Northants Nutters at Sea (2024) – 30th June (Day 2)

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Morning all! Here we are, as part of the Northants Nutters group! It’s Day 2 – Sunday – and a sea day aboard the good ship, Ventura. Our next stop? Santander, tomorrow👍😀. Today, for many, the highlight of the day will be the televised soccer match between England and Slovakia (more about that later!) – or should that read lowlight? 🤔

3,078 Passenger Capacity, 1,205 Crew and 8 Nutters!

Northants Nutters – Previous Tour Dates (Click here)

7.05am: We both slept well (a good sign for our first night on board!)

8.57am: Being a Sunday, I thought it would be quiet in the Restaurant at this time. Err, no! It was packed, and with a promised ’45 minute wait’ for a table for two, we joined a larger table with a view out to sea. A shame then that it was grey and raining! 😮☔

After breakfast, we took a gentle stroll on deck. Fortunately, the rain had ceased, but it was blowing a gale. Ann managed to find a sheltered spot to soak up a few rays, whilst I found a sheltered spot for the morning aerobics class. No, I’d not had an epiphany, I was casually observing the daily class near the Atrium, whilst catching up with my reading! 👍

As I sat soaking up my pages, the Atrium became busier and busier – in fact, I’d go as far as to say, based on the sheer number of people around generally, this is the busiest Cruise I’ve ever been on. Even if the Ventura WASN’T full (it probably was!), it certainly felt it! Hardly a spare seat anywhere inside! 😟

Quiz time!

12.15pm: One thing, we, the Nutters have a great track record in – is Quizzes. So, with the might of the WHOLE Northants Nutters complement combining their brain cells, we felt lucky today! Picture the scene: The Exchange Bar, packed wall-to-wall, with just about enough seats to go around. The whole Bar was split into two teams – ‘Jasmine’ and ‘Lydia’ teams were formed and named after the Team Captains, where today was just the first round of three! Each team – probably with about 50 people in each – was asked a question and if they got it correct (after consulting their half of the Bar) points were awarded. If wrong, the question was offered to the other side. To make it more interesting (read ‘confusing’) before the questions were asked, the opposing team could choose whether the question was going to be ‘hard, ‘medium’ or ‘easy’. Do try and keep up! 😵‍💫

Strangely, on every occasion, the ‘hard’ category was chosen! And those questions certainly lived up to their name!!! 😵. “What famous nursery rhyme did Edison use during his experiments?”, “What’s the currency of Brazil?” and “Which Shakespearean play is The Lion King based on?” – just 3 of the 20… and the others were similarly challenging. 🫨. At this point, most of our half of the Bar had given up and returned to their drinks!

It was a tough one. In the end, our ‘team’ were runners-up (that’s the ‘polite version’ of course, as there were only TWO teams) so it wasn’t not a great result. Scores at the end of Round 1: Lydia – 380, Jasmine – 250. Round 2 is on Tuesday.

After the Quiz, we revised our plans for tonight and decided that we WOULDN’T dress up. Instead, we’re going to watch the football in its entirety and then head for the Buffet for a quick bite, followed by the Comedian, Jason Stampe and then the Theatre to see ‘On the Horizon’.

Most of us decided to grab a quick lunch, but it seemed the rest of the ship had the same idea, and the queues put a few of us off the idea. We therefore all went our separate ways, agreeing to meet up for the Bingo at 4.15pm.


Geoff, Rhonda, Ann and I stuck within and queued, heading for a quick bite in the Saffron restaurant. We politely stood in-line for around 15 minutes. We were then given a pager, and after another 15 minutes, we were being shown to our table. We’re only on day 2 and I don’t recall EVER having to queue so much, and so often, on any other cruise we’ve been on – and it was beginning to become irritating.

1.40pm: We finally got a table in a very busy restaurant. The food may have been plain and simple, but given the wait-time, it went down a treat!

