After dropping off our key with our hosts, we considered taking a taxi to the ferry terminal. But we had scoped out the situation the night before and figured we knew where to go. Walking would be good exercise before our overnight boat ride.
We walked over toward a Baleària boat at Moll Barcelona. We noticed that it was not our ship’s name… and that the car gate was closing when we were approaching. But it was the only Baleària boat in sight, so we figured that we were on a different boat than scheduled and we could still board. Wrong on both accounts!
|Not our Baleària ferry|
So, we walked past two nearby Trasmediterranea boats, seemingly to the end of the ferry port. JT asked Trasmediterranea security where our “Moll Adossat – Terminal Port-Nou” departure was. These security workers pointed us in the right direction but said it would take 20 minutes to walk (in hindsight, it would have taken much more than 20 minutes to walk).
Time was getting short, so we figured that we needed a taxi. There was a parked taxi right there, but the driver was nowhere in sight. So we headed over to the road and waved down the first taxi we saw.
We realized that he was driving the wrong direction, but figured he could loop quickly back at the traffic circle. Well, this ended up being a traffic circle with lights throughout and we hit at least three reds. Finally, we headed down the street toward the direction we were pointed. A small sign pointed across a long and tall bridge toward “Port Nou”. It was now 10:31 and we were starting to wonder if we were going to make – or even find – our ‘Nápoles’ ferry.
|The taxi speeding over the long bridge towards Port Nou|
The taxi driver seemed out of his element but followed the signs (and JTs frantic pointing). After crossing the bridge, we arrived on a long narrow island that seemed to be manmade to expand the port. There were no vehicles on the road, which was very concerning, and it looked like an industrial port all around us. But eventually, near the end of the island, we finally saw a Baleària ferry boat!
Our taxi driver almost took the wrong exit of a traffic circle, but JT caught the mistake and he was able to correct in time. Finally, we saw a turnoff sign toward Port Nou! But we were stopped soon after by guards who told us we were in the wrong area for passengers and directed us back out to the main road. It seems that this guard may have radioed the ship that we were on our way.
|Close enough to see that this is our Baleària ferry boat – but how do we get to it?|
We headed down the main road for a while, seeing no signs but plenty of closed gates, shipping containers, and other cargo. Finally, as we were reaching the end of the road and long past the ferry, a Baleària car caught up with us, flashing its lights at our car.
|Our taxi reached the end of the road|
The taxi driver – who we are sure is never going to accept another ride to Port Nou – explained the situation again and was directed to follow. We headed back to one of the previously unopen gates.
There, we exited the taxi – rounding up to 15€ (~10€ fare plus ~3€ bag surcharges) – and got into the waiting Baleària car. There, we finally saw another passenger for the first time.
The car sped quickly toward the ferry around 10:40pm, pulling onto the back of the ‘Nápoles’ ferry and dropping us near a door at 10:41pm. It sped off and we were greeted by some on-board agents, who quickly guided us down a hall and to an elevator. We dropped the other passenger on a middle floor and headed to the top floor, arriving at our lounge at 10:46pm.
|Exiting the Baleària car after it sped onto the back of the ferry|
|The Baleària car dropped us in the automobile area of the ferry|
At 10:47pm, JT looked out the back of the ferry to see that the car bridge that we had just drove on was up and our ferry was pulling away from the dock. Despite the scheduled departure time being 11pm, the ferry had indeed departed already! There is no telling how close we were to missing our ferry – losing €141 and our Palma New Year’s Eve plans – but it seemed to be mere minutes!
Lesson learned: Always double-check where exactly a departure is from as well as the time you are required to board! Katie rechecked the Baleària website upon returning home, and found that she had (1) gotten the Moll Barcelona and the Moll Adossat terminals confused (Google Maps indicating that all Barcelona->Palma ferries depart Moll Barcelona might have compounded this confusion) and (2) completely ignored the information on the Baleària website saying passengers without cars must be at the embarkation point 60 minutes before departure. We’re really lucky we (1) found the ‘Nápoles’ ferry and (2) were still able to board!
|This is where our ferry departed from – it looks much more like a shipping area than a ferry terminal!|
The seats in our Neptuno (premium economy) cabin and the main cabin were rather empty. Palma really is more of a summer destination. There was a locked glass door separating the Neptuno cabin from the regular main cabin. However, passengers could easily go out on the deck and walk around – or go through the hallways forward from the two cabins. And many of them did…
|Main cabin seating|
|Premium Neptuno cabin seating|
Our cabin filled in continually and substantially after departure. We were really disappointed at the lack of personnel to police the situation. After all, we had paid more to be in the Neptuno cabin (€70.50 each after taxes, purchased directly through Baleària, paid via MasterCard) as opposed to the main cabin. To make matters worse, the stowaways were not the quietest or most considerate bunch. One lady – complete with fur coat – was an especially rude person in the Neptuno bathrooms as well as at disembarkation.
|The small sign on the door did very little to stop other passengers from entering the Neptuno cabin|
There were signs indicating that laying across seats and removing shoes in common areas were prohibited, but these regulations seemed to be completely ignored in both cabins.
|Regulation signs, which were generally ignored|
Our Neptuno seats reclined more than those in the main cabin, and they also included a foot rest. However, with the rather empty ferry the passengers in the main cabin may have actually been more comfortable since the seats in the main cabin had raise-able arm rests which allowed passengers to lie flat across seats.
|Neptuno cabin seating|
|The Neptuno seats reclined about as much as economy airplane seats|
Shortly after embarking, the movie Pixels was loudly blasted in Spanish on large screens until well after 1am. Even with good earplugs, the movie was still audible. We might expect this in the main cabin, but had hoped for a quiet sleeping environment in the Neptuno cabin. Despite the loud movies, we slept adequately for about 4.5 hours. Our biggest issue sleeping, besides the loud movie, was that it was very difficult to recline in the seat without sliding down into an uncomfortable slouch.
|Our cava for the ferry, which we carried onboard|
We were woken at 5:30am by loud announcements and lights. These announcements were in Spanish and then English, but the English announcements were difficult to understand. The ferry docked at 6:20am (scheduled for 6:30am) and disembarkation for passengers without vehicles was announced at 6:45pm (after all of the passengers with vehicles had returned to their vehicles and drove off of the ferry).
|Our ferry’s arrival point in Palma|
When we reached the bottom level of the ferry, we were pleased to see a bus waiting for passengers without vehicles. We figured that wherever this bus was going had to be better for public transit than the remote Dic de l Oest dock. The bus backed off of the ferry at 6:54am and dropped everyone at main ferry terminal 2 at 7am. From here, we walked about 3 minutes to a public transit bus stop.
|A Baleària bus was waiting in to car bay on the boat to transport the passengers without cars to the main ferry terminal|