Christmas on the Ship

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Anastasis Crew Christmas Card that my department did. The big group photo was my idea.

Alot of people ask what Christmas was like on the ship and what its like in Ghana in general. Since the ship has people from many countries, we had a blending of some traditions.

The Scandinavians on board entertained us with a Santa Lucia procession, where they sang to us songs from Norway, Sweden and Denmark holding candles – led by one lady who has a crown of candles. The captain gave a special exception to having lighted flames on board with this service. It was really beautiful.

On Christmas Eve, we have the Dutch tradition of putting out our shoes outside our door, which people will fill with goodies and presents. I enjoyed finding little things for my friends and surprising them, but I was really surprised at how much ‘loot’ I got as well. My shoes were so full my roomates and I had to separate them far apart so the piles could mound up over them. Everwhere up and down the halls you’d see everyone’s shoes with lots of goodies over top of them. I had even more stuff there when I got up in the morning.


My roomates, work in hospitality and they were in charge of decorating the dining room for Christmas, so they made a zillion paper snowflakes to put on the tables on the red table cloths. They looked great. I helped out as well in making of them. Here’s Holly with a basket of them.

Here are my roomates and I on Christmas Eve wearing the Santa hats their mother sent them to wear. This picture is too darn cute.

We decorated our door, but as you can see, it didn’t win any awards. We went with the snowflake theme since we were experts by then. Holly made a wreath entirely out of paper.

The deck guys decorated ‘Hatch 4’ with this ingenious Christmas tree made of a tarp held from a crane. Look closely and you’ll see the ornaments are hard hats.

Here’s us at Christmas dinner. Our Christmas dinner was nothing to write home about (literally). We had the Thanksgiving dinner we didn’t have then because our container didn’t arrive in time. So we had turkey and dressing but nothing too fancy. We didn’t have a chef then and our line cooks are not too inventive — we have our old chef back now for 7 weeks and things are good. He can make anything taste great.

After Christmas we went to Cape Coast for three days which is three hours West of Tema. We stayed at a nice hotel on the beach and also went to a rain forest national park that had a rope bridge between its highest trees — its very wobbly but cool, you can look down and see hundreds of feet down.

^^Toughing it at the Coconut Grove Hotel

Kekum Rain Forest Canopy Walk >

For New Year’s we had a service on the bow of the ship, and the captain announced the countdown over the loudspeakers, then blew the ship’s horn for one minute. It was SO LOUD, and majestic. Afterward, all the other ships in the port blew theirs, too, but ours sounded better 🙂 . I didn’t know if we started a trend or if that is what they usually do. Afterward, some crew set off fireworks off the dock over the water.

Christmas in Ghana is traditionally a meal with family. They have adopted some Western decorating, though, and lights and shiny glitzy things are around. They even have fake Christmas trees and holly, which just seems wrong since there are no pine trees within hundreds of miles of here. It makes it seem more of a weird, fake holiday than at home. I would have thought they would have their own distinct traditions, but really don’t.

On New Years in Ghana, its funny — everyone parties like crazy here until just before midnight, then they rush to a church (any church) to be there and be in prayer when the clock strikes twelve, then they rush back out and party again. There are alot of churches here, but that’s the subject of another post.

Hope your holidays were terrific.

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