P&O Mini-Cruise, Hull to Rotterdam

P&O Pride of Rotterdam

Once on board we wandered around the maze of narrow corridors on deck ten searching among five hundred and forty-six identical looking cabins until we finally found our inner berth shoebox and after we had negotiated sleeping arrangements in a fair and democratic way I bagged the bottom bunk and let Jonathan practice using the flimsy aluminium ladder to get on top.

One of the rules of the crossing is that passengers cannot take alcohol on board the boat – not because P&O have anything against alcohol it is just that they would rather prefer it if you buy it on board at one of their bars rather than from a supermarket in Hull so without any smuggled on beer or wine there wasn’t a great deal to hang around for in the cabin so we made our way to the Sky lounge and the Sunset bar at the very top of the ship to see the sunset that was dipping down over the River Humber to the west.

Actually, the Humber isn’t really a river at all because for its entire length after it originates at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Trent of less than sixty kilometres it is technically an estuary but this didn’t matter to us as we watched a flaming red sun make its grand exit for the day as it slipped slowly below the skyline somewhere over the English Midlands and we hoped that the red sky would mean that we would have a good day tomorrow in the Netherlands.

There was now two hours or so before departure so we sat and caught up on news and gossip and planned our itinerary for the day in Holland while we waited for the captain to announce that we were leaving and the sixty-thousand tonne, two hundred and fifteen metre long ship finally moved effortlessly away from the quayside at the beginning of its two hundred nautical mile overnight journey across the North Sea to the Rotterdam Europort to the south-east.

First it had to leave the Humber estuary and it glided past the port of Immingham to the south which is so big it handles the largest quantity of goods by weight in the UK and by day is an untidy, grimy place dominated by ugly petro-chemical works and soulless grey industrial buildings but by night is transformed into a Manhattan like skyline of tall buildings and bright lights and occasional dancing plumes of flames burning off excess gases which actually makes it all look rather attractive.

The ferry has a passenger capacity of one thousand, three hundred and sixty but tonight there were barely three hundred people on board (which explained the bargain fare) so it felt spacious and relaxing as we enjoyed our drinks, visited the duty-free shops and had an excellent all you can eat buffet (and for someone who doesn’t really like all you can eat buffets, I really do mean excellent) during which we collected bread, cheese and ham for a do-it-yourself breakfast the next morning and then finished the evening in the Sunset Show Lounge where a live band was knocking out disco classics and the stag and hen parties were getting more and more boisterous and noisy.

I don’t know what time it closed however because some time around midnight we called an end to the proceedings and retired to our room.  Once Jonathan had negotiated the climbing arrangements to the top bunk I made myself comfortable in a bed that was surprisingly cosy and it didn’t take many minutes until the low rhythmic heartbeat of the engine somewhere deep in the belly of the ship nudged me into a sound sleep.

Humber Estuary Sunset

33 responses to “P&O Mini-Cruise, Hull to Rotterdam

  1. Sounds like a typical ferry journey, never used that one but over the years had similar experiences on Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth. The range of shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas, kids play areas is astounding on these behemoths nowadays. It’s why we prefer The Tunnel.

    • I like the tunnel but I prefer the ferry because being at sea is confirmation that I am on holiday.

      • Funny you should say that, you don’t get the same feeling on the Tunnel, so I always have ready in the car French Accordian music which comes on when we roll off the Tunnel train. Bizarre, but it makes us laugh for 10 mins and “confirms we’re on holiday”!

  2. The last time I took a ferry crossing, I walked off covered in flea bites.. not a great experience.. 😉

  3. I can relate to the description of a place grimy by day and beautiful by night. Here, as well, I live across the river from a seaport where the main industry is timber and timber products. The largest factory is a pulp mill, where paper is made. If you aren’t aware, pulp mills are famous for being stinky. Wood pulp smells like farts, and often the whole city (luckily it’s the city across the river and not mine) reeks. So by day, it’s a mass of grey buildings, muddy lots to hold the timber and piles of sawdust, and smells wretched. By night it’s transformed into a fabulous skyline of sparkling lights that reach far into the sky, attached to all the ramps and towers, and zig-zagging platforms leading to the very top. Perched right on the banks of the river, it’s all reflected and looks nothing short of exciting and glamorous!

  4. That ship looks like the Pride of Rotterdam, and as such weighs slightly more than the :: and the nine thousand tonne, “” she actually weighs in at 59,925 tonne.
    Do these ships no longer have cabins? They are called rooms? How strange,
    I suppose you were a guest, not a passenger. i trust you insisted on ‘Port out, Starboard home ” accommodation, as every English gentleman does!
    Would the booze on board not have been decidedly cheaper, free of all duty and slugs?

    • Good spot Brian and I have made the correction.
      Allegedly Port Out, Starboard Home provides the English dictionary with the word POSH! You probably knew that!

      • Yes and that’s why that disgusting Mrs Beckham was not allowed to copy-write the name. The temerity of that woman, She and that tattooed husband of hers are just dying for him to be knighted, Suppose it’ll come soon rather than later, much later should be never. Stanley Matthews was worthy of his.
        Can you imagine how much more obnoxious the pair of them will be when he does get it?
        Can’t understand the 2 Royal dukes fawning over that pair.

      • I quite like him I have to confess…

      • and no doubt you’re not alone, I can’t stand the fellow or that wife of his. A fine pair. Just the sort England do not need as ambassadors

  5. Shows I read the posts thoroughly doesn’t it?

  6. Pingback: On This Day – A Mini Cruise to Rotterdam | Have Bag, Will Travel

  7. There are wonderful sunsets and sunrises to be had on this voyage, aren’t there – I actually like that industrial landscape. But last year, the buffet wasn’t really all that great at all. Though the ship was full to capacity, which might explain it. And the coffee was truly undrinkable.

  8. I fancied one of those cruises, but we never did make it. 😦 😦 Cross Channel to Bruges wasn’t a great experience though.

  9. Ah, Almost like a mini cruise, apart from the bunks. The only overnight ferry I’ve been on was one from the IOM, Yours sounds luxurious compared to ours.

    How lovely to read Brian’s comments again, I just loved his opinionated remarks. He was so knowledgable, I used to wake up to him most mornings, it was either a comment on something I’d written or an e-mail. What a character.

  10. Almost without doubt the first time I’ve seen the words “Immingham” and “attractive” in the same sentence without the word “not” also in there somewhere!

    • It isn’t so bad –
      “Immingham celebrated its golden year thanks to a top award in the Britain in Bloom awards. The gold medal capped a successful year in which the town’s In Bloom group secured a successive gold award in The East Midlands in Bloom competition.”

  11. So poignant seeing Brian at his curmudgeonly best. A good day out, too.

  12. I like ferries, maybe for the same reason you do, Andrew. They mean I am going somewhere. My favorite is up the Inland Passage from Seattle to Alaska. The locals (i.e. Alaskans) used to bring tents and camp out on the deck. There’s lodging for you! And I am pretty sure that no one cares if you bring your own booze. Once I brought a sleeping bag and my mattress pad and slept out in the common seating area, definitely more comfortable than the chairs. 🙂 –Curt

  13. I see I’ve Liked this before but I don’t remember. We’ve had a few overnight ferries, it makes a journey feel like a bit of an adventure. Only once (going to Denmark) did we hit a storm. The four of us were almost the only people to make it to breakfast and I was flung off my seat across the dining room followed by several plates!

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