We boarded at the Port of Hull for one of the themed mini cruises, this one was in association with Hull Comedy Festival. Two nights of comedy entertainment. It was a lot better than if it were just a house band on each night as I can imagine this could get a bit boring. The first night was really busy in both the main showroom and the “Hullarious Comedy Club” based in one of the cinema screens. There were some familiar faces amongst the comedians as a lot of them have appeared at the old comedy night at Cafe INDIE in Scunthorpe.
The Ruby Red performers as seen on Britain’s got Talent were first to the main stage, with their comedy dance act. These ladies seemed to entertain people and everyone was enjoying the show. With their various outfit changes and cheeky moves had people clapping along and laughing.
The Hullarious Comedy Club was based in the 60 seater cinema. We stood at the back as it was a full house to watch Amy Gledhill & James Meehan.
Amy used a bit of naughtiness in her performance to get the laughs with boyfriend and dating stories and discussing the Hull accent, reciting the art exhibition, Toad slogans from around Hull (that was before they did a moth for Amy). Say Toad in a Hull accent and you will probably get that one.
James Meehan was a less enthusiastic character than Amy, so a different style and approach to comedy, he has written for BBC3, Sky Arts channel & BBC radio, both sets seemed to go by quickly but flowed well. We missed some of the other comedians in here because it was just a bit too compact and hot in the cinema room, which wasn’t pleasant with the boat swaying about so we went back to the main stage.
Second on the main stage was Jack Gleadow. I’ve seen Jack a few times in Scunthorpe performing but he seemed to have adapted his set for the ferry audience, with more laughs reliant on audience members being dragged up. I do prefer his more vocal sets rather than this style but it worked for the atmosphere and venue to get people involved.
Jack’s a funny guy, with his witty comebacks and the ability to dig himself out of a hard situation with audience members in a comical way.
The morning of the second day you are woken by the tannoy in 3 languages to inform you that breakfast is being served and what time you will be arriving in Europort. The breakfast was OK, nothing special and not worth the price. It is buffet but I wish I hadn’t bothered paying that extra. Especially with the sea being so choppy, eating that early wasn’t appealing so it went to waste really.
You are dropped off for your day in your chosen city, Rotterdam or Amsterdam via a tour bus from outside Europort, which takes around 45 min to Rotterdam or 90 mins to Amsterdam. We chose Amsterdam and walked around the city and had a look at the various things it had to offer before catching one of the buses back to the port at half 4.
All aboard again, which was relatively painless, we just had to obtain new boarding passes and go through security to get back on.
Alan Hudson was the main comedy act for the second night. The main showroom wasn’t as busy as the previous night, as I’m guessing some people probably stayed over in one of the cities for an extra night. He combined comedy with magic and it worked well. Some tricks were quite impressive, even to the older passengers.
Discount Comedy was the last act of the second night, I’m not too sure about these but it was a tough gig as this night was even rougher at sea. So with the back curtains swaying and the ship tilting side to side to be stood up on the stage must have been quite difficult. It was for me and I didn’t move from my seat. They used audience suggestions as topics to create comedy on the spot scenarios.
Some man behind us really wanted them to talk about worms with teeth and persistently repeated this for every suggestion. All I can say is he must have been really passionate about that subject. Also i’d advise DO NOT google image search worms with teeth those images were disturbing so I drew my own to illustrate to save you the nightmares.
The band for the weekend, I was really looking forward to as I have followed them for a while online and really like their music but never had the opportunity to get to one of their gigs. It is a shame as people on ferries want to hear covers and you can tell this band really isn’t into covers as they didn’t know many. I’d assume they were made to play them and I’d liked to have heard more of their own material but I did get to hear “Dog Bite” and “Body Confidence”, just a shame they weren’t able to add more originals to their set because musically and vocally they are great.
Each night they held a disco until the early hours where the comedians all interacted with the public and had a nice little dance. There were a few dance offs in between acts, some were pretty funny. Especially with Hull comedians Jed Salisbury and Gary Jennison taking people on with their moves. Both amazingly friendly guys who will chat to anyone and make you feel welcome.
All in all it was very well organised and the program ran smoothly and we were all well informed of what was happening, when. The organisers, comedians and sound engineers all did a fantastic job.
Would I go on a themed mini cruise again? I’m going to say, no purely for the fact a lot of the people I spoke to on the boat weren’t even aware it was a comedy mini cruise and this was quite annoying due to the fact the people who had booked and paid the price especially for the Comedy Mini cruise got the same as the people who paid a lot less and didn’t specifically book the comedy mini cruise and some of those people who weren’t aware just weren’t there for comedy but to get drunk and be disruptive to the entertainers.
In some cases a bit of audience heckling and shouting can add to the comedy value but in others it can be quite disrespectful to them and the people who have paid more money than them to enjoy the comedy. I’d say yes, if P&O offered me it for the same price as the people not booking the “theme cruise”. I think P&O were unfair on this because they perhaps should have had a comedy mini cruise only area, where you had to have bought a valid ticket to that themed cruise to enter the comedy club etc or perhaps offer those who booked the mini cruise more, like free meals.
Eating onboard was not the best experience, the first night we found out that it was £21 each for the evening meal at a standard buffet style restaurant, (which I didn’t hear great things about), a little like the breakfast so we avoided that and went to Starbucks on board for a £5 “Gourmet” hotdog. I can’t say there was anything special about it but you can stick anything in a brioche bun these days and call it gourmet. (Why not try it, you can charge more 😉
Most prices on the boat were reasonable apart from the Kitchen menu so we mostly lived of crisps and hot dogs.
Drinks were £13 for 4 bottles of beer and cocktails at £6, which wasn’t bad at all. I’d expected to pay about that.
There are more mini cruises coming up and I’d recommend them as it’s a lot more entertaining than just one band at night. It gives you much more variety on board and a good atmosphere. I just don’t believe people should be charged more for it.