Kids! Liam’s been offered a job t Sainsbury’s stacking shelves at night and now tells us that he doesn’t want it! Where does he think his money is going to come from over the winter months? He’s unemployed, he should take every job offered! Yes, frustrated, and this on Mary’s birthday, not fair on her at all!

Bruges Cruise

For how many years have I been watching the tv adverts for cruises and thought, wow, that looks fantastic, I’ve got to give that a go, beautiful looking bars and restaurants, friendly staff, five star rooms with fabulous views from luxurious balconies.

Hmmm, my view may of changed a little having experienced the P&O Cruise ship Ventura 2 day mini cruise to Bruges at the weekend. They should really call it P&O Queues! 

Too many elements of the trip went off plan, probably not the ship’s plan but outside our plan, we were on baord with a group of 19 of us celebrating our good friend, Jane’s, 50th birthday. We go away quite regulalry with Jane and her husband, Dean, so we’re used to good service in nice hotels, we were all expecting the experience to be fairly similar to those we’ve had on previous trips away but it wasn’t to be. The ship has it’s own set of rules, you’re not allowed to do what you want as you can in a hotel, you have to walk in when they tell you, wear what they approve of, eat where they tell you, eat when they tell you and all of these experiences are preceeded by an element of queueing.

I’ve never stayed in a hotel that tells you what type of jacket is acceptable or that you’re not allowed to wear shorts anywhere in the hotel after six in the evenning. 

As for the rooms, we were in the inner ring, loads of mirrors to make the room feel bigger but no window at all, no view, no balcony. Worst of all no cold water, even the cold water that came out of the tap was luke warm, nay, very warm! The boat gave us 2 bottles of water when we arrived in the fridge but then they weren’t replaced so we dehydrated considerably.

As a gift to our group they gave us £20 credit per room towards our on board drinks bill, everything on baord is booked to your room, no cash is allowed, but then, to everyone’s surprise and certainly not announced loudly at the beginning of the trip, our departing room bill included £20 of “auto gratuaties” so the generous gift was taken back! Nice!

The destination was Bruges, well that was what was advertised, in reality we docked at Zeebrugge which is a good 40 minutes travel from Bruges, like taking a cruise to Cardiff and then having to travel to Bristol to see the sights.

Having said that, I thoroughly recommend Bruges, it’s like a Fairy Tale to quote Ralph Fiennes fromt he classic and cult film “In Bruges” which is  amust watch before you go there. We’ll be back, probably with Dean & Jane, at some point in the near future, mid week if possibly to avoid the crowds.

As for the big 50th birthday celebrations, we had a blast and no amoount of bad travel experiences could stop us, Dean & Jane, and the great group of friends that we travelled with from having a fabulous time, good friends are the key!