REVIEW: Dabbers away for an outrageous Bonkers Bingo minicruise to Rotterdam

As I found myself sailing the North Sea on the world's first ever Bonkers Bingo minicruise - on which raunchiness rules and a thick skin is essential - it was clear that this was going to be an experience unlike any other.

Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 6:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 6:55 am
Bingo caller Yzzy Pearce-Higham

A far cry away from a traditional bingo hall, where the bingo lingo has long since been doused with a decent dose of political correctness, Mecca's Bonkers Bingo minicruise is aimed at a younger audience encouraged to 'let their hair down as soon as they leave the port'.

Feeling more like a night in a holiday resort in Magaluf, as we begin the 12-hour sea voyage from Hull to Rotterdam groups of people of all ages descend on the main hall, drinks and dabbers in hand, ready for a night of bingo naughtiness.

After the excellent Funktion finish their set of pop covers, no-nonsense bingo caller, Yzzy Pearce-Higham, takes to the stage and makes it clear from the offset that the main event is not something for the easily-offended.

Giant bingo balls fall during the Bonkers Bingo minicruise

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With prizes ranging from a Bonkers Bingo T-shirt to an inflatable unicorn to the occasional cash giveaway, we settle in for three rounds of Bonkers Bingo.

Players are encouraged to scream and shout along to the modern bingo calls which include 'Little Mix' for the number six; and Netflix and Chill for the number 69, at which point a siren goes off, and proceedings descend into double-entendres and even more silliness.

And should you be daring enough to try and make a false claim, expect to be called out by Yzzy and the rest of the bingo hall.

Audience members stopping bingo to strip, dance-offs, players getting up-close-and-personal with a cardboard cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow and rows and rows of people doing the Oops Upside Your Head dance were just a few of the evening's most memorable moments.

Captain Jack is along for the ride

And while Bonkers Bingo is certainly not for the faint-hearted, I found it to be a lot of fun and the audience certainly seemed to be having an absolutely brilliant time.

Bingo antics aside, with several bars, restaurants, a casino, shops, a cinema and a show lounge spread across her 12 decks, The Pride of Rotterdam really is a fantastic way to travel.

Instead of the long, protracted - and let's face it - dehumanising process of going through an airport to travel abroad, when you travel on a ferry it's just two checks of the passport, a quick scan of the bag and you're free to go on board. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and was completely painless.

With a mini bar, fluffy robes, an en suite and flat screen television you could easily mistake the Club cabins for rooms in a fancy hotel.

Fun and games

We had a brilliant night's sleep, and there's something quite magical about waking up in a new country.

By 9am we were in Rotterdam, and a day of exploring Amsterdam was just a 90-minute coach journey away. The coach transfer is included within the price of the minicruise.

With so much to see and do, narrowing down the places you want to visit is the trickiest part of spending a day in Amsterdam.

Our 10-hour excursion revolved around food, drink and a bit of sightseeing. We stopped at the Pelican Rouge Coffee in Westerstraat for truly excellent coffee, before hopping on the free ferry from the city's Central station to the NDSM wharf.

An inflatable unicorn was among the prizes on offer

There, we went for lunch at Pllek, a restaurant located in a massive shipping container which offers a beautiful, panoramic view of the IJ river.

The food was excellent, with a decent selection of vegetarian dishes, and the restaurant also boasted a wide selection of craft beers from around the world.

By the evening, we were back on board the Pride of Rotterdam where the second night of Bonkers Bingo soon got underway.

I expected a more sedate atmosphere on the way back, after a day of people indulging themselves in Dutch capital - but if anything, the raucous fun was ramped up a notch on the way back.

The Pride of Rotterdam arrived back at Hull at 8am the following morning, and marked the end of an extremely fun weekend.

A minicruise to Amsterdam, sandwiched inbetween two nights of Bonkers Bingo is an experience I'll truly never forget.

Dance-offs are just one of the challenges players are asked to take part in to be in the running to win a bingo prize

I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a weekend away with a difference.

The two-day trip costs from £89 per person, and click here for more information.

The giant bingo balls make another appearance
Dance-offs are just one of the challenges players are asked to take part in to be in the running to win a bingo prize
Giant bingo balls fall during the Bonkers Bingo minicruise
Captain Jack is along for the ride
Fun and games
An inflatable unicorn was among the prizes on offer
Dance-offs are just one of the challenges players are asked to take part in to be in the running to win a bingo prize
The giant bingo balls make another appearance
Dance-offs are just one of the challenges players are asked to take part in to be in the running to win a bingo prize