Viking Jupiter in Ålborg, Denmark

I’ve just returned from Scandinavia aboard a Viking Ocean Cruise and visited five countries/nine ports-of-call during our 14-day sailing.

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[Explorer’s Lounge]

I arrived in Stockholm a few days ahead of the cruise to explore a bit of the city and embarked at Stockholm’s Stadsgarden Cruise Terminal, not far from my hotel in Gamla Stan (Old Town). Embarkation time and room access is dependent on stateroom category.

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Check in during embarkation is pretty streamlined and once we’re onboard, we’re given a welcome cocktail and are asked to head to our group’s muster station for a safety briefing.

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[The World Cafe]

A full lunch awaits us on Deck 7’s World Cafe as well as snacks and drinks on Deck 1 in the Living Room area. This is also where Guest Services, the Viking Bar, and speciality restaurants Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table are to be found. Guests are allowed to dine at each restaurant (with advance reservations) during the cruise. The remaining restaurants have open seating.

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My suitcase and I are reunited in front of my deck 5 Deluxe Verandah stateroom, where I soon meet my room steward, Komang, who enquires about any personal requests, from non-alcoholic drinks in the minibar (included and refilled daily) to pillow preferences.

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As I’d already been in Stockholm for a few days, it’s a great perk to have guest laundrettes on each deck (with auto-soap dispensers!).

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[Afternoon tea at Wintergarden]

Our first day on the ship is a rainy one, perfect for a high tea, visit to the spa, library or one of the many open, cozy spaces aboard the Jupiter.

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[Hydrotherapy pool]

This will be home for the next 14 days. After a day of touring, there’s nothing like a relaxing read in your stateroom, a dip in the main pool or soak in the hydrotherapy pool.

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Relaxation is key here, and Viking makes the interior spaces as cozy and welcoming as possible, with lounge chairs in several public areas, late afternoon music and activities from lectures to cocktail hours to optional wine and spirits tastings.

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The flatscreen LG TV in the stateroom serves as a central hub for all info, including movies, music on demand, TED Talks, excursions, dining and spa arrangements.

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[ALL the charging port options!]

You can also view the ship’s tracker, your onboard account as well as an on-screen version of the Viking Daily (a listing of everything you need to know for the following day).

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Staterooms are modern, easy to organize and super functional! This is one of the best aspects of Viking’s fleet of sister ships: Each one is identical and has ample space for two passengers to stow clothing, toiletries and shoes. The closet contains robes, slippers, and an umbrella.

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Simply lift up the desk to find storage areas, a set of binoculars and a lit makeup mirror. Water carafes are refilled in the morning and at turndown.

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German brand Freya toiletries is Viking’s brand of choice for soap, shower gel, shampoos, conditioner and body lotion.

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There’s a safe and KRUPS Nespresso machine, a mini fridge under the desk, a flatscreen TV opposite our king bed, plus a variety of lighting (and airco) that operates with a room key inserted by the door to save electricity.

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Two chairs and a coffee table on the balcony complete the picture.

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[Infinity pool, Mariehamn, Finland]

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The World Café serves three meals a day buffet style with hot and cold dishes, meats and cheeses plus a dessert bar and gelato/sorbet counter.

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[Monkfish in lemon sauce at The Restaurant]

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[Always a treat to visit the dessert table, close by the homemade gelato counter]

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One of the most luxurious experiences aboard a Viking ocean vessel is the LivNordic spa. This relaxing, fireplace-accented space is complete with steam room, hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi, snow grotto, sauna, cold plunge pool, steam room, experience showers and heated tiled lounge chairs.

There’s even an old-fashioned cold bucket shower on site.

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A full range of massages, hydro facials and detox options are available with advance reservations. Note that you don’t need a massage appointment in order to gain access to the Nordik spa. Make sure to wind down in one of the heated tiled loungers!

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After a morning spent kayaking the Åland Islands (between Finland and Sweden) and a leisurely lunch in the World Café, I was spoiled by a 50-minute Swedish Mindful Massage with Josmin.

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Trained in his home country of India, Josmin made sure to ask about pressure, heat, and any concerns throughout the massage.

My travel backache and sore hip were soon worked over with my chosen level of pressure, and there was no better way to wrap up this blissful experience than with a steam room session followed by some quality time on one of LivNordic Spa’s four heated tiled lounge chairs!

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[Main pool]

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Within the Viking App is a section dedicated to the artwork to be found around the ship. Everything from Viking replica elements to the Freya toiletry line is included here. Simply plug in a headset and create your own self-guided tour.

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To learn more about the artworks and various findings on board, use the free, downloadable Viking Art Guide app to provide background on artwork throughout the ship.

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[On-board boutique]

Each day, a copy of the Viking Daily gets delivered to our stateroom, noting weather outlook, sunrise and sunset times, the ship’s location, when to be back on board, meal times/special themed dinners and that day’s entertainment. Aboard every Viking cruise is an included excursion in every port, with several paid options to choose from.

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[Homemade ravioli served at Manfredi’s]

Viking ships have two destination restaurants: Manfredi’s Italian and The Chef’s Table (a five-course, regionally-themed dinner).

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[Yggdrasil-inspired wooden accents inside the Wintergarden]

Daily afternoon tea service is served at the Wintergarden from 4 to 5 pm near the main pool.

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[Pool deck seating]

Deck 7 includes The Pool Grill, World Café and Aquavit Terrace (buffet) while for Norwegian style fare, it’s Mamsen’s in the Explorers’ Lounge.

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[Norwegian waffle at Mamsen’s Deli]

On deck 2, The Restaurant has set menus for all three meals of the day; at dinner, you’ve a choice of the three-course destination menu or always-available options.

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[The Restaurant features both regional offerings and a standard menu]

The World Café serves three meals a day buffet style with hot and cold dishes, meats and cheeses plus a dessert bar and gelato/sorbet counter.

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[More glorious cake at the World Cafe]

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Between the restaurants and their decadent desserts, cafés and pool grill, there’s enough to satiate nearly every palate and appetite and the kitchen staff always prepare vegan and gluten-free items.

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[Regional cheeses served while docked in Warnemünde, Germany]

If you’d like to simply lounge in your stateroom, there’s a 24-hour room service menu that features starters, charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks and seafood, cheeses, desserts and juices, smoothies and coconut water.

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[ABBA Songbook performance inside the Star Theater]

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Fjord viewing from the Sports Deck]

It’s a welcoming atmosphere on board, and requests/concerns are quickly handled, while any needed info or tips are provided by a 24-hour team at the Explorers’ Desk on deck 1.

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[Business Center near Guest Services, Deck 1]

Little touches, from hot cocoa and towels when re-boarding the ship on rainy days, to apples and bottled water at each port, make Viking a treat to journey with.

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A big round of thanks to Captain Thomas, our room steward Komang, the restaurant and hospitality staff onboard as well as the marketing team at Viking Cruises for giving me (and hopefully Vancouverscape readers!) a great experience sailing around Northern Europe and Scandinavia these past two weeks!

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I was hosted by Viking Ocean Cruises for the purpose of this feature. Opinions, as always, remain my own.

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