Two Nights on a Big Boat

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A couple of weeks ago we made an im promptu decision to go to Stockholm on a two-night cruise with my brother and his family. A mini-holiday across the pond. I’ve been on one of these cruises so many times I’ve lost count – but never with kids. Turns out they’re perfect for children and Lana and Max (and Maya) had a blast!

Our ship of choice was Silja Serenade. If things haven’t changed since I last lived in Finland, then the Viking Line ships are a bit scruffier, cheaper and usually the choice of younger party-goers. The Silja Line ships are a bit classier, cleaner and perhaps better for families. Correct me if I’m wrong!

Anyway, this is the promenade in the middle of the boat – something you won’t find in the Viking Line ships. I think it opens up the space nicely and makes it less claustrophobic. This ship carries around 3500 people I think.

The ship departed at 5pm and it’s tradition to go out on deck to watch the boat leave Helsinki harbour. It’s also tradition to have a glass of wine! Here’s Maya getting herself dirty.

On the way you go through the Finnish archipelago and on the way back you get to enjoy the Swedish archipelago – both beautiful.

Lana and Maya were excited to sleep in a cabin for the first time. There was even a travel cot for Maya so we were all sorted.

Lana is always looking out for Maya, making sure she doesn’t fall off beds and sofas <3 She’s also started carrying her around, which looks slightly dangerous but so far hasn’t resulted in any accidents…

After exploring the cabin we headed to the play area – and we were delighted to discover they served alcohol! We were all in need of a couple of drinks I think.

The ball pit was a huge hit as you can imagine. It was two sweaty kids who emerged two hours later.

The Playstation 4 pit was also popular amongst older kids.

All that playing resulted in two hungry toddlers, so we headed to the Italian restaurant and the children’s all you can eat buffet for only 5,50€. Maya was too busy scoffing down her pasta that see didn’t even bother posing for the camera.

After a quick trip to the Tax Free shop we decided to hit the sack – and by midnight the girls were finally asleep…

It was a supersmooth journey but for some reason I barely slept at all that night. The caffeinated coffee and the drinks I had might’ve had something to do with it too…But hey, luckily I’m used to not sleeping so I was fine! We arrived in Stockholm at 9.30am and got a bus to Djurgården area and Junibacken literary park. You weren’t allowed to bring your buggy, so we had to buy a lock and leave it outside with all the other buggies.

And obviously Maya had just fallen asleep in her buggy when we had to leave it – but luckily there were Baby Björn carriers you could borrow for free. Have to say now having tried the Ergo Baby carrier that the Baby Björn one was so much comfier and easier to use!

Junibacken is based on the stories of children’s author Astrid Lindgren – and even though we haven’t read many of them yet there were a lot of nooks and crannies to explore and Lana and Max were moving around at the speed of light, perhaps a bit overwhelmed by it all. It was a shame though that there were so many people, a few too many if you ask me.

If you do go make sure you don’t miss out on the train-ride that takes you through some of the stories. It was so well made and we all enjoyed it. You weren’t allowed to take photos but I sneaked one in.

We were hoping it was going to be a bit cooler in Sweden, but no, it was just as hot there and I think the temperature was around 30-31 degrees Celcius.

And one last photo from inside Junibacken. Try and figure out how this photo was taken 🙂 On the way out we bought some books for the kids and soon our bellies were rumbling.

Since the lovely Rosendals Trädgård was a short (but hot!) walk away we headed there.

These photos won’t show you that, but the place was packed and it was boiling – so not the most enjoyable experience this time.

The food was good though!

And there was a tiny winery 🙂

Once back on the boat we bumped into some of Lana’s idols; Little My and Moomintroll! She hugged them both and posed for photos, but didn’t say much. I think she was starstruck.

And again we went up on deck to say goodbye to Stockholm.

The DJ was playing, the sun was shining and Lana and Max were entertained by some strange characters with dragons on their arms. Everything was good until Lana managed to spill a lady’s drink and the lady went ballistic. She got up and started swearing and trying to clean her dress. We said sorry and Matthew offered to buy her another drink – but she didn’t even look at us and just kept swearing until she stormed off followed by her two boys. Lana got a bit scared of her too I think.

And after dinner at the same restaurant it was time for one of the highlights of the trip: the Moomin disco! At first Lana didn’t want to take part, but she slowly got closer and closer to the stage and started moving more and more. Since the trip she’s said many times that she wants to go to the Moomin disco and the Moomin house, so it was a hit for sure.

There was also another play area, only open during summers, so we obviously had to check out that one too. To keep Maya in one place for more than two seconds Matthew came up with a great idea 😀

We were all pretty tired so we soon walked to our cabins and thankfully got the kids to bed a bit easier than the night before. I also slept a lot better, but again Maya woke up really early – so I sent Matthew out with her for a couple of hours so Lana and I could sleep a bit more.

The kids really loved being on the boat, so would definitely recommend one of these cruises for families!

x Nina x