by Tom Stieghorst
The Snow Grotto on Viking Star is the latest unusual treatment feature in a cruise ship spa.
After heating yourself in a steam bath or sauna, you walk into a small room with snow on the floor and benches to sit on. The room is kept at sub-freezing temperatures.
It is supposed to mimic the Nordic bathing tradition that calls for a romp in the snow after a long sauna.
The room is cold, with dark stone walls illuminated by blue light, giving it a winter vibe. I was worried, I have to admit, that it would be uncomfortably frigid, but that wasn’t the case.
I spent about five minutes cooling down in the snow grotto after my sauna, comparing notes with the other guy in the room. He was from Chicago. I grew up in Wisconsin. We both though it was crazy that someone would put this on a cruise ship, yet we both wanted to try it, too.
The room is supposed to release snow flurries periodically from the ceiling, but we weren’t lucky enough to be there for the snowfall. We were lucky enough, however, to have been warned to wear bath sandals. Apparently, the cold snow on bare feet is not much fun.
The snow room is a first for a cruise line carrying North American passengers and fits naturally with the Nordic theme of Viking Star. There is a ferry with routes in the Baltic Sea that has a snow room and Norwegian Cruise Line also has plans to offer one on its next ship, Norwegian Escape.