Santa Line Time

A Proper Sea Captain who is Christmas crazy

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While we were taking pictures for our new loyalty program “Extra”, we found Captain Kenneth, a proper sea captain.  His interest in everything to do with the sea started back when he was a young lad. We wanted to get to know Captain Kenneth better so we sat down and had a chat with him. He told us about his time at sea and why Christmas is his favorite time of year.

“When I was a young boy I decided that, more than anything in the world, I wanted to become sea captain. I enrolled in the Cubs Scouts when I was very young. After a number of years I joined the Sea Scouts where my love for the sea really started. In late 1975, after working all over the world onboard various ships, I started working in the ferry business. My thinking was that I would always be home in Sweden for the summers which would suit me perfectly, I love Sweden in the summer.

I started working onboard Stena Nautica and Stena Saga when I first joined Stena Line. Currently, I am working onboard the Stena Danica as first officer. My first contact with the company was way back in 1972. I was studying at Barken Viking Sailor School and while I was there, I spent a semester in a work placement with the company as a part of my initial training. I worked the odd weekend onboard the former Stena Danica to get a little extra pocket money. In the first half of the semester I spent most of my time in the kitchen washing the dishes which I didn’t really like but in the second half, I worked in the bar measuring drinks for the waiters, which was much more enjoyable and considerably easier!

Nowadays, I spend a much of my free time working with various clubs and associations, including Skåre Boat Club and the Swedish Kenneth club which I’ve been a member of for over 22 years now! I love working with people and contributing in a positive way has always been extremely important to me, especially when it comes to meeting with our guests onboard our ships.

There’s one particular encounter that I remember, it’s very special for me. The last car boarded the ship I was working on but there was only one parking spot left on the car deck and it was just in front of a large truck, a tight squeeze. The weather forecast was bad with rain, gale force winds and high seas. The truck parked right beside the car rocked and rolled and in the end, it hit the car and smashed one of the headlights to bits. Our crew didn’t discover the damage until the ship arrived at the port the following morning. A crew member requested that the driver should wait in the port with the damaged vehicle so that the port staff could meet with them and compile a damage report and an insurance claim. Being the First Officer at the time I received a phone call about the damaged car, I also had to deal with the issue.  I collected the relevant paperwork need for the claim and went down to the port to meet the driver. I was thinking to myself, not exactly the best way to start your day is it Kenneth?  Thankfully, I had met with passengers who had their cars damaged while travelling onboard our ships before this, so I had these experiences to help me to deal with this particular situation. I approached the driver saying, “Hmmm, this isn’t so good, is it”. I was surprised when the driver turned around and said, “Oh, it’s only a car.” In no time at all the problems had been solved. I offered the driver breakfast, our treat of course, while our staff arranged for the car to be taken to the workshop to be repaired. When the work was finished, I asked the driver, if she, her mum and little son, would like to come back and visit the ship’s bridge on another occasion, we could also have lunch. I felt bad because of the inconvenience we may have caused. She got in touch very soon afterwards and to cut a long story short, Christina, the driver, and I are married now and have been for a number of years, we are so happy! Cristina and my newly adopted son Jesper go on many trips together onboard our ships. So you can most definitely say that Stena Line take’s care of their passengers.

For those of us who work at sea, weekends and holidays are hard sometimes because we aren’t always at home with our loved ones. I really think that there is something extra special about Christmas. People become a little kinder at Christmas and show more care. One of my favorite things to do is to give gifts to the children. It’s wonderful to see the joy on their faces when they receive their gifts. I love to plan and arrange everything in advance too, really get into the spirit of the season. It’s become a tradition that I prepare a delicious ham for Christmas Dinner. I order the ham and a turkey of course, in the spring from an organic farm called Ängavallen in Vellinge, Sweden. I always honor the traditions, especially when it comes to Christmas. Also, I leave some jobs that I need to do until Christmas Eve because it’s great fun to see everybody in our family get excited. Then we sit back and let “Julefriden” (Christmas Spirit) spread out and spend time with family in peace.

We thank Kenneth for sharing his story with us.