2.30pm: Time for a quick ‘feet up’ before heading for the Bingo.

The Bingo

Off to the Havana Lounge! We arrived early – and good job too, as it was already busy, but we located the rest of the Nutters and were soon settling down with dabbers in hand!

4.15pm: Going to the Bingo this afternoon was more strategic than financial! Nicki’s suggestion was that we should be part of the Bingo because it was in the same room as the football match that began straight after. Being there already, meant we wouldn’t have to fight for a seat! Genius! 👍👍. There was also the added incentive of this being ‘Bigga Bingo’ with its ‘Mega Jackpot’ offering prizes to match, where the top prize was a whopping £5000. For some of us Nutters, it wasn’t our natural habitat, but it was impossible not to get caught up with the enthusiasm of many of the others there. Well, we weren’t there for the money, were we? Honest!!! 😀 – which was just as well really, as we didn’t win a bean. Oh well, at least we’ve got prime seats for the soccer! 😀

The Football

5.00pm: It’s no secret that England’s performance this time in the Euros has been lack-lustre. Mind you, as a non-expert in these things, so has everyone other team! The England super-fans, showing incredibly short memories have the Coach, Gareth Southgate, once the hero of English Soccer Coaches, now portrayed as the Devil Incarnate, even though England sit at the top of their Group. Curious! 🤔. Anyway, as a somewhat part-time fan of the national game, we kept our space and were in prime position for the Nutters to see it on the big screen. Now all we needed was a win!

What a nail-biting match! 🫨. I don’t think anyone could have predicted who would score first, plus how the final score would play out! It was one of the most stressful soccer matches I’ve ever seen in my life (and I used to support Crystal Palace, back in the 70s). The second half, even more so – and extra time, almost unwatchable for this part-time punter! 👍. England got there in the end, but was it skill or luck or fate? Maybe it doesn’t matter! 🤔. The Havana Lounge erupted as the final whistle blew, where some extra excitement was seen next to us where an over-enthusiastic fan, in his excitement, catapulted his pint all over the group in front (who were all dressed up in their finery!). Good job we won, ehh?! 👍👍

Buffet Time

8.05pm: After a quick refresh back in our rooms, we all met up in the Buffet on Deck 15 for a nibble and an opportunity to calm our nerves after the soccer. The food here has been better than we remember from the Buffet and tonight was no exception. My Pork Curry and Ann’s Italian Meatballs was delicious, and there was a good range of Desserts and Cheese too! I’ve unkindly referred to the Buffet onboard cruise ships as ‘the troughery’ – but this was very different. Yummy! 😋

Jason Stampe – Comedian

9.15pm: By the time we arrived back in the Havana Lounge, word had obviously got around and the place was, once again, pretty much at capacity. We grabbed the last table in the corner, where we unfortunately couldn’t see the stage. However, they had TV monitors positioned around the perimeter, giving us the perfect view of tonight’s comedian: Jason Stampe. None of us had heard of Jason, but the capacity crowd gave us hope that we were in for a good time.

Err, we WEREN’T!

Jason came across as a bit of a ‘cor blimey geezer’ type of guy as he reflected on parenthood and getting married (amongst many other domestic-based topics). Although his material was vaguely amusing, he certainly wasn’t laugh out loud (or, based on the audience reaction, laugh out at ANY volume!) 😟. He just didn’t click with the majority of the audience, although there was occasionally, some polite laughter. Luckily, he was only on for around 30 minutes, but it felt longer! A real shame, as I’m sure in the past, he’s delivered to more appreciative audiences than us tonight.

Phew! What days! I think the soccer match exhausted most of us. Whilst Paul & Sue flew the flag for the Nutters, the rest of us decided to skip the late-night quiz and the Theatre and head for bed.

10.25pm: That’s it from us today. Tomorrow we dock in Santander, where the weather forecast suggests a whopping 19 degrees with light showers. See you then! Night-night! 💤😴💤😴

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