I felt compelled to write something warning travellers of this ferry crossing because of the nightmare journey we experienced!
We travelled with Grandi Navi Veloci, an Italian ferry company on the Majestic ship headed for Genoa which stops off in Barcelona, our destination.
We arrived three hours ahead of the departure time as instructed, boarded an hour before departure....and we waited. And we waited.
As the departure time of 7pm went past we looked out of the window to see a huge queue of cars and trucks still waiting to get on board. So we decided to get a much needed drink from the snack bar - the only amenity open on the entire ship. The staff were incredibly rude and patronising. Between myself and my three friends, we can speak four languages competently enough to order drinks and yet these barmen were impossible to communicate with. As it got to 9pm we went to reception to ask what was happening as there had been no announcement and received an indignant smirk, apparently it was funny that we had a departure time even written on our ticket. But we shouldn't worry as the ship would go faster to make up for the time lost. I believe the departure was so late because the Moroccan authorities were being very very thorough, but still there were no announcements, no apologies from anyone. And as foot passengers who had arrived THREE hours early, we were very bored and annoyed.
So we went for some dinner, at the cafeteria which is open for just two hours or so. The food was abysmal. The only thing we could bring ourselves to buy was the cheesy pasta...at €4.50 which we thought was quite reasonable even if it was just for macaroni cheese. It was €7.20 for a disgusting looking slice of turkey and about €9 to buy one slice of boring looking lasagne. The staff here were all having a great laugh though, singing songs across the till to each other whilst we waited for them to give us our change.
I will say that our cabin was very good, as you should hope when you're paying just over €80 pp for it. The bathroom was nice and the beds were comfy.
The next day we got up as late as possible to avoid spending any more time than we had to in the ferry. We had a look at the cafeteria at lunch time and were shocked to find that the cheapest dish was now €6 a plate and it looked very unappetising. We decided to have something from the snack bar upstairs. It took us 20 minutes to get ourselves one of their 'snack menus' which cost €8.60. An extortionate amount of money when, after much confusion, we received a lukewarm and disgusting panini with a can of fanta as well as a day old doughnut which they kindly put NEXT to the grill for us to 'heat' them up. Once we'd managed to get the doughnuts actually under the grill, we had to personally go and tell the barman to take them out so they wouldn't burn. Crunchy doughnuts with a solid frozen custard middle....delicious!
That afternoon we decided to go to reception again and check on the ships progress....new arrival time in Barcelona; 1am. We were four young girls by ourselves, what were we supposed to do at 1am in a port!? The staff laughed at us and asked us 'well what were you going to do at 9pm?'. So rude.
We demanded to see the manager which took twenty minutes of uncomfortable discussion before they finally said we would have to wait five minutes....ten minutes later we were shown into a room right next door to reception! The manager was more understanding than any of the other staff and promised to escort us off the ferry and to the agency where he would organise a refund for us. Great. We tried to tell him that his staff were rude and unprofessional and he just shrugged and said 'I can't do anything'. In the meantime, other members of staff were walking into his office or peering round the corner whilst we were talking, incredibly intimidating and unprofessional!
We had another expensive and boring dinner at the cafeteria (€6.40 for a plate of pasta in tomato sauce). We treated ourselves to a bread roll each which was advertised to cost 30c. When we got to the till we were charged €1 for this tiny roll. Only when we asked about this charge were we told that actually you get
three pieces of bread for a euro....so they still overcharge you 10c!
Entertainment that evening was a man behind a keyboard playing the demos and occasionally a trumpet, whilst a young woman sang. It was quite nice in the grand scheme of boredom on this ship but unfortunately it was a bit too loud.
Rather surprisingly they did make an announcement to let passengers know that we would arrive in Barcelona in half an hour. We left our cabin and went to reception where the manager told us to head downstairs and ask for a certain man, he would deal with our problem. We met this man who was the GNV port manager and he had no idea who we were or what our problem was, nor was he interested. A heated discussion ensued and we were treated with no respect, called 'girls' over the radio and treated like children. We heard the manager utterly deny having promised us a refund so we insisted he come down and talk to us face to face. He came down for about 3 minutes to say he had no idea what we were talking about and then REFUSED to give us his name, which to my knowledge is illegal, especially for someone who is responsible for an entire passenger ship!
So he ran away and we were left in an impossible situation at 1.30am in the port in Barcelona.
I am currently trying to write to the company to complain and get some sort of compensation.
I was really looking forward to this journey by boat because it would be such a nice alternative to flying. Sadly, the 32 odd hours we ended up spending on that boat were laughably terrible.
If you do take this crossing then buy food and drink supplies before you board (bottled water is virtually impossible to buy after 11pm) and bring a lot of books, then lock the cabin door for the rest of the journey!
GNV....what a joke.