July 24, 2018 - At 5:30am, I am just sitting down at Mamsen's on Deck 7 forward to begin work on my daily cruise blog when I notice a really interesting monochromatic scene as Viking Sky slowly sails into Molde, Norway.
Molde enjoys a pristine setting among countless shelter islands, fjords and forested hills. On a clear day, The Molde Panorama is visible, a breathtaking view of 222 peaks. As you can see from the photo above, this is not a clear day. Viking offers several excursions in Molde. However, today we have opted to stay aboard Viking Sky to enjoy the ship's facilities, and perhaps explore the town of Molde on our own.
My first stop: the ship's LivNordic Spa on Deck 1 forward. For some reason, I never visited the spa on Viking Sea last year, and I have regretted it ever since. When I arrived at the spa check-in desk, the young lady at the desk informed me that there was no need to check in to use the facilities. Nice. She gave me a quick, but thorough tour of the locker room, sauna and wet area of the spa. Of course, there is a well-equipped Fitness Center adjacent to the spa.
There are separate men's and ladies' locker rooms with secure lockers for valuables and clothing. The lockers intelligently "lock" using your stateroom key. Rubber spa slippers and a plush robe are waiting in each locker.
Inside the locker room is a dry sauna and adjacent cold plunge.
The coed spa area includes a large thallasotherapy-style pool and a smaller hot tub/whirlpool. The thallasotherapy pool was modestly warm, while the whirlpool was a bit warmer, I would guess around 102 (F) degrees. I would have preferred 104 to 105 for some real muscle relaxation, but I understand that is probably too hot for most guests. The tubs are surrounded by padded loungers with pillows and blankets.
Nearby, a steam room is billowing puffs of steam through the door. The steam room did not lack for heat or steam and was one of the nicest and best I have ever enjoyed. But, the coolest thing (no pun intended), is the Snow Grotto across from the steam room. Snow? Surely, they didn't. Oh yes, they did! A cold room filled with snow! The perfect way to end a steam is to go into the Snow Grotto and begin covering yourself with handfuls of snow. It is amazing, and something I have never seen in any spa on land or sea.
Of course, if you want to cool off after the steam room in a more traditional way, you can stand under a large bucket, yank the rope and be drenched in refreshing cold water. The LivNordic Spa on Viking Ocean ships is clearly the nicest spa at sea. I will most certainly be back for a return visit.
After lunch in the World Cafe, Rickee and I decide to walk into the town of Molde to get a little exercise and do some shopping. From where Viking Sky is docked, it does not look like there is much to see here. But, walk a block from the ship and there are streets lined with cafes and shops.
One of the first shops we came to had a down jacket that Rickee has been looking for. After trying it on, she decided she had to have it. So, out comes the credit card and she now has a new jacket to pack for the trip home. The sales girl at the store informed us that we can be refunded the VAT tax when we leave the country. Typically, you do this at the airport. But, we are flying home from London, not Norway. So, we left the shop assuming that the tax refund was a lost cause. More on this later.
We walked quite far down the streets of Molde. When a drizzle of rain started, we figured it was best to head back to Viking Sky. After boarding the ship, we decided to stop by the Guest Services desk to inquire about the tax refund. Turns out, all we have to do is present the paperwork (receipt and short form) to Viking Guest Services and they will submit the refund request for us! The refund will show up on Rickee's credit card within 10 days. How cool is that?
This afternoon, we attended our first lecture in The Star Theater. Mr. Phil Smart gave an informative talk on "Spectacular Glaciers & Fjords of Norway." It was quite interesting.
After a nice dinner at World Cafe, we attended our first production show of the cruise. On our last Viking Ocean cruise, we saw the Les Artistes de Paris show, but it was presented in the smaller TorsHaven lounge. Tonight, the show has been moved to the big stage in The Star Theater. The show highlights the vocal talents of the three female vocalists on board. We were quite impressed with the performers on our Viking Sea cruise last year, and if tonight's performance is any indication, we will be equally entertained on this sailing.
It has been an eventful day aboard Viking Sky. Tomorrow, the ship will be sailing toward Tromso, Norway. So, a relaxing day at sea will be enjoyed by all.