Demand for Christmas cruises this year has been high. For many, Christmas spent at sea is a relaxed and stress-free alternative. On a passenger cruise liner everything is ready and, naturally, Father Christmas is also on board.
Viking Line began Christmas cruises on seven ships as early as November. Guests enjoying the special Christmas buffet in the period extending until Boxing Day will number some 180,000. The Christmas Eve cruise has also attracted passengers, as expected.
— Demand for Christmas cruises has been high from one decade to the next. Christmas onboard is an attractive proposition both for families and for single people. What they all have in common is a wish to skip the Christmas rush and turn up for a ready-made Christmas, explains Communications Manager Johanna Boijer-Svahnström.
Food in abundance!
On Christmas Eve the cruise sets off from Helsinki towards Stockholm. Waiting onboard is a ready-laid Christmas table complete with all the trimmings. According to Boijer-Svahnström, the Chef was prepared in good time for a high demand over the festive period.
On Viking Line ships alone, over the Christmas period passengers are expected to consume some 11 tonnes of Christmas ham, eight tonnes of lutefish (dried cod), nine tonnes of gravlax and cold smoked salmon as well as four tonnes of pickled herring.
— The Christmas table will also account for some three tonnes of cheese, a tonne of gingerbread biscuits and sweets such as chocolates and fruit jellies, Boijer-Svahnström describes.
— Our environmental responsibilities don’t change during Christmas so, for example, we meet the Swedish Environmental Board’s recommendations for sustainable fishing. We do not serve smoked eel, for example, and our dried cod is fished only from approved, sustainable fishing areas.
There’s plenty of suitable Christmas entertainment on offer from community singing and games to dance music. And, of course, Father Christmas is also onboard. When the ship reaches Stockholm on Christmas Day, passengers can join the congregation at the Christmas Mass held in the Finnish Church opposite the King’s Palace in the Old Town.
Millions of passengers
In addition to Viking Line, Silja Line also offers a cruise programme over the Christmas period with vessels sailing from Helsinki to Stockholm and from Turku to Riga.
In one year Viking Line carries some 6.4 million passengers while Silja Line carries 8.4 million. And it’s not only the Finns, year on year the cruises from Helsinki to Stockholm, Mariehamn and Tallinn attract tourists from else where as well.
— Our ships carry countless passengers each year from different countries, including thousands of Chinese and Japanese citizens, tells Boijer-Svahnström.