This post is written from my own experience and perspective and I am in no way affiliated with P&O minicruises or P&O Ferries. All views and opinions are my own.
The P&O Mini-Cruise to Amsterdam On Board The Pride Of Hull Ferry
Amsterdam is renowned for being a popular city break destination for many Brits. Amongst the pretty architecture, vast parks and boutique-style coffee houses, there is plenty of history and cultural experiences to be had in Amsterdam. Plenty of it being quite eye opening in certain areas too! [insert Red Light District jokes here!]
When booking to go to Amsterdam from the UK, by far the most affordable way to do this is via P&O Ferries Mini-Cruise 2 & 3 night breaks. In this post, I am going to share with you everything you need to know about travelling to Amsterdam in this way, from a passenger's perspective. This post is Ep 2 in my '24 Hours In...' Series.
Arriving at King George Dock, Hull & Check-in.
For me who is an avid flier, travelling somewhere by sea is something I had not done before as an adult. As I morphe into a bit of a control freak when travelling anywhere, remebering our passports was something that I had almost forgotten before leaving the house. Don't know why, I suppose I associate passports with flying. If you forget your passport, you aint going nowhere!
Arriving at the dock is pretty straightforward. We arrived at 6:30pm and last check-in on a Friday evening is at 7pm. Perfect timing for those who work on a Friday and still want to get away somewhere after work. There is a multistorey carpark to leave your car in if you choose to go as a foot passenger, which most people who plan to cruise there and back opt to do. The carpark is £8 per 24 hours, so £16 for the duration of the trip.
The carpark is joined onto the main reception and check-in and here is where you show your passports, and get allocated your cabin. We opted for the Club Cabin which was a little bit of an upgrade but still really affordable. The cheapest cabins onboard are the inside cabins for two and start at £40pp (absolute BARG!).
All your return tickets and transfer tickets are issued here. Have your sensible head on for a minute and put them somewhere safe before you start your trip properly - if you havent got them once you arrive in Rotterdam - you'll be staying on the boat, or worse you'll be dropped off in Rotterdam port without a way to get home without paying again.
The whole check-in process is really easy. You can board the ferry from 4pm I believe, and the sailing starts at 8:30pm. You should expect to arrive into Rotterdam Europort at 8am the next morning, we travelled over a weekend and the sailing and docking times vary during the week.
What To Expect on Board the Pride Of Hull Ferry.
I was suprised at the size of the ferry. It is pretty huge! The Pride of Hull has 12 decks in total. The cabins are over three decks, deck 8, 9 and 10 (from memory). The club cabins are on deck 9.
I was really pleasantly suprised to see that there was quite alot to do on board. There are numerous bars including an Irish Bar, Piano Bar (top deck 12) and the Show Bar which is where all the entertainment is. There are also two restaurants - a buffett style restaurant and a table service Al-la Carte restaurant. We ate in the Buffett restaurant and the food was great. There is plenty of choice including vegetarian options and unlimited soft drinks are in with the £22.50 you pay to eat in there. It reminded me of a typical all-inclusive style cuisine (if you know, you know!), but it was more than I had expected. The service in the restaurant is also very good, and we didn't wait at all to be seated. We ate quite late, it was around 8:15pm when we were seated. I am making assumptions here, but I imagine that those who had boarded earlier may have already been in and gone by the time we got there. If your stomach can hack it - my advice would be to eat in here later when it's quiet. The food was all still really fresh. I had a vegetarian curry with all the trimmings, and my husband had a full gammon and beef roast dinner.
There is a casino onboard (which is basically an area off the show bar that has some slot machines), plenty of duty free shopping areas and a coffee shop serving starbucks coffee, cakes and pizzas. Deck 11 is an outside area which is partly undercover with a bar and access to the outside deck. This area would be lovely in the height of the summer, but it was freezing in the first week of February! You can access this deck via the Piano Bar on deck 12, there is no direct access to it from the main staircases or lifts.
The lifts on board are a god send, especially for those who have limited mobility as the staircases are pretty steep - there are plenty of them too!
The ferry is pretty easy to navigate once you've gotten your bearings, but at first it can all seem a little overwhelming and the fear of getting lost is real. Use the maps - there is a map dispalyed on the wall on every deck, these will help you find where you need to be easily.
Is this Ferry the 'Booze Cruise?'
Honestly? I would say yes. But... do not be put off by this, please. Yes there were Hen Do's, Stag Do's and Birthday parties onboard, but - there are plenty of places to avoid seeing the drunken antics that these parties get up to - especially if you are travelling with children. But if you re apeople watcher like me - you will most definitely be entertained!
The Friday night was the most busy, but as P&O offer both two and three night breaks, sailing back on the Saturday night was alot quieter. Assuming people were staying in Amsterdam or Rotterdam and sailing back on the Sunday night, Saturday night on the ferry was alot less busy and a little more refined. There was also alot more children onboard too.
I would definitely recommend using the P&O ferry for a celebration though - from £40pp for two nights onboard and a day in Amsterdam including return transfers - it's an absolute STEAL!
What Are the Cabins Like?
Our cabin was an upgrade to Club Cabin. We prefer a little bit of luxury SO I can only comment on the cabin we stayed in.
In the club cabin, you get small luxuries like a mini-bar which is stocked up daily, a double bed which was plenty big enough for two, dressing-gowns and slippers, a small seating area and a TV. We also had an outside view, which was nice when we had docked, but as the ship sails over night you can’t really see much in the dark!
In the bathroom there is a shower, sink and toilet and shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion is provided by Clarins, which felt a little more luxe than your average too. If your budget allows, I would recommend upgrading if you can, but I dont think its worth paying through the nose for for such a small time onboard.
When you book online, there are a few options to upgrade - the most popular is to upgrade from standard to premium outside view. I would probably recommend this upgrade to anyone wanting to save the pennies but still have a window in the room. I think I would get cabin fever with no window!
On the whole, P&O ferries mini-cruises are the perfect way to get an affordable, low cost minibreak to Holland or Belgium. I would highly recommend P&O to anyone as a way to see this little part of the world. There are various mini-cruises you can take, they are all listed on their website. I'm sure I will being cruising with P&O again soon!
Keep an eye out on my Amsterdam blog post coming really soon! Sign up below to my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with all things Lea Bella Blogs