Stockholm is on the east coast of Sweden, very near to the swedish archipelago.
It is also a relatively short ferry ride from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Poland.
Many Swedes with children take advantage of these very inexpensive day or overnight ‘cruises’, simply to get away.
The winter season is Sweden is long (October to April), and sometimes a days break is all you need…!
Richard and I booked a 12 hour ‘cruise’ to Åland, an island between Sweden and Finland.
We had the kids in mind, and despite all my fears, they had a BALL!
We woke up early on Saturday morning to a snowstorm, and drove 20 minutes to the ferry departure.
It started with a delicious breakfast buffet…
…. enjoyed by all.
It wasn’t long before Alfie and Ted were spotted by this cat….
Who, you may wonder, is this?
This is ‘Ville Viking’, the boat’s mascot, and soon to be ‘friend’ of our youngest two…
Yes, even Ted was taken by him – not a fear in the world.
Actually the tail got chased!
12 hours went fast.
Ted enjoyed the ball pool…
…and attempting to steal magazines from the gift shop…
Alfie enjoyed his free ‘Ville Viking’ glass with unlimited fizzy orange (which we limited!)..
… and the chance to take part in the limbo contest…
He and Maya enjoyed the chance to see ‘Tom and Jerry’…
They also had an amazing time in the mini disco, taking moves from the giant cat!
Maya took part in the hoola-hoop contest.
And had some arm-painting done…
All the kids took part in a treasure hunt.
And a ‘tips promenade’ (a trivia walk around the boat).
Leon had many good games of cards…
…and enjoyed practicing his skills in the ‘Wii’ room…
And did I mention the bubble pools, the children’s pool and the sauna?
Which were clean, warm – and which we had to ourselves…..
The trip ticked all the boxes of things I detest about ferry trips.
Tacky and cheap. Yes.
Ongoing cartoons and computer games babysitting kids. Yes.
Organised activities to babysit the kids. Yes.
Fizzy drinks and too much sugar. Yes.
The stale smell of old cigarettes. Yes.
Terrible terrible carpets. Yes.
Being stuck in one place, going nowhere in particular, for no apparent reason. Yes.
The churning, rolling feeling of sea sickness. Yes.
But I don’t care.
Just once in a while it’s good to throw your cares to the wind and let your kids experience true gluttony, through all the senses!
And despite the bad weather…
The kids had a fabulous fabulous time.
And because they did – we did too!