus to take in iconic sights that can’t be missed when visiting the city like the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate, Jewish Memorial, Berlin Wall, and more before giving you a meeting point and letting you enjoy hours of free time in the city.

The next stop is Copenhagen, Denmark. The bright colors along the canal, smell of waffle cones baking in the air, and friendly people exploring the city by foot and by bike bring all the good vibes on a sunny Denmark day. After walking along the canal, stop into Vaffelbageren Nyhavn to try black licorice ice cream on one of their famous waffle cones on your walk to the Little Mermaid Statue.

For a light lunch, Løgismose Vin, Mad & Delikatesser has plenty of small plates to go that you can share like freshly made spreadable salmon salad and duck pate with crisp baked bread. The Copenhagen Food Lover’s Tour offered as a paid excursion through Viking is an incredible way to discover the local cuisine, from chocolates, cheese, and liqueur, to herring and Smørrebrød. If you’re a foodie, this tour is a must!

The Kitchen Table experience offered by Viking Cruises
The Kitchen Table excursion is every foodie’s dream come true.
Jessica Kelly

After one more quick stop in Ålborg, Denmark, to explore the city discovered by Vikings in the 900s and visiting the Old Town, Ålborghus Castle, Utzon Center, and Vor Frue Kirke, the ship sets sail for Norway, starting with an overnight in Oslo. Explore the first port in Norway through the “Oslo Highlights and Vigeland Park,” included through Viking. See important sights like City Hall, the National Theater, Royal Palace, Holmenkollen ski jump, and more before a guided walk through Vigeland Park to view the sculptures.

With extra time in Oslo, Norway, check out the saunas, which, when combined with a cold plunge, are a valuable tradition in Scandinavian culture, not only for health benefits, but for socialization. Right where the boat docks, you’re a short walk from Kok, floating saunas where you can plunge into the fjord. It’s an incredible experience that will leave you relaxed—and probably with a few new friends. After, grab drinks and a bite to eat at Salt.

When the boat docks in Stavanger, Norway, the “Taste of Stavanger” tour is a great way to learn about the local food and culture. Take it one step further with Viking’s “The Kitchen Table” tour, on which guests can actually explore local grocery stores, butchers, and food markets to collect high quality meats, cheeses, fish, and other ingredients, while learning about the food culture and tasting treats along the way. When you get back to the ship, you’ll have some time to relax and unwind before meeting for an intimate dining experience that brings all the ingredients you collected to life.

Eidfjord, Norway
Top it all off with the epic sights in Eidfjord.
Jessica Kelly

Get ready for the most incredible views in Eidfjord, Norway. During the “Viking Excursion: Vøringsfossen Waterfall and Eidfjord Cruise,” drive through the charming village to Vøringfossen Waterfall. The 550-foot natural landmark on Måbødalen Canyon is an amazing sight to see, and you’ll even have time to grab a cup of coffee and walk around to really appreciate every angle of the gorge. After exploring the village, the group will board a catamaran to get panoramic views of the fjord. When you return, stop into Vik Bakeri for some sweets.

The last stop is in Bergen, Norway, well-known for fish markets where visitors and locals can buy fresh shellfish, caviar, fish, and prepared foods. Everyone can indulge in chowders, local fish cakes, oysters, and more before exploring the town by foot on their own or on a variety of excursions, including “A Taste of Bergen.” Browse through the local fish market to try a variety of delicacies after walking through the town with a local guide.

A trip with Viking is the perfect way to explore Scandinavia and historic Viking traditions. This itinerary features so many incredible cities, giving travelers the opportunity to only have to unpack once, settle into your room, and explore all throughout six different countries a little at a time.

The post On Board the Viking Mars’ Incredible 15-Day Scandinavian Journey appeared first on Islands.


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