Christmas Eve in Sandnessjøen

Stopping in Sandnessjøen for Christmas Eve Celebrations:

Day 10: Bodø – Ørnes – Nesna – Sandnessjøen. After leaving Ørnes, the voyage continues through exciting and colourful waters, sailing through narrow straits bordered by lush farmland along the shores of Helgeland. Nearly every peak of the towering mountains in the background is associated with a local legend.Crossing the Arctic Circle you will arrive in Sandnessjoen at 12:15 pm, the ancient seat of a Viking Chieftain. Here the ship will dock to celebrate Christmas. Today, there will be church services in ports where arrival and departure time permits it.Tonight, Christmas evening is celebrated on board according to Norwegian traditions. Everyone on board will celebrate together with a lovely Christmas buffet, Christmas carols and the opening of presents. Santa Claus will also pay us a visit! Coffee and Cake buffet in the bar.(B, L, D)
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Christmas Eve Dinner - Santa Arrives..

01:30 – We call into Bodø and the ship docks here till 04:00.  I’m not sure why the long stop here.  It would have been nice if it weren’t night time.09:15  – We cross the Arctic Circle again and on the starboard side is the island of Vikingen and the globe marking the Arctic Circle.  This time Tony gets a shot of the globe.

11:00 – We arrive in Nesna for a quick 15-minute stop.  Enough time for us to go onshore and make angels in the snow.  The things I do for Tony’s photography!  The officers in the bridge must be thinking that we’ve gone a little potty.

12:00 – We arrive in Sandnessjøen and here we stop for the night.  Sandnessjøen is the centre of trade and the service industry for the Ytre Helgeland region.  Following the pier to the right, the main street is just 2-3 minutes walk from the ship.

Lunch today is from 12:00 – 14:30 and many locals come on board to have lunch or coffee and cakes.

13:30 – Passengers wishing to attend church service leave for Sandnessjøen Kirke. The Christmas service starts at 14:00.

We set off to explore the town on our own.  Most of the shops are already closed as shopkeepers and shoppers have gone home to prepare for  dinner.  Christmas Eve is the big night for Norwegians and this is the night when they have their main Christmas dinner. In this part of Norway, Christmas is very much a family affair and celebrated according to traditional Norwegian customs.

18:00 -  Many locals come on board for dinner and they look like business people.  Everyone’s well dressed for the dinner.  The evening begins quite formally with the Tour Director conducting the formalities.  Speeches are made by various individuals, presumably town dignitaries.  A priest says prayers and then the meal begins.  The whole ceremony is conducted in Norwegian.

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Giving Santa a Hard Time..

20:30 – After dinner, coffee and cakes are served in the Bar and we sing Christmas carolsas is a Norwegian tradition.  Little song books are handed out so that everyone knows the words.21:30 – Father Christmas arrives and everyone gets a little present.  Santa is one of the ship’s officers and towards the end the female crew take delight in toppling him to the ground.

22:00 – It’s time to walk around the Christmas tree – Eskild the Tour Director gets everyone to form three circles around the tree, with each circle going in opposite direction.  We thought it would be chaotic, but the Norwegians know what they’re doing and the Christmas tree walk works out well.  By this time some of the visitors are beginning to leave.  All in all, it was a great opportunity for us to enjoy traditional Norwegian Christmas celebrations on this Hurtigruten cruise.

God Jul to all our Norwegian friends.

Previous Day: Day 9

Next day: Day 11

Norwegian Coastal Voyage: Itinerary

What about you? What are your thoughts on this subject?

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