I’ve been on the Pride of Bilbao more times in the last fifteen years than is good for one human being. It runs from Portsmouth to the north coast of Spain day in day out all year round. There are 11 decks, 5 restaurants, 4 bars, 2 cinemas and a swimming pool. There is cabaret, a casino and bingo.
All of this may seem like reasonable entertainment, but it’s all designed to relieve a certainslice of the population of their hard earned cash.
The majority of the passengers are split between two types –
The I’m on my way to Spain with my very expensive camper or caravan type. I have a ridiculously orange suntan, a fat wallet (from importing tupperware from China) and ‘we’ go to Malaga twice a year.
The I’m on this boat for the next 36 hours, spending 4 hours in Spain and getting straight back on to spend another 30 hours on the boat type. These are the mysterious breed of people for whom the boat itself is the attraction. The afore-mentioned entertainment is the key. Arriving by the coachload from all over Britain to spend 4 days trapped on a floating prison. They drink, they eat, they drink some more, they laugh, they shout ‘house’ and dance. They spend tons of cash then squeeze back on the coach, burp, fall asleep and go home. Brilliant.
The first few journeys I made seemed like fun but now that I know every rusty rivet on the deck, dry baguette on the menu and one-liner from Barry the entertainments manager, it’s all a bit of a trial. Every now and then when there’s a right good storm blowing across the Bay of Biscay, things get a little bit lumpy. Then it’s just the staff and a few lucky people who don’t get sea sick up and about. I quite like that bit…
Luckily, this time, I have a laptop, a ‘do not disturb’ sign and series 3 of Battlestar Galactica to get through…
I didn’t surf today. See you in a few days.