P&O’s Ventura Vikings have a ball

//P&O’s Ventura Vikings have a ball

Ventura Vikings.jpgWhile the world’s top rugby union teams fight their way to the World Cup finals in New Zealand – or in most cases pack their bags to fly home – P&O Cruises’ own rugby team, the Ventura Vikings, is preparing to play its fourth season in the Caribbean.
The Vikings rugby team was established in 2008 by Ventura’s youth director, 33-year-old Mark Price after he decided to do something about missing his rugby playing days at home.
The first season saw Mark taking a bag of old rugby shirts and boots sourced from his local rugby club, Tynedale in Northumberland, out to the Caribbean. His first major challenge was to find 15 fellow crew members prepared to give up football played with a round ball and take up rugby.
Travelling on the coach to their first competitive match at the Barbados Rugby Club ground at Garrison Savannah, Mark was still explaining the rules.
Support for Ventura’s rugby team increased over the following three seasons, with players now consisting of crew and officers from all areas of the ship. Success has been mixed but with just five wins over the past three seasons, the team members are not disheartened.
Mark, whose job involves overseeing the day-to-day running of all the children’s facilities on board says: “We have made a lot of friends in Barbados and the game is bringing the crew together, which is fantastic. Everyone involved has really enjoyed the experience and while not every result went our way, we go from strength to strength with every match.
“Last season we only just lost against Barbados’s national team so we are really looking forward to getting back out to the Caribbean this winter and giving it another shot.”
Support for the team continues to grow, with banners displayed around the capital, Bridgetown, announcing the arrival of the “mighty Ventura Vikings all the way from the UK” every time the ship arrives in port.
The Vikings’ fourth season starts in November and runs until March 2012, while Ventura is in the Caribbean. Rugby matches are played on the ship’s turnaround days in Barbados.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:00+00:00 7 October 2011|Cruise Entertainment|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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