- Friday 13 December 2019
Our Grand Parade shop manager Lorraine took her niece to Lapland to meet Santa this week. Here's her blog about the experience:
"Our journey started as soon as we walked through the doors of Cork Airport. There were two elves to assist all passengers with check in, as well as goody bags for all the children with colouring books etc. As soon as we got through security, Santa was there to say hi to all the kids coming through, greeting them all with a gift.
As soon as we took off, the activities started in-flight. Theses included face painting, a colouring competition, story telling and of course, the obligatory Christmas carols. We were served a full Irish breakfast on-board so you are set up for the day!
Our arrival at Rovaniemi was very efficient. We were met by our reps/ elves who advised us which bus to join. Guests are assigned one elf and coach for the duration of their stay. Our bus was called the Teddy Bear bus and our elf was called Smelly Socks. This makes it easier for all to be aware which bus you’re on and which elf to go with when departing for the activities. It also means you know who to go to if you have any queries.
Once we left the airport, we were brought straight to the warehouse to collect our snowboots and snowsuits. You change into your snow gear there and then. You are also given a ‘sack’ to put your own outerwear and personal belongings into. This is stored with your luggage on the coach whilst you are doing your activities, as you do not get to the hotel until about 6pm that evening.
The activities were brilliant and included snowfun, snowmobiling, husky dog rides, gingerbread making and a reindeer sleigh ride. We were given an allotted time of 4:30 for food. Our selection was chicken curry with rice as well as chicken nuggets and chips for the kids.
We arrived at our hotel at 6pm and our allotted time for dinner was 7.30pm. The allotted time system works well so the restaurant isn’t overcrowded at any one time. You have a broad selection as it is buffet service, so you can pick and choose what you want. After dinner, we took a stroll around the town to leave the food digest!
There is a shopping centre opposite the Santa Claus Hotel with some cafes if you want to grab a coffee and piece of cake. Unfortunatelt the retail shops are not open at this time of evening. Also, there is a 24 hour supermarket on the same street, very handy if you’ve forgotten anything or just need to stock up on some snacks or drinks. There is also a Subway sandwich shop on the same street (in case anyone needs more grub!!).
On the morning of day 2 we were due to be collected from the hotel at 9am so went down for breakfast (included) at 8am. Again, there was a fine selection to choose from – waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, cereals and more.
You must put on your snowsuit and boots again this morning. Keep your personal belongings and your own outerwear in the sack provided, as you will need to change back into this upon leaving the Santa Village later on in the day before heading back to the airport.
We arrived at the Santa Village about 9.30am and Smelly Socks advised us that our allotted time to meet Santa was 10.40am. As we had an hour to spare, we roamed leisurely through the shops in the village. We met with the group again at 10.30 to meet the man himself.
As you go to meet Santa, his elves are taking professional photos and video as well. I purchased the photo which cost €32.50, or you can get an option of 3 photos and the video for €65. As our bus wasn’t leaving for the airport until 12.20pm, we had about an hour to explore the village a bit more. There are a few play areas to keep the kids entertained.
Departing the village at 12.20, we headed back to the warehouse to change out of our snowsuits and put back on our own outerwear before going back to the airport. Please note, there is no duty free and only two cafes available at the airport. It's probably wise to have something to eat in the Santa Village before heading back to the airport as there was not much of a selection, it was pretty expensive and we didn't really have the time to eat before our flight departure.
The flight home offered the same activities as on the outbound flight to keep the kids entertained. You are also given a complimentary meal on your flight home- chicken breast with pepper sauce. All in all, it was a great experience – to be able to see the excitement on the children's faces and to have the memories of a once in a lifetime trip!!
My niece received a diploma to say she entered the Arctic Circle, a reindeer driver's license and some other nice keepsakes- fantastic for the children to keep and remember the trip by."
Want to plan your own, once-in-a-lifetime Lapland holiday? Get in touch via 021 4277094 or 01 6965135, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call into our shops in Clonakilty, Bantry and on the Grand Parade.
Check out more photos from Lorraine's trip on social media, using the hashtag #LorraineInLapland