Introduced in 2022 as Viking's seventh ocean ship, Viking Mars follows the exact blueprint of its sister ships. And therein lies its appeal: repeat cruisers appreciate the sense of familiarity aboard the 930-passenger ship, while newcomers are charmed by its stylish design and intuitive layout.
Sporting an elegant flair inspired by Nordic nature, Viking Mars often feels like a luxe boutique hotel, without going over the top. Nods to Viking and Scandinavian culture are present in the décor and design elements, while birch tones, wintry blues and earthen hues provide a light and airy ambiance. Art is ubiquitous -- including original works by Norwegian masters like Edvard Munch, Nikolai Astrup, and Jakob Weidemann -- while black-and-white travel photography serve as a constant visual reminder of Viking Mars' raison d'être.
But for all its inward allure, Viking Mars is a ship made for destination-intensive itineraries. Its nimble size means it can visit a wider assortment of ports ranging from world class to barely accessible. And you get one free excursion in each port -- one of the many inclusions you enjoy when sailing with Viking -- further emphasizing the cruise line's commitment to shoreside exploration. Onboard, daily enrichment lectures led by resident historians and informative port talks whet passengers' appetite for discovery.
Other notable inclusions onboard Viking Mars include admission to the impressive Nordic Spa, which features a thalassotherapy pool, a hot tub, a steam room, a sauna, a cold plunge pool, heated ceramic lounge chairs and the über-cool Snow Grotto. Most of Viking Mars' restaurants are also included in your fare, providing a cornucopia of culinary variety. Beer, wine and soft drinks also come standard, as does Wi-Fi and self-service laundry.
With its emphasis on higher-brow entertainment and generous inclusions, Viking Mars appeals to well-traveled and value-oriented passengers who are always looking to learn and experience something new. On the other hand, Viking Mars isn't a ship for families with young children (minimum age to travel is 18) nor is it a right fit for cruisers looking for flashier entertainment options or an onboard casino (you'll find neither aboard Viking Mars).
Viking Mars may be on the smaller end of the scale when compared to mainstream ocean cruises. But at capacity for 930 passengers, it isn't quite tiny either. Its smart layout means the ship never feels crowded even when sailing at full capacity, as there are plenty of inviting public areas peppered throughout.
The ship's nine decks are an exercise in efficiency. Public areas are concentrated on Decks 1-2 and 7-9. Deck 1 houses the lion's share of Viking Mars' amenities including the cozy Living Room, guest services desks, the hair salon, fitness center and the spacious Nordic Spa. The ship's three specialty restaurants -- Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, The Chef's Table and The Kitchen Table -- are also found on Deck 1. Deck 2 is home to Viking Mars' main dining venue, The Restaurant, as well as Torshavn nightclub, the onboard shops and Star Theater. Here you'll also find the outdoor Promenade Deck as well as the small but comprehensive Viking Heritage Museum in The Atrium.
The majority of Viking Mars' 464 cabins are located on Decks 3-6, with a small amount found in Deck 7 (including the spacious Owners Suite) and Deck 8. These two decks also house the other half of the ship's public spaces, like the Wintergarden and adjacent pool deck, World Café, Aquavit Terrace, the two-deck Explorer's Lounge and Mamsen's. Deck 9 features a small sports deck with a walking track, bocce ball, golf putting green and shuffleboard.
Viking Mars' cozy and elegant Scandinavian design extends seamlessly to the ship's 464 cabins Every category features a balcony, and the rooms are generously spacious, with plentiful storage, handy outlets and USB ports, and well-sized bathrooms. The décor is handsome and unpretentious, with Viking Mars' ever-present birchwood colors dominating the color palette, while tasteful accents of blue, white and gray add splashes of color.
But it's the superb attention to detail that truly elevates Viking Mars' cabins. Thoughtful touches include heated floors and anti-fog mirrors in the bathrooms, closets with motion-activated lights, quiet-close drawers, top-opening mini fridge, leather-wrapped door handles, strategically placed night lamps and an ample desk with a pop-up makeup mirror.
In sum, once onboard you might be tempted not to leave the comforts of your Scandi-cool cabin.
There's something for every palate aboard Viking Mars. The ship boasts a total of eight unique eateries that range from authentic Italian cuisine at Manfredi's to homey Norwegian comfort food at Mamsen's. The buffet-style World Café truly lives up to its name by serving international fare, while the Chef's Table focuses on specific regions for its comprehensive menu that changes every three days.
On our Scandinavian/Northern European sailing, regional specialties often made their way to the menu, further enhancing Viking Mars' vast culinary repertoire. And because of the wide variety of eateries -- all but one included in your cruise fare -- the restaurants never feel overcrowded.
One complimentary shore excursion in every port
Most dining venues and room service
Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
Specialty coffees, teas and bottled water
All entertainment and enrichment lectures
Access to the LivNordic Thermal suite and fitness center
Alcoholic spirits and cocktails, as well as wine and beer outside of meals
Premium shore excursions
Despite being a cruise line with roots in Norway, English-speaking cruisers will feel most at home aboard Viking Mars. Most passengers hail from the United States, with smaller quantities of Canadian, U.K. and Australian travelers rounding out the numbers.
Viking appeals to the intellectually curious passenger; and cruisers tend to be 55 and older. The lack of solo cabins doesn't necessarily mean that only couples or friends traveling together sail on Viking Mars; it's not uncommon to see plenty of single cruisers aboard the ship. Viking Mars, however, is not a suitable option for families with young children. The cruise line only allows passengers 18 years or older.
There are no scheduled meet-ups for LGBTQ+ passengers. However, the ship is welcoming to all kinds of travelers and demographics.
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