Viking Mars Activities

5.0 / 5.0
135 reviews
Paps The Explorers' Bar aboard Viking Mars (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Wintergarden aboard Viking Mars (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Viking Mars' resident historian Knut Nesse talks about the Viking Age (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Pool deck aboard Viking Mars (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
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Editor Rating
4.0
Very Good
Entertainment
Jorge Oliver
Editor

Theater and Shows on Viking Mars

The main stage on Viking Mars is the Star Theater on Deck 2. During the day, it's your go-to spot for enrichment lectures and port talks, and it also functions as the meeting space for most shore excursions. At night, musical performances ranging from classical concertos to renditions of pop tunes take center state. The Star Theater sometimes doubles as a cinema, and you can get popcorn at the bar just outside the theater).

The theater is simple and cozy, featuring a series of benches and padded chairs for audience seating. One cool feature is that the seating areas are decorated with pillows that feature black-and-white photos of famous Scandinavian actors. And if you can't quite tell who they are, flip the pillows to see the signature of the artists.

Daily Things to Do on Viking Mars

The number of daily activities onboard Viking Mars will primarily depend on whether it's a port day or a sea day. But given that Viking is known for port-intensive itineraries, it’s more likely that they daily agenda isn't packed to the brim.

The most noteworthy daytime activities are the enrichment lectures that take place in the Star Theater. They are led by either the resident historian or a guest speaker, and the topics will invariably have to do with the next day's port of call. On our Scandinavian sailing, for instance, we learned about topics ranging from the Hanseatic League's importance in Bergen, common myths about the Vikings, or the Scandinavian resistance to German occupation during World War II.

Tip: Viking Mars' resident historian holds daily "office hours," so you can always swing by to further inquire about a topic that piqued your interest.

The other daily event that takes place onboard are the port talks, which serve as a basic introduction to the next day's destination, along with an overview of the offered shore excursions. Beyond these two main events, the ship's resident pianist or classical duo will often perform at the Atrium or the Explorers' Lounge. Notably, activities like trivia or "name that tune" contests are not offered onboard Viking Mars.

You will receive a printed daily program -- called the 'Viking Daily' -- every evening in your cabin. We found, however, that the Viking app is a much handier way to stay on top of all the activities onboard Viking Mars

Nightlife on Viking Mars

Although Viking Mars would hardly qualify as a "party ship," it can certainly hold its own with a decent selection of bars and nightlife venues. On most nights, the heart of the action is the ship's nightclub Thorshavn, remaining open past midnight. A live band (dubbed the Viking Band), although earlier activities might include liquor tastings.

On select nights, the Pool Deck will host 'Dancing Under Stars' events; essentially a bigger version of the revelry that usually takes place in Thorshavn. And Stars Theater is the place to catch a concert or a performance.

We found that, on Viking Mars, the energy of the nightlife depends almost exclusively on the interests of the passengers. On our sailing, a sizeable portion of our fellow passengers was rather animated, often crowding Thorshavn on most nights and participating on other nighttime activities with gusto.

The one activity they could not partake in, however, is gambling. Viking Mars, as all of Viking's ships, doesn't have a casino.

Viking Mars Bars and Lounges

A drink isn’t hard to come by aboard Viking Mars. Aside from having beer and wine at mealtimes included in your cruise fare, you can also spring for Viking's Silver Spirits package, which covers any drinks (excluding champagne) up to $18 USD. Alternatively, you can also choose to pay for your drinks as you go.

And where can you enjoy a drink outside of the ship's restaurants? You'll be spoiled for choice, as Viking Mars features half a dozen bars and lounges to quench your thirst. Options include the aforementioned Thorshavn nightclub, the casual Pool Bar, Aquavit Bar, the Living Room's Viking Bar, Paps Explorers' Bar at the Explorers' Lounge or the bar outside of Stars Theater.

Our Picks:

For a pre-dinner drink: Conveniently located steps away from Manfredi's and Chef's Table, and just one flight of stairs below The Restaurant, Viking Bar on Deck 1 is the obvious choice to meet up with friends and fellow cruisers to share a toast before your meal.

For Night Owls: Thorshavn is the sole nightclub onboard, and on certain sailings it can get pretty vibrant. On select nights, you can come early and enjoy a gin or Armangnac tasting (for a fee), and then stick around to check out the live band with your drink of choice.

For a libation under the stars: Weather permitting, Aquavit Terrace aft of the ship on Deck 7 is a peerless open-air spot to enjoy a drink. The bar itself is located indoors, but the terrace overlooking the infinity pool makes for an unforgettable setting.

