As you may have seen on my Instagram feed we have recently been to Bruges. I have been sent some questions about the trip so thought I would share our thoughts in a short blog post. We have travelled to Bruges by P&O several times before and really like to use the ferry to travel. It adds two days to the holiday and I think there is something nostalgic about the sea and the gentle rocking of the boat. As children we spent several weeks each summer in Spain, traveling by car and ferry, and I guess this trip always reminds me of those days. The ferry isn’t the quickest – it is an overnight journey – but if your looking for a slow relaxing trip this is the one.
Trips can be booked online http://www.poferries.com or you can call to make the arrangements. It is possible to look at several dates to work out which crossing works best for you and your budget.
As we were approaching King George dock (HU9 5PR) we received a text message from P&O to let us know that our sailing was on time and that they were looking forward to welcoming us on board. We travelled as foot passengers and left the car in Hull. It costs eight pounds per twenty four hours to park and you can pay on your card or cash. There was plenty of parking space when we arrived and also when we came back. We have never had a problem getting into the car park, the spaces are a good size and the car has been safe. It was filthy when we got back but I guess that is what happens when you park at the dock.
Once we had parked up you go into the check in area. Your given your boarding passes and tickets and passport checked. You then go into the security check area, they choose bags at random (always my husband) to check. You are not allowed to take any alcohol on board or sharp objects. There is then an escalator up to the waiting area with tables and chairs. There are a couple of vending machines but no shops, I think we got on the boat at four or half past so make sure you have something to do. We did plan on arriving a little later in the hope we would be able to go straight onto the boat but we had to wait a little while. You can see the boat out of the window!!
Once it was time to board there was a final check of our passports and then all that is left to do is walk onto the boat. The boat has three floors that are accessible to us – and the car deck. We entered on the red deck and walked through the show bar and the coffee shop then the duty free shop. This takes you to the centre of the boat and the reception area. There are plenty of staff welcoming you and making sure you go in the right direction. You collect the key to your room.
The above picture was our room for the night, a cozy four bedded room. There are several options, outside, club class – with mini bar – but we were absolutely fine in this room. It is small so we made sure that we each had an overnight bag just for the crossing and that our suitcases could stay in the corner of the room. The standard rooms are basic but perfectly adequate. They have two plug sockets, one needs the adapter. Each bed has a reading lamp. There are towels provided, a hand and bath towel each and the shower is good. The room was clean and fresh. There is the option of checking in your suitcases and getting them back once you arrive but it was fine to keep them with us. The beds are cozy and we all slept well. We didn’t hear any other guests once we were in the room and the crossing was calm. There is a thermostat on the ceiling and you can alter the temperature of the room. It is also possible to get bed guards for the bunks which we did, just ask at reception and they will bring them to the room.
There are restaurants onboard and it is cheaper to prebook. There is a good selection of food. We choose to have lunch in Hull and then just a sandwich for dinner. We have had breakfast on the boat and the food was good value. It is sometimes possible to get an offer on the food when you book so make sure to check out the offer section of the website. The dinner options are either an all you can eat buffet or a a la carte restaurant.
There is a soft play and a quiet room on the green deck and a wifi area on the blue deck – this is additional. We had 4G signal for a couple of hours and then it was quite nice to be in the sea with no connection. The boat has two bars, one on the red deck, the show bar which has bingo, a quiz and a live band and then the blue deck has a piano player in the sunset lounge.
We enjoyed sitting in the piano bar with a glass of wine or two watching the sun set. It was absolutely stunning to see the sun set.
The announcements began at about 7am to let us know that the restaurant was open for breakfast. I sat outside and enjoyed a cup of coffee in anticipation of our adventures in Bruges. Once the boat arrives security and disembarkation runs smoothly. We go through passport control and out to the waiting coach that takes us on to Bruges.
We love traveling by boat and I am sure we will be back – I have linked the two blog posts below about what we got up to during our visit.