As this is the only means of getting a vehicle and 2 passengers from Barcelona to Mallorca and back, then you're going to have to accept the many shortcomings of this 'service'. I'm not really commenting on a vessel in particular because I can only assume that the same will apply to any of them however; I also believe that a complaint without a suggested solution, is just a whinge, so here's my solution. In a nutshell, I would suggest that the Transmediterranea team (management and staff) treat themselves to a sailing on one of Brittany Ferries crossings, say Bilbao - Portsmouth, perhaps then they'll get some idea on how to run a ferry service. Areas for improvement include the following:
Enabling passengers to download and print both the departure and return tickets, thus relieving the passengers the hassle of having to search for the Transmedditerania booking office (as there is no clear signage in Palma) to obtain the return boarding passes.
Having a website that tells you exactly where to find their terminals, particularly the one in Palma. If it wasn't for the fact that we took the initiative to look for it ourselves, long before the allotted 90 minutes before departure, then we would have been well on the back foot. This is because of the fact that once you have found the office, you are then informed that the actual ferry terminal is in a different place, a couple of miles away and even when they give you a diagram as to its location, the area is utterly devoid of any signs indicating where your ferry might be!
The personnel at the Barcelona port, for some inexplicable reason are insistent that the passengers within the vehicle cannot remain in the vehicle to board and must instead, make their way on foot to board. My wife followed this nonsensical direction, whereas it soon became obvious to me that a good many people (clearly localised) ignored this direction and remained in their vehicles to then board unimpeded. The hapless vehicle passengers who did follow this direction are then subjected to a mindlessly lax security check, where they're bags are x rayed before boarding. Surely, if they were going to bring anything contentious aboard the vessel, they would have left it in the vehicle which is allowed to board without scrutiny? Strangely, these rules did not apply for the return journey.
Boarding the ferry in Palma can only be described as being a disorganised free-for-all, with very few ferry personnel available to direct boarding traffic and those that are available just adding to the chaos; indiscriminately blowing whistles and waving their arms in random directions. And with this being a night crossing, the visibility at times for maneuvering a vehicle in the glare of numerous headlights, is extremely poor which just adds to the confusion and accentuates the lack of directing personnel.
On both the crossings, the vehicles are left on open decks and exposed to the elements, arriving at the destination caked in salt crust. Not a happy start to the day for a classic vehicle owner!
Because of the very late departure times of both sailings (2300 - 2355) there is little opportunity to take advantage of the ship's facilities, which is probably a good thing because they have only 1 member of staff manning the servery at the coffee bar, for a ship containing a few hundred passengers. It would seem that the vessel's owners regard queuing as being some form of recreation!
All in all then; I have little to recommend this 'service', all of which was incurred at the princely sum of 825 euros, some 100 Euros more for a 125 mile/ 7 hour crossing, than it costs for a return from Portsmouth - Bilbao! And, the miserly company then wants to charge you for wifi!
Reviewed by Mark who travelled with Trasmediterranea on Tenacia