For a nightcap: The two-deck Explorers' Lounge is perfectly complemented by Paps Explorers' Bar. It's an ideal space to enjoy an intimate gathering with friends and fellow cruisers, whether right after dinner or well into the night.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Viking Mars

Pools and hot tubs onboard Viking Mars are not abundant, but they are memorable. The main and largest option is found midship on Deck 7. The forward end of the pool faces Viking Mars' iconic Wintergarden, while the opposite ends features a shallow hot tub that covers the same width of the pool. The pool is surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs and is serviced by the adjacent Pool Grill and Pool Bar, providing all the basics you’d look for in a pool deck. What's more: it features a retractable roof, making the pool a suitable choice for any itinerary.

Viking Mars' wow factor in the pool department, however, is reserved for the Aquavit Terrace. A one-two punch consisting of an elevated hot tub that overlooks a gorgeous infinity pool, the views here are unbeatable. And since Aquavit Terrace is the outdoor portion of World Café, the area doubles as Viking Mars' premiere al fresco dining space.

Sundecks on Viking Mars

Viking Mars' main open decks are 8 and 9. The former hugs the main pool's retractable roof, while the latter features the Sports Deck at the highest accesible point on the ship. Here is where you will find a walking track as well as bocce ball, a golf putting green and shuffleboard. Seating is also plentiful, and it's an ideal spot to practice yoga.

Elsewhere on the ship, Explorers' Lounge has an outdoor terrace that offers commanding views from the front of the ship. On the opposite end of Deck 7, Aquavit Terrace doubles as an al-fresco dining space and pool area.

Services and Wi-Fi on Viking Mars

In Deck 1's Living Room is where you'll find Viking Mars' main service desks, like Guest Services and the Travel Consultant to book future cruises. The area is also home to a small library that hosts a book exchange, which is quite fitting, since the Living Room is one of the best places onboard to lose yourself in a riveting book.

There are three shops on Viking Mars, found in Decks 1 and 2. The shop in Deck 1 features jewelry and fine watches, whereas the shops in Deck 2 sell clothing (Dale of Norway sweaters and Helly Hansen outerwear are popular choices), Viking-branded souvenirs and basic toiletry items. All prices onboard Viking Mars are in US dollars, regardless of where the ship sails.

Wi-Fi is included in your cruise fare and we found the connection to be solid. You'll have no problems surfing the web, checking your email, and posting light content on social media. We even found the Wi-Fi sturdy enough to handle conference calls (albeit with the video function turned off). Streaming, on the other hand, is generally unreliable. Beyond the included internet, there is no option to purchase a faster Wi-Fi package. If you choose not to bring your laptop or tablet, there are a handful of desktop computers available for public use below the Atrium staircase in Deck 1.

Connecting to the ship's Wi-Fi is also the only way to use the Viking Voyager app

Aside from basic features -- like a personalized daily schedule, all the ship's activities, the menus in every restaurant, or the ability to book shore excursions and make dinner/spa reservations -- the app goes the extra mile by offering additional content. For instance, through audio guides narrated by Karine Hagen, you can learn more about the ship's art collection or its public spaces. You can also access TED talks and other exclusive video content.

Spa on Viking Mars

Viking Mars' Nordic Spa is easily one of the highlights of the ship. And the best part is that access to the thermal spa is included in your fare. Inside, you will find a heated thalassotherapy pool, a steam room, a hot tub, a cold-water dump bucket, heated ceramic lounges, and a snow room. The various choices are emblematic of the old Nordic tradition of alternating hot and cold treatments.

The Nordic Bathing Ritual consists of a stint in the sauna, followed by a dip into the cold plunge pool. After this, head to the sauna again for another relaxing session and cap off the ritual by stepping into the snow grotto. But even if you're overwhelmed by all the amenities, a dip in the thalassotherapy pool is hard to resist.

Aside from the free access to the wellness area, passengers can also select to book treatments for a fee. Options include various massages, facials and body treatments. Prices are not unlike what you'd find in any land-based spa.

The spa itself is breathtaking; it's meant to represent Scandinavian landscapes, with accents of Swedish limestone and black slate. Juniper wood and teak furnishings dot the area around the main pool.

Outside of the spa, Viking Mars also offers a small beauty salon where different services are available for women and men. The options are standard: manicures, pedicures, blowouts, beard trims and haircuts.

Fitness and Gym on Viking Mars

Viking Mars features a fully-equipped gym on Deck 1 near the Nordic Spa. The gym is spacious and rarely full; on our Scandinavia sailing we never saw more than a dozen passengers using the facility at any given time. In terms of equipment, you'll find a variety of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, weight machines and free weights. Additionally, you can also book personal training and group personal training sessions (for 2 people) for a fee.

Fitness enthusiasts can also head to Deck 9 or use the outdoor jogging track on Deck 2, where 4 laps around the ship equal one mile (1.6 km).

Is Viking Mars Family Friendly?

As with all Viking ships, Viking Mars has a minimum age requirement of 18, so you will not find any amenities or facilities onboard that cater to younger cruisers.

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