PHOTO: LivNordic Spa & Wellness thermal suite on Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Sky. (photo by Jason Leppert)

Traveling onboard Viking Ocean Cruises’ latest Viking Sky this week, I’m reminded of how wonderful its spa facilities are.

LivNordic Spa & Wellness is a treat to the senses, and much of the venue is remarkably free of charge.

Since the Viking Star launched in 2015, I’ve now had the chance to sail on the first ship twice, the second Viking Sea twice and the new Viking Sky once. During that time, I’ve gone from being a timid non-spa goer to a frequent spa guy.

The common thermal area and private dressing rooms on each three sister-ships stand out as a complimentary part of Viking’s signature inclusions. On most other ships, such access is not even bundled with the price of a treatment let alone the cost of the cruise itself. Here, no purchase is necessary of this fantastic facility.

In each of the changing rooms, a dry sauna and chilled plunge pool introduce guests to the nordic bathing ritual. The idea is for participants to cycle from extreme hot and cold environments to improve circulation. The larger thermal suite is positioned in between for everyone with a central thalassotherapy pool, adjacent whirlpool, snow room, steam room, cold water bucket and shower, heated tile loungers and padded chaise lounges.

Altogether, the circuit of alternating temperatures is both invigorating and relaxing.

READ MORE: Viking’s Cruise Showers are the New Gold Standard

As you can imagine, the snow room is quite the body rush before relocating to warmer weather. The thalassotherapy pool—really one of three pools onboard—is a great place for a prolonged soak. Behind it is a really cool flame effect under glass where steam is lit with orange illumination to mimic the appearance of real fire. The same is repeated in the Explorers’ Lounge observation venue high above.

Considering all of the above is free, you could easily stop there and be satisfied with the spa experience, but additional treatments are worth their costs as well.

Back when I was still a little more shy about getting body massages, the first I ever tried on the Viking Star was the Luxury Beard one. It consisted of a detailed trim and scalp massage, which I found to be quite enjoyable at the salon extension.

By the time I became comfortable with additional pampering, I graduated all the way to the spa’s collections. The first time I tried the Viking Restart, it included a dry brushing component that I instantly loved for feeling like a vigorous back scratch. The second time around on the Viking Sea, it had been revamped some: Sans the brushing, instead including a cranberry body scrub, Swedish deep-tissue massage and Nordic scalp ritual.

READ MORE: More than ‘Third Times the Charm’ for Viking

While I honestly missed the brushing element, 80 minutes of massaging and the new scrub were still excellent. By the time I boarded the Viking Sky, however, I did seek out a collection that included brushing. At 110 minutes long, Arctic Detox does have it in addition to a detox scrub, Swedish detox massage and cupping.

I honestly, had little idea what to make of the new massage and cupping combination beforehand, but it turned out to be one of the better treatments I’ve ever had. The technique really worked out a lot of muscle kinks that had not been fully soothed before.

Plus, I was very happy with the brushing, so much so that I was compelled to buy one of the brushes to take home with me. (Here’s hoping my wife will indulge me.)

Of course, the LivNordic spa also has treatments available a la carte, and its collections can even be extended with extras as well.

This post first appeared on TravelPulse.

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