Without the kids (#WTK)18th December 2016

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. Find a babysitter, pull up the anchor, and sail away. Recently this is just what me and Charlie did and for the first time in 18 months we took some time together without the kids (#WTK) and travelled with P&O Cruises to Bruges.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: What is it?

A two night, full board, cruise to Zebrugge with P&O Cruises with optional trips to the beautiful medieval city of Bruges for the Christmas Markets and abundant foodie treats.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Who is it for?

The cruise is open to all the family but for us and many others on board it was a chance to get away for a couple of days and enjoy some time together Without The Kids (#WTK). Also, there were quite a few groups of friends enjoying a Christmas trip away together and this looked like a great idea.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Time in Bruges

We opted for a simple, yet quite expensive, Bruges at your own pace tour. This was essentially a coach trip from the boat to the centre of Bruges. While we could have made our own way to Bruges this tour made it simple and that was what this trip was all about. It also left the boat around 11am which allowed us to enjoy a rare lie in and leisurely breakfast.

Bruges is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. It has a wonderful collection of wooden and stone buildings on cobbled streets with canals crisscrossing the town and surrounding it on all sides providing a protective moat over the many centuries it has existed.

Strolling arund Bruges was a bit like walking through an oil painting as you stroll along the colourful streets peering in the windows of artisan chocolate shops (of which it has many) and watching people enjoy a horse and carriage ride along the cobbled streets. For a more detailed description of our time in Bruges follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Bruges was a lovely place to visit and a real spot for foodies.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Location

Our P&O cruise left from Southampton on a Saturday afternoon and returned early Monday morning allowing me chance to have breakfast on board before heading straight off to work (and not using up any precious leave). Southampton can be easily reached by car, train and even air with Southampton airport only thirty minutes away. There are also a number of hotels in Southampton offering cruise and stay packages.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Food

Bruges was a wonderful foodie destination but our P&O cruise didn’t let us down either with an abundant serving of food at every meal and even snacks in between if you can fit them in. It is mass catering in most restaurants and areas (with 3000 people to feed) but it is done to a high standard and on a par with a four or five-star hotel. Our only small complaint is that the coffee served could be a lot better as it generally lacks flavour but otherwise the food is very good.

There is also a great selection of wine on board and we loved sitting in the glass house wine bar and tasting different wines from around the world and getting the chance to just sit and chat without being interrupted.

In addition to the main restaurants there are several more intimate restaurants serving great dishes to rival rosette and Michelin restaurants. We enjoyed the Epicurean on board the Ventura and the meal was excellent (see more on this meal below) but you do have to pay an additional fee to eat in this and some other venues.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: What did it cost?

The cost for the trip was around £600 plus drinks, spa and the day trip. When compared to flights, a hotel and meals this isn’t too bad and generally on par.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Downsides

While the P&O Ventura is classed as a larger cruise ship at times it felt very crowded with not many places to escape the crowds and the extra size when compared to the Aurora seemed to be just cabin rooms rather than functional spaces. That said it was only really a problem around meal times.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Overall

Overall the cruise delivered exactly what we needed with a relaxing break with great food, wine and a lovely day out to a fairytale European city and we would happily do this again. If it sounds good bookings for next year are already open. Additionally, we also recommend Bruges for a city break and it would be a great place to recharge after a hectic Christmas, if you are interested just follow some of the links below.

P&O Cruise to Bruges: Useful links

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